I’m a little late for this, but I wanted to jump in here.
First, I would have thanked the individual for calling/contacting
with the cancelled order so quickly…precisely because she could
have waited to cancel. She obviously didn’t want to have the item
charged and shipped. Or perhaps she didn’t have funds to cover the
transaction and didn’t realize it until that moment. (Better a
cancelled order than bank fees.)
Second, Papal and other payment options don’t always allow for
original explanations. If the customer’s bank account or card or
what-have-you doesn’t have funds, there isn’t a good option choice to
make sure funds aren’t taken out. My first thought, when reading
this, was that the individual probably didn’t have the funds and
couldn’t afford having the monies taken. There are little options,
when one is in a panic, and she tried quite persistently (as you,
yourself stated) to contact you to reverse the charge.
A rule of doing business is to always have stated, where customers
purchase online especially, your expectations, needs, etc. What is
the rule for when a cancellation needs to be made through paypal?
Contact them and ask them how they handle it, ask to see the pages
the customer will see and find out if there is an option that you
would prefer they choose that still results in the cancellation of
payment but without ‘bad feedback’ accruing against you. Then tell
the customer (in as few words as possible) how to proceed. You can
have it on a page where the customer looks over the order. I’ve seen
others do this as well, and it is a small notation on the page.
Include, wherever possible, the length of time it will be before you
get back to them. Two days can be a long time for the customer who
either needs something that day or needs to cancel an order.
I’d forgotten this, and your post is a good reminder. List the
number of days you wait for items to be paid for (in case they change
their mind), remind them of the timelines and costs involved with
paypal and such, and be very clear. And always remember to
acknowledge the customer’s importance by apologizing for any
While it’s true that there are some stinkers that make purchases and
that those can go bad, far far more purchases are honestly
transacted. I hear a lot of discussions about the irritations and
anger toward customers for changing their mind (if they were in the
store they would be given time to consider their purchase in most
instances, but the web tends to influence hasty buying decisions). I
hear about the awful customers, the rude ones, the thieves…and on
because we tend to complain about the bad and forget to talk about
the good stuff.
I hope that when you talked to the customer you were kind and
obliging, perhaps sent a note saying ‘sorry, hope to do business with
you in the future’. Without customers we’re just starving artists
hocking heirlooms to buy supplies.
this all did get me thinking, and this week I’ll be seeing how I can
work all this into our website. Thank you, though, for bringing it
up. Thanks to this discussion we are going to be changing the process
of payment and shipment of goods and hopefully it will be easy to
find any ‘rules’ governing shipping and customer’s rights/grace