How to Deal With Refunds in Your Business

In this week's episode of Chill & Prosper, we’re talking about how to deal with refunds in your business. 

This is just a rite of passage in business. It's going to happen if it hasn't already. 

And it's going to bring up some stuff for you - like not being liked or not doing a good enough job.

But it's okay. It doesn't mean you're a bad entrepreneur. It's quite the opposite. 

I’ve learned a lot about refunds in the past - how to reduce them (I have two incredible tips for you) and how to feel better about them too! 


I talk about ...

  • How not to panic or feel bad about refund requests
  • Putting a process in place
  • What I think about Money Back Guarantees
  • Reducing refunds in the first place
  • A trick I learned about my thank you page


Hey! So, oh my gosh. I'm excited to talk about this topic and also it's something that is kind of a bit weird and awkward, and it is how to deal with refunds in your business. How to deal with refund requests in your business.

Yeah, you know what? This is just a rite of passage in business. It's going to happen if it hasn't already. And you know what, it's going to bring up some stuff for you. It's probably going to bring up some stuff about not being liked, not doing a good job, all of those things. But it's okay. It doesn't mean you're a bad entrepreneur. It's quite the opposite. As I said, it's just a rite of passage. Now most businesses will get a refund request at some point in time. Some will be valid. Some won't. I get them. It's just part of being in business.

So you're either in two places. One, you're worried about it, it hasn't happened yet and so it's blocking you from putting things out into the world. You're really scared about it. Or two, you've just received your request, a refund request, and you've been kind of Googling for what to do or you're just freaking out. So here I am and let's talk about it.

So, the first thing is don't panic. It's totally okay to get refund requests. Some people really stress about it and it's okay. It doesn't mean you have done anything wrong. If you really look at the reasons why people are asking for refunds, it's usually nothing about you. Okay? And I'll tell you why I get refund requests in a second.

Now it's really good to put together a process so when it happens or the next time it happens, you don't have to think about it, you don't have to freak out. Some people will make really unreasonable requests. Okay? For example, you might get the zombie clients, someone who comes up years later and asked for a refund. Now, sometimes this happens when people like just searching around for money and they go, "Oh, I remember that course I did. I might just ask them for a refund." And those people are banking on the fact that it's going to be such an awkward conversation. It's so painful. But sometimes, some people would just give them money without even thinking about it. Okay?

So don't let that be you, all right? Don't let that be you. That just someone just gets you at a bad moment, and you feel bad, and you just give people their money back. Because, some people are super unreasonable... Unreasonable... I don't know why I can't talk today. Unreasonable about it. Now, sometimes you make mistakes and it just happens. So for example, we accidentally charged someone twice on their credit card. Okay? And we just... It's like, "Oh my God! Let's refund you. It's no big deal." But then some people might take it a little bit, one step further. One lady said, "I can't believe you charged me twice." And we were like, "Yeah, we know this is such like, how embarrassing, sorry." She goes, "Well, I want compensation for it. I want a private coaching session with Denise." And we were like, "Uhm, no.", because sometimes stuff happens and people will jump in, they'll ask...

The thing is, this is about putting boundaries in place, and putting a process in place. So the first thing is to just ask yourself, what is my money-back guarantee? What is my refund policy? And of course you have to check in with the laws in your state or the laws from your industry. You can check in with a lawyer around this, if it's complicated. You just have to make sure it's put somewhere in writing. Okay?

Now, oh my God, I made such a big mistake around this. There's like this obviously consumer law in the country and the state that I live in, but I just looked at what other people in my industry were doing around refund policies. And at the time, the longer, the better was the philosophy. It's like, if you make it really long, people will forget about it and they'll never ask for a refund. That was kind of the philosophy in business back then. For my Money Bootcamp, it was a 60-day money-back guarantee. So if someone contacted us within that 60 days, we didn't ask any questions or anything, we just gave them their money back. Now, obviously that's not going to work for some products or services. If you've delivered something, you don't want someone to have 60 days to come back and say, "Hang on. I want my money back."

