Upcoming improvements to the refund system

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Upcoming improvements to the refund system

Community Manager
Community Manager

During the State of Udemy this past May, we shared that we’re working on improving the refund system in 2020. Throughout the coming months, we’ll be releasing a series of experiments and updates to our existing refund system.

 

The new refund system will help us set better student expectations and identify refund abuse. Our goal with the new system is to provide a better experience for revenue-driving students, while protecting your course content — and your revenue — from bad actors. 

 

The first improvements that we will be making are to our refund platform. These changes will allow us to track and process refunds efficiently for students and help us to better monitor and enforce our refund policies. With these updates, we hope to better flag and catch refund abuse, while providing risk-free exploration for the majority of students. 

 

In addition to these backend improvements, we will be updating our refund-abuse policies to identify bad actors and limit their ability to request a refund. We will be implementing new thresholds based on:

  • Refund rates
  • Course consumption
  • Repeat course refunds

While these are the currently prioritized changes, the work on refunds will not stop there. We will continue to monitor refund trends, reasons, and behavior to identify opportunities for additional improvements, and explore alternative modes of refunds including a credit system.

 

As our work on refunds progresses, we will continue to provide updates on the project.

 

You can learn more about the new refund system in our FAQ here.

 

Teach on!

13 Comments

Refunds are out of control. First of all Udemy needs to change their back end to make it harder to use pirate softwares to download content. Obviously the option to record their screens will always be available for criminals.

 

I sell 4 courses here, and probably 50%+ of the people that have bought them have requested a refund 1-10 days after buying it. The courses are good quality and the few people that actually bought them legitimately have left great review.

 

So obviously people just come here, buy whatever they want, screen record or extract all the content they want and have 30 full days to request a full refund and we the instructors get screwed in the end. It is ridiculous. I am already looking at all the competitor alternatives out there.

 

You should implement something were the instructor can contact a student who requested a refund and ask them what was wrong. To see if they can justify why they feel they need to be refunded after having started the course.

I made $1023.00 this month in sales of which $23.00 was returned as refunds. I don't know how many trolls that is but for refunds, that's right in the ballpark of what I get each month. Be nice if instructors could see the refund stats for each of the refunds so we could determine which ones were legit and which refunds were just a result of someone gaming the system. Nothing major, just a break down of which refund was a result of abuse and which wasn't.  I don't need to see the student's ID. 

I've been here for six years and the refund rate, at least for my courses, is very consistently between 0.5% and 1.5% of sales. I have never considered it a problem and my assumption is that the guarantee and the sales it attracts outweight the cost of refunds. I think my refund rates are fairly normal. 

 

I agree that it would be nice to require the student to leave some reason why they were asking for a refund. that would be useful feedback. 

 

Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi @Lili , I first published in April 2014, my refund rate has always been very tiny. Even full-priced sales staying on and purchasing discounted courses from me.

It is great to see that you will be tracking for potential frauds - as I have seen posts from people where this has been a problem.

I do hope the team is working on App improvements - all these years later and still there is no assignments feature available... much to the irritation of many students and instructors.


@Lili wrote:

During the State of Udemy this past May, we shared that we’re working on improving the refund system in 2020. Throughout the coming months, we’ll be releasing a series of experiments and updates to our existing refund system.

 

The new refund system will help us set better student expectations and identify refund abuse. Our goal with the new system is to provide a better experience for revenue-driving students, while protecting your course content — and your revenue — from bad actors. 

 

......


Thank you, Lili ! 

Irrespective of what our individual refund rates are, this is welcome news.

 

We all know that there are many students who game the system, and its always good to be able to monitor the process better, and identify them more easily. Thanks Smiley Happy

Good to see.

 

I'm new to Udemy, but I experienced this problem with online book sales, through lesser known bookstores - when I checked them out they were not really bookstores but websites telling people to download and then return books for a refund - so after a few months they were no longer on my distribution platform.

 

Sadly there's always one or two who "shoplift" and great to see Udemy taking action.

This is a really great initiative, indeed. Thank you, Lili and Udemy!

One initiative that would be good would be for instructors to have the ability to directly send messages to students and former students.

 

If someone buys and then returns my course I would like to ask them why they did not find it valuable. And see what their feedback is. And if they are scammers then see if they even bother replying or not. That could be a way to help filter out who is genuine and who is here to just sign up for courses, download/screen record them, and then get a full refund back and the instructor loses all his income.

I think my refunds are in line with what others are posting. 

I too would love feedback about why someone refunded the course. Sometimes I can sense a refund is coming, for instance, if someone buys several of my courses at the same time. Often, there will be a refund for one or more. But otherwise, I never know why someone wants a refund. Would be nice to know but I doubt we'll ever know! 

I have 2000+ students with 2500+ sales and have a refund rate of around 1 to 5 per cent which I find acceptable. However when the abuse takes place it is so obvious and blatant to be almost laughable.  

This has happened only twice with someone downloading all 10 of my courses then refunding them 2 hours later. 

It is simple and obvious to me that there is an abuse and I am sure Udemy are able to see it as well. 

The first time I brought it to the attention of Udemy I got a response that was clearly an error as Udemy said something about negative reviews ? Which had nothing to do with my original ticket ?

I have reported the latest abuse but I am sympathetic to Udemy as a lot of the online world is based on trust and looking at the rates of abuse I have suffered I am pretty upbeat as most people seem to be honest purchasers.

I love the Udemy platform for both creating and taking courses.

That is a welcome move from Udemy.

I am new to Udemy. Looking at the first registered student complete the 1.5 hour course within 20 mins, downloading all the resources is disappointing. He completed 100% of course and unregistered himself from the course.

As few comments before, It would be great if there is a way to ask the students, why they are not satisfied with the course.

I do have many students (from one specific country) who join the course consume 100% ! leave rating 1 and then they refund 

No problem 

I have no problem with the fact that they are stealing my time and energy 

My problem is why UDEMY still keeps their RATING ? 

They just ruin the course 

My all courses have 30k students 

 

One suggestion to stop mis-behavior of some students who join the udemy 

  • Limit the number of refunds each student can do in every month 
  • If a student leaves the course remove his/her rating 
  • refund based on the consumption level of course materials (if it is less than 20% do full refund)
  • If  a student repeatedly refunds then stop them 
  • If somebody is also on Udemy as an instructor and frequently gives low rating to the others, stop them 



I am happy that Udemy is doing somethin on it 

1 year ago I asked the same request and Udemy told me 

WE R Udemdy if you don't like it leave it 

We R instructors and (Udemy, Instructors and Students) create this platform together 

Don't forget it 






Thanks 

 

Community Moderator
Community Moderator

Hey @alirezasoroudi, thanks for sharing your feedback. As we mentioned in our post we will be updating our refund-abuse policies and implementing new thresholds based on refund rates, course consumption, and repeat course refunds. These new policies will allow us to address your concerns regarding students completing a course then asking for a refund and those that request a high quantity of refunds. While these are the areas that we're improving now, we will continue to explore ways to improve the refund system by monitoring refund patterns and behavior to identify future policy improvements.


As for students that finish a course and request a refund, with the new policy students will no longer be granted a refund if they finish the majority of the course. While we can't share the specifics of what the consumption threshold is, we can assure you that it is well below 100% of the course. We know it's really frustrating to see a review from someone who has asked for a refund. I've passed your feedback and suggestions along to the team for consideration. To provide some insight, we can't delete the review because it is an honest review, even if it's not the best circumstances. However, you can take control of the narrative! Respond to the review and address the points that the student mentioned, so that future students see that you're active and have the right expectations going into your course.