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How do you Deal with Refunds?

No matter how much success you have had as a freelance writer, there is a good chance that you have been asked for a refund at least once. This is usually not the case with magazines, but more so with web based clients. The question is: how do you deal with refunds? Is this something that you believe in, or do you tell the client no way? I know some freelance writers who are willing to give full refunds, others who will only give a partial refund, and some who feel that they do not owe anything if they completed the work as detailed. As you can imagine, this is a touchy subject and can be difficult to deal with.

Personally, I will give a refund to a client if they have a good reason. For instance, if we are not seeing eye to eye on a project, I will give a refund to get out from under the situation. That being said, it all depends on how much time I have put into the project when things begin to go downhill. In other words, if I am almost done with the job I am not going to give a full refund just because the client decides that they no longer want to move forward. Instead, I try to explain my situation and work something out that is mutually beneficial. After all, you never want to get into a confrontation with a client; even if they are offending you.

Since most web clients pay via PayPal, you need to watch what you are doing when it comes to refunds. The nice thing about PayPal is that you can easily refund an entire payment with one click of the mouse. That being said, if you refuse to send a refund a client may open a dispute. This has happened to me one time, and since it was only for $200 or so, I simply sent the money back. I felt that this was better than dealing with PayPal’s dispute resolution system and risking my account being frozen.

My best advice is this: deal with refunds on a case by case basis. It is easy to say that you do not offer any sort of refund, but there may come a time when you should. If you address each situation separately, you can always ensure that you do the right thing. 

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2 Comments »Freelance WritingJuly 14th, 2008

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