A Business Technology Place

Fathead return policy review and experience

I bit on the Fathead Black Friday deal this year to order a team logo for my game room. The package arrived via UPS ground shipping a few days later. Unfortunately, the box was damaged during shipping and the damage causing damage to the logo as well. The logo was creased in multiple locations on the adhesive background but I thought it might smooth once I applied it to the wall.

Fathead Box Damage

This was one area on the shipping box that had been damaged

Before I removed the logo from the adhesive I photographed the creases so that I could prove the item had been damaged during shipping and not during installation. Unfortunately, when I installed the logo I was not able to smooth the creases.

No hassle return

So I called the customer service line at Fathead and explained what had happened. I was sure this was probably a common problem for them and there might be some ‘tricks’ they could help me with to smooth the creases. I informed the agent that I had photographs of the damaged shipping box and the logo. The agent politely apologized for the incident and told me that there really wasn’t anything more to do. He immediately offered to create a return for this item and to ship me a new one at no additional charge. He even offered to upgrade the shipping to an expedited method at no additional charge.

They gave me an option to send the damaged logo back to them or to simply email the photographs as proof of the damage. I certainly appreciated that they emailed a UPS labels with the RMA# in an email, but sending them an email with the photographs attached was less hassle and something I completed quickly.

Fathead Logo Damage

This shows a couple areas of creasing on the logo. I photographed other areas with damage as well.

Their return process credits the amount of the original purchase back to original card once they receive proof of the damaged item. The replacement item is then charged to the card as a new transaction for the same amount of the original purchase.

Customer Focus

Several things impressed me about this entire process:
1. The customer service agent immediately acknowledged the situation and offered to make me whole. I’d like to think I aided with this because I calmly explained my situation and really hoped he had a way to fix it without having to do a return. To his credit, he recognized I wasn’t trying to cheat the system and didn’t hassle me in any way.

2. Issuing a return based on creased product shows me that Fathead realizes the value of their product is in the attachment the customer has to the affinity group represented with their merchandise. These products are meant to be displayed to friends, guests, and family. A damaged product is almost like a chink in the pride and emotional attachment the customer has to the product.

3. At the end of the day, the damage on my product was not directly the fault of Fathead. I can see where Fathead has attempted to protect their merchandise with a double layer of packaging (cylinder tube inside shipping box), but whatever happened in that UPS truck overcame the packaging. As a business thinker, its tough to rationalize sending a new product when the damage occurred after the product left the warehouse. Hopefully this doesn’t happen too often or they have some type of insurance agreement with their shipping partners.

BTW – I didn’t take the offer for free expedited shipping. I told the guy that I didn’t have to have it any quicker than what ground delivery would provide. Fathead helped me in the transaction so I felt a little better that maybe I saved them a buck or two as well.

Customer focused eCommerce: Return Policy

I recently made a return to Costco for a misbehaving GPS unit.  My experience was made easy in large part because of Costco’s friendly return policy.  The store clerk didn’t give me a hard time or ask me any detailed questions.  I didn’t even need to fill out a form.

But the real find in the transaction was a feature of the Costco web site.  It was worthy of putting into the Customer focused eCommerce best practices archive on the Merchant Stand blog.

Provide return/warranty information on the customer receipt and status lookup pages

I had purchased the GPS three months ago on the Costco web site.  I knew I was going to try a return and so I went back to their web site to print a receipt.  I located my previous order history in the order status section.  As I was reviewing the details of the transaction, I noticed that the Costco return policy was printed at the bottom of the status/receipt page.  Brilliant!  Where I was expecting to have to find this information on some FAQ page it was right there.  A two-fer of sorts for me I was able to print the receipt and validate the return policy and instructions in one step.  Bravo Costco!

For those wondering how it read.  Here’s a copy:


Shop Confidently
Membership: We will refund your membership fee in full at any time if you are dissatisfied.

Merchandise: We guarantee your satisfaction on every product we sell with a full refund.
Exceptions: Televisions, projectors, computers, cameras, camcorders, iPod/MP3 players and cellular phones must be returned within 90 days of purchase for a refund.

How to Return: Simply return your purchase to any one of our Costco warehouses worldwide for a refund (including shipping and handling). If you are unable to return your order at one of our warehouses, please contact customer service or call our customer service center at 1-800-955-2292 for assistance. To expedite the processing of your return, please reference your order number.