I’m not sure how I feel about digital product refund periods these days.
My first few years online conditioned me to think that a 30 to 60 day refund period was absolutely necessary. I’m not sure how true that is, though.
I don’t know the history of digital products being sold online but I feel like the super long sales copy era (you know… with the yellow highlights and thick dashed borders) created the idea that refunds should not only be given for long periods of time, but they should also be a main selling point.
I don’t really believe that anymore, though.
First of all, the product itself matters. If you don’t consider the product when developing your return policy, you’re doing it wrong.
I give a 14-day refund period on Volatyl. Why? Because it may take a little time to really put a theme to use, check its compatibility with necessary plugins, etc. Plus, it might not be right for everyone and I’m okay with that. 14 days is enough time to figure these things out.
I don’t allow refunds on theme skeletons, though. The demos show/tell you everything you need to know about them. If you like the demo, commit. If you don’t, move on. No refunds needed.
A couple of my buddies and I are releasing a plugin soon and its refund policy will most likely be even shorter than Volatyl’s. I will also include conditions that will nullify your refund on the first day if certain actions are taken.
It’s not a penalty or a lack of quality assurance. It’s simple common sense and smart business.
What are your thoughts on refunds? I totally expect lifetime consumers (never sold anything) to feel a certain way. While consumers matter, there can be an entitlement mentality that I don’t necessarily agree with. Most merchants probably feel me on that one.
Let me know your thoughts.