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Printful Policies Your Store Should Copy [Free Templates]

By Reading Time: 8 minutes

Online shopping is risky, especially for first-time shoppers visiting your store. 

What if the products don’t fit right? What if I typed in the wrong shipping address? What if the order gets lost in transit?

All those questions storm through your customer’s mind before they place an order.

Having policies in place can calm those storms of doubt your customers might have. Store policies give an extra boost of confidence in shoppers because they see that if something should happen to their order, the store owner has already covered it.
We’ll explain why store policies are just as important for your business as the products you sell. We’ll talk you through all the policies we have and share step-by-step guides on how to deal with issues your customers may have with shipping, returns, and damaged goods.

Once you’re done reading, there’s a freebie waiting for you at the end of the article—content that covers returns, shipping, and damaged products, plus policies that you can use for your store!

We’ve also added templates you can use during Covid-19.

Why are store policies important?

Simply put, store policies create a sense of security for customers when they’re buying something from you, especially since they can’t try on the product beforehand.

They’ll know what to expect if something goes wrong with their order, or if the product doesn’t fit properly. Store policies will also help you sort through problems more quickly because you’ll already have a protocol to follow.

Source: Narvar

As a store owner, it’s up to you which policies to offer to your customers. But if you do use Printful for fulfillment and POD, we recommend basing your policies off our own. You can customize these policies to fit your store’s tone of voice, and be stricter or more liberal with refunds and returns.

Let’s dive in the possible reasons for returning orders and how you can address them with your customers.

Order failed to deliver

If the carrier isn’t able to deliver the items because of the wrong address, or if the package was unclaimed by your customer, it’ll be returned to the default return address.
For Printful orders, this means that they’ll be sent back to the facility that sent them out. When that happens, you’ll get an email from us that your order arrived back at our facility. We’ll then hold on the order for 28 days at no cost. During this time, contact your customer.

What to tell your customers if their order couldn’t be delivered

Reach out to your customer with this message:
We were notified that your order is being returned by the shipping carrier because [reason]. If you want us to reship the order, please confirm your address.

Printful charges shipping costs for reshipments. Decide if you’ll cover those costs yourself or ask your customer to pay extra, and include that in your policy.

How to minimize carrier returns

In most cases, orders are sent back because customers provide an address that’s incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. To minimize problems with addresses:

  • During the order checkout, add a banner close to the shipping address field with the following: Please be careful and double-check that you’ve added the correct address.
  • Include this in your store policies: To make sure the city in the address matches its ZIP code, use this USPS ZIP code lookup.
  • In your store policies, add a step-by-step process for customers whose orders haven’t arrived. Download our store policy templates to get this text!

Order returned by the customer

Sometimes customers might want to return their newly purchased products. Usually, it’s because they’ve ordered the wrong size or just don’t want the items anymore.

Advise your customers to contact you before returning any products. That way, you’ll be able to ask for the return reason and share the customer’s options on how to proceed with the order.

What to tell your customers if they want to return an order

There can be various reasons why customers would like to return their orders, so we’ll give you a couple of responses you can use.

Damaged & mislabeled items

At Printful, we pride ourselves on unparalleled product quality. That’s why all our orders go through a 3-step quality check before we ship them out. However, if a damaged or mislabeled item was accidentally let through our quality control, or was damaged during shipment, we take full responsibility and provide a free replacement (unless the print came out poorly because of a low-quality print file).

Here’s what we recommend when communicating with customers about damaged or mislabeled items.

  • Reach out to your customer:
    We’re sorry to hear that your product arrived [damaged/mislabeled]. Our team will look into the order, so please share a detailed description of the problem and add quality photos where we can see the issue. We’ll be happy to assist and reship the product for you.
  • Then, once you have the photos, file a problem report in your Printful Dashboard no later than 30 days after the product has been received by your customer. Our customer service team will get in touch with you and figure out the best solution.

Pro tip: In your store policies, mention a time frame the customer has to contact you in case they receive a damaged item. That’s within 30 days after the misprinted/damaged/defective item has been received. You can copy this text from our own Return Policy.

Buyer’s remorse

Printful only offers refunds for damaged or mislabeled products, not for buyer’s remorse. But it’s up to you how you want to approach this—refund the customer or not.

If you want to offer refunds for buyer’s remorse, you’ll be responsible for the fulfillment and shipping costs.

If you won’t offer refunds for buyer’s remorse, then, kindly let them know that you won’t be able to refund them.

