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Can I deduct shipping cost from a returned order due to delivery delays?

Nicole2022
Visitor
2 0 1

My customer placed an order which included free delivery. Royal Mail (local delivery provider) experienced a few delays and the order was delayed. I contacted the customer and they informed me that the items were for a birthday party, which I wasn’t aware of and had no message from the customer stating this. I also have a policy on my website which states delays occasionally happen but all orders that are deemed lost will be compensated for. I also have the information regarding delayed items.  Now the customer has stated she thinks the item is lost even though I can see a delivery attempt was made. Am I able to deduct shipping from the order amount once the parcel is returned as it was shipped via free delivery and the customer didn't inform me prior to shipping about the deadline. I also do not guarantee delivery times as sometimes delays happen but I do offer a tracked method of shipping so customers know their item is still in route. What can I do as I’ve followed my websites policy? 

Accepted Solution (1)

Victor
Shopify Staff
2507 229 531

This is an accepted solution.

Hi @Nicole2022,

 

Thank you for reaching out and I'm sorry to hear that you and your customer experienced this issue. Shipping delays are always possible and it's unfortunate that in this case the customer needed the products to arrive in time for a specific event.

 

I would say that judging by the information you have provided, there's not much else you could have done here. You outlined that delays were possible in your shipping policies and offered tracking to the customer even though they did not pay for their shipping.

 

In your website's policies, do you specify anywhere what your store's policy is on returns? If so, you can refer to those when speaking the customer and work with them to come to a solution. I know from personal experience that many stores these days do offer a full refund for returns within a certain timeframe, but ask that the customer pay for the shipping when returning the item.

 

In terms of the costs you've already incurred when initially shipping the item, this is slightly more complicated. You could inform the customer that they are welcome to return the item but the refund will be less than the amount they paid as you'll be taking some of that money to cover the cost of shipping the item. If this is not in your policies, then you do run a greater risk of upsetting the customer and opening up the possibility of a chargeback.

 

There's no right or wrong way to handle this, in truth, and I would recommend working with the customer as best as you can to try and come to a solution that works for you both. I do not believe it is unreasonable for you to deduct from the refund the money you spent on shipping the item, but it may also not be worth fighting for if the customer is not happy with that arrangement and threatens to get their bank involved. If the customer is cooperative and open to buying from you again, then offering them a full refund may help secure their business in future.

 

I appreciate that this is not a definitive answer, but this can be a tricky situation to manage. If you have any further questions please let me know.

Victor | Social Care @ Shopify 
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Replies 4 (4)

Victor
Shopify Staff
2507 229 531

This is an accepted solution.

Hi @Nicole2022,

 

Thank you for reaching out and I'm sorry to hear that you and your customer experienced this issue. Shipping delays are always possible and it's unfortunate that in this case the customer needed the products to arrive in time for a specific event.

 

I would say that judging by the information you have provided, there's not much else you could have done here. You outlined that delays were possible in your shipping policies and offered tracking to the customer even though they did not pay for their shipping.

 

In your website's policies, do you specify anywhere what your store's policy is on returns? If so, you can refer to those when speaking the customer and work with them to come to a solution. I know from personal experience that many stores these days do offer a full refund for returns within a certain timeframe, but ask that the customer pay for the shipping when returning the item.

 

In terms of the costs you've already incurred when initially shipping the item, this is slightly more complicated. You could inform the customer that they are welcome to return the item but the refund will be less than the amount they paid as you'll be taking some of that money to cover the cost of shipping the item. If this is not in your policies, then you do run a greater risk of upsetting the customer and opening up the possibility of a chargeback.

 

There's no right or wrong way to handle this, in truth, and I would recommend working with the customer as best as you can to try and come to a solution that works for you both. I do not believe it is unreasonable for you to deduct from the refund the money you spent on shipping the item, but it may also not be worth fighting for if the customer is not happy with that arrangement and threatens to get their bank involved. If the customer is cooperative and open to buying from you again, then offering them a full refund may help secure their business in future.

 

I appreciate that this is not a definitive answer, but this can be a tricky situation to manage. If you have any further questions please let me know.

Victor | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

Nicole2022
Visitor
2 0 1
Thank you for your feedback, it’s truly appreciated. The customer has just collected their order from the depot, so it’s been sorted.

I’ll also take on board your suggestion in regards to the customer paying for a return and make sure it’s agreed on to prevent any chargebacks.

Victor
Shopify Staff
2507 229 531

Hi @Nicole2022,

 

Fantastic! I am glad to hear this has been resolved. Moving forward, it's a good idea to have clear policies regarding shipping and refunds, so if a situation like this does arise you're able to refer to those. 

 

Thanks again for reaching out and please let me know if you have any more questions.

Victor | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

PetarStoyanov
New Member
5 0 0

Hello,

I understand the situation you're facing, and it can be challenging when delays occur, especially for special occasions like a birthday party. Since your website clearly outlines your policy regarding delays and compensation for lost orders, you're within your rights to follow that policy.

In this case, since the customer didn't inform you about the deadline for the birthday party, and you do not guarantee delivery times, you could deduct the shipping cost from the order amount once the parcel is returned, as it was shipped via free delivery.

I would recommend keeping open communication with the customer and explaining your policy in a polite and empathetic manner. Offering a tracked method of shipping for future orders can also be a helpful option to consider, as it provides customers with more visibility on their order's status.

Ultimately, you're following your website's stated policies, and clear communication with the customer can help in resolving the situation.

Best regards, Petar