You shouldn’t ask for a refund if…

Ask for a refundIn the last five years I've purchased thousands of dollars of premium plugins for WordPress. And I've requested refunds. Also, for over a year I sold a premium WordPress plugin. And gave refunds. So without a doubt, I can tell you that I've been on both sides of the table when it comes to the whole notion of refunds.

If you're doing any of these five things, my only advice to you is to stop doing them right away.

1. Buy the product without reading any of the feature list or product details

Some people hear the name from others, rush to the page, see that it does x (form creation, landing page creation, etc) and just buy it. They have no idea if it will work with their existing site because they spend no time doing any serious research.

You shouldn't ask for a refund because you didn't do your homework. 

2. You buy a product because you hope it will have a feature that isn't written about anywhere.

Similar to the first case, but more insidious is the whole, “well obviously it should do this” syndrome. If you don't know that it does something, but want to know, ask the question. Send an email. Post a thread in the pre-sales discussion board.

You shouldn't ask for a refund because you used hope as a strategy.

3. You buy a product but don't test it for months.

You get excited – just like I do. So you rush out to get a plugin that you think will be awesome. But then you get busy. And so what do you do? You leave it in your downloads folder for months. Eventually you go to test it and guess what? It doesn't do what you thought it would do.

Now, something that would have been easy to do (process a refund) days after your purchase becomes almost impossible with payment gateway vendors. And because of that, the person you purchased that plugin from rejects your request.

You shouldn't ask for a refund if you waited more than 30 days to test your product.

4. You don't read the refund policy before purchasing something.

I know some folks make it hard to find or use small text. But you're the one making a purchase. So it's on you to make sure you understand what will and won't be a legit reason to request a refund. I know some companies that won't refund anything after you've downloaded a product. I know others that don't need a reason within 30 days.

But the difference between those companies is huge. And most of them have an articulated refund policy, so read it.

You shouldn't ask for a refund if you forgot to read their refund policy and find surprises in it.

5. You decide to give support a piece of your mind.

If it were me, and you started writing in all caps and in bold, and tweeting my name out there all day long, if it was me, I'd write an entire blog post about you (and send it to thousands of people). Ok, maybe I might hold back. But I'd be pissed. Thankfully, most product folks I know are much more reasonable than me. 🙂

But here's the thing – you're not doing yourself any favors being a jerk in support before asking for a refund. If you don't like something or don't want something, and you have the right to a refund, just make a simple and straightforward request. No need for drama.

You shouldn't expect a refund if you've been a jerk.

Here's the bottom line

There's a right and wrong way to evaluate a product and determine if it works for you. Most product folks go out of their way to tell you what it does. Eventually they'll get good at telling you what it doesn't do in the same way. But until that glorious day, if you go to request a refund, make sure you're professional about it. And reasonable.

It will go a long way.