Updated: Jan 14
Here it is...a new year, and hopefully new possibilities! What is your plan for this year?
Here at Willow & Ash we are making a few changes, and we have had to establish some new policies as well...
Let me start with why we have had to establish these...we had a larger-than-expected number of people come in after Christmas (a few almost two weeks after) to return items they had purchased for Christmas because they "just did not end up using them" and wanted a refund. (These were in larger dollar amounts and quantity, not just one or two things).
Cue the confusion...We were certainly confused and taken aback by this.
Didn't use it? As in, didn't give it as a gift? Ok, but in situations like that most people keep the items in a place - like a drawer or container - to use for gifting at another time as needed. Yes, I'm sure many would return items to a store...a large corporation chain store...but it's rare for people to expect to do so at a small locally-owned gift shop owned by a small family.
Why? Well, I would think it's because that small family depends on the income coming in from this small business...and refunds incur additional fees.
We are not WalMart. We are not Target.
When a return is processed at a small business, the money we have brought in from the sales comes out of our bank account, (and on a credit or debit card, we are charged an additional return processing fee from merchant processing, and that fee - in addition to the amount being refunded - is then pulled from our bank account. So now for one sale: we have paid a fee to process the initial sale, the processing fee to now return the charge to the credit/debit card, AND the funds from that initial sale that were already deposited will now be removed from our bank account - where the bank will also charge us a transaction fee.)
One or two people, often times we are ok taking the hit...but more than that in a short time period in the course of two weeks? No. Those fees charged and funds removed add up for a small business and can rise depending on how often we are processing returns/refunds.
Take, for instance, late November & all of December 2022: our merchant processing fees alone were over $1000 - and that is just for processing cards for sales and does not include the return processing fees that will be attributed to December 2022 and January 2023 (return processing fees are higher than the normal transaction fees), OR the bank charge for each additional transaction happening with the account (many business accounts have to pay transaction fees over a certain number of transactions in a calendar month)...(and keep in mind, January is a new year and for tax purposes doing a return on something processed in December is going to be a headache...and on top of that, January is the slowest month of the year with very little sales - so losing more money impacts us more).
If there is one thing to take away from this post: Please please be mindful when and where items are purchased - and if items don't end up being used for their intended purpose, then perhaps consider creating a gifting drawer. (a place to keep general gifts for those last-minute gift needs).
I have an entire dresser drawer dedicated to gifting. And how many times has it saved me when needing a gift at the last minute or for an unexpected guest or occasion? MANY.
We are disappointed to have to institute a strict return policy, but due to more than anticipated numbers of customers trying to return (not exchange, just return) Christmas gift items they did "not end up using" this year - this became a necessity:
OUR RETURN POLICY
The Small Print
* No Returns/Refunds will be processed after 7 days from purchase date* ~ * Eligible Returns/Refunds will be for store credit only, no cash back or refunds will be processed on credit/debit cards. Receipt is required* ~ *Returns cannot be processed after December 31st of the previous calendar year on transactions made in that year. (ie: Christmas or after-Christmas purchases will not be eligible for return after December 31st.)
*Sales of Bath & Body and Food Items are Final* ~ *Exchanges are welcome on most items, except bath & body products and food items* ~ *There is a $5 Restock Fee for all eligible returned items*
~Thank you for your support & understanding~
We appreciate each and every one of you!