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Rubbish Returns: "Where's My Money?"


Return hound 3From talkingtomirandaTalesFromRetail

As part of the opening promotions for our new confectionery store, the company gave out roughly 50 bajillion 10% off vouchers. These have to be added to the sale manually, and given we're all new and it's Christmas, sometimes we forget. That's when your friendly neighbourhood ASM (me) gets called over to process a refund and then re-do the transaction with the 10% off applied. Annoying, but whatever.

I somehow lucked out and got Friday night off and all day Saturday off. My manager was also away, so our keyholder Emma was in charge over that time. She's worked for the company before in another city, and more than that, she's smart, sassy and has her head screwed on, so the store was in good hands. I skipped off into the sunset* on Friday to enjoy my day off. *Iworkinretail,Iwaswaytootiredtodoanyskipping.

On Sunday I came in to find a note from Emma. Apparently a customer had bought stuff on Friday afternoon, we'd forgotten the discount, and Emma had refunded it back to her card and re-processed it with the 10% off. So far, so what?

On Saturday morning her husband called, wanting to know where the refund was, the money wasn't in their account. Emma explained that it takes some time for the funds to go back to their account, and it had been less than 24 hours since the initial sale, so it would probably take a little longer to go through. She took his number so I could call back if needed. The refund is processing, it's a weekend, it's been less than 48 hours, there's nothing I can do - to be honest I forgot about it. The money will go through after the banks open on Monday anyway, and Emma's dealt with it more compassionately than I would have.

Custy phone 1Today (Tuesday) I got another call from the customer's husband (CH).

CH: My wife bought stuff from you on Friday and we still haven't got our money. I called on Saturday morning about it.

Me: Oh Emma spoke to me about that, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. The way that refunds work is that we process it in store, but then it's up to the banks to return the money, and it usually takes at least 2-3 business days. Since your wife bought from us on Friday afternoon, only 1 business day has passed, so hopefully it will be back in your account in the next couple of days.

CH: long pause, during which I scream internally That's.... interesting. So my money will be back today?

Me: internal screams intensify I can't promise that; as I say, once we've processed the refund, it's out of our hands since the bank has to reverse the payment. Hopefully it will be soon, but since it's Christmas, I would expect it to take at 2 business days at the very least.

CH: another long pause. I reconsider all the choices I have made that have led me to this point in my life. Are you sure you actually refunded our money?

Me: No questioning now; the life choices I have made to bring me here were the wrong ones. I didn't process the sale, but your wife would have had to present her card and sign for the refund as well as the second purchase.

CH: No one gave us a receipt for that. (He's definitely lying. Emma is scrupulous about this.)

Me: Okay, if I can get the time and day of the transaction, I'll check that for you.

I get the details and double check, and sure enough, three transactions: initial, refund, and re-purchase.

Me: The refund has definitely gone through on our end, sir. I'd really suggest waiting a little longer; it's only been 1 business day from the bank's perspective, so I do expect it will be there soon. It takes them time to process refunds at this time of year.

CH: grudgingly There's nothing else you can do?

PET22Me: smiling, because I know the frustration will show in my voice if I don't I'm sorry sir, it's up to the bank. If you haven't received your refund by the end of the week, please let me know and I'll see if there's anything else I can do.

CH: grumbles and mutters and is curmudgeonly

Me: Merry Christmas! click

Side note: when I spoke to the team member who processed the initial sale, the wife never even mentioned having a voucher until the sale had gone through, and then said "where's my discount?" Yep, one of those.

If you had just said "I have a voucher" before you handed over your card NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY. I wish you Christmas presents that require batteries, and no batteries in the house.




This is why most retailers refund debit card purchases with cash.


I keep the following note for those Wheres-My-Refund-You-Are-Quick-To-Take-My-Money-But-Slow-To-Refund-It type customers:

5 Seconds After You Complete Your
Transaction: The Money Leaves Your
5 Secs To 2 Days After: The Bank/Credit
Card Company Is Holding Onto The
Money While They Check All The Info,
Make Sure Its All Legit.
2 To 3 Days After: The Merchant
Actually Receives The Money.

Now, Just Apply That In Reverse For
Refunds. 5 Seconds After The
Transaction, The Money Has Left The
Merchant's Account, Then The Bank
Does A Day Or Two Of Processing, And
Then, 3 Days Later, You Finally Get The
It Only Looks Like Its Done In 5 Seconds
For Payments, And Takes 3 Days For
Refunds, Because You're Only Seeing
Your End Of Things. You're Not Seeing
The Middle Part Of The Merchant's Part.


Aside From The Odd Capitalization, KingfisherDrew is correct. I work for a credit card processing company. Although the 2-3 day hold may be as much about 'we're collecting a day's interest on the money' as anything else... .005 cents per dollar isn't much on one dollar, but with all the money they move, it does add up.


I apologise for my Odd Capitalization TT, but all my notes on my terminal at work where I keep all my notes are in capitals, and I didn't want to post in caps because that would be shouting!


Heh. :)

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