Home – New Forums Other discussions Customer requested refund, Advice wanted quick :)

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  • #979711
    Matt Hanson
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    I teach drums from home and I have a clear terms and conditions policy and I make all students sign it upon enrollment.

    Recently a student unenrolled and has already paid for their full term (three more lessons already paid for).

    http://www.mattsdrumlessons.com.au/fees

    My policy has always been no refunds for any monies paid.

    We left on good terms, it’s jsut that the young student has changed interests.

    But now the mother has emailed and requested a refund on the 3 unclaimed lessons.

    She also wants the money back for my new book that she pre-ordered and has yet to receive (which, by the way, is now in stock from the printing).

    I was thinking, refuse to refund her lessons, providing credit should she return within a year (outside my current terms and conditions), and provide her with the book.

    I can’t be expected to go back into my records and remove a portion of my already calculated weekly income for that week.

    Am I right or wrong about how to handle this? In any case, some input would be appreciated. I’ve never had to be so strict on any one before, but I think this is the right thing to do.

    #1116522
    Past-Member
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    In this case, being a series of lessons, I would probably send a note with a voucher … ‘As with our business policy, all lessons are payable in advance. Enclosed please find copy of the book that was ordered and paid for so that you may give it as a gift to someone; and also gift voucher/s for 3 lessons which you may give to a friend who may like to try out the lessons. Vouchers valid for x months.’

    At least then there is some value for money and they will look good in giving the vouchers and book to someone.

    With our kids, they always knew that they had to finish a course because all monies had to be paid regardless.

    Just my thoughts.

    #1116523
    MyGreatIdea
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    Good suggestion Karen !!

    My kids were the same with their sport. If they wanted to try something new, that was fine, but they had to finish the season no matter what.

    Now if the child had say, been in a serious accident or something that prevented him from attending you would probably deal with it differently, but he’s simply changed his mind and that’s the mother’s problem. I feel this mother may just be testing you. Stand firm with your policies, but Karen’s suggestion is a good sweetener.

    Wendy :)

    #1116524
    Kennethti
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    Matt – you need to check what the Australian Consumer Law says in this matter.

    You also need to check if your terms and conditions complies with the Australian Consumer Law. Generally speaking however the client is entitled to seek a refund or a re-performance of the services where the services were either defective or not fit for the particular purpose that it was obtained for.

    #1116525
    yourvirtualboard
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    Some good suggestions already.

    I’m sure you get your students within a limited radius and with that you have to consider what the fall out might be in sticking to your terms. Sure you could enforce them but what if this mother then warns everyone about dealing with you? Her version of what happened might be quite different from your version and you won’t be there to defend yourself. Think of the money as school fees or a marketing cost because although she might not tell as many about a positive (for her) outcome she may tell a few.

    #1116526
    AGMBris
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    Hi

    Yes it is a tricky one, (because rules are rules right?) but I think the good will that you would send in refunding may outweigh the negative effect of sticking to your guns. It must be a hard one to stick to with families who struggle on restricted incomes nowadays.

    Perhaps a meeting half way might work well here – allowing you to enforce your terms but I guess be open to bending them a little to assist the family. Just a thought.

    Good luck

    #1116527
    travelmaster
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    Hi all,

    This is a subject that really gets me going.
    I mean what is the point of having any rules and conditions at all if each time someone asks for a refund they always come up with a “oh yes, but..” situation.
    Try and ask some big brand company to bend the rules and see how far you get.
    But because we are all “small business” we are meant to run businneses differently.
    I say stick to your conditions providing they were given out at the very beginning before any money changed hands.

    #1116528
    MatthewKeath
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    [PHP][/PHP]

    travelmaster, post: 131075 wrote:
    Hi all,

    This is a subject that really gets me going.
    I mean what is the point of having any rules and conditions at all if each time someone asks for a refund they always come up with a “oh yes, but..” situation.
    Try and ask some big brand company to bend the rules and see how far you get.
    But because we are all “small business” we are meant to run businneses differently.
    I say stick to your conditions providing they were given out at the very beginning before any money changed hands.In the last two weeks we have asked two big brands to bend the rules and they did because the preferred to keep me happy. They prefer I get a refund now, but tell my friends how fair they were and possibly buy again later than go away angry.

    Big brands break their own rules all the time.

    If this happened all the time then you would need to look more closely at the policy, but since this the first time I say give the refund for the lessons, send her the book and reap the good will.

    Whatever happens OP, please give us an update! Too many people here ask advice but never bother to reply or update the people that are trying to help!

    #1116529
    The Copy Chick
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    Hi Matt – in accordance with the ACCC Warranties & Refunds Guide (page 11: Consumers’ responsibilities – goods), you are not under any obligation to refund any money if your client has simply changed her mind.

    If she was aware of your terms & conditions prior to signing up, it may be worth advising her of your rights under the ACCC guidelines and offering her the credit and the book. When presented with the facts about her rights – and yours – it may help to reduce any potential backlash, since technically she has no right to a refund under the circumstances you have outlined

    However, as others have said, what is the value of those 3 lessons and is it worth sticking to your terms? If she decides to get narky about it, it could cost you further business.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

    #1116530
    relentless
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    reminds me of a story I heard about a successful car tyre seller. A person walked into his shop demanding a refund for tyres for a brand that he didn’t even sell, he refunded the irate person anyway, thus preventing this person from spreading any bad news about his company.

    I guess you need to weight the gains vs the potential losses.

    I say refund anyway and get it over with, the more time you spend stressing and talking about this the more time wasted, you could have been spending your energy on other activities like generating more sales.

    In any business you will always have a few customers who are really unreasonable, best to be rid off them and quickly and save yourself the risk of dragging out the process for months and them taking it further like legal action which is a total waste of time, energy and money.

    #1116531
    bluepenguin
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    If you do decide to keep the money, you can explain to her that because they had booked in those lessons, you were unable to take on work during those slots, and can’t afford to take that loss.

    If it were up to me, I’d just give the money back… It’s just easier that way, and over the course of a year, it’s not a whole lot of money.

    #1116532
    Word
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    So… don’t keep us in suspense :)

    What did you do?

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