This article will explain the rules that retailers must go by when enacting a No Return, No Refund Policy and will provide writing tips so that you may create your own and publish it on your e-commerce website.
Continue reading to learn the dos and don’ts, advantages and disadvantages, and learn how to best design your own no return and no refund policy.
A No Refund Policy is a term used by businesses to indicate that they will not provide money back to customers once a purchase has been made, regardless of the reason. This policy is often found regarding software downloads, event tickets, or other non-tangible items that cannot be returned.
Under such a policy, customers cannot return products or services for a refund, although they may still be entitled to exchanges, credits, or repairs depending on the specifics of the policy and local laws.
The specifics can vary from one business to another and can be subject to local, state, or federal regulations. For example, some businesses may allow refunds within a specific timeframe or under certain conditions, while strictly adhering to a “No Refund” rule otherwise.
A No Return policy is a policy set by some businesses stating that once a product is purchased, it cannot be returned to the seller. The sale is considered final once the customer has completed the transaction.
This policy is typically found for products that are made to order, such as custom-made clothing or personalized gifts, and for products that have a limited lifespan, such as perishable food items.
Careful though as some juridisctions may override a No Return policy in certain circumstances, such as when the product is defective or not as described.
No, the No Refund Policy is not illegal but this can depend on your jurisdiction, industry, and specific circumstances surrounding the sale, like the type of product/service you’re offering. In fact, consumer protection laws can vary widely from country to country, and some allow No Refund policies, others don’t, while others heavily regulate them.
💡 If a no-return, no-refund policy doesn’t legally apply to your case, or you simply prefer not to use one, you might want to consider other possibilities, like:
The consumer regulations that apply to these rules vary based on the region you’re operating in. You must be informed of the many laws and regulations that apply to various nations and US states.
🇺🇸 The United States permits the use of No Return, No refund Policies.*
*Refund policies are defined by individual states and businesses; there are no federal rules governing them. In some circumstances, customers may be entitled to a refund even though a firm has explicitly said that it does not offer them by failing to prominently show a “no refunds” sign. Because these rules vary by state, it’s always a good idea to double-check the rules for the state you’re based in, as well as those that your business targets.
🇪🇺 In the EU, the consumer has the right to cancel and return within 14 days, for any reason and without a justification. However, there are exemptions. These are the cases in which you may be able to use a no return/ refund policy:
🇬🇧 In the United Kingdom, there are a few conditions under which businesses can decline to offer a refund or accept returns. These include cases where the customer:
Additionally, for certain types of items, you only have to offer a refund if they were defective:
Outside these cases, in general, under UK law the consumer has 14 days to request a refund following a purchase. Then they have another 14 days to make a return after notifying the business.
See the government’s official “Accepting returns and giving refunds: the law” here →
🇨🇦 Canada permits the use of No Return, No refund Policies as long as they are clearly stated before the customer makes the purchase. Businesses in Canada are not required to accept returned goods unless they are defective.
Some stores will allow consumers to bring certain goods back, however refunds may exclude:
See the government’s official Refunds and Exchange policy here →
🇦🇺 Australia prohibits the use of No Return, No refund Policies. This rule was put in place to protect customers in the event that they were dissatisfied with their purchase. A business owner who fails to follow this law may be subject to fines and other sanctions.
A simple No Refund Policy is often not enough to protect your business. Under most countries’ commercial law, you need to include other things like warranty information, limitations of liability and more. That’s why having a complete Terms and Conditions document is important.
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Let’s take a look at this example from Walmart. It is not a completely strict No Refund Policy, however we can see that the US chain has listed in their return policy a number of products that are ineligible for return/refund or replacement, such as prescription medications and devices or hygienic products. Other products like phones, drones or mattresses can only be exchanged, not refunded.
The following general clause is making refunds/returns dependent on Walmart’s decision: “Walmart reserves the right to limit or decline returns or exchanges regardless of whether the customer has a receipt. All non-receipt returns are subject to a refund verification process. All decisions regarding returns are subject to applicable laws.”
Other clauses have a clear No Refund Policy: “Tech Services Products (e.g., Device Setup, Connected Home Installations): are nonrefundable by Walmart.”
When it comes to legal documents, you want to be careful and thorough. In general, you must make sure that:
🔍 Take a look at the sample No Refund Policy template below.
🚨 Please note this is only a template and should not substitute for legal advice. If you choose to use it, you must adapt it to your specific business situation. Be aware it may not contain all the legally-required information you need in your policy or to protect your business. This template is just a starting point and should be tailored to your specific needs.
Click to open the template:
Last Updated: [Insert date of last update]
Please carefully review your order before confirming your purchase. All sales are considered final. We do not offer refunds or exchanges for any products or services sold through [Insert Company Website or Platform].
All items or services purchased from [Insert Company Name] are non-refundable unless otherwise specified in writing by [Insert Company Name]. This policy applies but is not limited to:
The only exceptions to our No Refund Policy include:
For any questions or concerns regarding this No Refund Policy, please contact us at:
We reserve the right to modify this No Refund Policy at any time, effective upon posting of an updated version on our website. Please regularly check [Insert Company Website or Platform] for updates.
A No Refund Policy is usually clearly displayed within the Terms and Conditions of a website. This is due to the fact that it is a policy that every consumer should be aware of before making a purchase.
Your Terms and Conditions document should be linked and placed somewhere that’s easily accessible from all pages of your site.
For best-practice placement, consider linking:
Enforcing a No Refund Policy effectively hinges on clear communication, legal compliance, and consistent application.
The policy should be prominently displayed on your website, especially before a customer proceeds to checkout, and be included in your Terms and Conditions. Using the clickwrap consent method—where users check a box to indicate agreement—adds an extra layer of enforceability. This not only obliges users to acknowledge your No Refund Policy but also gives you proof of their consent, should disputes arise.
It’s crucial to ensure that your No Refund Policy is in compliance with local, state, and federal laws. A legal review can ensure that the policy meets all legal requirements, including any regional “cooling-off periods” or consumer protection laws that could override your policy.
Make sure that your customer service team is trained in politely yet firmly handling refund requests in accordance with your policy. This will allow you to minimize customer dissatisfaction.
A No Refund Policy is just one facet of the broader legal and operational landscape of running an online business.
A comprehensive Terms and Conditions (T&C) agreement serves a much broader purpose, covering a variety of topics such as user conduct, intellectual property rights, dispute resolution, and limitations of liability. This not only sets clear expectations for user behavior but also offers you a broader legal shield in the case of disputes or unforeseen issues.
💡 Tailor your Terms to address unique aspects of your business model, align with industry regulations, and help you comply with specific laws like data protection or commercial law, and protect your business!
Don’t have a lawyer on hand? Try our Terms and Conditions Generator risk-free! It’s drafted by an international legal team and allows you to fully customize your clauses – allowing you to create terms and conditions that actually fit your specific business needs.