Folksy Ltd

Custom Orders and Returns?

(Eternally Stamped) #1

(Hi, I’m new here, I’ll hopefully be opening my shop within the next few months but I’m sorting all my policies out first so I know how to deal with everything from the get go instead of stressing when something goes wrong! I’ve read a lot but there are some things I’m stuck on!)

I’d like some help with custom orders. I’d like to offer them but in the event of the buyer not liking the product how do I go about this?

So, for example, I’ve made their item and sent them a photo for them to approve before shipping and they say “Oh, actually I’ve changed my mind, I’d like a refund.” What do I do? Can I state in my policy that I can only refund 50% as it’s already been made or do I have to refund it all? Or how would I go about the buyer paying a deposit?

Also, what happens if the customer received their order but changed their mind? Would I follow normal returns (refunding the cost of the item but not return shipping) or do I do something else?

Sorry for all the questions, really just want to make my polices nice and clear! Thanks!

(Christine Shephard) #2

If it’s a custom order i.e. to their specific requirements or personalised in some way, you do not have to offer a refund or exchange at all. You can choose to anyway if you want, but that’s up to you. Personally, if it was something I thought I could sell to someone else quite easily, I might consider a partial refund, but it would depend on the item and how ‘custom’ it was. I always get payment up front, before I start working on an order, and try to ensure the customer is happy with the design etc beforehand, so would be very surprised if they didn’t want it - there would have to be a very good reason before I offered any refund.

The only time you’d be obliged to give a refund is if the custom order is faulty, or not as agreed.

(Eternally Stamped) #3

Thanks, that’s good to know. My items will most likely be customised with names or initials so I probably could re-sell the product but I might have a hard time doing it! Hopefully I’ll never get a customer who changes their mind because I want to try and make sure they love it before it gets sent!

(Eileens Craft Studio) #4

I take a up front non returnable deposit to cover the materials for a truly customer order ie something that as said that would made to order sizing as no two people are same size completely or if there were strange spellings of names or dates with names ext.

Then if the person suddenly changes their mind ie their circumstances can change I’d not return the deposit and not send an invoice for the my time.

At least that way I’m not completely out of pocket.

If it’s just a different colour of yarn for something I already make I don’t bother to take a deposit and if they don’t pay I just put it into my shop.

However if they wanted a yarn colour or fabric I don’t have and would have to go source and buy specially for them then I’d do the non returnable deposit up front before I buy the supplies.

All the best

(Stephanie Guy) #5

I paint pet portraits and buildings/special place portraits with specific people/pets added.

When I sell through folksy I take all the money upfront as there isn’t a partial payment option. Selling elsewhere I always take at least a 50% deposit to cover materials and some of my time.

I then email work in progress photos at every stage, waiting for confirmation (or a time lapse of 48 hours) before continuing to the next stage, that way I know that the customer will be delighted with their order. I’ve never had any problems with disatisfaction.

As Christine says, the only time you’d have to give a refund is if it is faulty, arrived damaged or is not fit for purpose.

(Denise Hayes) #6

Don’t forget you have to follow the DSR’s for what you call standard orders and have to refund in full the amount paid, including postage and not just the amount paid for the item. Unless you state in your policies that the buyer is responsible for paying for return postage unless the item is faulty, you have to pay that too.

(Christine Shephard) #7

Denise @lookingglassdesigns, Folksy’s terms of sale already cover the sale of standard orders, including who pays for return postage, so no need to state them again. You only need to add your policies for non-standard orders. Of course, you can repeat them if you want to, but it’s not really necessary.

(Denise Hayes) #8

It doesn’t mean all sellers know what they are or have read what Folksy’s terms of sale say. The EU regs have also changed recently and again, not everyone knows this. Nor do all buyers know the DSR’s. Always better to have a “braces and suspenders” selling policy and hope your buyers read them than miss something out and have a problem.

(Christine Shephard) #9

I think under the new rules it says that ‘Unless stated otherwise, the buyer is responsible for return postage’.

I usually print a copy of the returns policy onto the paypal packing slip that I include with all orders, as well as a copy of the cancellation form on the reverse.

(Maggie Gee Needlework Studio) #10

This is SUCH a good question!

I don’t do Bespoke orders here on Folksy, but I do on Etsy. I keep my bespoke work very tight i.e.only Baby Samplers which are all the same with the exception of colour and wording. Payment is up front and it is made quite clear that due to the bespoke nature of the product, no refund is given should a customer change their mind. I make sure e-mails are sent at every stage of the order so that their choices are in writing. Mx

(Denise Hayes) #11

Nothing I have read - and I read quite a bit before the new regs came into place - states that the buyer is automatically responsible for return postage unless the seller states otherwise. Everything I have seen says that the seller has to state so in the contact/their terms & conditions. You can also stipulate that you will only reimburse for standard postage not ‘express’ or for extras like gift-wrapping. I suspect that only applies to express delivery, not 1st class vs. 2nd class.