Something happened to me that made me feel so disgusted and upset. We had a big launch one year on the 25th of October, 25th of October. 60-day money back guarantee. Christmas Eve, two months later, we had the most refund requests that we had ever had in the history of my business. Now why? Christmas. So people were looking around going, "Wow, I don't have enough money for Christmas." or "I've overspent. Where can I get my money back?" or "Where can I find extra cash?" The problem was most of the people who had asked for refunds were people who had participated and raved about my program for two months. And that was the heartbreaking thing.

I saw people who were like, "this has changed my life", "this has been amazing." They came to every call, they ask questions in the group, they tagged me. Like they really got their juice out of it. And then they'd set a calendar and buy all rights, and we didn't go, "Hang on. No.", We just said, "That's our policy. That's what we're going to have to do." And it was like... It wasn't even the money for me. It was the only time I've ever taken refunds personally, because I just went, "Wow, Merry Christmas to me." I went out of my way above and beyond for some of these people and they still ask for their money back for no reason other than they could.

So that's when I changed my 60-day money-back guarantee and I changed it to a 14-day, and I also didn't give them the whole course in that 14-days. We held back some of the bonuses and they could access weeks one and two, as if they were just going through the course normally, and then the refund period was over. Then after that, everything becomes available. So they could do work weeks three to six, and bonuses, and et cetera.

So this is totally up to your business and how you want to run your business. And of course you have to check and see if there are any legalities around it. Once you've got that process in place, though, you have to let your boundaries do the work for you. So there's no back and forth on, "Oh am I being a bitch?", "Oh am I being mean?" It's like, that's the policy. And that will take care of 80%, 90% of those refund requests. You just look at the policy.

Now, aah... You will get people who try and sneaky sneak around it. So I had one lady, she was out of the refund policy by a year. She decided that she didn't like some of the things that I talked about in Money Bootcamp because she was a very strict Christian. And she said, "I don't like some of the weird practices you do, and I think you're a witch, and so I want my money back." And I was like, "You know what? If you'd asked me that within the refund period, I would have not been triggered by it at all." And just gone, "Here's your money back. We're not a good fit. That's totally fine." This was a year after the program, the year after she joined. And some people will just look around and really try and find ways to get their money back.

                                                The same thing happened when I declared myself an anti-Trump supporter. Okay? I'm just going there on this podcast. When Trump was president and he was doing horrible things, and every now and again I'd write about it and say, "Hey, look, if you're a Trump supporter, please, I just don't want you in my world because I just don't. I'm totally against him." And I would have people who had... And I said, "Look, you know what? We don't talk about politics in my Money Bootcamp. I will support you in that group. But on my social media, no." And I was really strict about it. But I said, "Look, I will not discriminate it against you, whatever... in that group, and I will hold space for you even though..." Yeah, anyway.

So I would have people who had been there for a year, two years, three years, four years. A few of them contact me, just a couple, and said, "I want my money back." The only I had said, "Look, if the politics of you're... isn't that important to you, you should check that out before you join someone's program. And no, I'm not going to expand my refund policy for you." Now you might think again, "Oh, what a bitch." And that's cool, right? People are going to call you a bitch for holding your boundaries. And it has to be strict because otherwise, if you make exceptions for one person, everybody will think that they are the exception. All right? And so it's up to you how you run your business and how it's all going to work.

Now I've made little mistakes where I've refunded people and I didn't realize that I had to pay fees or a currency conversions and things like that. So just you could... Like it's okay that if you do it once and you make a mistake, just add that to your terms and conditions. Okay? Just add that to terms and conditions that they get everything refunded, or it's that minus the fees, whatever it is, but you just have to be clear. You have to be clear about it and upfront about it, whether it's an admin fee or whatever. It doesn't have to be awkward. This is just a rite of passage. And the way that you do the refund requests can actually really give you some kudos in your business.

