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Processing Refunds

Sometimes you will need to refund an order, for a wide variety of reasons. BigCommerce allows you to select the refund type (individual product or order level refund) and whether you would like to issue a full or partial order refund directly through the BigCommerce control panel for many payment gateways, allowing your order details to be easily accessible in one location. The line item refund functionality will help you determine the average return rate for each customer, perform multiple partial refunds on the same order, and even refund additional line items, such as gift wrapping and handling fees.

 

If your payment gateway is not supported, you will need to log into your payment gateway's dashboard to process the refund, then manually update the order status in BigCommerce to Refunded or Partially Refunded.

 
 

Limitations

  • Refunding to multiple payment gateways (split refunds) is not supported.
  • Automatic restocking of inventory when a refund is performed is not supported. This functionality will be implemented in a future release.
  • Refunding items via Return Request is not supported. This functionality will be implemented in a future release.
 

Note: Setting a return request to Item(s) Refunded will disable the ability to refund the order through the order's refund action. In this situation, the refund or partial refund will need to be made through the payment gateway's virtual terminal.

 
 

Supported Payment Gateways

The following payment gateways are supported and allow full, partial or multiple refunds through the BigCommerce control panel unless otherwise noted:

 

Note: If your payment gateway is configured to ‘Authorize only,’ payment will need to be captured before any refunds can be performed. Orders that are created using this payment gateway will have the order status as Awaiting Payment.

 
 

Performing a Refund

Go to OrdersView. Locate the order you wish to refund and click on ActionRefund.

Order Action Menu

You will then be taken to a new refund view that is broken down into two steps:

  • Refund Order
  • Confirm Refund

Refund Order view

Refund Order

Confirm Order view

Confirm Refund

 
 

Refund Order

In the Refund Order view, you can understand who is asking for the refund, what the original order contained and which items can be refunded back to them.

Customer Details

The customer details section displays the order's billing information. You will see the customer's first and last name, email address, billing address and their return rate. The return rate is one of our key features with this update. It allows you to proactively detect and assess if the customer is exploiting your returns policy.

This is particularly useful for apparel retailers that have customers that "rent" clothing on a monthly basis by purchasing a product, wearing it and returning it for store credit.

Customer Details section

Order Summary

The order summary provides a short rundown of the order. You will see various pieces of information, such as the current status of the order, when it was created, whether it has been previously refunded, where it originated, and the shipping and tax totals.

Order Summary section

Refundable Items

In this section, you can refund individual items, refund the entire order or apply an order level refund. Note that order tax will not be re-calculated for an order level refund.

Refund option types

Refund individual items

Use this if you wish to refund specific line items within the order. If you select this option (and use Avalara), the sales tax to be refunded will be calculated by Avalara and included in the total amount to refund to the customer. By refunding specific line items, you will naturally be performing a partial refund on the order.

Refund entire order

Use this as a quick and convenient way to refund all line items within the order. If you select this option (and use Avalara), the sales tax to be refunded will be calculated by Avalara and included in the total amount to refund to the customer.

  • If this is the first refund that is performed on the order, this option will appear as Refund entire order.
  • If you have previously refunded individual items on the order, then this option will appear as Refund all remaining items.

Apply an order level refund

Use this if you wish to refund a custom value. If you use this option, the order tax will not be re-calculated.

Regardless of the refund type, the following product types can be refunded:

  • Physical Products
  • Downloadable Products
  • Gift Wrapping
  • Shipping Fees
  • Shipping Handling Fees
  • Purchased Gift Certificates
 

In the case of mixed product orders, such as when a physical product and a gift certificate is purchased together in the same order, the Refunds Interface will update to separate the two types of products.

To refund an item, click the drop-down box next to the item you wish to refund and select the number of units. The Refund item total will update accordingly. Line items that do not have a shipping cost associated with them (such as downloadable products and gift certificates) will have no shipping costs to refund. Also, if the line item does not have a unit associated with it (like in the case of shipping or handling fees), you can specify the amount to refund.

Note that you will not be able to Continue if the refund amount is higher than the original unit price.

Refundable Items section

Line items that have discounts applied to them will be indicated with an information icon next to their price. You can view which type of discount (Automatic Promotion, coupon code, product level discount) was applied by mousing over it.

Line items with discounts applied

Depending on your payment gateway you will be able to perform multiple partial refunds through the BigCommerce control panel. To help protect you from over refunding, we have included the refunded amount next to the quantity ordered in the Refundable Items section and in the Order Summary section.

Once an order has been partially refunded, the order status will automatically update to Partially Refunded. If you have enabled customer email notifications to be sent when an order status changes, an email will be automatically sent to your customer to notify them of the partial or full refund.

 

You can also refund specific items for orders with multiple shipping addresses.

 
 

Confirm Refund

Once you have selected the type of refund, you then proceed to the Confirm Refund view for a quick check and review before sending the refund off to the payment provider to process the refund.

Refund Summary

The refund summary provides a snapshot of the items you have selected to refund along with the total amount to be refunded. If you have chosen to perform an order level discount, instead you will be presented with a summary of the refunded amount.

Refund Summary section

Refund Options

When performing a refund, you can choose your preferred refund method. Note that if you perform a refund back to a debit or credit card, it may take an additional 3-10 business days (depending on your payment provider and banking financial institution) for the refund to be received by your customer.

