How to Handle Refund Requests

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by Dana on January 16, 2014

refund-1In this week’s Success Strategy I’m tackling a bit of a touchy subject—how to handle refund requests. It’s inevitable that at some point in your business, you will encounter a dissatisfied customer. It’s certainly not fun—but the way you handle it can have a big impact on your future business success. Here are my top tips for how to manage this sticky situation.

1. Have a policy in place. Before the situation arises, be sure you’ve put a policy in place—so clients and customers are aware of your terms before they make their purchases. If you provide a combination of one-on-one services, group workshops and products, you can have a different policy for each. Make share your policies are stated very clearly and in multiple locations. Post your terms on your sales pages, client intake forms, contracts, etc. And be sure to consult your business lawyer on the exact wording you use.

2. Don’t take it personally.  Refund requests don’t tend to happen frequently, but the longer you’re in business and the more people you serve, an occasional refund request is likely to come through.  I know the first one can be a blow to your ego, but just remember that this is a natural part of doing business. No matter how great your products or services are, there will always be some people who don’t jive with them—and that’s ok. Think about big stores who get returns all the time—it’s not personal; it’s just business.

3. Respond with speed & a smile. As soon as you see the refund request, immediately email or call your customer to thank them for getting in touch and for giving your company a try. Think graceful and respectful all the way! Remember, this is a chance to turn an unhappy customer (who is likely expecting a hassle) into a raving fan of your customer service and brand.

4. Get feedback (but don’t “question” them). Use this opportunity to get valuable customer feedback on how you could improve your product or service. But remember, there’s a fine line between asking for feedback and “questioning” them. You certainly don’t want to make them feel like they’re in the hot seat—especially if your return policy is “no questions asked.”

5. Give them the facts. Let them know whether they are eligible for a refund or not, based on the terms in your policy. And if they are, be sure to tell them when it has been processed & when they can expect to see the refund reflected on their credit card or in their bank balance.

Want a simple template to customize & tweak? Check out this one…

Hi [Name]!

First off, thank you for your email and for giving [insert name of course or product] a try. I have refunded your fee via [PayPal / my merchant service provider], so you should receive a notification through your account shortly. If, for some reason, you do not see the refund reflected in your account within the next 2-3 business days, please let me know.


Secondly, if there’s any more detailed feedback you can offer related to your dissatisfaction with [insert issue], I’d really appreciate you sharing that with me–as I am continually focused on improving my products and services, and enhancing my customers’ experiences with my company.


And lastly, please let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you. And thanks again for your business!




I’d love to know what you think…What is your refund policy? Do you have any additional tips for handling refunds? Please share in the comments below…


Olivia Lane January 18, 2014 at 3:52 am

I’ve never had a customer request a refund but I do offer a 100% refund in case anyone is dissatisfied with my green cleaning eBook. It hasn’t happened yet but I agree it’s good to have a policy in place before any money is exchanged so everyone can feel things are fair in the end.

Dana January 20, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Absolutely, Olivia! :)