Online Business Practices

Question

I am an online business woman and I only sell per order as I don’t keep stock with me… 

So if a client asks for something I then order it for them I have a no exchanges and refund policy because our suppliers don’t take the goods back from us or exchange for us… 

So if someone orders something and its small or something or they don’t like it I don’t refund. However I  do clarify to them as to make sure of sizes etc. and state if its small cuts or big… 

I sell a variety of items ranging from clothes, shoes, handbags and other goods I would give them a description of items.

I advertise with pictures they choose what they like and then send me the order.

As I don’t keep any stock with me the stock is sought from suppliers after taking the order from my clients

I place the order pay for stock and in that time either they pay or when it arrives some pay and others pay when they collect.

Please advise if this transaction is correct.

Answer

Firstly, you should keep in mind that selling an item that is not yet in your possession is incorrect. You will therefore have to adopt one of the two procedures in processing your transactions, either you pay the supplier initially for the goods from your personal funds and thereafter receive the goods. On taking possession of the goods you may conclude a sale with your client. The other option is that you receive monies from the clients (for the goods) but should be kept as Amaanat in
your possession. Here too the sale is not concluded or finalized. When the goods are supplied to the client then only is the sale concluded. However, in applying both these options there could be a possible risk; that is, due to the deal not been finalized, the client is entitled to claim back his funds and retract from the sale. If so, you will have no other option but to return the funds to the client. Secondly, if the funds are kept as Amaanat, you will not be able to utilize the funds, in other words, the monies will have to be stored in safekeeping.

In regards to your no exchange and non-refund policy, it is incorrect to implement these policies particularly if the item contains a defect. The customer is entitled to return a defective item to the seller. Also, if you ever are to sell an item that a client has not yet viewed, then the client reserves the right of accepting or rejecting the item on seeing the item. However, if the goods have been correctly supplied, but for some reason the customer requests a refund, then you are not obliged to refund the customer but definitely encouraged. The Hadith states, “Whoever refunds (an item) to someone who is regretful over his purchase, Allah  will reverse his errors (i.e. forgive his sins) on the day of Qiyaamah.”

In conclusion, keeping the above mentioned points in mind it is advisable that either you consult with your current suppliers; change certain business policies which then result in your business being Shariah compliant or search for a local manufacturer or distributor that can perhaps supply items that are equal to that which is currently being imported. This will then ease your task of overcoming the above mentioned issues.

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

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