How To Get A Refund For Anything

  • 11 min read

How do you go about getting a refund for payments that you’ve made that you want to get back that you didn’t want to pay in the first place? Refunds are an important way to make sure that you’re not out of pocket for something that you really shouldn’t be. Did you deserve to have it? There are many types of refunds; there are refunds made for payments made to companies that you want to get back. There are payments made to some scammer who took your money. There may be payments made for services that may be provided. You didn’t get it, or you didn’t need it. Maybe for a product that you’ve returned.

We’re going to talk about the methods to make sure you get your refund and that you don’t do anything accidentally. That prevents you from receiving your refund and cancels it. One of the most common ways that people try to get a refund is through what’s called a chargeback or dispute, where if you paid by credit card, you put it into dispute with your credit card company and say, “Look, I want my money back for this payment.” A lot of consumers don’t know. And if you’re a merchant, we’ll talk about what to do on the merchant side of it. But a lot of consumers don’t know if it’s an automatic refund. If you tell your credit card company, “I want a refund for this payment,” they’re required by law to immediately credit your card. And then go to the merchant and say, “Look, this customer is claiming they want their money back for whatever reason.”

Only for certain reasons can you get your money back, not just because you don’t feel like paying. You have the right reason. For that purpose, it’s very important that you contact the merchant first, because one of the questions you’ll find when you fill out that refund form or that dispute form is: did you request a refund from the merchant? And if you didn’t, that’s going to count against you. Go in the merchant’s favor. The merchant’s going to have his side of the story. They’re going to say, “I sold this product, I delivered it, I gave it to them, I gave them this service, everything is fine.” I didn’t hear from him, and now I get a chargeback, and they’re going to have a smart merchant who will have a response. Try to stick up for their side of the story, so make sure you contact the merchant first and try to work it out with them. Because if you don’t, you might be out of money forever. Make sure that you have a good reason. It’s not just that “I don’t feel like paying.” You have to abide by the terms and conditions of that merchant agreement, what you agree to and what the merchant agreed to do for you, and find out what the core reason is that you want your money back. And make sure you identify it to your bank, because if you don’t, there’s a chance that you won’t get your money back.

We work with a lot of merchants who genuinely deliver products and services to customers, and they have some customers that way. Try to file a dispute or a chargeback. Sometimes it’s what’s called friendly fraud, meaning that there are some customers whose whole strategy for discounting their purchases is to buy something and then do a chargeback and try to get free products. Some merchants don’t even fight back. They just let it go through. But smart merchants know we deliver a product and service; they have a system, and they win 80% of the time. If you’re a merchant that stands behind your product, you sell a good service, you have things documented, and you know how the system works, you can win 80% of the chargebacks. So if you’re a consumer cardholder, let’s try to do a chargeback. You might run up against one of these merchants who doesn’t give you stuff for free. They’ll work with you if you have a legitimate concern, but do that first.

Now, if they’re an unscrupulous business and just take your money and don’t give you a good product or something that wasn’t described properly, then you run your chargeback. You have every right to get your money back, but ask them. First, you’ll find out very quickly if they’re just being unreasonable. So that’s a refund. What about a refund? For something that you sent money for but didn’t ever arrive, that’s more of a fraud. If you paid for a product and it was never shipped, and if you did not pay by credit card, it’s a little more difficult. You have to go through a refund process to find out who actually took your money. Sometimes these scammers will use fake company names or fake people’s names and process your payment by cash or check using a fake name. You have to identify who it is first. Then you have to identify what the accountant’s doing and garnish a refund using that identity. And again, you can check out our website for more details on that or request a consultation about what to do in your case, because every case is a little bit different.

