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  • #991595
    Real Leather
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    Hi ,
    I am Kingshuk.
    I run a website http://www.realleather.com.au
    https://www.facebook.com/Real.Leather

    Real Leather is a world wide retailer that designs and manufactures leather handbags, wallets, purses and accessories.

    I have a question which I would like to ask the forum members.

    If someone buys an item from my website. What is be the legislation about returning the goods and how much should I refund if the items were purchased as free shipping? The items are not defective. But the person just changed his mind.

    Where can I get legal advise as a business owner in Victoria?

    Hope someone will have some answers.

    Thanks


    #1182159
    Anonymous
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    Hi Kingshuk,

    Welcome to the forum.

    I’ve moved your post to start a new thread over here in the Selling Online section of the forum, which is the most appropriate place for it.

    Fingers crossed that you receive the info you need soon.

    Best wishes,
    Jayne

    #1182160
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
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    Hi Kingshuk,
    I think your own terms of sale will be the most important factor here. If you clearly state on your website (or purchase receipts) your conditions for refunds, then most people will abide by them.

    Hopefully some retailers can pop in to share their experience or any legal guidelines.

    Dave

    #1182161
    John Debrincat
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    Hello Kingshuk,

    There are two issues here:

    1. What’s legal and as mentioned it depends on you shipping and returns policy you can check out consumerlaw.gov.au that have some good guidance.

    2. But the bigger issue frankly is about customer service and what you want your customers to expect and accept. You will find that most successful online retailers accept a return without any discussion or dispute. The only exceptions are some clothes (if they have been open and worn) and food stuff. Even with clothes there is a degree of latitude. So basically do you want to be known as easy to deal with? If you give good customer service ask for a reference or review. That can often pay 10 fold for the cost of the return.

    You can also get some pretty good commercial legal advice from http://www.lawpath.com.au and I think that they are on Flyingsolo – https://www.flyingsolo.com.au/profile/lawpath-39057

    good selling

    John

    #1182162
    MyGreatIdea
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    The ACCC gives all the information you need on returns/exchanges policies. But, this is only the legal component.

    As John mentioned, considering your customer service could be more important.

    #1182163
    bb1
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    Real Leather, post: 212396, member: 39080 wrote:

    how much should I refund if the items were purchased as free shipping? The items are not defective. But the person just changed his mind.

    I agree with everyone else you need to look at the customer service and goodwill side of this.

    but to answer this specific question, and not knowing the specific legislation, but from a moral perspective, you have stated it is free shipping, as such you now cant swing around and say that I am only refunding the purchase price minus the shipping cost because from my calculations X-free=X (X-0=X). We all know that the postage is incorporated into the price, but from the consumers point of view it is free, so you have to carry that through.

    #1182164
    Johny
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    Bert, I don’t know the legalities either, and see the moral issue and the customer service issue as two separate things.

    In terms of morals, I wouldn’t have a problem being charged a fee (processing fee or whatever you want to call it) for a return where I “changed my mind”. Different story if the goods were faulty, but as a consumer I accept I should absorb some pain for what is essentially wasting other peoples time and money out of what is my fault. (Is there a moral responsibility on the customer? I think so.)

    I remember reading in a forum not too long ago about a lady (in the US I think) who, instead of waiting and spending time to fit on clothes, buys several different sizes, takes them home to try on, then returns the ones she doesn’t want. This was OK for her, I found it to be quite ignorant. This sort of thing, if done by enough people, can create all sorts of havoc with stock control and ultimately raises costs and prices, meaning that people are essentially paying more for their products, which ultimately leads them to complain about something they themselves caused.

    In terms of customer service, that then comes down to whether one sees the benefit in just accepting the goods back or not. That decision may be different depending on the level of returns. An if you are getting enough returns that it causes a problem, then you probably have more to worry about than just that.

    #1182165
    bb1
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    Johny, post: 212803, member: 34822 wrote:
    Bert, I don’t know the legalities either, and see the moral issue and the customer service issue as two separate things.

    In terms of morals, I wouldn’t have a problem being charged a fee (processing fee or whatever you want to call it) for a return where I “changed my mind”. Different story if the goods were faulty, but as a consumer I accept I should absorb some pain for what is essentially wasting other peoples time and money out of what is my fault. (Is there a moral responsibility on the customer? I think so.).
    Johny, Although it appears I came from a different angle, I agree with you 200% that it is ok to charge a processing or admin fee, but this has to be spelt out in the terms and conditions at the time of purchase, not just a case of oh they have changed their mind, we wont refund the postage fee. Definitely charge a processing fee, but spell it out so there are no suprises.