  • Send your customers this message:
    We’re sorry to hear that you wish to return your order. Our return policy doesn’t cover buyer’s remorse so we won’t be able to issue you a refund for the order. Thank you for understanding.

Size exchanges

Wrongly ordered sizes won’t be eligible for refunds from Printful’s side either. We make everything on demand, so requesting a size exchange would mean producing an entirely new product.

  • Send your customers this message:
    We’re sad to hear that you wish to return your order. Our return policy doesn’t cover products ordered in the wrong size. Because of that, we won’t be able to issue you a refund for the order. Thank you for understanding.

If you want to offer size exchanges and refunds to your customers, you’ll be responsible for the fulfillment and shipping costs and you’ll need to update your return policy accordingly.
Reach out to your customer:
We’re sorry to hear that you ordered the wrong size. Accidents can happen, so we’re glad to offer you a size exchange. Let us know the size you want to exchange for and we’ll be happy to reship the product for you.

How to minimize customer returned orders

  • /custom-productsFigure out what you want to cover on your return policy. Do you want to offer returns for buyer’s remorse or wrongly ordered sizes? Go over the pros and cons and make a decision.
  • Copy Printful’s return policy, then adjust the text to work for you and put the policy up on your storefront.
  • Each of the items listed in Printful’s product catalog have a size guide—put it up on your storefront so your customers can decide which size works best for them. 
    • Push the size guide as an image for your product. When you add a new product from Printful’s side, in the Details step, tick the box next to Add size guide as an image.
    • Or follow the product’s size guide and create your own sizing table, or put the measurements in the product’s description manually.
Source: Printful
  • Review your product descriptions, as they set expectations and helps you customers understand what they’re buying. The more detailed information (and photos) you give about the product, its quality, and the fit—the more satisfied your customers will be!

Order was lost in transit

Now that we’ve covered Printful’s return policies, let’s talk about lost orders. All of Printful’s shipping methods have tracking, although the accuracy may differ for some carriers. If it’s past the estimated delivery date and your customer still hasn’t received their order, the package might be lost in transit.

What to tell your customers about an order that’s lost in transit

Step 1: Make sure that the order is actually lost in transit

Find the tracking link in one of our order notification emails and look at the tracking log.

If you see limited or no entries in the tracking log, the package was most likely lost in transit (jump to Step 2).

If you do see entries in the tracking log, then advise your customer to wait a little longer:
We just checked that your package is still being tracked and it’s supposed to arrive by [date]. According to tracking, it might just be stuck at some point during the delivery. Please give a couple of more days for the package to show up. If the package still hasn’t arrived, let us know no later than 30 days after the estimated delivery date.

Be mindful of the events that may impact shipping times and communicate any delays customers should expect. You can take a look at how Printful communicated potential delays due to Covid-19.

Step 2: Confirm the shipping address if it’s past the estimated delivery time

Reach out to your customer to check that they entered the correct shipping address:
May we please ask you to double-check the shipping address you used for this order? Let us know if it was correct or send us the updated address.

  • If the address was correct, then reply with:
    We’re glad that the address was correct. If your package still hasn’t arrived, then we recommend getting in touch with your local post office to see if your order is there. You can also check in with your neighbors to ask if they might have seen your package.
  • If the address was incorrect, then the package will be sent back to the return address and we’ll contact you for an updated address when we receive the returned package. If we don’t receive the package, then you’ll have to submit a new order to replace the original. Let your customer know:
    We’re sorry to hear that the address was incorrect. The package should be sent back to us and we’ll update the shipping address and reship it for you. Please note that you’d be responsible for the shipping costs, so let us know how you’d like to proceed.

Step 3: Submit a problem report

If the customer’s shipping address was correct and the order still hasn’t arrived, submit a problem report and our customer support will find a resolution for you. We usually cover the costs of reprinting and shipping replacement orders.

What to tell your customers if their package is marked as delivered but they haven’t received it yet

If the shipment’s tracking states that it was delivered, but your customer hasn’t received it, Printful won’t cover the cost of reshipping or refunding the order.

Sometimes packages can be left in an unexpected location at the customer’s address so it’s worth checking up on.

  • Reach out to your customer:
    We’re sad to hear that you haven’t received your order yet. Our team checked the shipment’s status and we see that the carrier has marked it as delivered. We recommend you to inquire if any additional details were left by the delivery staff. Please note that we don’t cover refunds due to carrier errors.

