If you’re a professional service provider or a coaching professional, you likely ventured into the world of online business to make a positive impact, not to dwell on payment disputes.

Your services hold immense value, aiming to transform lives for the better. However, despite your expertise, there will inevitably be clients with whom you don’t see eye to eye.

While not the most glamorous aspect of running a business, addressing payment disputes is a critical topic that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Navigating Chargebacks and Payment Disputes

Let’s dive into what some might refer to as the “dark side” of online business — managing unwarranted refunds, chargebacks, and disputed charges.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid these challenges, consider yourself lucky. However, as your business expands, encountering dissatisfied customers becomes more likely, and statistically speaking, somewhat inevitable.

Payment Disputes Are Not About You

A common misconception among online service providers and coaching professionals is the belief that refund requests reflect negatively on them personally. This mindset often leads to avoiding the issue altogether, which can be detrimental to your business.

It’s important to remember that handling refund requests is simply part of running a business. As a business owner, you must embrace the uncomfortable aspects along with the enjoyable ones.

Instead of fearing refund requests, consider them a normal occurrence in business. There’s no 100% foolproof way to prevent refund requests or chargebacks as your business grows, and it’s crucial not to take them personally.

By approaching refund requests with a prepared and unemotional mindset, you’ll be better equipped to handle payment disputes calmly and professionally when they arise.

Get Clear on Your Payment Disputes & Refunds Policy

Now that you’re taking the proactive step to clarify your legal policies (go you!), it’s time to define your refund policy with precision.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to offer refunds?
  • If so, what conditions must be met for a refund to be granted?
  • Is there a time limit for requesting a refund?
  • In the event of a refund, will it be full or partial?

For instance, you may choose not to offer refunds as a general policy, regardless of implementation or results achieved. However, you could make exceptions for cases where a student purchases your course and, within 24 hours, realizes it’s not what they expected.

Alternatively, for a group coaching program with a no-refund policy, you might consider exceptions for students who can demonstrate that they completed all the work yet did not achieve the desired results.

As a business coach, you might specify that a refund will be granted if a client completes specific tasks and can show evidence of doing so but still doesn’t achieve the agreed-upon outcome.

Ultimately, your refund policy is entirely your decision. What matters most is that you define it clearly and adhere to it consistently.

Get It In Writing, Always

After determining your approach to handling refund requests, it’s crucial to formalize your policy in writing. Whether you offer services or digital products, having a robust contract or terms of purchase is paramount.

A well-communicated refund policy serves two critical purposes:

  1. It ensures that clients are aware of and understand your refund policy before making a purchase.
  2. It provides written proof that your policy was clearly communicated in the event of a chargeback dispute.

For example, if you’ve decided not to offer refunds for your service, digital product or coaching program unless specific criteria are met, such as completing all program modules, homework, and actively seeking support in your private community, you should clearly communicate this policy to your clients.

In the event of a refund request, you would require evidence of meeting these criteria before considering any compensation.

When a client requests a chargeback, their bank will initiate an investigation and request information from you, such as details of the service purchased, the agreement signed, and the events that transpired. It’s crucial to provide them with a contract and evidence of service provided to support your case.

Having a signed contract with clear refund policy/chargeback language included, evidence of the service being delivered in accordance with the contract, a procedure for handling chargebacks and payment disputes can significantly strengthen your position in such disputes.

In the unfortunate event of a chargeback or payment dispute, being prepared and having clear documentation can greatly increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Communicate Your Policies Clearly

One common pitfall for online coaches and service providers is burying their refund policy in the fine print. It’s essential to ensure that everyone is crystal clear on the terms before entering into a working relationship. Transparency is key!

Avoid hiding your refund and chargeback policy in complicated legal language. Instead, spell it out clearly so that potential clients and customers know exactly what they’re agreeing to.

At Coaches & Company, we believe in starting partnerships with openness, honesty, and transparency. That’s why all our contracts are free of confusing legal jargon. When agreements are easy to understand, they pave the way for a smooth working relationship, free of misunderstandings and complications.

Begin your client relationships on the right foot while protecting the brand you’ve worked so hard to create with our fully customizable, lawyer-created plug-and-play contract templates! Whether you need a coaching agreement or a online course terms and conditions template, we’ve got everything you need to scale your business with confidence and peace of mind.

Check out our ready-to-use, lawyer-approved, plug-and-play legal contract templates, so you can upgrade your client contract while staying Protected & Profitable™✨

Not sure where to begin? We’ve got you. Grab our FREE Legally Launch Guide to get the legal lowdown on everything in entrepreneurship, without the confusing mumbo jumbo. We’re serving it up straight and to the point. (Heads up: It’ll forever transform the way you view your client relationships!) Grab your copy now!

*The information presented in this blog post is for educational & informational purposes only. This should not be a substitute for customized legal advice from a licensed professional in a private setting. If you need legal advice, please consult with an attorney. This is not a law firm.

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