The purpose of this returns policy is to define the circumstances in which an online seller will accept product returns from customers and issue refunds. In particular, it is concerned with those circumstances in which the customer does not have a separate legal right to a refund.
There are obvious marketing advantages to offering a returns policy that is more generous than the legal default. A good returns policy builds trust and encourages sales. A policy can set out a defined procedure for the return of products, smoothing the process and limiting the problem of "mystery returns". In addition, a generous policy reduces the scope for resource-consuming conflicts with customers.
A returns policy should not however be over-generous or easily exploited, and should provide protection from unreasonable return requests.
If you are going to offer a returns policy, it should be written down and expressed in precise language, to ensure that customers' expectations align with those of the business.
The approach in this model policy allows you to:
- define a return period; and
- specify what customers must do in order to qualify for a refund.
These requirements may include an obligation to obtain pre-authorisation or to use specified shipping methods.
The provisions on returns may also exclude the return of defined types of products (eg personalised or perishable products).
This returns policy can be used as a stand-alone document, or incorporated into a general terms and conditions page.