Play fair and watch your online profits grow

How offering a no-quibble money back guarantee can increase your online sales

As an online seller you are operating what’s known as a ‘distance selling business’. All this means is that rather than having a shop on the high street where buyers can come in and browse the goods you have for sale, instead you sell stock online, be it eBay, Amazon or via your own webstore.

As a distance seller there are regulations that you need to stick by, namely to do with offering a guarantee for your products. These are The Consumer Contracts Regulations and I’ll explain where you can find out more information in just a moment.

In the past I’ve always advised you should offer a money back guarantee with your products – it instils trust and confidence and you are likely to make many more sales by offering a no-quibble guarantee, be it for 14 days or 30 days – but you may not realise that even if you don’t offer a money back guarantee, your purchasers are legally entitled to return their goods within a certain time frame, even if they have simply changed their minds. The ‘Which’ website explains this in full.

So, unlike in a bricks and mortar shop, any buyer who makes a purchase online through distance selling is quite obviously unable to touch or see the goods before handing over their cash.

Although photos and accurate descriptions really help people know what it is they’re actually getting, every so often a customer might be confused and left with a product which was not what they were after in the first place. It seems only fair therefore that online sellers (distance sellers) should offer some sort of guarantee to customers in the case of this happening, and this is exactly the legal requirement that I’ve just mentioned.

You must offer a ‘return and refund’ period

The legal regulations concerning selling online state that you must offer to refund the customer if the product purchased from you is returned within fourteen days in its original packaging. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, for example for perishable goods such as cakes, bread, dairy products and other foodstuffs but even items sold using an auction format such as on eBay are required to comply with the consumer contracts regulations. So, it is very important that you understand exactly what the legal ramifications are for your online selling business in terms of offering a guarantee.

Where to find out more

If you sell on eBay head over to their ‘safety’ page.

The information available on this is quite detailed, so I recommend you also head over to the government website too and take a look at the information they provide in relation to distance selling. There is plenty of information there that you should take a look at in terms of any legal obligations that you may have to your customers.

I must stress that there is no need to over-think or worry about the legalities of this. If you’ve been operating as an online seller for a while now without understanding the legal guarantee that you need to provide, simply head over to the links I’ve provided now, catch up and start fulfilling any legal requirements from this point onwards.

Now, on the subject of guarantees, did you know that offering a no-quibble guarantee can actually help make you sales?

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a big fan of offering a decent guarantee period with all of my products. There’s nothing like offering a customer their money back should they not be totally satisfied because it builds consumer confidence. Your guarantee can often be the final thing that convinces a customer to make their purchase from you rather than another seller, after all, if you don’t believe in your own product you certainly wouldn’t be offering to send someone’s money back if they aren’t happy with it would you?

Of course, there are a few buyers out there who could try to take advantage of the money back guarantee that you offer, but this is incredibly rare. In fact, in all my time as an online seller I can honestly only think of a handful of instances where I’ve ever had to provide a refund where I didn’t think it was totally legitimate, and I’ve always offered a 30 day money back guarantee – so please don’t think that everyone will suddenly start requesting a refund, just because you offer it. They won’t!

What to do next

Have a think about the sort of guarantee that you could offer to your customers right now. Granted, if you legally have to offer a fourteen day refund then you should make that clear in your terms and conditions, but think about going above and beyond what the law requires and go for a 30 day money back guarantee. Then think about the different types of guarantees that you could utilise for your business:

  • Money Back. This is the basic guarantee that means a buyer can return an item if it turns out to be something other than they expect or if, for example, it’s an item of clothing that doesn’t fit. The item to be returned must be unused and in its original packaging with labels for the refund.
  • Satisfaction. One step up from the Money Back guarantee, this Satisfaction guarantee means that you will accept any item back if it develops a fault within the specified timeframe, and also demands that you would return both the value of the item and the cost of the postage in sending it back to you.
  • No-Quibble. This is the daddy of all guarantees, as it allows a buyer to return an item within the time period you have chosen, with no questions asked, even if the product has been used. Chances are you won’t be able to resell something that is returned under this guarantee, but it is the most effective for building confidence as a fair businessperson.

If you haven’t already done so, take a look into your legal requirements as an online seller and have a think as to whether you could offer a guarantee that’s even better than the law requires in order to build confidence in your service.

It’s just another little simple to implement trick that you can use immediately to increase sales…and your profits.

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