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I am so confused at this point on what is reasonable to expect and what is not, when it comes to returns from your re-sellers (not direct customers). I have 4 International re-sellers and we haven't had any issues up until now. One of my re-sellers notified me that "she has 7 returns from her customers, and they keep coming, due to a broken pump" (too excessive to my opinion) and she wants to return them all. To make things more "funny" she told me that she decided to close down her online store all together, because kids take all her time. Although I am more than happy to be understanding and accomodating, this situation just doesn't sit well with me somehow. The thought keep lingering on the back of my mind that she is trying to "damage" as many items as possible, so she just can get rid of them by sending them back to me, claiming them as customer returns.
Shell I take those returns or tell her to write them off as business expense? If I do take them, who pays for shipping?
What is your return policy when it comes to your re-sellers?
Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Could you offer to send new pumps as opposed to taking all of the products back? It seems like that would be the most cost effective option and less of a hit to you. What is your policy on returns?
With her statement regarding closing I think it does sound rather 'off' to want to send everything back. Unless you can verify that ALL of the pumps are defective I can't take the items back. JMHO
Case by case basis, going off the info you've written here: Ordinarily, there's a few ways this could be handled... but because your re-seller has already expressed an intention to close her online store there's the possibility that she may be heading you off at the pass in case you offer a store credit or a replacement order. It does look like she may have wanted to minimize any "damage limitation" efforts you may usually consider in these cases.
Not sure if it will help you, but off the top of my head this is an example of the kind of email I would be sending:
I'm sorry to hear of the problem with the pump dispensers. This is most unusual, and I value the experience all customers have with any of my products. All products leaving here are tested to the full, and no problem is treated lightly.
I am happy to replace all pump dispensers to your whole order, and this will be attended to by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, if you could forward me the email information for the seven product returns you have received, I can begin the necessary arrangements to have my packaging supplier look into this matter. I can also then make sure to refund you for the products your customers have returned.
I look forward to your co-operation in resolving this matter. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention.
Don't sweat the small stuff, Natalja... it isn't worth the negative energy it will bring to your day/s. Whatever resolution you arrive at, I would not be giving any monetary refund to an online re-seller who has admittedly expressed a desire to be closing down without first being in receipt of the customer returns complaints.
Whatever happens, at the end of the day you are at the helm of your ship. You always have the option in reserve to give a full refund and write it off as damaged goods. Yes, you'll be out of pocket, but you will have resolution and your normal sleep routine will be restored. The experience will serve you well, and you'll attend to your own store policy to make any future experiences of this nature a little easier on the headaches.
I do look forward to reading what other suggestions others may have. It's through the experience of other Indies that we learn best. Please keep us informed, Natalja. I'll be following this with real interest... and learning.
Reach out. Make friends. Let's lift each other.
I have to say that is sounds a little "convenient" that these pumps would be defective just when your client is about to close up shop. Does she want replacements or reimbursement? That would be a clue to intentions for me.
If it were me, I would send here a professional response like Susan suggested with the offer to replace the pumps only. I'm not sure how much $$ we are talking about but it sounds to be more than you would want to deal with. Returns and refunds on product that is ok but the dispensing medium is a problem is just a bit more than should be allowed. At the same time, continued good will with a wholesale client that will be closing shop is not something I would bend over backwards to keep alive and thriving. Be professional, be courteous and be helpful to a certain point but don't undercut yourself to make it happen for them. If it's just an issue of bad pumps and she still wants to sell the items, she'll agree to pump replacements. If not....well....
As for the "who plays shipping", my policy for product returns has always been that the customer pays for return shipping and in the case of reimbursement, initial shipping charges are not included as reimburseable goods.
Just my 2 cents worth.
IBN Local Director, Chattanooga
Thank you ladies. I have not responded anything to her yet. But I've forgot to mention that those pumps are the "airless" pumps that are not easily replaceble. I do agree that it does sound "convinient" way to get rid of the stock, by damaging it. Particularly odd is the fact that we have sold thousands of those bottles and had perhaps only 10 returned due to broken pump. She, on the other hand purchased only about 50-70 items total and having 7 broken is a bit an odd ratio.
I don't want to create bad carma and it's not a large sum we are tolking about, perhaps $100 or so. But still if I give her OK on these 7, I bet next month she will tell me about another 10. I will dig for more info. Grrrr... so aggravating, especially that my September was kind of slow. October is going about tha same...