Etsy Success A little help please! Customer Service / Returns

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Original Post

Hey Everyone,

I'm working on my first request for a return and was looking for some assistance. The item was shipped out and received a month prior to us receiving a request to return the item. The request was made advising the bouquet wasn't what she was expecting. The exact bouquet was used for all the photo's on the listing. Our policies state that we need to have a return request made within 2 days of receiving the item. On day 3, I even reached out to the buyer asking how everything was and did not receive a response until yesterday which was 26 days later. We have no feedback in our shop and am concerned how this will effect us.

What suggestions do you have?

Posted at 10:42pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

Responses

That's difficult. I feel like the woman probably used the bouquet and now wants to return it because she doesn't need it anymore. Also, your policies clearly state that the buyer has 48 hours to contact you about a return. I think you'd be perfectly fine to refuse the refund. However, since that's your only sale so far and you don't have any feedback, if the customer decides to leave you a negative because you won't give her the refund. Perhaps you could tell her you'd be happy to give her a partial refund once she returns the bouquet, even though your policies state that refund requests must be made within 48 hours of receiving the item.

Posted at 10:49pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

I just read your return policy and honestly, I think that this bit is kind of harsh:
"For our pre-designed orders, we offer a 50% refund less the shipping costs upon receipt of returned order in its original condition."\

I could understand that for custom orders, but for your regular items maybe you should just refund the full amount minus shipping if they request the refund and return the item within a certain time frame.

Posted at 10:57pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

Lori Ferguson from NatureWithYou says
Edited on Jul 4, 2012

Wow, that bouquet is really pretty. That's tough, with what you sell there might be an inclination for some people to use it and then return it which is why, I'm assuming, you have the return policy you do.

I prefer to think most people are honest, but having worked in retail for about 15 years I know that's not always true. Normally I would say stick to your return policy but with your lack of feedback a bad one would be really bad. So not fair.

Posted at 11:02pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

Hi Kala- Just went to your shop and it is very beautiful. A little off topic but since you are here thought i would mention it. I read through a few of your listings and they are very good. However, you say if this item is not perfect please check our --page ( can't remember word for word) That is the perfect place to link back to that page and not give them a reason to leave your shop. Just my 2 cents here. So sorry you are dealing with the situation at hand.

Posted at 11:12pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

Thank you everyone for your feedback. I agree that I believe she used the bouquet and then returned it. :( Unfortunately I think I will have to lose the sale. Hopefully it all has a happy ending and no negative feedback. I know that we have quality beautiful products but it is so discouraging to have something like this happen on our first sale!

Stephanie - what a great idea! Thank you for that tip!

Posted at 11:22pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

Nicole Wild from WeThreeBees says
Edited on Jul 4, 2012

Kala- Definitely stick to your guns on this one (at least, I would try to do that). It states in your policies the procedure for returns and enough time has gone by that I would absolutely not accept a return. Perhaps exchange or store credit? If she has used the flowers and just wants to get her money back, she wouldn't accept an exchange. If she actually IS upset with the way the flowers look (unlikely, in my opinion since she waited so long), then you might pacify her with a different arrangement. Of course, I would only offer an exchange if (1)she pays return shipping and (2) the original item arrives in the same condition as when you shipped it.

Bad feedback is scary but most buyers can see right through it. I try to adopt that old "the customer's always right" philosophy but this situation makes that difficult!

Posted at 11:26pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

Thanks Nicole! So bummed! I'm a really honest person and take things to heart so this is such a hard decision for me.

Posted at 11:35pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

Kala- I know. I had a terrible situation where USPS was at fault and the customer started getting upset with ME. It's hard not to take it personally but some people just aren't nice and nobody ever told them to, "treat others the way you would like to be treated."

Posted at 11:41pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT

I completely agree with Nicole. There is no reason why it should have taken them a month to decide they don't like the bouquet. I think all too often shop owners (especially us little guys) get run over with a steam roller because "the customer is always right."

I got news for you: The customer is not always right. Sometimes the customer is lying through their teeth or doesn't want to get stuck with something they no longer need, even if it's been a year or two since the purchase and the expired ink is no longer needed because the printer broke two days ago (actually happened!).

Offer an exchange. If they like your work, they'll order something else. If they no longer need it (who knows, the wedding may have been last week) they'll just have to suck it up. You may get negative feedback from this, which sucks completely, but at least you would be being honest with yourself.

Posted at 1:35am Jul 5, 2012 EDT