Thursday, January 12, 2006

On Returns and Refunds

As an online merchant, we must deal with returns.

No one likes them. But we recognize that buying something on line is a bit of a leap of faith. Will it be the way it looks? Is the way it looks what I want? Will the merchant be there tomorrow? Will the merchant honor my request to return an item if I am unhappy with it? These are not only questions every buyer asks, they are problems we face when we go online to buy something. And, having been burned once or twice, we are very careful. Still when something intrigues us, we must make that leap of faith and buy with the hope that we can return it if we are unhappy when it arrives in person.

Actually, this not a new issue. Catalog merchants have faced it for years. Their answer? The money-back guarantee. They learned eons ago that you can not get anyone to part with the purchase price on the basis of a catalog photo and description, unless you give them the privilege of returning it when it arrives and it is the wrong color or the wrong size or just wrong.

At Aboriginals: Art of the First Person we offer all our online buyers 14 days to determine if the item they have ordered from us is what they thought it was, what they wanted and what fits their needs/style after holding it and thinking about it.

What brings this to mind is a recent returned item. We received a pot that the buyer was very excited about when she ordered it. It had just arrived and she was very complimentary about the packing. She was not equally complimentary about the pot. Not that it was bad. It just didn't "speak" to her when it was unpacked .

Our answer was to advise her to send it back. We will refund her purchase price. Hopefully, our willingness to work with her and stand by our return privilege will place us on her "A List." Perhaps she will find something else she wants that we offer. But, even if she doesn't, we have done the right thing. We have fulfilled our contract. We have honored our customer's trust.

Sounds corny, I know. But if you can't do that , do really have any business being in business?

We do business at four different Web sites: , which offers high-quality Zuni and other Native American fetish carvings; , which is where our returner found her pot; , offering absolutely sensational Native American jewelry at very reasonable price, if I do say so. And, of course, our Mothersite, The latter is the sit that started it all for us. It features African, Australian and Arctic works of art. Stop by for a visit. There is no charge for looking at beautiful things. B>)

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