“I think under the new rules it says that ‘Unless stated otherwise, the buyer is responsible for return postage’.” - this phrase may be what Folksy have written, but it’s not what the DSR’s state and they are what sellers have to follow. A business, and we are all businesses on here or elsewhere, when making to sell on, has to follow the DSR’s.

(Denise Hayes) #12

Just looked at what Folksy say about refunds – and this phrase is incorrect - " The seller is entitled to deduct money from the refund if the item shows evidence of use which diminishes its value. "

A seller can’t withhold any part of the initial payment made for the item cost and outward postage - you have to refund the full amount paid by the buyer even under these circumstances. You then can charge the buyer for usage/damage of the item and invoice them any amount from 1p to the full purchase price of the item.

(Christine Shephard) #13

Thanks Denise, I’ll be reviewing my policies again in the light of this. I didn’t realise that DSRs had been replaced by ‘Consumer Contracts Regulations’ either, so will have to make a few other changes too.

Regarding the right to deduct an amount for damage etc, I did find this statement which seems to support Folksy’s wording:
“You have a right to deduct monies from refunds where goods show signs
of unreasonable use leading to diminished value. You cannot usually deduct
for removal of packaging to inspect the item, but you can deduct for damage
or wear and tear where the item has not just been checked but used.”

It comes from here:

(Christine Shephard) #14

I suppose because Folksy have made a general statement in their sales terms that ‘buyers are responsible for return postage’, this covers all sellers on the site, unless they state otherwise in their individual policies. It means we are all covered within the law, but it may be prudent to make it doubly clear.

(Eternally Stamped) #15

Oh. So I couldn’t only refund 50% if they buyer changes their mind? But I could charge them after I’ve refunded? I wonder what stops them not paying!

Could I do what Maggie does and not offer a refund because they no longer want it? Even if they have received it but want to return?

I guess deposits are the only other way but how would they work when you can’t set up a partial payment plan? I’ve seen some shops have Custom listings for a specific buyer, would you set that up twice for each buyer? Once for a deposit and once for the rest of the payment?

It’s all a bit confusing for custom items! I’ve read the Distance Selling Information and anything else I can find, just having a hard time getting my head around this!

(Denise Hayes) #16

Are you asking about a custom order or a regular one? With a custom order, there is no right for the buyer to cancel the contract/order once it’s been agreed. You can of course, decide on a case-by-case basis, which is what I suspect most sellers do.

For a regular standard order, the buyer always has the right to cancel for any reason and they don’t have to tell you why - but there is a time limit in which they have to tell you and another time limit for sending the goods back to you - or proving they have done so.

(Eternally Stamped) #17

Ok so I’ve had a quick think about how I’d go about deposits. I’m not sure how other people do it but do you think this would work?

I’d have a sample listing of the item that can be customised but in the description it would have to say something like “Please do not buy this listing, if you would like this item customised please contact me.”

Once all the details of the customisation have been confirmed I’d set up a deposit listing for that person to “buy”. Once that has been paid I’d start work. Then once the item has been made I’d send photos off to the buyer for them to approve the final piece. Then I’d set up the final listing and once the buyer has paid for the rest of the item I’d ship it off like normal.

I’d list the custom process in my shop polices and I could link to them in the listings so hopefully no one would get confused. And I could have separate shop categories for ‘Deposits’ and ‘Final Custom Pieces’.

From what I can tell deposits would be easier than other things I have thought about. I wouldn’t have to refund anything if they changed their mind before shipping (or became unreachable) and normal refunding process would take place if they returned the item. The only problems I can think about when doing this is people not reading properly and buying the sample listing but I guess that can be resolved by cancelling the sale and refunding if they paid?

(Sorry, this ended up being really long!!)

(Eternally Stamped) #18

So for a custom order, once details have been confirmed they aren’t entitled to any refund if they change their minds?

(Christine Shephard) #19

Correct - as I said in my earlier post, they are only entitled to a refund on a custom order if the item is faulty or not as agreed.

Sorry, the post got a bit hijacked by the subject of returns on standard orders - didn’t mean to confuse things :slight_smile:

(Eternally Stamped) #20

Thank you :slight_smile: I think it will probably be easier to take the money in full and offer no refund rather than going through a whole deposit palaver. I’m guessing that if you want a custom order made you are pretty dead set on it and won’t mind paying in full.

And don’t worry! All useful information!