If your customer can’t locate the package, you can place a new manual order to have it reshipped at your expense.

How to minimize customer frustration with lost in transit orders

  • Set your customers’ expectations by sharing how your products are made. Let your customers know that your products are made on-demand and that shipping times should be added on top of the fulfillment.
  • Address any possible shipping delays from the get-go. Should there be anything that might impact shipping (postal strikes, etc.), let your customers know about it via a banner on your storefront, for example:
    Due to [reason], order fulfillment and shipping may take longer but your order is on its way!
  • Create an FAQ section on your storefront that addresses order fulfillment and shipping questions. Get texts for the FAQ section form the downloadable content at the end of the article.

Clear and concise policies are essential for your store

Explain to your customers what they can expect from your business—it’ll only make them feel more comfortable when making a purchase. And if a problem does arise with their order and the resolution is quick and painless, it’ll encourage their loyalty!

Store policies are designed to protect you, the seller, and your customers, but they don’t have to be long or complicated. We prepared a clear and concise website copy that covers returns, shipping, and damage policies. You can use it as a template and edit it to suit your own store’s voice and policies you want to implement, or you can just add it as is.

Do yourself and your customers a favor, get your store policy text below!

This article was originally published in April 2016; it has since been updated.

Una specializes in third-party logistics and knows Printful's Warehousing & Fulfillment services from A to Z. She enjoys digging deep into marketing psychology and developing her creative writing skills.

Comments

  1. Yujin Wood

    Please help: what about Terms of Service policy? Do I copy straight from Prinful’s ToS policy or Shopify’s (my store front) ToS? I’m so confused. Thank you so much in advance for your assistance.

    1. Katherine Karklina

      Hey, Yujin! Our Terms of Service would be different from yours, as we are a POD company fulfilling your orders, but you are the seller. You can check our Terms and Service to get an insight into how it would all look like, but it wouldn’t be suggested to copy/paste it. I’m not sure about Shopify’s Terms of Service either – they offer an e-commerce platform and don’t really sell physical goods.

  2. Stephanie Gargiulo

    Hello, can’t find customer service. Hope this is the spot.

    We have some items that we have created template for that are not allowing us to put in our Shopify store in the US. Do know who we can speak to in regards to this? We are launching our store this weekend.

  3. Yujin Wood

    Hello, does Printful ships out from the nearest fulfillment center according to each order’s shipping address? The shipping time for Japan shows 4-8 days – so that’s how long it would take to ship out from Japan’s fulfillment center? I just want to be clear on Printful’s shipping duration for international deliveries & where they are shipping from. And if Canada has fulfillment centers, why does it still say 6-10 business days to ship? Thank you for your help in advance.

  4. Rebecca

    Hi!
    If a piece is returned because of buyers remorse or size exchange, will the piece be held by Printful for a period of time, in case another order comes in that it can be dispatched to (to reduce waste and save some money)?
    Kind regards,
    Rebecca

    1. Esther Everson

      Hi, Rebecca!
      If the item is returned to our facility, someone from our team will contact you regarding the return. We will ship the return back to you; however, you will be responsible for the shipping cost a second time. Unclaimed returns get donated to charity after 4 weeks.

  5. Ju-Ju

    Hey, thanks for the reading! I’m debating over offering a 30 or 60-day hassle-free return policy selling in the US only using Shopify. Let’s say the product is damaged or the customer wants to exchange it how will that work with either policy? I understand the 4-week window mentioned here and the 1-week thing as mentioned in the template, but not sure how to word my policy to meet the deadline for your policy. Also, do all products come with a return label so the customer can ship it back once they contacted you? If they do wish to exchange the item, is there a way to know when the warehouse receives the item before a new one is initiated? Can I choose who ships the product (not sure if this is a Shopify or Prinful question)? Quite a few questions there! but just want to be sure I’m setting things up right. Thanks a million 🙂

    1. Katherine Karklina

      Hey, thanks for your questions! As we’re a POD company, we don’t offer an option to return an item and exchange it. More info about our return policies here — https://www.printful.com/policies/returns. The shipping label will include our return address by default, but in case something goes wrong, it’s not necessary to send the item back to us. When an item is returned to our facility, you’ll be notified via your Printful profile. The orders are automatically routed to facilities that can fulfill your customer’s order in the most efficient way, so it isn’t possible to choose where the orders are fulfilled. If you have some additional questions or concerns, feel free to send us a message at [email protected]. 😊

      1. Ju-Ju

        Ok. I understand you don’t accept returns. Period. I further understand that it will be at my cost if the customer wishes to just get another size or something else. In that case, what can I offer the customer as options as to what to do with items that are unwanted or undamaged? Thanks again!

