Enabling Your Customers to Process their Own Refunds

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From time to time, people change their plans (or their minds) due to a wide-variety of reasons. The Configio platform enables your customers to cancel orders and initiate refunds. This self-refund tool can be very useful, as it reduces your customer service costs. But as the tool involves financial transactions, and as these transactions are removing funds from your business, there are system and per-product settings to allow you to precisely define the conditions under which it functions.

The tool uses Refund Profiles, and these profiles are assigned to products. The profiles have tiers, which create refund windows, and you can define how much is refunded depending on their tier. For example, you can allow a 75% refund the week of purchase, a refund 50% the month of purchase, and then you cannot allow refunds after that. You can also define on a per-tier basis that the refund automatically goes through, or you can define that it has to be approved by an Admin.

The System can send an email to Admins when a refund that requires approval has been requested, it can send an email to the customer when it has been approved or denied, and it can send an email to an Admin when a self-refund has been processed. Self-refunds use the same processes as Refunds by Admins, and so they fundamentally work the same. For example, if an LMS Course or a Document Library File was granted with the purchase, the refund will remove the customer's access to the course or file. Likewise, if there was a charge for shipping or tax on the item, then refunds for these will be calculated and granted.

There is a complimentary tool that is very similar -- Coordinators can also process refunds via the account impersonation feature through their portal.

Getting Started

There is one System Configuration related to this feature. Login to the Admin side of your database and navigate to Settings --> Setup --> Configuration. Turn ON the configuration "Allow Customers and Coordinators to Process Refunds" and click the Save button.


Creating Refund Profiles

Refund Profiles enable you to define the conditions under which a self-refund can occur. Go to Settings --> Management --> Refund Profile and click the "Add New Refund Profiles" button.

The New Refund Profile screen is now shown. Input a title and click the Save button.

Please Note: You can create as many Refund Profiles as you wish, however when you go to give a Refund Profile to a Product, only five profiles will be shown.

Creating Refund Tiers

Now that you have saved your Refund Profile, you can create your first Refund Tier. Click the Add New button.

The New Refund Tier screen is shown. Input a title and choose your criteria. The criteria options are: Start Date, End Date, and Order Date. So, you can create refund windows that are based on those three types of dates. Define the percent to refund. For example, if you input 75, the customer will get a 75% refund during that window. Check whether or not the refund will require approval. If left unchecked, the refund will go through automatically. If checked, an Admin will have to approve it. 

Please Note: The Start Date and End Date are Event specific -- they are the Event's Start and End Dates. So, tiers with those criteria will only work for the Event type of Product.

Now, define your range, or refund window. This is when the refund tier will be in effect. Define when the range will begin and when it will end. In this example, I am allowing a refund to occur within one week of the order. Then, click the Save button.

You will be shown the Edit Refund Profile screen. Here, you can view, edit, or delete a tier. You can add a new tier. You can also inactivate or delete the profile. If inactivated, it will no longer be able to be assigned to a Product.

Creating a Second Tier

Click the Add New button to add a second Refund Tier. Define the tier parameters in the same method as above. In this second example, I am creating a 50% refund window for a month after the purchase.

Prioritizing your Tiers

The Edit Refund Profile will be shown. It will list both tiers, and it will allow you to prioritize them via controls. This prioritization allows for the system to handle overlaps. In my example, both of the tiers begin on the day of purchase, and so the month-long tier overlaps the week-long tier. By prioritizing the week-long tier first, if the self-refund occurs during this highest tier's window, then the customer will be refunded by that tier's percentage, and the refund will have to be approved, unlike with the lowest tier.

Adding Refund Profiles to Products

Navigate to Products, search for the Product that you would like to add the profile to, select the Advanced tab, look at the Billing section, and you will notice an "Account Can Refund & Remove" checkbox.

Check the box, and you will see that there will be a refund profile selector. Choose your desired profile, and click the Save button.

Please Note: You will need to do this for each Product (and Product Variation) that you are enabling self-refunds. If you would like to roll out this feature to many Products, please contact us at support@configio.com and we may be able to do this programmatically for you.

Assigning an Admin to Receive Email Notifications

On the Assignments tab, there is an "Email - Account Recipients" assignable item. Drag the Admin that you would like to receive a notification regarding the self-refund from the Unassigned to the Assigned column, and be sure that it is set to "Apply".

Setting Up Your Email Notification

There are several types of email messages that are associated with this feature. They are "Account / Coordinator Initiated Refund", "Refund Request", and "Refund Request Denial". They are System Emails, meaning that there can only be one of each type in your database, and they don't need to be assigned to your Products.

The "Account / Coordinator Initiated Refund" type of message is sent to the Product's assigned "Email - Admin Recipients" when a self-refund occurs. If the refund requires approval, the "Refund Request" email is sent to the Product's assigned "Email - Admin Recipients" when a self-refund is initiated. If the refund is denied, then the "Refund Request Denial" email is sent to your customer upon the denial. Additionally, the "Refund From Order" type of email is sent to the customer when the refund is processed. This is the same as if the refund was done by an Admin.   

To setup an Email Message, go to Settings --> Assignments --> Email Messages, and click on the "Add New Email" button. 


Choose (for example) the "Account / Coordinator Initiated Refund" type of message and click the "Create" button.

Input a Subject, and compose your message. You can select Operators to inject data, such as the Order Number, into the message. When done, click the Save button. Repeat for the other types of messages, if you are going to use the approval process.
Please Note: the Refund Request type of email message contains Approver operators. Please ignore these operators on that type of email message, as they are not relevant and will return inaccurate information.

Your Customer's Experience

Your customers will purchase Products as usual. If self-refunds are enabled in your database, if they purchased a product with a refund profile, and if they are within the refund window of a tier in that profile, then when they go to the Account Summary page, there will be a "Refund & Remove" button on the Ordered Item. 

If they click the button, then there will be a confirmation modal. It will display the refund percentage for the tier, and will ask them if they want to continue with the refund.

If they click "Ok" and if the refund does not requires approval, then there will be a "submitted" modal.

  If they click "Ok" and if the refund requires approval, then there will be a "results" modal. The product will be marked as "Removed" in their Order History.

As the modal states, the refund tries to go back to the payment source, Most likely, this will be to their credit card. If the refund cannot be processed to the card, then it will be sent to the customer's account balance. Payment gateways fail to process refunds for a variety of reasons, but usually it is because the original charge has yet to post (refund was on the same day) or it is outside of their refund window (usually configurable to something like 30, 60, or 90 days). If the refund goes to the customer's account balance, then they can use those funds to purchase other products in your shopping cart, or an Admin can refund from their account balance to their credit card via the Accounts section of the administrative side of your database.

The Refund and Remove button is also displayed on the Order Details page.

The Approval Process

To approve or deny a refund request, log into the Admin, and navigate to Settings --> Management --> Approvals. Select the "Refund Approvals" filter. You can also filter based on status (Pending, Approved, and Denied) and you can search. Once you have found the request that you would like to approve or deny, click on the corresponding icon.

If approved, then the system will refund and remove the ordered item, issue a refund based on the tier's percentage, send the "Refund From Order" email message to the customer, and mark the item as "Removed" in the customer's order history. If denied, then the system will send the "Refund Request Denial" message and mark the item as "Refund Request Denied" in the customer's order history. 

Shipping and Self-Cancellation

If an Ordered Item has been Shipped, then your Customers cannot cancel it. Admins still can, but Customers cannot.

Required Items and Self-Cancellation

Like with Admin refunds, if a Product has a Required Product, and if the main Product is refunded and removed, then so will the Required Product.



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