    #1182166
    LucasArthur
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    Hi

    This is always an interesting topic, although i think the OP is seeking the legalities of whether they MUST return goods etc? As the other informative posters have mentioned, it is ultimately going to come down to what has been written into your T’s & C’s.

    Another factor to consider, as a broader comment, is that some people (businesses) are dealing with considerably sized items and thus would want to pass on all and any freight costs if an item was bought with ‘free shipping’ as such.

    As OP is asking what is a reasonable charge to apply for the ‘free component’ well i think the moral approach would be what it cost you :), if you were to charge at all? Maybe just a modest handling fee as Johny and Bert have suggested.

    The overall query is one that is more perplex, if you were in business and did significant volumes of sales and only a very very small percentage of returns it would be advisable in most cases to simply absorb this postage out as it will show as you are a larger business and indicate you are reasonable and have confidence in your products. There is nothing worse than buying something that has FREE shipping with a no obligation returns policy and then when you go to return it the conversation goes a little like this “Ok Jason, no problems in the world we are sorry the product is not suitable and happy to return it for you.. Although you paid $100 for the item, once its returned we will only pay you $90 as we need to take out the cost of the original FREE postage..” and then “yes i understand it was free postage although WE clearly state in our T’s & C’s on line 43 that all refunds are minus any allocated costs incurred due to freight (even if it was FREE) and is charged at X% or as incurred.” and then from customer “well i will NEVER EVER recommend you nor buy from you again” which may back you into a corner and offer a return for free anyways :)

    Not saying all will be like that, although you could potentially see it happening and the cost it may have on your business and its reputation. Most of the larger online sellers do not charge for these returns, more speaking about fashion, although once again on size i know many furniture companies will charge and apply a cost to ‘free freight’ if it was the case from the outset.

    Just one other point and add this to your thought process, if you sell 50 items and get 1 return couldnt you possibly just absorb the cost of the postage of say $10 for a bag as such (am guessing product size here so bear with me) which would mean that its really only cost you $0.204 cents (based on revenue for only 49 sales) per item sold? If this is too high you can charge a ‘restock’ fee of say 5-10% as handling and this would lower the average cost as well.. Just food for thought..

    As i say, its an interesting question although from the OP’s stand point they just want to know what to charge and is it ok.. Yes it is ok and what it cost you as long and your terms cover it :)

    Oh terribly sorry, kept getting distracted in my reply so apologise if its a little jumbled although hope its partially insightful and thought provocative.

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1182167
    Sus2k
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    The return policy should be on your terms of sales. Most business that offer free shipping will accept returns at the customers expenses for re-postage. Ensure that the product remains as original state.

    #1182168
    supanatural
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    Sus2k, post: 213418, member: 50694 wrote:
    The return policy should be on your terms of sales. Most business that offer free shipping will accept returns at the customers expenses for re-postage. Ensure that the product remains as original state.

    We recently had a ebay buyer file a dispute on us stating the product was cheap and didn’t work. We replied with offer to assist and with links. The next reply was ‘Thanks, I didn’t try that but I just want a refund as they brought something else. We accepted the return in remorse. The product turned up with no box or manual making it not fit for resale. Ebay would refund the buyer regardless as they can’t verify the returned item. We have no choice other than refund as we don’t want bad feedback. In this situation what would people do?

    SN

    #1182169
    bb1
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    supanatural, post: 214682, member: 5997 wrote:
    We recently had a ebay buyer file a dispute on us stating the product was cheap and didn’t work. We replied with offer to assist and with links. The next reply was ‘Thanks, I didn’t try that but I just want a refund as they brought something else. We accepted the return in remorse. The product turned up with no box or manual making it not fit for resale. Ebay would refund the buyer regardless as they can’t verify the returned item. We have no choice other than refund as we don’t want bad feedback. In this situation what would people do?

    SN

    The problem now a days with a lot of products is you have to destroy the packaging to get your item out anyhow. Therefore resale would be difficult anyhow. I realize yours may have been reusable, just a generic comment about a lot of packaging these days.

