Advice - Refunding a "Return To Sender" Order

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A customer made a $165 purchase that qualified for free shipping, costing us $17.40 to ship via USPS Priority with signature confirmation. USPS attempted delivery twice and was unsuccessful both times, leading to a 'return to sender' status. We received the package back.

Over two months later, the customer contacted us, stating that his wife discovered a decaying signature request next to their mailbox and that they have since purchased a different solution. The customer is now asking for a refund for the undelivered order.

Our current return policy states that "item(s) can be returned within 30 days of receipt for a full refund, excluding the original shipping cost". We realize this policy needs to be more specific and address cases where the order qualifies for free shipping.

We are considering refunding the order minus the $17.40 shipping cost. Is that reasonable, and more importantly, is it legal? We find it frustrating to bear the shipping cost when the customer is away and makes no attempt to pick it up from the post office. Why should we take the hit? How have you handled similar situations, and do you have any advice on updating our return policy to cover cases like this?

Replies 2 (2)

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Shopify Partner
444 46 75

hi @Jeffro1234 ,


Maintain a customer-centric approach and make decisions on a case-by-case basis.


According to your policy, inform the customer that they are eligible for a refund, excluding shipping charges. In many cases, customers may agree to this if the return is due to an issue on their end. However, if they disagree and insist on a full refund, make an effort to accommodate their request if feasible.


Continuously work on enhancing your fulfillment process and be proactive in following up with customers in the event of delivery delays or exceptions. This proactive approach will aid in minimizing returns.

Co-Founder / CEO @ PluginHive
Shipping Automation | FedEx shipping | Multi-carrier shipping | Shipment Tracking | Australia Post shipping