How to Issue a Refund

v.9.16.2020

We hope that 99% of your clients will not be asking for refunds, as has been our experience thus far. But occasionally you may need to process a refund. 

If someone purchases one of your events or products through your Prolific Writers Life (PWL) Store, and requests a refund, you can issue a refund directly through the PWL Store system for a limited time, until you’ve been issued payment on Monday for the prior week. 

Once you have been paid out on Monday, then it’s your responsibility to process any refunds on purchases that happened prior to PWL issuing your Host earnings. 

One of the best ways to handle a refund is to offer the customer a store credit on one of your shop items or future events. This can be as simple as sending them the Zoom link for another event or a link to one of your virtual products. You can also issue refunds through PayPal, Venmo, or whatever other means you and your customer agree upon. See more on this in Step 5 below. 

But within the time frame when a refund is still an option within the PWL system, here’s how to issue a refund:

  1. At your Store Manager Dashboard, click on the Orders link on the left navigation menu. This will bring up the list of orders you have received.
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  1. What you will see when looking at your orders is that the most recent orders may still be unpaid and therefore refundable (1) directly through the PWL Store system. But older orders that have been paid out to you (2) are no longer refundable through PWL. (See step 5 below for how you can offer refunds for orders that are not refundable through PWL). The small green circles in the screenshot below show the “Refund Request” button, still visible for as-yet unpaid orders.
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  1. When you click the Refund Request icon on orders not yet paid, the Refund Request popup window appears, and the default option is a partial refund (1).
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In order to issue a partial refund, click on the quantity (QTY) dropdown (2) and change it from 0 to 1 (or more if the single order included multiple products/events); this will prefill the refund amount in the TOTAL field (3), but you can type in a different amount or use the up/down arrows to enter a different amount for the refund you want to issue. When you refund a purchase through PWL, PWL will also refund the 20% admin fee; hence you see in the screenshot above that the entire order purchase price (COST) can be refunded. We recommend you enter a brief statement in the “Refund Requests Reason” field (4), such as “Sorry, you missed the workshop; I hope you’ll sign up for another soon.”

If you want to offer less than the 100% refund, make sure that you have clearly spelled out your refund policy in the “Store Policies” Settings area of your PWL store setup, which people can view at prolificwriters.life/host/your-host-store-name/policies/, and you should reference that policy in your “Reason” explanation (4).

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  1. If you change the Refund Request “Mode” from “Partial” to “Full” (1), the order information disappears, but you can still write a statement in the  “Refund Requests Reason” field (2).

TIP: How to minimize refund requests. Pay attention to your Orders page. If you ever notice that a customer has accidentally processed two transactions for the same event, you can contact them and see if you need to process a refund right away. 

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  1. After an order has been paid out to you, you cannot issue a refund through the PWL store system. Keep in mind that PWL has already paid out PayPal fees on the customer’s original transaction as well as fees to submit payment to the Host. At this point, you have a couple options which, whatever you choose, should also be clearly explained in your “Store Policies” (Step 3 above). Here are some options to consider for your Store Policies:
    • Offer customers an equivalent “store credit” toward purchasing a replacement event or product from you. This may mean that you have to manually send them a Zoom link or product link to one of your shop items or upcoming events. This is likely the simplest and best resolution for both you and the customer. You can, in fact, state in your “Store Policies” that all refunds are issued in the form of a store credit. 
    • Offer to refund them through PayPal or any other means you and the customer agree upon: Venmo, Zelle, CashApp, written check, etc. You can set your “Store Policies” to offer any refund percentage you choose: 100%, 80%, 75%, or any other amount. If you offer an 80% refund on store purchases, this takes into account PWL and PayPal processing fees. This also encourages people to opt for an equivalent event or product in your shop. 

Imagine yourself in your customer’s position. The goal is to maintain high customer satisfaction so they want to keep coming back to purchase more of your events and products. Hopefully, you won’t have to manage refunds very often, but when the situation comes up, do your best to treat the customer as you would want to be treated. 

We’re doing our best to keep these tutorials accurate and up to date, but if you notice anything that you think should be edited, please leave a comment below. And if you got stuck, click the “Still stuck? How can we help?” link below to submit a support ticket.

About this Tutorial:

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This tutorial was created for Prolific Writers Life by Ted Altenberg, owner and principal web designer at Agora Media Services. Ted was an educator (teacher, curriculum specialist and administrator) for 32 years, and has been doing web design for over 20 years. Until his retirement from education in the summer of 2019, web design was his “side gig;” now that he’s retired, Agora Media Services is his second career. Ted is also a host here at PWL, and has a number of offerings of technical training and coaching on WordPress and other topics related to website hosting, security, design and any other tech support you need.

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