I've had people who have come back and re-bought Bootcamp years later because we didn't make them feel like they were wrong. It just wasn't the right fit at the time and then later on they came back and they joined again. They just joined again. Now there's a couple of things that I want to share with you. One, how my refund rates started creeping up and what we did to reduce them. So that's going to be a juicy, juicy question. And it's coming up right after the break.

Hello I'm Jenny Bouche. I absolutely love Denise's books. So I wanted to give you a few things that quite stick in my head because whether or not it's Chillpreneur or Get Rich, Lucky Bitch!, I've got the books, I've got Kindle versions and I've got audible because I love to consume things that I find. Every time I listened to or read again, next shift, and one of those was when in... I think in Chillpreneur, Denise said, "she can't be both the shift or the power horse", and that being a business mentor, that was just like a real "aha" moment for me. And it's really helped not just to spare me on books and also my clients. And I often tell people to go and check out Denise's books because they're just actually awesome. So I would thoroughly recommend them. And, yeah, thanks. See you later, bye!

Hi, my name is Manpreet Dhillon. I'm an Equity, Diversity, Inclusion Consultant living in Vancouver, Canada. And I read both Chillpreneur and Get Rich, and they really allowed me to shift my money mindset. I'm total nurturer with my money and from these books, I was able to kind of really think about how, how I spend it, where I spend it and what I can do. Totally recommend these books and any of Denise's programs. And I think it's simply amazing.

Okay. Welcome back. And this is such a juicy conversation, right? Because as I said, refunds are going to happen, but I've learned quite a bit about the process and even just how to reduce them in the first place. So, as I said, in the first part, I reduced our money-back guarantee from 60 days to 14 days because you know, people know if they like you pretty quick, so you don't have to make it super, super, super, super long. So that reduced our refunds for a little while. And then they started creeping up again. Oh, juicy, juicy. Why do you think that happened? Did I get worse at my job? Like, what happened to have these refund rates creep up? And the answer might surprise you.

So I redesign Bootcamp every two years, as in that I do new videos and I just make little tweaks, but there was one time when I started tweaking it, I actually went a little bit too far and I added too much stuff in. So Bootcamp itself, it's about 20 different lessons. One lesson, for example, is about forgiveness and, in a particular way, to help with your money mindset. So I had a video about forgiveness and then I was like, oh, and here's this other video about Oprah talking about forgiveness, and I embedded the video in there. And then here's these three books about forgiveness that you probably should read, here's an article about forgiveness. I just, I padded out the course, not from a sense of like, oh, I need to like make it worthwhile, because I knew a course was good. I just thought I was being thorough. And I was like, this is fair. I want to give them the full picture.

And I see people do this in courses all the time. They want everyone... They want their course to cover every single scenario, and every stage of business that their client would ever face, and every problem their client will ever face. And sometimes courses should be three courses or two courses, but you've jammed them all into one. So what was happening is that people were joining the course, and they could see the overall curriculum, and they could see all the different videos, because we had a checklist at the start. And they were looking at all of that. Even without realizing it, they were making a decision that they were too busy to join the course. I knew that that wasn't the real reason. We got people to fill in a little form that just said, hey, if you're within the refund period, there're no questions asked, but we would still love feedback. And people would go, "Oh no, there's nothing wrong. But I don't have time."

I know with my course, you can be in the community and still get a lot. You can soak up a lot viral osmosis. You don't have to sit and do every lesson. I knew that. But people were coming in and they felt like they were a failure from the start. They felt like they had to watch all the things. And in my mind, I was like, oh no, you don't have to watch the video about Oprah, talking about forgiveness. That's just there if you want it. But do you see how that was setting up this expectation of "I'm going to fail here.", "I can't win.", "I'm not going to be able to do all these things." And it was very, very overwhelming.