        1. Esther Everson

          Hi! If your customer wants a refund or to exchange the product, you can offer them to send it back to our return address, or set your own address for returns. If you set your own address, then you’ll receive the return and then can store it until someone else orders the same item, and then ship it yourself. If the item is returned to Printful’s return address, you will be notified. The item will be stored at our facility. You can then reship it at your own cost to another customer, or yourself.
          If the received item is damaged, your customer will get a refund or a reprint. In this case, it’s not necessary to send the item back. Your customer can reuse, recycle or upcycle the item as they see fit.

          1. Luis

            Hi Esther,
            You mention above that “if the item is returned to Printful’s return address, you will be notified. The item will be stored at our facility. You can then reship it at your own cost to another customer, or yourself”. My question is: for how long does Printful store this returned item so that I can reship it to another customer? Could this item be added to my Printful Warehouse and be part of my stock for future orders? Thanks!

          2. Esther Everson

            Hey, Luis! When we receive a returned shipment, an automated email notification is sent to the customer. Unclaimed returns get donated to charity after 4 weeks. So make sure you claim the return within 4 weeks. Regarding your returned products being added to Printful Warehouse–yes, it can be done. However, that would include the warehousing fee. You can reach out to our Customer Support team regarding such returns via [email protected]. Check out this page to learn more about Printful Warehousing services.

  6. Mr. T

    Your website indicated that most order fulfillment is between 2-7 business days, can I offer up to 24hours free cancellation or what will be an ideal window Customer have to notify us of intention to cancel so that we’re able to manually cancel at printful before it reaches uncancellable stage, 2hrs, 30mins or? just looking for an idea, not exact as it varies.

    1. Esther Everson

      Hey, Mr.T! There isn’t a specific time after which orders start fulfillment. Usually, it’s within 24h, however, some might even start fulfillment as soon as 30 minutes or less. You can only cancel an order before it starts fulfillment. However, your order won’t start fulfillment before Printful receives your payment for products and fulfillment.

  7. Shantell Reed

    This information is helpful, but I am also looking to find information on how to write of policies regarding how my store handles customer information and information sharing, 3rd party, etc. Does Printful have policies I can use for that?

  8. isaiah

    does printful offer prepaid return shipping labels to customers? or at least return shipping label in general and then the customer can pay for the shipping themselves?

    1. Esther Everson

      Hey, Isaiah!
      No, Printful doesn’t provide return labels as we don’t accept returns. It is up to you if you allow returns to be sent back. You can set up your own address as the return address so that the returned orders go back to you and you can later reship them. Or you can set up a Printful address for returns. In that case, the return will go back to our facility and we’ll notify you via email once we receive it. You can check out our Return Policy for more information.

  9. Tykesha

    This policy template covers everything for my website ecwid and Etsy/eBay that I’m connecting printful too ?

    1. Esther Everson

      Hey, Tykesha! The policy templates that we provide are still only templates – think of them as guidelines. You should still make sure to include policies that would be specific to your store if you need anything else mentioned in your policies that weren’t mentioned in this article. Each shop is unique so make sure to adjust your policies accordingly.

  10. Nitin

    Hello there, I am planning to use Printful as my main POD service for my new e-commerce store.
    But I am really confused about the payment process. Here’s the situation.
    I am opening an e-commerce store on Wix, now I wanna know that if my customer pays me for a product via a money processing service(Paypal), how long would it take the money to reach me, and suppose it took 1 day
    then who is going to hold that money in their stomach? I know that Printful will only start manufacturing if the money is sent to them, then how much time would it take to reach money till Printful. And does Printful charge the money automatically or I have to do it manually?
    Really grateful for your help.

    1. Katherine Karklina

      Hi, Nitin! When an order is placed on your storefront, there are two different transactions happening. One between you and your customer, and the other one between you and Printful. The difference between these two transactions would be your profit. You can choose to confirm your orders manually once you’ve received the funds from the customer, but per default, orders are confirmed automatically as soon as the order imports into Printful. How fast the funds are received from the customer would depend on Wix or PayPal. Don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected], so we can clarify! 😊

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