I was wondering how everyone handles the shipping charge when items are returned. Do you refund it or refund the amount purchased less shipping?
Typically, all shipping costs are lost to the customer when a product is returned for a refund. This includes their cost to return the item(s).
Returned for no good reason:
Even if the item is untouched and re-sellable, you as the merchant cannot recover the outbound shipping costs. If the customer has changed their mind, they should bay for shipping.
This is why it is important to present the products with detailed and accurate descriptions, clear pictures, etc. and the customer should know what they want.
Defective return for replacement:
Some companies have the buyer bear the cost of returning the item and then the company pays for the replacement shipping. Some send a "call tag" at there expense. I personally would pay for the return and replacement shipping for defectives (as a merchant).
Some merchants also charge a "restocking fee" for returned merchandise (unless it was damaged/etc or the merchant's fault). Typical restock fees are 5-15%.
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Unless it is a total screw up by the merchant shipping fees should not refunded as they are a legitimate cost of the sale. Naturally each circumstance is unique and this might not always be the best policy. At my day job we usually eat the cost because we want out customers to be happy. But in some cases where they screwed up we make them pay for shipping.
I have refunded shipping in the past if it is our mistake. But in this instance, the customer ordered a product that did not work for his application. In this instance, I didn't feel we should bear the cost of shipping, but wanted to check to see what you guys think.
For us, we state that when an item is returned, we don't pay for the return shipping and we also don't do refunds on shipping when the item was shipped to the customer.
I do beleive this is standard, I know that some companies pay for the return shipping as well, but then they also charge the restocking fee which is about 10-20% of price of the item.
Hope that helps.
We do not refund shipping charges. If someone returns a product we will refund the price of the product itself. We also do not send pre-paid return shipping labels. All shipping is the responsibility of the customer. We are in a very niche industry though, in more competitive industries you may not be able to get away with a policy like this. Free shipping and return shipping is common among large e-commerce websites.
our company very rarely gives credits for shipping
IF the merchandise is defective or damaged we bear the cost. If the customer just doesn't want it, made a mistake, etc, they do.
Strange what others say - as for 2 years I have always given full refund, when not, changebacks seem to happen - even when buyers error.
Since doing this (2 years ago-ish) chargebacks down to a few a week, from lots.....
Maybe a UK thing though.
i agree. this is usually the caseOriginally Posted by aspen
If the customer yells loud enough we'll refund the shipping. Otherwise not.
Our policies also include the option for us to charge shipping again if an item is returned undeliverable (wrong address or unknown), insufficent address or just outright refused.
Many of the bigger ecommerce sites are aggresively moving toward making the returns process easier, and more friendly to the customer. They're doing this because they realize that customer retention is far more important than whether they lost a few dollars on a single sale.
In January, I am going to be increasing my prices from 8-15% depending on the category. This will still be less than most of my competitors. I am doing this to institute both a no-hassle return policy and subsidized shipping.
With the return policy, we will refund the costs on the shipping costs that the customer paid but they will be responsible for shipping to return the product. I have to factor in higher prices for this because many of my products can't be resold. They would have to eliminated from inventory and destroyed. However in 4 years, I have only had 3 returns so it is not a big risk for me. Along with this, I will be looking into building Verified by Visa and Mastercard Securecode into the site to lower chances of fraud as well.
Now, I am not a big retail operation but as Peter said, I would rather fix the problem so that they shop from me again. 90% of my products are consumable so repeat business is a good way to increase profits, especially if I want to work up the lifetime sales of each customer.