So sometimes you've got to look at where you are creating this kind of refund culture by just making it too much, like making them feel like they can't do it. So what happened was, I stripped out all of that extra stuff, all of it. So I just kept in my core videos, which is still like, as I said, 20 videos, but I stripped out all the extra stuff. Because I had extra for every single... every single week. Guess what happened? Our refund rates halved. Half. That's money in the bank.

                                                And not only that, the weirdest thing was that people who had been around for a while, but hadn't necessarily watched those, you know, the revamped version of the course, they were saying things like, "Wow, Denise, the course is so rich. It's so deep. It feels like it's really deep. It feels like it's a really rich like version." And I was thinking, but I didn't change any of the content. I literally just stripped it out. So that made me realize how much that refund stuff is so weird and random. It's got nothing to do with you. Sometimes it's those little cues that are not quite right.

The other thing that we did to reduce refunds, which I think might help some people, on the refund page, so we didn't make it a link that was visible in the course, they had to, if they emailed my team, we would just send it. No problem, right? As I said, not triggered by refunds, but... And so there was a little video that I just put on there and it wasn't an official, like nice hair and makeup video, I don't think, but it was just me saying, hey, look, I absolutely honor my no-questions-asked refund policy. However, I just want to tell you why, some of the reasons why people refund. And I mentioned the thing about, sometimes it feels like it's too much, and I just want to let you know, you can go at your own pace and it's totally okay to just stay in the group if you don't have enough time right now to do the course. So I sort of gave them that, but then I said something else that made a huge difference. I said, "look, if you've had something go wrong during this process, please give us another chance."

Because sometimes what happens, people buy your course, they buy your program, they sign up to work with you, and then one little thing goes wrong, and they think it's a sign from the universe. So maybe they, technically, they can't get in to your course, maybe... I don't know, just something happens. You know, like their credit card fails the first time or whatever. And they just go, "I'm out. The universe, obviously, doesn't want me to work with her." So I say that in the video, I say, look, sometimes things happen. You know, tech problems happen or your email goes to spam, and you don't get in. So just give us a second chance to fix this. And then on that page, I have a link to our community group, because, when we did research as well, we found that if people join our community group on Facebook, they're less likely to ask for a refund because they feel like they're a part of it.

                                                So what we did on the Thank You page, straight after someone buys, I have a link that says, hey, your course link is coming in your inbox, check your spam folder, whatever. First thing you do, join our community group. Right now. I don't have that in an email later on. I don't have that as a secondary step. It's the first thing I want them to do is to join that. Another thing that we did in that, Thank You video. So it's like, hey, thanks. You've joined Bootcamp. This is great. Go join the community group right now. And like this is what's going to happen next, your things going to come up.

All of these things really helped us to reduce the refunds, but here's another cool step that we did. I said, I would love to introduce you to some of our members. And I asked people to send a video about why they joined, or what was going on for them when they joined, or if they were nervous, and I added into the video. So it was like, "hey, I joined three years ago and I was so nervous to join", or "it was a big stretch for me and now I've been a real success", or "I just suggested that you join the group and soak it up", or whatever. And so that didn't come from me that came from our current members and it really made a difference for people to straightaway feel like they were in the right place.

Just to recap those things, I reduce the amount of time for someone to get a refund, I reduce the amount of content so they didn't feel overwhelmed, I had a video with some of the things that they would probably experiencing, or to give us another chance, I made sure that they could join the community group straight away so they had buy-in. Even if something went wrong and they couldn't get into the course, they had still had buy-in. And then I had that video from current members about reassuring them that they were in the right place.

There's a lot of things you can do to reduce the need for refunds in the first place and just to make you feel good about it. But remember I said in the first part of this, it's just normal. It just is what it is. You can put those things in place and you'll still get them and that's okay. It's okay. So I celebrate you, if you've had a refund recently and you were feeling crap about it, hopefully I've helped you see that it's nothing to be afraid of and it's just... everyone's going through it and it's totally cool. And you don't have to feel anything bad about it. It just is what it is. And if you've had one recently, and you want to celebrate with me, reach out on social media, I would love to hear about your refund request and give you a virtual high five.

