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Refunds are a minefield for all parties...

May 31 2003 at 6:20 PM
Ken Silver 

Response to smartpage generator

Hi Ron,

Hope it's not a big problem for you.

But before you or anyone else publicly knocks a company back for not refunding their money, take a wider view first and give them the benefit of the doubt first. Do this by making sure your email is getting through to them.

They may not be receiving it for a variety of reasons.

Many ISPs are using spam detectors and filtering to pre-sort email. Abusive and spam-driven words generally don't get through this first line of defense, however innocently they are first written.

I too have strong filters on my Outlook 2002 email program that deletes all emails containing abuse or swearwords - even the mild ones.

Those emails don't get through to me.

I received an ezine today from a respected search engine guru who was obviously using words altered to bypass these problems. Here are the words he altered in his newsletter:
n*t (not)
m*ke m*ney
st*ck m*rket
m*iling list

So as a precaution make sure your email doesn't contain words like those above.

Here's another tip:
Because you can't always guarantee your email gets to the address you want, in this case I suggest you write to several addresses in the same company. Tell them you're not sure your email is being received, so you are sending duplicates.

NOTE: Give different subject headings to each email address. This will generally ensure one of your attempts will get read (though you may get deleted if you have the same address for each one).

I regularly get identical emails with the same subject headings, and troll through them all only to discover the messages are the same too. So often - to save time - I only read the last one received chronologically. You can avoid your emails being trashed in the same way by making the headings different.

Sometimes you have to figure how a business works in order to get what you want from them.

For example, I use autoresponders extensively. I need to so I can run my business single-handedly. Yet I still get people saying they can't get a reply from me. Usually I discover they have been receiving my autoresponse all along - but not reading it. And the solutions they needed were right under their nose in that reply message.

When something like this happens I take steps to correct it by rewriting the autoresponse message to make it clearer. But usually I contact them personally and the matter is quickly cleared up.

More on refunds...

Refunds are the bane of an internet business owner's life. I never get used to them, even after nearly a decade selling online. And mine are tiny - on average about half a percent or less.

As ebook authors we've poured our heart and soul - not to mention an amazing amount of skill, talent and trade secrets into our ebooks - only to find that our buyer wasn't in the right mood when they read it (or some such other reason which is perfectly legal these days). Calling on these rights, some of our readers request a refund which we're obliged to give.

But we can reduce the number of refund requests with some clever thinking.

As an example, look at one of my businesses, the Honest Lotto System. Amazingly, for an ebook which sells in the hundreds most weeks and explains a game of chance and luck, I have only 1% (one percent) of refund requests. This is way below the accepted industry standard for this kind of product.

But it's this low for a large number of reasons.

One of them is that the buyer has to strictly qualify to get a refund. Because the system involves a game of chance, I can help if they're doing something wrong - but I need to know more about how they played... what numbers they used, what game they played, what wins they had.

By getting this information I can then correct or redirect their efforts to give them greater odds of success. It usually works out well.

All this is agreed to by the buyer in advance on the order page. While I'm still obliged to give a no-questions-asked refund by law, most times I can clear the problem up without resorting to it.

This is only one of many ways we can reduce our refund rate, but it's an important one.

Ken Silver.

PS. By the way, this all supposes our manual IS really worthwhile. If it is just a revamped me-too product, we can expect a higher rate of irretrievable refund requests.

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