I rarely ask to get my money back after making online purchases. Most transactions are fair and honest. In the rare occasions when I do need a refund, it’s usually simply a matter of asking the vendor. It’s just that easy.
But once in a blue moon, you do business with an imbecile who refuses to play fair. That happened to me very recently. Despite their initial refusal to return my cash, I took the following steps and I did get my money back.
Here’s what happened:
I ordered a pair of shoes online in an effort to save time and spend less money. A few weeks after I received my order I tried them on and noticed that the shoes were defective – the leather was peeling off as though they dunked them in an acid bath before shipping. Yuk.
1. Contact the Vendor
I contacted the seller and sent the shoes back with an explanation as to why I wasn’t satisfied with the order. Sadly, they rejected my return and told me I had worn the shoes and as such that voided the return policy. This really steamed my broccoli so I decided to take it up a notch.
2. Contact the Credit Card Company
The first thing I did was contact my credit card company and told them the story. They immediately refunded my credit charge and notified the vendor. Of course, when you notify your credit card company that doesn’t end the conflict. They do their own investigation and decide how to deal with the matter over several weeks.
When you call your credit company make sure that you have all the data. Know when the purchase was made and the exact amount. Have any written communication or verification between you and seller available to send to the credit card company to provide proof.
3. Act Tough
The next step to take is to contact the vendor again. Tell them that you have contacted the credit card company and disputed the charge. But this time when you call ask (politely) to speak with a manager. Tell the manager that you are sorry for the misunderstanding and you are sure they don’t normally do business this way.
But tell them you are not going to stop until you get your money back. Mention how large an audience you are able to reach with Facebook and Twitter (and you thought social media was useless!) and that you’d hate to have to take this difference of opinion online. Tell them (nicely) that you don’t want to post your dissatisfaction on review sites and the last thing you’d want to do is to submit a formal complaint to the FTC.
4. Be Tough
Unless this company is run by complete morons they’ll play ball with you. The trick is to be polite at all times but remain tough. Also, and this is key, you want to speak with someone smart enough to understand that the trouble you are about to make for them is far worse than the cost of making a justified refund. The clerks that answer the phone may indeed be very intelligent, caring people. But they have a very stressful job. The way these big companies work is to give them very limited power and to take all decision making power away from them. You need to get to someone who has some power. That’s why you want to speak with a manager.
5. Stay Tough
It may take time to resolve this matter but if you hang tough you’ll get what’s rightfully yours. If the company does not want to act like a good corporate citizen, follow through on your words.
Post negative feedback on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. And go to the company’s social media sites to post your negative experiences as well. Then, register a complaint with the FTC and report the fraud to the government.
This may seem like a lot of work but it isn’t. It will take you about 30 minutes all together and maybe 5 minutes a week to follow up. You’ll be doing mankind a favor by making these silly people think twice about their refund policies and you’ll be doing everyone a solid.
Have you ever gotten taken advantage of by an online vendor? How did you eventually resolve the issue?
Tom Smith says
I’ve done consulting for companies run by less-than-moral people who view the whole refunds/chargebacks issue as a cost of business to simply be minimized by any means other than better customer service.
Some people really are just out to get your money. Way to stand up.
Lance @ Money Life and More says
Sounds like things worked out as I didn’t see a name in the post. A good method to go about if I ever need it. Thanks Neal.
Neal Frankle says
🙂 and you don’t need a blog to use this method…..just the hint of going social gets them moving!
Ronald R. Dodge, Jr. says
That’s one reason why I only start out small with online vendors, and I may later on do bigger. However, if they don’t do right, even with a small order after having gone through the various steps, I will not only do that, but I will mark them up as “Not to do business with”, which there are a number of businesses that are now on that list with me for one reason or another. Not only online vendors are on that list, but many banks and insurance companies have ended up on that list. Other ways to end up on that list are those with poor quality of products or service, being fee happy and provide very little if any service, being too restrictive, commit fraud (Yep, one bank actually committed fraud against my household, which put us into bankruptcy shortly there after), or even being too proprietary with their products in attempt to force us to use only them an no one else for their products.
In the fraud case, we were already on the verge of being put into bankruptcy, but the actions of that particular bank more or less forced us into bankruptcy. That wasn’t the end of it with that bank either. That bank attempted to further come after us after everything went through bankruptcy, but only they went by a different company name. Ultimately, that bank was the real loser in the whole case as they lost out on much more than they would have, had they played fair and NOT committed fraud against us.
Given we were already in such financial dire straits at the time we ended up filing for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy really didn’t hurt us any. Yes, things were rough, but they were going to be rough even without the bankruptcy. The only aspect the bankruptcy did hurt us was the fact I could not have full guardianship of my grandmother because of the fact the filing of the guardianship was within the 2 year time frame of the filing of bankruptcy.
In normal circumstances, I would not recommend filing for bankruptcy when a company commit fraud against you, but in our set of circumstances, I didn’t really have much of a choice. That bank committing fraud against us was the final straw that pushed us over into bankruptcy.
Well I guess for someone with a big blog as yourself, you can threaten them with a “if you don’t return my money for what you scammed me, I’ll tell everyone of my readers to stay away from you, which will have a negative effect on your business.” THe power of the internet is strong.
Neal Frankle says
I didn’t mention my blog. I just talked about my Facebook and Twitter and my reach there isn’t that great. They didn’t ask for numbers anyway. Just the mention of Twitter /FB had them shaking in their boots. You can use this technique no matter how large your online presence is.