How To Handle Refunders

How To Handle Refunders

Just read a thread talking about a guy who launched a product. He got a sale and within 30 minutes the buyer asked for a refund.

I’m sure he made more sales but this topic is about refunds.

One of his threadsters (think I just invented a word!) called the refunders “scum”. Calling refunders scum is a bit rich in my book.

Sure it’s frustrating. You inwardly celebrate a sale and almost while you’re still punching the air, the refund request lands like a ships’ anchor on your joy.

I’d guess that most refunds of easily consumed products like PDF’s happen shortly after the sales process. If people are keen they’d read it straight away after buying. So a quick refund is expected. If the refund is on a software product or a course series or a more complex, larger product I’d expect a genuine refund request would not be so quick.

Let’s face it, if I’m not happy with a meal I don’t wait til I’ve finished. I complain just after I’ve realised it’s undercooked or cold or as soon as it appears and it’s not what I ordered.

So timing should not be a surprise.

I know some people who set reminders about refund deadlines so they make sure they check out the product before the period expires. Much like you make sure a physical product is working before your warranty expires. (You do that don’t you?). A lot of us buy something because we don’t want to miss out on the deal and park it until we’re ready to use/consume it.

So to me, refunding itself is not the issue. It’s part of any business.


The issue is we feel ripped off.

  • We believe we put out a good product.
  • We believe the price was fair.
  • We believe we wrote sales copy that clearly represented the product.

But one of our customers did not believe those things.

In the tangible world, if you get a refund you give back the physical product.

When someone refunds a digital product we don’t get the product back . The customer keeps it. We feel we’ve just been ‘had‘ because now they got it for free.

Well, in rare cases that may be the case.

From my experience and knowledge, people refund for different reasons:

  • They don’t feel they got what was being sold
  • They don’t feel the product was worth the price
  • They may have misunderstood what was being offered
  • Maybe they already have a similar product
  • Maybe they have purchased the same product before

What might be ‘cheap’ to us may be expensive for someone from a different and poorer country so if the product doesn’t meet their expectation they can’t afford to buy something they don’t feel they’ll use so will refund.

Selling is not a one-way process.

So what do you do about refunds?

  1. Give the refund
  2. Do not stop giving guarantees on the strength of one or two refunds
  3. Keep a record of refunders and blacklist any ‘serial’ refunders – a few do make a practice of this
  4. Learn. Ask refunders to complete a quick survey to find out why they refunded. This is really useful market research – you identify an improvement that can be made to reduce future refund rates
  5. Check your rate of refunds. If they are higher than average then you may be the problem. Check your sales copy, delivery model, product quality and make improvements where you can.
  6. Give people the benefit of the doubt
  7. Accept you will get refund requests and avoid overreacting
  8. Focus on the fact you have lots more satisfied customers than refunders

Think about it.
In life, have you ever asked for a refund? How did you get treated?

Be the supplier who rises above.

4 thoughts on “How To Handle Refunders

  1. Good advice Mel, thanks for sharing this.
    I’ve found that the only time I’ve ever had to refund was when someone else wrote the sales page copy for me. It was so hyped up and it made my skin crawl, but I was persuaded to use it… and I get a spate of refunds over the first 3 days.
    I refunded them all, but my JV partner was dead set against me doing that, so I decided not to work with them again.

    I’d sooner refund an unhappy customer that have them upset with me. I do also get feedback from them.

    As a buyer, I rarely ask for my money back – and I’ve purchased some truly atrocious stuff – plugins that don’t work, ebooks with bad advice and so on. The only things I’ve ever asked for my money back is 2 products – both software. And I was refunded swiftly. I don’t know if I was blacklisted but I like to think my account over at JVZoo speaks for itself 🙂

  2. I’ve asked for a refund twice for online products. This is a very small percentage. Both products did not deliver what they promised. Both times I was ignored by the sellers when I politely asked for a refund and even gave constructive feedback. In one case in frustration I emailed the Big Name affiliate who promoted the product (I bought through his link) and told him about my experience. In my frustration, I admonished him for making inferior recommendations. I was ready to unsubscribe from his list when I got a personal reply. He apologized and gave me a refund out of his own paypal account. Needless to say, I was impressed with his integrity.

  3. That’s an excellent point. Not everyone is going to be pleased. It’s fair to say that if you stand by your guarantee, you might make them a happier buyer on a future order.

  4. I have asked for a refund before especially if the product didn’t live up to expectations, or because the sales page is so off it doesn’t represent what you are getting.

    I get very few refund requests and always try to ask why they want a refund. If there is a problem with the product you need to know. Many times I find people want a refund because they can’t open certain file types. By taking the time to fix their problem you can avoid the refund.

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