As a small business in the retail industry, no doubt you’re au fait with the ins and outs of accepting payments, it’s the backbone of trading after all.
But when it comes to refunds and returns not everyone is as clued up despite the fact they’re a byproduct of working in sales. It’s hardly surprising, nobody’s idea of a good time is handing back hard-earned cash.
Nonetheless, it’s important to know how to process a refund, when you have to, and when you don’t, so the whole process is as streamlined and friction-free as possible for all parties.
With a top-notch refund policy and properly trained staff, you can turn a potential negative into a definite positive - grade A customer service. So in this article, we’ll explain how you process a refund on your card machine, and give you some guidance and top tips for nailing it.
Processing a refund using your Ingenico card machine is actually a pretty simple task. Simply pick up your terminal, and follow these steps:
Not so painful after all, right?
On each of the receipts printed by the card machine, you’ll see an authorisation code - this simply shows both parties that the transaction has been approved by the acquirer.
You don’t need to do anything with this code, but it’ll give you and your customer peace of mind that the refund has indeed been actioned properly.
It takes up to five days for the refunded money to land back in the customer’s bank account - this is useful knowledge to arm yourself with, so you can set your customer’s expectations for a timeframe accurately.
There’s more involved than you might think when it comes to product returns and refunds, so it’s a good idea to get to grips with consumer rights and your legal responsibilities as a small business owner so you don’t end up with a slap on the wrist or a dent in your reputation.
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you must offer a refund, replacement, or repair
where goods sold are faulty or not as described or if you (the seller) had no right to sell the goods in the first place.
This is the case whether the item was sold at full price or at a discounted price.
There are also some items you must offer a refund for but only if they’re faulty, including:
If a customer asks to return an item because they simply changed their mind, bought an item in the wrong size, or received the item as an unwanted gift, for example, you are not legally bound to offer a refund.
Other instances where you don’t have to offer a refund include:
The above rules are slightly different when it comes to what’s called ‘distance selling’, e.g. goods sold online, via mail, or telephone.
If an item is sold in this manner, the customer has the right to cancel their order for a limited time for any reason, even if the item isn’t faulty.
If the customer informs you within 14 days of receiving their goods that they wish to cancel, you must offer a refund under distance selling regulations. Once they’ve informed you, they have another 14 days to return the items.
Under these circumstances, the customer does not have to offer you a reason for their request, and you must process the refund within 14 days of receiving the returned items.
A refund policy is a good idea if you plan to offer returns or refunds in circumstances beyond their consumer rights.
For example, if you sell clothes and you’re happy to exchange goods bought in the wrong size despite not being obliged to, you could include this information in your returns policy so your customers know where they stand.
Take a look at this example of a returns policy that offers customers more than the law requires:
Your legal rights: When you purchase goods from a business, by law you have a number of consumer rights, including the right to claim a refund, replacement, or repair where the goods are faulty or misdescribed.
Our returns policy: On top of your legal rights, at [insert business name] we allow our customers to return goods if you simply have a change of heart. Please return unwanted goods to us along with the original till receipt within 30 days and we’ll offer you an exchange instore.
If your returns policy simply sticks to the Consumer Rights Act and goes no further, it’s important the language you use in your policy doesn’t mislead customers or insinuate anything other than their legal rights, or you could land yourself in hot water.
At takepayments all four of our market-leading card machines make processing refunds a doddle (as described above), so you can get on with running your business successfully and offer your customers the best customer experience possible.