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5 Tips for an Effective Refund Policy

Every AYSO Region has to deal with the difficult issue of refunds. Whether it’s parents deciding at the last minute to try a different activity or kids just changing their minds about playing, you’ve likely been faced with the dilemma of whether you should give a refund. 

Once a player participates in an AYSO practice or game, insurance and other costs begin to kick in. The National player fee is non-refundable, but what about the rest? With your season in full force, keep these five tips in mind when parents ask for a refund:  

1. Have a refund policy!
It's best to decide on a refund policy before your Region starts registration but if you haven't already, do it now. Get together with your Region Board to hash out the details. Make it clear and simple and ask your fellow Registrars what has worked for them.

2. Consider the needs of families.
Set the refund cut off dates as late as you practically can so you don't put parents in an impossible situation. Many parents could be unaware of what their child’s or the family schedule may be and don’t know how the practices could conflict. Give yourself enough time to fill that player’s spot, but allow enough flexibility in the policy so it serves most families.

3. Communicate early, often and clearly.

Include your policy in a handy place on your Region’s website, FAQ section, social media pages and on posters/flyers during registration events. Make sure there aren’t any surprises for parents seeking refunds. One of the biggest complaints from parents is that they can’t find the policy on Region websites. That just means more calls or emails to you!

4. Try to find a win-win.

Stick to your policy as much as you can, but the rule of thumb is: An unhappy customer will tell 10 other people how unhappy they are. Be as reasonable and fair as you can when deciding whether denying a particular refund is worth the trouble you will go through. Try to find a win-win and keep in mind that sometimes, it's best to just give the full refund. 

5. It’s marketing.

Consider the refund policy as part of your Region’s marketing efforts. The parent that gets a refund today could bring her child back to AYSO tomorrow. It’s not easy, but balance the inconvenience to your volunteers vs. the inconvenience to your families. 

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