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Troubleshooting Doba: Canceling Orders and Managing Returns

Written by Ashlee Toney on May 29, 2010 in Doba Features and Policies

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For those first-time online retailers who are new to Doba, brushing up on policies and terms and conditions might seem overwhelming at first glance. Some of these policies might even appear to be a bit unfair, until you explore them from someone else’s point of view.

Case in point is the policy about canceling of orders. It’s pretty upfront and simple: Doba orders can’t be canceled once they have been paid for and submitted to a supplier. This isn’t necessarily something we created all on our own, but was developed with our suppliers in mind. Consider this if you will: Most of the manufacturers and distributors with whom we work have tons of orders coming in every day. These aren’t all from Doba. There are also orders from hundreds — if not thousands — of other accounts. Normally the order is processed immediately, which prompts the warehouse to print labels, package the items and prepare them for shipping. This might take a few days, but the point is, it’s very difficult and time consuming for the warehouse staff to find a particular order and stop it in the cycle. This Easter egg hunt backs up the shipping of other packages, causes confusion, promotes mistakes and bad shipments, and is, in general, a major pain for everyone involved.

The solution is fairly straightforward. Some suggestions:

  • Take as many precautions as possible before submitting your orders through Doba.
  • Make sure you have the payment from the end buyer before submitting because it could be fraudulent.
  • Make sure the payment has been confirmed as being completed and is in your account.
  • Confirm you have the correct shipping information (Many retailers use the PayPal billing/shipping address, but this could be different. It’s always best to check with the buyer).
  • Be sure that you have the correct SKU (stock-keeping unit), quantity, price, etc., before submitting the order.

Like most any set of policies, there are exceptions. For instance, we can try to contact the supplier to cancel an order if it’s within the first few hours - before processing might take place. But we can’t guarantee it will be canceled until we have a confirmation from the supplier.

Another process that might be confusing to the retailer is returns. We provide the return policies and instructions from all suppliers on the Doba website in several locations. They’re located on the supplier’s information page as well as in a tab located on the product’s details page. You might want to make your own universal policy that fits all of the policies for the suppliers with whom you work. However, the return policy you create between you and your buyers is just that — between you and your buyers. If the retailer chooses to accept non-defective products, but the supplier does not, the retailer is responsible for handling the return with their end buyer.

There are other solutions to avoid returns. If the product is not defective, you can have the buyer return it to you, and you can re-sell the product and ship it out. If the product is not worth the shipping to have it returned to you or the supplier, you may want to just refund your retailer. Yes, you might be out some cash for that order now, but you made your buyer happy, which can assure repeat business.

With drop shipping, the return process can also be a bit overwhelming. In that case, you would create and submit the Return Material Authorization (RMA) request through the Doba website. That information is then sent to the supplier, where they determine whether the return fits within their policies and whether they need additional information/details/photos from the end buyer. They issue an RMA number, which is sent to the retailer along with the instructions for the return.

The buyer should always use a carrier that enables them to track the return shipment and show delivery once it gets to the return address. The supplier normally requires about 15 business days from the date of delivery back to their warehouse for a credit to be issued. This gives them time to track the return in their system, inspect the return and then determine the credit amount to be issued. Most returns are refunds and the retailer would place a new order for the replacement item if needed. This enables accounting departments on both ends (Doba’s and the suppliers) to track the inventory, payment, etc.

If you have a damaged product, the supplier/buyer will have to contact the shipping carrier and start a damage claim. Once this claim is started, the shipping carrier has its own processes to investigate what happened to the package during transit. They normally come to the buyer’s address (the ship to address on the order) and inspect/pickup the damaged product. It takes about 8-10 business days for a decision to be made and submitted to the shipper (the supplier). Once a credit is submitted, a refund can be issued to the retailer.

Your best bet when building your own business is to determine ahead of time what type of service you want to provide to your customers. We provide the information from the supplier regarding their policies, but it’s up to you to create policies based around your business.

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