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?