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REFUNDS? - Client Wants One Despite No Refund Policy

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GetShitDone

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I run a marketing agency.

I have a client who has spent a couple months with us and he is demanding a refund.

We have no money back guarantee or refund policy (As results differ from client to client).

We don't guarantee anything at all, yet he still wants a refund

How would you deal with this?

And are there ways to prevent them posting a bad review?
 

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BizyDad

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I also don't offer refunds. But I did give one, once. Client was starting a new business. She wasn't even sure she wanted to start the business, she was referred to me in part because I have a reputation for giving an honest assessment of start up ideas. I did my homework, and I really thought she had a solid idea. I had a friend who had done a similar consulting business, so in addition to the keyword research, I knew there was some market demand. I encouraged her to give it a go. We worked together for 3 months. She was great, always did everything asked, we executed everything as planned. Trouble was, after 3 months and X spent on ads and our fee, while I knew she was living off her meager savings, we generated 0 calls. To this day, I have no idea why the tactics didn't work. She didn't ask for a refund, but I gave her one because my basic promise to anyone that signs up with us is that I'll improve your situation. In her case, I didn't feel we met that basic threshold. So my ethic led me to issue the refund.

Ultimately it is for you to decide first whether you feel you earned the money. Do they have a legitimate gripe? If so, can you fix it? I've offered people reducing my fee for a short period, even handed out an occassional free month to smooth things over?

Let's say they are completely off base, or things are beyond fixable, and are going to leave a terrible reviews anyways. In that situation, don't let yourself be bullied, let them leave their bad review. And then one by one talk to your satisfied clients and get them to leave glowing reviews. Do so over the course of several weeks, not just all at once.

Everybody gets a bad review eventually. Don't fret over that. Just keep making raving fans. I actually tracked this back in the day and a bad review can actually make conversions go up. I have 2 theories about that. 1 - The bad review is just off base that people will disregard one. 2 - The bad review can make the other good reviews seem more credible. It is hard to trust a listing that has dozens of 5* reviews and nothing else. Hth.
 

minivanman

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Bad reviews can make you look GREAT! Give a heart felt apology in response to their bad review and explain that results vary and you clearly state that you have a no refunds policy. I usually only look for bad reviews so I can see how the business owner responded. People who know business and know marketing know that results vary when it comes to marketing, if they don't, you really do not want them as customers anyway.
 

tylerwilkinson

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The first rule of acquisition comes to mind....

My 2¢, it’s good to have an unofficial policy or plan in mind before the potential refund scenario comes up. Good planning and communication can help prevent it. Not always, obviously....

I’m a mechanic, and in our small neighborhood shop we have to work with people to give them a feeling of ownership over the decisions being made. Most jobs are straight foreword, nothing uncertain, just don’t eff it up. But some require diag, testing, a degree of expertise and, in some cases, a bit of educated guesswork. I explain costs, diagnostic billing structure, and offer solutions, especially disclosing uncertainty when it exists. I ask what path they want to go down, often describing the various risks. I’m happy to try something I don’t think will work if the customer understands it’s their call, not mine, and I’m getting paid. As frustrating as it can be, extra communication of risk along the way and transferring a realistic amount of it makes it very difficult for someone to angrily demand a refund.
It still happens sometimes, but I we know that we did right by someone, it’s easier to stand our ground.

I would also say an explicit “no refunds, results vary” policy up front might be good in your field. I have to explain that sort of thing with certain work we do.
 

Odysseus M Jones

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Why do they want a refund?

I was always taught the first rule of customer service:

"the customer is always right even when they're wrong"

And when they complain or whatever, you exceed their expectations in making it right.

So, I'd talk to the customer, find out exactly what their issue is, work through it with them & offer them the solution they want and go the extra mile to exceed that.

Also that's how you stop them posting a negative review.

In word of mouth marketing, a dissatisfied customer will tell a lot more people than a happy customer.

The review is the tip of the iceberg.

I also learned that credibility is like virginity, you can only lose it once.

Anyway, that's how I handle things because my attitude is "it's only money" I can always make more, whereas I can't unblemish my reputation & in any case it would cost more to do that.
 

