Unlike physical products purchased at a store a digital product once purchased can not be effectivly returned. When you buy a physical product at a local market, if you are unhappy with it, provided it is not materially defective, you return it, the store refunds your money and the item then goes back on the stores shelf. In effect the sale is simply canceled with everyone returning to a pre sale state. The store has the item for sale on their shelf and you have your money back. It is as if the sale never even happened.
However a digital product often can not be returned. If you buy a software or a training for example you can not generally give it back once you download it. Because of this both the buyer and the vendor can not be returned to a pre sale state. You can get your money back, but you will still have the digital product you downloaded but can not return.
This opens the door for a lot of refund abuse in the world of selling digital products. It is for this reason that many physical stores do not extend their refund policy to digital products. For example: WalMart does not allow you to return movies you purchase if the package has been opened. This is because many people would abuse this by purchasing the movie, watching it, and then returning it afterwards.
With the online sale of software or training buyers have a very real incentive to purchase a digital product with the intent of downloading it or otherwise taking advantage of it (for example watching a training course) and then requesting a refund for frivolous or unspecified reasons.
While I personally extend a refund guarantee on all of my digital products the simple truth is that a ‘no questions asked’ guarantee is not practical because it opens up to much opportunity for ‘friendly fraud’ style abuse.
Because of this I have initialized the following refund policy for all of my digital products which I feel is both fair and ethical to both me as a seller and you as a buyer.
No refund period can be unlimited. It is not practically possible to give an unlimited refund period. However there must be adequate time for the customer to properly test their purchase. In the interest of fairness the following refund periods will be honored for all of my digital products.
Software products: 60 days maximum
Products that combine both training and software: 60 days maximum
Re-seller rights products: 60 days maximum provided no re-seller sales have been made
Acceptable / unacceptable reasons for refund:
A refund guarantee is intended to protect a consumer from a defective purchase. It is not a ‘trial period’ or a guarantee that the consumer can get a return of their payment without question after accessing / downloading your purchase. The following are examples of acceptable reasons for a refund request.
A) A actual miss representation of the nature of the product purchased on the products sales page. Please be aware that any miss representation is not intentional, however no one is perfect and errors do happen, and a refund for a miss representation error is an acceptable reason.
B) An actual complaint about the product functionality. For example: Complaining about audio quality in a training video, or a confusing interface in a software.
C) An unresolvable customers support issue. I am always here to help you with any issue you may have regarding your purchase, if I can not help you, you may request a refund. This of course requires that you ask for help first for there to be a valid reason for a refund request.
The following are not examples of acceptable reasons for a refund request.
A) A general statement that is not an actual complaint. For example “not what I thought”, or “I cant use this”. All products I sell are explained to the best of my ability. If you do not understand please ask questions, I can be reached at any time through the contact form on my personal blog (brettrutecky.com). If you still do not understand the nature of the product you are purchasing, please do not purchase it.
B) Failure to take action on your product, if the product has been accessed. For example: Purchasing a software product, accessing it, but than saying “I changed my mind” is not an acceptable reason for a refund request. Please only purchase if you actually want to take action on your purchase. Products that have never been accessed my be refunded without any action being taken since its not possible to take action on something that was not accessed.
PayPal has a dispute policy in place to protect customers as well. A dispute is not an acceptable way to request a refund. Should you file a dispute, before it is completed , you will once again be reminded that a dispute is not a proper way to request a refund.
Every digital product I sell also provides a way to contact me directly. Also my email address is on every purchase receipt. The correct, and only acceptable way to request a refund is to email your receipt ID, with the valid reason for the refund request.
Please be aware that I will fight all disputes as they may be considered by PayPal as a negative report against my reputation. Also please be aware that your purchase access is tracked by your name, date, time, IP address, and email address. Because of this I win nearly 95% of all disputes filed. However this need not even be a concern since we have just established that PayPal is not the proper way to request a refund.
Because the dispute process often costs me time, and time has value, I am forced to implement a amendment to my refund policy. Filing a dispute will negate it and any purchase will be considered final the moment a dispute is filed. However once again there is no reason for that to need to happen since we now have a clear understanding of the refund policy and the proper way to request a refund.
It is my hope that this refund policy will be mutually beneficial giving you the buyer the confidence of knowing that you are protected from any unintentional miss representation or material defect in the digital products I offer for sale, while at the same time protecting me from any ‘friendly fraud’ type of abuse.
If you find this refund policy unacceptable than I will have to respectfully decline your business.