Negative message on routine business matters

Message Strategies: Refusing Claims and Requests for Adjustment

Media Skills: Instant Messaging


Background: Your company has learned that selling instructional videos presents a difficult business dilemma. For its first five years of operation, the company had a generous return policy in which customers could return any DVD after 10 days, even if it had been opened. However, as return rate began to climb, management began to suspect that some customers were abusing the policy by watching DVDs long enought to learn whatever they wanted to learn and then returning them and asking for refunds. The company disliked penalizing the majority of its customer base by changing the policy, but returns cost money, and the company’s profits were taking a bigger and bigger hit every year. Starting last year, the company now accepts returns only if the product packaging has not been opened.


Assignment: Create an instant messaging exchange between a customer who purchased the “Kickboxing Fundamentals” DVD two weeks ago, and a service agent who assists customers with orders and returns. Role-play an exchange in which the customer initiates the conversation and asks for a refund, saying that the program doesn’t meet his or her needs. The reason offered is that the techniques shown in the video are quite basic, and he or she is already past that skill level.


Early in the exchange. the service agent needs to ask whether the DVD package has been unsealed. The customer replies that it has, after which the agent will respond that the company can accept only unopened DVDs for refund or sexchange. The customer can continue to argue that there is no way to truly evaluate a DVD without watching the entire program, because every person might have a different understanding of what “fundamentals” means. However, the company’s policy is firm.


Make up whatever details you need to complete the exchange, keeping in mind the following points:

  • The video title and the product description on the website clearly indicate that this kickboxing program is intended for beginners.
  • The website clearly states that DVDs can be returned only if they are unopened.
  • In addition, the online shoppig cart requires customers to check a box to indicate that they have read the return policy.
  • The agent might suggest to the customer that he or she could offer it for sale on Craiglist, sell to a store that buys used movies, or donate it to a library.


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