As of 2016 eight out of ten Americans were buying online and of those, half of them purchase several times per month (Pew Research Center). That is a lot of online activity! Given all of this activity we may take for granted that each and every site we buy from have different policies.
Every time you purchase online, you’re agreeing to that site’s Terms of Service or “user agreement” either knowingly or inadvertently. But what are you actually agreeing to when you agree to a company’s terms of service?
Terms of Service (TOS) are a list or set of rules that tell an online visitor what they are and are not permitted to do while visiting, or purchasing for an online store in the case of ecommerce. The terms of service are meant to protect both parties. Having a transparent and clearly visible TOS reassures customers that they will not be exposed to spammers, viruses, or obscene comments. It also helps in the event there is a discrepancy between a customer and the company and the TOS needs referred back to. You can view our TOS policy here for an example.
As a consumer there is an increased amount of due diligence placed on you as most ecommerce companies can change their terms of service at any time without communicating that to customers and as mentioned earlier, you agree to and are bound by these terms by completing your purchase with the company. Each and every time you purchase merchandise from an online store you are thereby agreeing to be bound to any TOS, privacy, or return policy agreements so it’s important to review those prior to each purchase. Most companies offer flexible policies but it’s always good practice to read through them before making a purchase.
In the case of Precision Metal Art, we have all of our policies clearly visible and ready for viewing on the bottom navigational guide of our website. This is standard practice for most companies to house these documents in the bottom or “footer” menu. Be sure that prior to your purchase you take a peek at these documents. Especially, the return or guarantee policy.
At PMA, we have a fairly flexible return policy with a no questions asked 24 hour cancellation policy and grace period to make qualified edits or adjustments to your order. You can view that here. The reason for our policy is due to the highly personalized nature of the products we manufacture. Even though our lead time can range from three to six weeks, almost immediately after purchase your order goes in our order queue and we start devoting resources to fulfilling your order as it enters in to our production process.
However, we try to be as up front and honest about our lead times and policies as humanly possible so that you can be armed with the best information prior to your purchase as most people get our monograms for special events.
In closing, the key take-a-ways are to do your research prior to making any purchase online. Assess what the Terms of Service state, what are the standard lead times, and finally, what options of recourse you have should there be an issue with your order via a company’s return policy.