Australian Newsagency Blog

A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Dealing with product returns

Mark Fletcher
December 28th, 2018 · 1 Comment

Christmas is over and now retailers have the returns / refunds challenge as people deal with either gifts they do not like or want or return gifts that are broken.

I have found it useful to remind team members of the policy of the business at this time, and to ensure that  everyone agrees to follow the policy.

Once purchase from us has been verified either by receipt or proof through a time of day match in our POS software data approach is as per the ACCC guidelines.

If the item is faulty and not repairable by us, we replace. If we don’t have an acceptable replacement, we refund value of purchase. Depending on the item, we might bio back to the supplier.

If the item is damaged and it has been out of the store for more than a week, we may offer an amount  but not full value. This all depends on the shopper and how they are.

It the item is expensive and repairable, we will take it and approach the supplier to resolve, keeping the customer in the loops all the way through.

If the item is not damaged or faulty we will not accept it for return. A change of mind or an I don’t like the gift is not our problem.

The challenge is the extraordinary power shoppers hover today with social media. There are many stories in retail and in our channel of shoppers unreasonably using social media to make false and distorted claims in order to ‘blackmail; a retailer into giving a refund or some other benefit.

This is where we as retailers have to weigh top the risk.

It takes no time for someone to bag your business out on social media, with potential ramifications being financially serious and emotionally distressing.

One way to avoid this is to document everything, have an escalation process and to communicate clearly and often with the aggrieved shopper. However, there are some who will never one satisfied. With those and if their request is unreasonable I take the risk. In my experience they damage themselves more than the business in the long run.

I have seen this behaviour from newsagents too, making claims about a supplier in order to get a supplier too provide them something to which they are not entitled. It’s human behaviour, unfortunately.


Category: Management tip · Newsagency challenges · Newsagency management

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Michael // Dec 28, 2018 at 11:54 AM

    While the process is important a lot of the time the outcome is determined by how the customer approaches us regarding the item. We have had people come in yelling and cursing staff over items that weren’t even purchased in our store in the end. The other extreme is the pleasant people who genuinely made a mistake/had a problem who respectfully approached us and didn’t have any expectations of outcome.

    As you have talked about before Mark, manners will get you more places then threats and blackmail.


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