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Doug Nebeker ("Doug")
I have got a B2B product. Recently 1 customer purchased 1 license and within minutes started complaining about speed and asked for refund. We immediately responded within an hour and told him to enable some settings in the product to improve the speed. which he could have also easily explored by just clicking the Settings menu.
The settings did improve the speed but next day he again complained of something else and asked for refund. We responded on how to fix the issue and clearly told him we don't have a refund policy because it will be impossible for him to return the product.
Now he is again complaining of something else and telling that he has not heard of no-refund policy and telling me that if you do not have refund policy you can't sell product in US.
Please note that my product doesn't have any serial number or keys so that we can disable the product.
The license price is $300 and we don't sell large volumes. We are very micro ISV. We have many satisfied customers over the years
What should I do now? Please advise?
I would. Leaving the moral & legal rights and wrongs out of it you may well get more than $300 worth of trouble from them. At this point it's unlikely you'll get a happy customer who tells their friends. More likely you'll just get a charge back a month from now.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
I have successfully not refunded couple of times when I had a similar situation (purchase than immediate ask for refund)..
What I once did was look up for customers email on Google and I wasn't surprised when his email was listed in a 'fake buyers' site or something like that, I don't remember exactly any more.
So try to Google as much as possible about him - maybe you find that he is a serial porn site owner, or known for illegal stuff...
About 'he will tell his friends' argument.. well that is just stupid I must point out... Unless you are selling something that is bought in large quantities by everyone (coca-cola or Ipod)...How many friends can he really have who would be interested in the same product?
Much like as when Seinfeld said:
Why do they have tiny slots for used-up blades in the plane toilet. Who shaves on the plain? And shave so much that they are actually using-up blades..."
> How many friends can he really have who would be interested in the same product?
I'm using the friends argument partly as a metaphor - often the problem won't be literal acquaintances but people bad mouthing your product on-line, say on a review site, a blog or a forum related to your product.
I should qualify that I haven't seen this happen for desktop apps on the web for misv products - but it is a big problem for larger players and everyone in an app store. Personally I wouldn't risk it, especially since a charge back may be just around the corner anyway.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
I would just give the refund and move on.
You may find you have to anyway, via chargeback if they paid using a credit card.
Also, there are some pretty strict regulations in the EU for example, that mean people get to try things out and get a full refund if not satisfied (Distance Selling Regulations, etc). The credit card companies know this, so will usually do a chargeback after a simple phonecall, leaving the vendor out of pocket.
Thursday, May 09, 2013
> Please note that my product doesn't have any serial number or keys so that we can disable the product.
You should implement keys with the customer's name. It doesn't have to be foolproof or elaborate or uncrackable. But some sort of license traceable to the customer will reduce casual pirating.
What Scott is saying is effectively the same as what I mentioned regarding the EU, so if your customer is in the USA or the EU, then you should give the refund immediately or you'll end up with a chargeback.
Life is too short to worry about one unhappy customer. Refund, apologise and move on.
Friday, May 10, 2013
>Please note that my product doesn't have any serial number or keys so that we can disable the product.
So, are you saying that there is no trial *and* no way to get a refund after purchase? If so, I would be highly unlikely to buy your product, unless there was absolutely no alternative.
Almost everyone has a money back guarantee on software. Why are you being different?
I sell a $300 version of my software to businesses and I can't remotely invalidate it. But I still offer a money back guarantee.
Friday, May 10, 2013
ALWAYS REFUND. The two main reasons:
(1) You don't succeed by making enemies of your customers, who, in turn, will post their story to a forum and then millions of people will see how you treat potential customers.
(2) They can get a refund from their credit card company anyway, who will penalise you for it. Better to refund yourself and avoid the penalty.
Thanks for all of you.
@ Andy . Yes we do offer a fully functional trial edition without any time limits with some features disable.
In the past I have refunded immediately without any second thoughts and sometimes also declined successfully.
The reason I have posted here is that last week I got a support email from a customer who has purchased last year and I accidentally found this customer order was refunded. He is still using our product.
"I sell a $300 version of my software to businesses and I can't remotely invalidate it. But I still offer a money back guarantee."
We are in the same bucket, money back guarantee policy, and in practice we'll refund even far outside the refund window. We also don't phone home or invalidate. What happens if you keep the software is you can't get updates, bugfixes, or customer support anymore.
I've never seen even one case of someone getting a refund and continuing to use our software. There was one case over the years where I strongly suspected that happened, but I am now pretty sure I was wrong.
We do have occasional problems with stolen credit cards being used to get keys which are then put on crack sites. That's not a false return though, that's someone other than card holder stealing numbers.
The main piracy issue we have is:
- friends giving a copy to friends
- students making a copy of the one in the school computer lab
Since the license is not machine locked this works fine for them.
I have informal ways of tracing when this happens. Over the years a lot of sales have come from people running pirated copies and dependent on our software who need an update or support, so they buy it then.
"The reason I have posted here is that last week I got a support email from a customer who has purchased last year and I accidentally found this customer order was refunded. He is still using our product."
Well that's an entirely different case from what you originally posted.
When people without a valid license request support, I email them politely and noting along the lines of "Before we can offer support, since there was some confusion on the license, we'll first need to get your license situation normalized. To do so, please purchase a license at this link and then I will be more than happy to help you with this."
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