2 big reasons to have a no-refund policy for instant downloads

by | Jun 14, 2021 | Refund Policy & Collections, Terms of Use

If you have a downloadable information product, e-book or DIY self-paced course, listen up.

Info products are a great way to reach more people, create passive income, and have affordable options in your wheelhouse.

But, the biggest concerns I hear from my clients about info products are:

1. “I don’t want to give a refund after a client downloads the info product and sees it!”

2. “I don’t want a client to download it and copy all of the content, and then try to ‘return’ it or ask for their money back.”

Sound familiar?

Take my client Shirin:

Shirin is a health coach who has created a DIY self-paced course called “7 Days to Deflate the Bloat.” The info course includes daily recorded videos, emails and worksheets. She has a sales page on her website with a “buy now” button to purchase it.

Shirin reached out because she wanted legal language to protect her content because she was worried that someone would copy or swipe her work. She also didn’t want to give refunds to clients.

She didn’t know how to share her policies on copying and refunds with her clients when they could go to her sales page anytime and click “buy now”. In other words, she wasn’t talking with the potential client first.

Shirin said she was happy to have found me since I’m a lawyer AND a health coach and I understand the online space. Because I totally get both worlds – the legal world AND the online nutrition world – she was relieved because all she had to do was say, “I have an instant download on my website” and I knew exactly what she was talking about.

I told Shirin that she would want to have a no-refund policy for 2 big reasons:



1. So clients can’t “return” a downloadable product that they can view instantly.

I told Shirin that her client would have no way to have them “ship the course back” to her if they are unhappy. Once a DIY product or course is downloaded, it’s on the client’s computer and the client has received it.

Or, if it’s a DIY course and the client has logged into the first module, the client’s in. He/she/they have seen at least some of the content. It’s a done deal. There are no take-backs.

2. So clients can’t try to ask for their money back AFTER they’ve downloaded your content and copied it.

Even if a client says they haven’t seen it – or read it – yet, they’ve received the PDF or been given a login. With some online platforms where you host an online course, you can see whether or not they’ve accessed the first module, but with an e-book or PDF that you send to them by email, you have no way of knowing whether they are being truthful or not. It’s tricky. Sometimes, you can’t verify whether they’ve already seen the content or not and that puts you in a tight spot.

This is why I also recommend dripping your course content and not giving access to EVERYTHING right away. It also helps to prevent someone from going in right away and copying everything and then asking for a refund.

With instant downloads or courses, I don’t even recommend a 24-hour return policy. It may sound harsh, but why? For the exact same reason. Even in the 1st 24 hours of access, someone could go in and download everything and then ask for a refund. That’s not cool. It’s not good juju. But, if you have a 24-hour return policy, you’re allowing them to do it, so it’s not illegal, even if it doesn’t feel good that someone does it.

It’s always your choice as to what feels good to you. I’m not trying to tell you what to do.

I recommend having a no-refund policy where you don’t give refunds for info products. That way, your income is protected whether a client accesses the content or not.

(Know that even with a no-refund policy, you can always make an exception to your own policy if you wish. You can voluntarily give a refund anytime you want.)

Shirin worked so hard to create her self-paced course that I told her it was important to protect not only all that intellectual property, but also to get paid for her hard work and not leave the door open to clients asking for refunds AFTER they had accessed the product. Shirin used my DIY Terms of Use and was a happy camper.

Remember, as a business owner, it’s your obligation to be up front and clear about your refund policy so your clients know where you stand.

You want to have Terms of Use with your no-refund policy spelled out in writing, like my DIY Terms of Use.

You want your clients to agree to your legal terms when they’re purchasing your info product. You want to feel safe & secure when it comes to your income. You want strong legal language to protect your content, so you have language to fall back on if someone swipes your content.

Do you have Terms of Use with a no-refund policy for your info products and courses? Take a sec to check right now so you aren’t leaving yourself legally naked when it comes to refunds.

I hope this message was helpful to you. If you have a friend who has a downloadable info product, feel free to forward this message to them so they’re in the “legal loop” too.

If you have questions, feel free to hit reply and just ask us. We’re always happy to help you with Legal Love.

Here’s to getting legally covered for instant downloads with a no-refund policy!


Do you have a downloadable product and need a clear no-refund policy? Get the DIY Terms of Use here. My DIY legal templates like this one are wayyyyyy more affordable than having a lawyer create something from scratch. The Terms of Use is also specifically catered to coaches & online entrepreneurs who have a sales page up for their info product, and they’re simple, written in plain English, and can be downloaded quickly! #winwin