Do you accept returns way past your return policy window? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-27-2010, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Our return policy states that we accept returns within 30 days. I just received an item back that was sent the first week of May. No note or anything. The package looks thrown together, the packaging torn and the packing slip even looks stepped-on. I don't know if I should accept the return anyway or send it back to the customer? I don't want to risk a charge-back, but I also feel that I should support my return policy. If it had been within a week or so, I would just accept the return, but 2 1/2 months seems long. What do you all do?
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#2 of 7 Old 07-27-2010, 09:52 AM
 
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I take anything back at any time. Bottom line is that I want my customers to be happy. That is a bummer that the person never contacted you to tell you it was coming back. Could you contact them to get some feedback on the item and why it is that they are returning it?

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#3 of 7 Old 07-27-2010, 10:50 AM
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It helps to know what kind of product you have. If it is a seasonal item that ages (apparel etc), the return window is more important. Many of the designers I work with will give credit on future purchases after x days, a refund before then.

If it is a food or cosmetics product with an expiration date, it becomes a matter of public safety and you probably shouldn't accept returns for refund or credit after x time unless the customer has a legitimate reason for return (defect etc) in which case they should get cash regardless of how long it has been.

If you are reselling products from other vendors, your returns acceptance policy should be aligned to manufacturer's warranties. Return of non-compliant product is one of the things that must be stipulated under conditions of sale in the purchase agreement.

If you are selling a product that does not vary seasonally, does not age etc but is the same year in, year out, the most generous returns policy is best.

This is not a simple question to answer, I can't tell you how many articles I've written about returns on my site. There are even situations in which you (as the retailer) are legally entitled to return product to your vendor even if it is not specifically mentioned or maybe even specifically forbidden in the sales contract. Retailers have rights in interstate commerce too. Here are a few articles for more info:

Returns policies for defective goods
Retailer’s rights to return defective products (shrinkage)
Selling clothes to stores
HTH
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#4 of 7 Old 07-27-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrin View Post
I take anything back at any time. Bottom line is that I want my customers to be happy. That is a bummer that the person never contacted you to tell you it was coming back. Could you contact them to get some feedback on the item and why it is that they are returning it?
I agree. Ultimately I want satisfied customers.

Mama to DS (6/07) h20homebirth.gif, DD (6/09) h20homebirth.gif, and DD (07/12) homebirth.jpg..

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#5 of 7 Old 07-27-2010, 01:51 PM
 
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It would depend on the reason. I would contact the customer if possible and ask the reason for the return and also be sure to restate the return policy. (nicely of course) Make a decision based on that. Also at this point you could verify that the return actually came from them and not a returned package that wasn't delivered in the first place. I've gotten things back because they came open during shipment and they can get pretty trampled, the post office sometimes returns to sender (roughly repackaged) if they are unable to determine whom it was intended for. And in that case I prefer it come to me anyways because I wouldn't want the customer to get that trampled package either.

But after you contact the customer to get more details I think that would be the time to make the decision. Yes, I'd want to follow my return policy but I'm also realistic too. You can always give an in-store credit instead. Until I knew the reason for return I would not be able to answer that, I'd also have to know what the product was like another poster stated.

I also think its important to include your return policy with any items you ship, either on a separate piece of paper or on the back of the invoice. Not everyone is internet savvy and can go searching for return policies and not everyone even thinks to do that to begin with.

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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#6 of 7 Old 07-28-2010, 04:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your input! I decided to go ahead and refund the customer for the returned item. It was a sling, which is somewhat common as a return (due to sizing issues) but usually they come back rather quickly. The sling itself is still in its original condition, so I just need to replace the packaging. I decided to just take the high road and accept the return. It is possible that the customer bought it while pregnant and couldn't try it on with her baby until past the 30 days (I always allow this when people contact me). I don't know if that is the reason, but it could be what happened.

I do have the return policy printed on the packing slips. There has only been one time in my 6 years of business when I couldn't accept a return and that was when a sling came back stained. Otherwise I guess I've been lucky in the return department.
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#7 of 7 Old 07-29-2010, 09:33 PM
 
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Hi Kathleen, I'm sorry you are feeling frustrated. I think this might be a slightly different atmosphere than most message boards because of the shear number of members here. I believe its over 130,000 registered members and then hundreds of guests browsing at any given time. With that amount of members its impossible to keep up with everyone and know who is new or not, although we do try to make everyone feel welcome and answer questions when they are asked.

My best advice is to just keep jumping into posts and people will start to recognize your name and learn more about you as you interact. I know it took a long time, maybe even a year or more before I could start to keep track of different people and get to "know" others here. I posted far less at that time though which made it harder. Once you get in the flow with things and post more you'd be surprised at how fast you start to meet people here. It also helps to find other sub-forums in topic areas you are interested in. I hang out a lot in this forum, in Special Needs Parenting and Frugality and Finance.. I find I have a lot in common with the girls who post in those forums and I have an easier time connecting. Also check out the tribal forums too!

There is a "Pleased to Meet You" forum up near the top that we check to welcome new members too. Since it is such a huge community its easier if new members posts a quick intro there so we can "meet" you and help point you in the right direction for forums and such too. That's where we do the welcoming.

Please don't feel invisible, its just a large community and its extremely hard to keep track of everyone so its not intentional. Anyways, welcome. I see you've been here since 2008 so I guess it should be a "welcome back" instead.

Oh! And another tip, it makes it much much easier to keep track of people if they have a signature! I recognize people by the names in the signatures and the combinations of smilies used. LMAO.

Mom to Joscelyne 14, Andrew 12, and Mackenzie 10 and wife to Nate.
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