What about a refund for an overpayment? What if you’re a company and you pay a client, a vendor, or even an employee too much money? and you’ve realized afterwards how you do it? Well, there’s another refund theory. That’s called the right of setoff, and the right of setoff is a legal term. Remember, we’re not attorneys; we’re not giving you legal advice. You want to make sure that you get good, qualified legal advice for your case. We’re just giving you some random information. Hypothetical scenarios you can find more about on the website. Give advice, but if you overpay, you may be able to set off future payments. Here’s a strategy that sometimes people will use. You paid somebody too much, let’s say, if you have a business and you get delivery of bottled water to your company every month and you overpaid them. And somehow they don’t agree with that. Well, you have your next order that comes, and they send you a bill, and you underpay them by the same amount. You set off your payment, or if you’re holding assets for somebody, maybe you’re holding inventory, maybe you’re holding resources, you set off your debt against what you’re holding or what your other debts are to them. You can even set off against affiliates or other related companies in the right circumstances. Again, get good legal advice on this, but the right to set off is a way that you may already be in possession of some assets that the company owns that you can retain until they resolve your refund.

What if your refund is something that’s just a simple dispute between two people? Maybe you went out to dinner, split the check four ways, and somebody didn’t pay their bill. Or you paid too much and you’re trying to get the money from them. How do you work with that? Well, that’s more diplomatic. That’s a scenario where you want to start asking questions, and you say, well, obviously we went out to dinner the other night, and the bill was a hundred dollars. Everybody was supposed to kick in 25. There were four of us. You didn’t pay anything because you had no money. I covered your 25. What do you think about that? Don’t start with a demand; ask them to explain themselves. Because if you start with the demand, what happens is that you’re putting up a demand, and that forces the other person to be defensive. They put up their Dukes, but if you just start with that, what do you think about that? Now you didn’t create any controversy; you didn’t attack; you didn’t do anything that was accusatory. You just asked them to tell you what they think. Tell me your story. By doing that, they don’t have to defend themselves. Many times, people will take an unreasonable or unfair position just because they have to defend their pride. Somebody attacked me. Well, I was going to pay you, but since you were such a jerk about it, I’m not paying you. Well, don’t be a jerk about it. Just ask them nicely. Sometimes it’s hard to do because that person has been avoiding you, dragging you out, not taking your texts, not taking your calls, and avoiding you at work because they know that you’re twenty-five bucks. So it might be hard for you not to storm. And it’s like, give me my money now. They’re going to have an excuse not to pay you, called the fraud triangle. Somebody can make up an excuse in their mind. Why are you the bad guy? Now they can have an excuse not to pay you. Disarm now, from day one. What do you think about that? What are they going to do now? Now they’re kind of caught off guard. Sometimes we’ll just say, “You’re right,” and maybe it’s the fact that you didn’t back them into a corner. We’ll make them just reach into your wallet and give you $25. You didn’t back them into a corner. They’re expecting you to embarrass them in front of their friends and say something in front of everybody else, to say it casually away from anybody else. Don’t put a negative spin on that conversation. Don’t back them into a corner. They always use that analogy: Don’t back a dog into a corner because it forces them to attack. Don’t you put a person in a corner just by saying, What do you think about that? Well, I think that, you know, I’m not sure if I owe that much. What do you mean? Just keep asking questions. What do you mean? How did you figure it out? Don’t draw a line in the sand with your opinion, even if it’s true or serious. What do you mean? I don’t think I have either money or time. How do you figure it out? What do you mean? Well, I didn’t eat as much food as you. So what you’re saying is that you think that your share of the bill should be smaller? Yes. Okay. But at the time, did we just agree to split it evenly no matter what, or do I have that wrong? Again, just keep asking questions. At some point, the other person is going to be a jerk. Now you might have to decide, well, I’m out the money, or, you know, just use this as a way to do it; yelling at them and forcing them is not going to get you your money. You have to do it through diplomacy. Unless you want to go to court over $25, Judge Jury is not going to work. So use diplomacy and Jedi mind tricks. To keep the conversation light again, it requires some discipline and swallowing your pride and ego, but that is the price that you might have to pay to get the payment resolved and get your refund. And then you can make a decision in the future about how you want to handle that person. If they’ve proven that they’re not honorable with their promises and are not honorable with their debts, whether it’s a person or a company you did business with, you can make that decision in the future. But for now, you want to maximize your ability to get your refund.

Hopefully, that’s helpful information about how to handle those situations. Check out our website. There are a lot of other suggestions. In even more serious situations, we have clients that have two or $300,000 worth of conflicts that need to be resolved. Or other types of questions, or if it’s a simple thing, you can find it very good. Historical examples of how these things have been solved and questions answered.

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