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Hi there from The Girlz Korner in upstate New York where you'll find light, witty and rather entertaining articles on every topic imaginable from The Little Black Dress to Making Whoopie. So if you get a chance to kick back and exhale, if only for a brief moment ... come on over and see me some time.
Hi, Heather! I saw your email about the problem you are having with your client not respecting your return policy.
Here's how I would handle it:
If you are to return a product that you are reviewing, postage should be paid by the client for the return mail. I, too, have a returns policy, and I will return items valued over a certain stated amount upon request. But because postage can be very high and I can't afford that personally, when the item is above that amount, it is the responsibility of the client to include a postage-paid label for return. I have done this, for example, with Microsoft, who graciously lent me a Zune to test for 30 days.
If your client did not make allowance for postage, and since they have not had you sign that contract, I would email them that you require this to go forth with your review.
Frankly, if they require a contract to be signed, but then sent me the product WITHOUTthe contract being signed first, and then ignored my return policy, I might decline to sign the contract and opt not to review the product at all as a result. Respecting both your return policies and their own is just basic professionalism, and that appears not to have happened here.
If I did run the review even after all of this, I would include all the facts about the 30-days of testing, the return policy and the late contract in the review, in an unheated, very matter-of-fact manner, to let your readers know the conditions under which the review was written.
Either way, of course you must return the item. I'm assuming that it has not been damaged and that you can do so? It's a hassle, but if they take care of the postage there is no real harm done.