Roz

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I used to work for Sam's Club back in the early 90's. I worked in the tire department. I witnessed on several occasions members bringing in damaged tires that were never sold at a Sam's Club or even Walmart. They insisted they were bought there and demanded refunds. The management always, without question, without receipts, refunded them. At the time I thought Sam's was crazy but have come to understand why this is done

From>> Companies Becoming Legendary
 

amp0193

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I also don't offer refunds. But I did give one, once.
Same.

Everything is case by case. There's one client we just really failed in every way, and didn't live up to expectation. That and she was a very demanding type of person, and it was easier and less headaches for everyone to just refund her and move on.

She could have left the worst review in the world... but didn't. I'm sure she would have if we hadn't made things right in her mind.

Also, maybe you did, but make sure policies are very clear up front before ever working together. And maybe consider a policy that does allow for refunds if certain metrics aren't met. You might get more business that way... as long as you're confident in your ability to deliver the promised result.
 

Kevin88660

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I run a marketing agency.

I have a client who has spent a couple months with us and he is demanding a refund.

We have no money back guarantee or refund policy (As results differ from client to client).

We don't guarantee anything at all, yet he still wants a refund

How would you deal with this?

And are there ways to prevent them posting a bad review?
I will negotiate on a case by case basis.

If his request legitimate?
-There is zero result?
-What are the capital and labor cost expensed on your end?
 

ZCP

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did you provide value? or just burn budget?

that should shape your response.

when you talk to them on the phone, what middle ground could you reach?
 

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Walter Hay

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I have re-posted here my reply in an old thread:
I need some advice on dealing with a tough client

"I'll give two examples, one from each business:
1. An ex customer (multi millionaire) asked for my expert help to solve a production problem. I solved it and sold him a small amount of my product that was in fact the solution. I spent over a day working in his factory, and the sale was for less than $100. He offered to pay a consultancy fee, but I declined his offer. The upshot was that we became firm friends and he was like an unpaid salesman for me. That day's free work was a great investment for me.

2. A customer complained of faulty products. I called in to collect the faulty items for replacement. Only one was actually my product; the others were all from a competitor. I replaced the lot free of charge and told her what I had done. She became one of my best customers, and the word of mouth advertising was worth a fortune."


Walter
 

Black_Dragon43

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I run a marketing agency.

I have a client who has spent a couple months with us and he is demanding a refund.

We have no money back guarantee or refund policy (As results differ from client to client).

We don't guarantee anything at all, yet he still wants a refund

How would you deal with this?

And are there ways to prevent them posting a bad review?
As a fellow agency owner, here's the procedure I use. Ask yourself as follows:

• Is there a money-back guarantee promised in the contract or have you guaranteed to obtain results or reach a certain benchmark?
• Have you made mistakes in executing the service compared to what you promised? (this is NOT the same as providing value. Many people in this thread seem to be obsessed with value, but sometimes even great marketing can get few results, it's not an exact science)
• Do you expect your client to buy more from you in the future if you give them the refund or is this likely going to be a one-off purchase?
• Has the client referred business to you before or have they been a client for more than 6 months?
• Have YOU not respected parts of your contractual obligations AND has your client respected their contractual obligations?
• Does the client have the possibility to retaliate against you in a way that has a high probability of negatively affecting you?

The more "YES" you have to those questions, the more you should lean towards giving a refund. The more "NO" you have to those questions, the more you should lean towards not giving the refund. Some questions, like the first one, are more important than the others. If you have a YES to that one, then give the refund.

In some cases you can offer a partial refund. Personally, in your situation I'd tell them what the contract terms were, and I'd say that I can't offer them a money-back. If there's anything I can do to fix the situation, or to do a bit of extra work, sure, but money can't be given back.
 
Last edited:

Vigilante

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I run a marketing agency.

I have a client who has spent a couple months with us and he is demanding a refund.

We have no money back guarantee or refund policy (As results differ from client to client).

We don't guarantee anything at all, yet he still wants a refund

How would you deal with this?

And are there ways to prevent them posting a bad review?
I live for the 99%, and appease the 1%.
 

Justyne Griffin

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it depends of the refund , just ask yourself the question - " how much are you ready to pay , for removing a bad reviewe? " . If you can give more than the refaund than it is better to refund , if not , then explain him that you don't have refaunds , and you didn't guarantee anything . And if he post a bad review , you can reply that you don't have refunds and your accountant can not do it .
 

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