How To Avoid Refund Requests and Chargebacks When Selling Downloadable Goods

Some people are just pain and you can’t satisfy them. I’ve had customers who lost hours of my time asking how to install software, how to use it, what other services to use etc., and at the end they asked for refund because they can’t manage with the information. You can do very little with such freetards. The best you can do is either to recognize them at the beginning and refund them before they lost your time or to clearly state that they won’t get a refund and why (you need to have a refund policy or TOS on your site). Of course some can even file a chargeback, but that’s an exception.

Refund
Photo by drinksmachine

However there are many genuine customers who may also end up asking for refund because they are unsatisfied with your product or support. In this post I’ll tell you what I do to keep the percentage of such requests very low.

Delivery Quickly

The more your client has to wait, the bigger is the risk she will be unsatisfied and ask for refund. Sometimes the client will not do it immediately but will get dissatisfied when other small problems add up (some minor glitch in the software, hard to understand manual etc). Most people expect instant delivery on digital items and you should aim for that. If for some reason you can’t delivery instantly, it is a good idea to explain how long will it take to ship during the order process and/or in the thankyou email you send after the purchase.

Make Clear and Detailed Descriptions of Your Products

You don’t want people who don’t understand your product to buy it. Don’t think that you’ll make more sales by using superlatives and hiding the disadvantages of your product. The customers who don’t like it will ask for refund and will lose your time complaining that it is not what they expected.

At Calendarscrtips I place online demos of all the products I sell. This is the only way to be sure that customers can see exactly what they are buying. (Well some will not bother to look at the demo but buy and then scream it’s not what they expected. You can send such people to hell).

Offer Good Support

This is a common sense but it’s underestimated by many sellers. Many online products and especially software need to have technical support for bugs, problems or just to help people who can’t manage with the installation and usage.
Instead of trying to test in every possible platform and hope you’ve covered them all, just offer good responsive support to these who have troubles. 99% of them will be happy after you help them and will not even think about refund.

Manuals For Free

If you are selling software, it’s a good idea to offer the installation and usage manual for free download even to non-customers. Many people will check it prior to purchasing to ensure they can manage. Don’t worry about those who will not buy because the manual looked scary to them. You don’t want them as customers. They will waste your time and at the end can still request a refund.

Have a Forum

If you have a forum where customers can talk to each other, discuss the software and the technical aspects of it, this will make them and the visitors a lot more confident that there is someone to help them.

I still don’t have a forum on CalendarScripts but I have a neat comment system for every product which seems to do the job of a forum at this time.

Don’t Overprice and Don’t Go Too Cheap

People are a lot more inclined to complain and ask for refund when they think your product is overpriced. On the other hand, too cheap products attract freetards who expect that you will be their tech support for free.

Try to price your products fairly – accordingly to the effort put in them and to the price of similar products in the market. This will reduce the refund requests.

Be Reachable

If you offer something more than just a contact form people will feel they are dealing with real person and will be more confident they can reach you when they have inquiries. The best thing is to give a toll free phone, although I don’t do it as I am not a big company and do my support myself (I don’t want to be called in the night). However I have published my Facebook visit card and Twitter account and that seems to work great.

These are the most important strategies I can think of at this moment. If you have other ideas, please share!


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