The Refund customer through third party provider option allows you to record refunds which are not processed through the original payment provider. This allows you to record refunds that are processed via methods that are not native to BigCommerce, such as gift certificates, bank transfers, and checks.

User-added image

 

Important note: Selecting this option means that funds will not be refunded automatically after submitting the refund in BigCommerce. You will need to manually provide the refund.

The Refund transaction processed external to BigCommerce option allows you to record that the refund was processed via the original payment provider, but externally to BigCommerce. Selecting this option means that funds will not be refunded automatically after submitting the refund in BigCommerce. You will need to provide the refund via the payment provider externally.

User-added image

 

Important note: Selecting this option means that funds will not be refunded automatically after submitting the refund in BigCommerce. You will need to provide the refund via the payment provider externally.

Any excess amount that could not be refunded back to the original payment method will be applied to the customer's account as store credit.

The following chart breaks down how a particular payment method is refunded, depending on how the customer originally paid for the order.

Online Payment MethodRefund Method
Credit Card
  • Credit Card
  • Third party provider
  • Original payment provider processed external to BigCommerce
Debit Card
  • Debit Card
  • Third party provider
  • Original payment provider processed external to BigCommerce
Gift Certificate
  • Store Credit
  • Third party provider
Store Credit
  • Store Credit
  • Third party provider
Offline Payment MethodRefund Method
Bank Deposit
Cash on Delivery (COD)
Cheque
Money Order
Third party provider

Once you have selected your preferred refund method, enter any notes in the Reasons for refund section to document the reason for the refund. Click Confirm Refund to complete the refund process.

Reason for refund section with Continue button

 

Having trouble issuing a refund? Make sure that the payment in question has been settled. Some payment gateways settle transactions at a particular time every day or dictate that a transaction must be older than 24 hours before it can be refunded. These are the most common causes of refunds not processing correctly.

 
 

Refund Adjustments

There are some situations in which sales tax may be overcharged. For example, a connection failure with an automatic tax provider can result in the 10% fallback rate or Manual Tax rate being applied, or you may have a tax-exempt customer who was erroneously charged.

In the event that you are refunding an order where BigCommerce has detected an overcharge, the amount that was overcharged ("adjustment") will become the minimum refund amount. For example, if a customer was overcharged tax by $5, and you are trying to make a refund on the order, you will see that a $5 minimum refund is required because of the tax adjustment.

If there is an adjustment on an order, an alert will display on the refund screen.

Example of a tax adjustment alert

 
 

Refunding with Avalara AvaTax

If you are using a third-party tax solution to calculate sales tax within your cart/checkout (like Avalara AvaTax), a tax document will be generated to capture the sales tax calculated on the order.

When you perform a refund, we will retrieve this historical tax document generated for the order and use this to calculate the appropriate sales tax that is to be refunded back to your customer. Whether you are refunding the entire order, a single line item, or a partial refund on shipping, this tax document ensures that all of your refunds are accurate and tax-compliant.

Another advantage of using Avalara AvaTax for your sales tax calculation is that all of your sales tax calculations are centralized in one location. This is beneficial as it allows you to also take advantage of Avalara’s tax returns product (Avalara Returns), which is an app within the BigCommerce App Marketplace. By using both Avalara AvaTax and Avalara Returns together, your sales tax forms for each state can be automatically prepared and ready for you to file. Alternatively, you can also opt to let Avalara handle everything, including filing and payment on your behalf, giving you even more time to focus on growing your business with BigCommerce.

 

If you plan on switching tax providers (such as moving from Manual tax to Avalara AvaTax), we recommend making the switch during a time when you have low order volumes. Switching tax providers during high order volume periods can lead to refund calculation anomalies as your source of truth for the sales tax would have changed.

 
 

FAQ

Why does my refund keep getting declined by my payment gateway?

Make sure that the payment in question has been settled. Some payment gateways settle transactions at a particular time every day or dictate that a transaction must be older than 24 hours before it can be refunded. These are the most common causes of refunds not processing correctly.

When can I perform an offline refund?

You can perform an offline refund if:

  • You are refunding a customer who paid via an offline payment method (cash, bank deposit, cheque or money order).
  • You actioned the refund directly via the payment gateway/processor, and not through BigCommerce. In this case, performing an offline refund is an optional manual process to record (within BigCommerce) that a refund has been actioned against an order. This ensures that your order information is up-to-date on your BigCommerce store, which is important if you perform future partial refunds against the same order.

How soon can my customers expect to be refunded?

The time it takes for the refund to be issued to your customer will vary depending on the combination of the payment gateway, payment processor and financial institution your merchant bank account is set up with.

It may take anywhere between 3-10 business days for your customer to receive the refund.

Can I refund an order that was paid with a gift certificate?

Yes. In this case, you will technically not be refunding the funds back to the gift certificate, but crediting the customer’s account with store credit.

Can I refund an order that was paid with store credit?

Yes. As with gift certificates, this refund will be in the form of crediting the customer’s account with the respective amount via store credit.

What happens when I edit an order by adding, removing or changing the price of a discounted product?

Changing the price of a discounted product will not affect the discount as they are disabled during the editing process. However, any discounts associated with that product will be removed from the order if the product is removed.

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