    #1182170
    LucasArthur
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    supanatural, post: 214682, member: 5997 wrote:
    We recently had a ebay buyer file a dispute on us stating the product was cheap and didn’t work. We replied with offer to assist and with links. The next reply was ‘Thanks, I didn’t try that but I just want a refund as they brought something else. We accepted the return in remorse. The product turned up with no box or manual making it not fit for resale. Ebay would refund the buyer regardless as they can’t verify the returned item. We have no choice other than refund as we don’t want bad feedback. In this situation what would people do?

    SN

    eBay doesnt play fair, as you know, and is heavily stacked to protect buyers… The moment you advise you have received the item, regardless of condition or packaging etc, eBay will side with buyer and PayPal dispute resolved in favour of buyer. Its near impossible to alter the outcome, once you have (or admit to having) the item in hand :(

    If its done by paypal you are best just to resolve, if it was not with paypal you then need to decide if your feedback score is the utmost important thing to you and if it is (which i believe it is in this case) i would suggest refunding after feedback has been left. I put that in bold as i believe this will go against most peoples preferred option as a buyer, although sounds like they are partially holding you to ransom – although, if they are holding you to ransom and its in an ebay email speak to ebay, they will potentially resolve in your favour :)

    eBay doesnt play by standard rules or regulations of any governing country or align itself with any standard consumer affairs and actually protects the buyers even more that expected.. This is how they are successful, even though the sellers are the ones they technically receive the money from its the protection offered to the buyer by paypal/ebay that ensures sales occur..Thus the protection of buyer at all costs.. LOL

    Sorry i rambled a little.. if paypal you will have no choice i feel, and if not paypal the ball will be in your court as to the imperative nature of your feedback (personally i can take a hit on one or 2 with mine, although i prefer not to).. sometimes you need to let pride go, accept this customer as an odd ball and just do whats right for your business..

    Cheers
    Jason

    ps.. re not having packaging or manual, isnt there a way you can get this from a local sale if they dont want the box or manual – or even request a replacement from your supplier when you place the next order?

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1182171
    supanatural
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    HarryLuke Logistics, post: 214688, member: 34537 wrote:
    eBay doesnt play fair, as you know, and is heavily stacked to protect buyers… The moment you advise you have received the item, regardless of condition or packaging etc, eBay will side with buyer and PayPal dispute resolved in favour of buyer. Its near impossible to alter the outcome, once you have (or admit to having) the item in hand :(

    If its done by paypal you are best just to resolve, if it was not with paypal you then need to decide if your feedback score is the utmost important thing to you and if it is (which i believe it is in this case) i would suggest refunding after feedback has been left. I put that in bold as i believe this will go against most peoples preferred option as a buyer, although sounds like they are partially holding you to ransom – although, if they are holding you to ransom and its in an ebay email speak to ebay, they will potentially resolve in your favour :)

    eBay doesnt play by standard rules or regulations of any governing country or align itself with any standard consumer affairs and actually protects the buyers even more that expected.. This is how they are successful, even though the sellers are the ones they technically receive the money from its the protection offered to the buyer by paypal/ebay that ensures sales occur..Thus the protection of buyer at all costs.. LOL

    Sorry i rambled a little.. if paypal you will have no choice i feel, and if not paypal the ball will be in your court as to the imperative nature of your feedback (personally i can take a hit on one or 2 with mine, although i prefer not to).. sometimes you need to let pride go, accept this customer as an odd ball and just do whats right for your business..

    Cheers
    Jason

    ps.. re not having packaging or manual, isnt there a way you can get this from a local sale if they dont want the box or manual – or even request a replacement from your supplier when you place the next order?
    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for your advise. Feedback is very important at this stage. As it’s a new product and have a few thousand in stock at the 3PL and no feedback on this item. Next time I’ll ask for extra boxes when in production. At the moment I haven’t marked as received. Advise, will it make any difference if I message the buyer now, stating the product wasn’t returned in original condition and will refund after positive feedback is left?

    Cheers,
    Matt

    #1182172
    LucasArthur
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    Hi Matt

    No probs, adjust advice to suit your own needs though!

    As for your query about should you email now, i cant really advise on this as only you know how your communications have been conducted with this buyer to date and how they will react… What is important is doing what is morally right..

    If you are concerned, why not pick up the phone and speak to ebay and advise of problem.. They will more than likely suggest to mark returned, as it has been and to proceed with refund.. The idea is staying ahead of ebay and customer expectations.. That is my key advice to be honest…

    Handle as delicately or forcefully as the customer can handle, but watch your move as it only takes one wrong word to send a negative under way..

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
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