All of my social handles are @denisedt. And of course, if you just need to work on your mindset, I've got a couple of options for you. You can go get one of my books. They are available in audible form, Read By Myself, Kindle, and paperback as well from all of the normal places that sell books. You can ask your local independent bookshop to order it in for you because you know, it's just a normal book that you can just order in. Or if you have read all of my books and you know, you want to go deeper, you can come and join us in Money Bootcamp, because these are the kinds of conversations we're having. It's normalized to have these awkward conversations about money, awkward conversations made easy. Really. That's what we're all about in Money Bootcamp. And you can find all the details of that at denisedt.com/bootcamp. All right gorgeous, refunds happen just like life and there's nothing to be afraid of. I will be right back with a couple of more minutes of wisdom after this break.

Hi everyone. My name is Solita Herman. I live in Romania and I'm a manifesting business coach and bestselling author. I help women entrepreneurs triple their monthly revenue using manifesting instead of complicated marketing or hustle. I'm all for raising vibration, ease and abundance. I joined Money Bootcamp back in 2015 after dreaming of buying it for six months. Back then, I was just starting my coaching practice. I had tons of limiting beliefs about money, and I had no idea how to manifest my dream life. Now, just two weeks ago, I had a [inaudible] launch in 24 hours, making 10k months is my new normal and I do it all working part-time. My biggest "aha" or the thing that impacted me the most was the incremental upgrades part. I understood that I can get there one step at a time. And that's how I have everything that I have now.

Denise is my ultimate mentor. I love the 'E' that she teaches. I love her business model. I love the Chillpreneur vibe. Because I modeled her, I got here, and for of that, I'm forever grateful. Thank you for existing ang creating this awesome community where I feel safe to share my successes and my struggles. I'm so inspired by all the other bees in the bootcamp who make millions each year and open the way for me to be able to do the same. It's a must course to buy. I cannot wait to be able to share that I'm also a Chillpreneur millionaire. Thank you so, so much.

Hey gorgeous, welcome back and here's my final thought for today. So this is another receiving one. I talk about things like I deserve all the time... But I had to do this one when I realized I actually wasn't allowing the universe to give me abundance. And it was just saying, "Thank you, I receive that." "Thank you, I received that." And a really good example of this is that sometimes I'm always the first one to go, "oh, I'll pay for this", "I'll pay for the coffee", or "let me get the check", "let me get the bill", because, I don't know, maybe it's being the oldest child. My mom was really young when she had me. I always felt like I had to be responsible for everybody. And you know, I'm the breadwinner of my family and I feel like I have to be responsible for everyone.

So I have to push myself to receive in return. And so a friend would say, "it's my turn to get coffee." And at the start, I had to literally say, "Thank you, I receive that." "Thank you, I received that." "Thank you, I received that." And this is important if you have a big goal at the moment, and it's not really coming. See where in the little moments you're not allowing yourself to receive those little bits of abundance.

And it could be that you have to start with a compliment. If someone says to you, "Hey, you look really great today." Instead of deflecting, you can say, "thank you, I receive that." And if it sounds weird saying it out loud, you can just say it in your mind like, "Thank you, I receive that." But it's just a pattern interrupt to stop you making a disclaimer or going, "Oh, this old thing. Oh.", or automatically just going, "No, no, no, let me do it.", and not allowing yourself to receive. Because if you can't even receive a free compliment, how are you going to receive the bigger things that the universe has in store for you? So try that this week, "I received that. I received that. I received that.", and see what abundance is going to come your way. And I would love to hear about it. Let me know about all the amazing things that you're receiving at @denisedt is where I am, across the inter-webs. And I'd love to hear from you because you are worthy of so much.

Beautiful, go forth, chill and prosper, receive all the glory and peace out from me. I will see you on the next episode. Bye.

About the Show

Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.

Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.

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