As much as I hate to do it, I’m going to be changing my return policy which up till now has been pretty lax. I’ve extended cash refunds without question for returns whether there were supposed quality issues or maybe the customer just didn’t like the knife. No exchanges, no store credits, just an outright cash refund. If I felt the reason for the return was partially or entirely my fault, I’d cover return shipping charges. I’ve reserved the right to charge a restocking fee and have only imposed it a handful of times.
The Internet’s a wonderful bit of technological advancement, but there are aspects of it that aren’t. I quit reading the boards on any sort of regular basis long ago, having read too many posts presenting these mystical images of production knives that appeared to be created by almost mythical craftsman resulting in knives that seemed to be built only for the gods. Good grief, it’s a freaking TOOL!!!! I still laugh about the request a few months ago from a new customer looking for a specific knife and wanted it checked to assure that it was perfect in every respect because he wanted to do a ‘review’ on the internet. My response was I didn’t have such a knife and if he wanted to do an ‘objective’ review, why not simply take a random knife from stock. This,…. ‘my knife is better than your knife’…’she’s a beauty in every respect’… approach to ‘collecting’ has reached a ridiculous level.
I’ve been in this business roughly 15 years so I sure don’t have all the answers. But what I do know is that I sincerely believe we’re at a point where we’re seeing some of the best quality coming out of most manufacturers that we’ve seen in just the last two or three years. GEC has for some time been held up as the prime example of exemplary quality yet I had 4 GEC knives returned in the last 10 days with ‘problems’ that absolutely were not ‘problems’. It’s ridiculous.
I haven’t made an absolute decision as to how I’m going to handle returns in the future, but will finalize it next week. With great reluctance, I’m at the point of considering taking a hard line and referring customers with quality issues back to the manufacturers. IF the customer doesn’t want to go that route, there’s a 15% restocking charge. If you get a knife and want to return it because you just don’t like it, 15% restocking charge. If you feel I misrepresented the knife and want to return it, I’ll deal with it on an individual basis.
Without a doubt I’ll lose some customers as a result and I sincerely regret that. At the same time, from a financial standpoint, the value of that business is marginal at best to begin with. And above all, you just get tired of getting beat up about real or perceived quality issues you don’t have a damned bit of control over.
So I’ll mull this over a bit this weekend. It’s a change I’m really reluctant to make. We’ll see.