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Some context

a cancel order feature on an ecommerce website or app that allows the user to do a last minute cancel order (maybe they accidently checked-out a item they didn't realize was in the cart). NOTE this is not the same as a refund feature. This feature is available only for a couple of hours at the most after the order has been made.

in reality this will notify the warehouse to terminate the order before they start the delivery process. that is before it even leaves the warehouse. however if the user has decided to pay via credit card the amount they will be changed earlier. and tho the feature is known as 'cancel order' a refund would happen, as in the money would be refunded back to the users bank account.

The back-end fix at the warehouse would be to only start charging the user just after the product left the warehouse. But this isn't possible at the moment.

My questions is does the user need to know a refund happened when canceling their order, or would this create additional concern to the user. Do online shoppers normally consider this as a simple UNDO feature or are they used to the complexities that happen?

  • I don't think the edit to your question changes anything. The two answers you have been given are still quite relevant and (in my opinion correct). Also, the "back-end fix" you suggest would be a very bad idea. For card payment, you want the user to know immediately their payment for an order went through, and you don't want to spend effort preparing the order for shipment unless payment has already been received. – user31143 Nov 8 '16 at 11:36
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The User-Centered Design always revolves around the user and gives the first priority to the user, so informing or providing a feedback is required in order to know the status, otherwise, customers have to call the customer support and find out the status which is more tedious for the user.

I think the e-commerce sites will have a different workflow for the cancellation procedure / process since it has to check lots of other parameters such as how the payment was done, did the seller shipped the item, if yes, where the product is currently, does it qualify for return policy, etc. So, based on these parameters, again there will be different workflows and alternatives, so it is not a simple UNDO.


We can consider this principle from NN/g:

Visibility of system status

The system should always keep users informed about what is going on, through appropriate feedback within reasonable time.

Read more @ NN/g https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/ - 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design

  • Hi i've updated the question with further clarification. – Ameen Akbar Nov 8 '16 at 10:13
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From a consumer point of view it's always good to get a message that the refund has been funded back to the user. If the user doesn't get a notification about it, more questions will be asked from him, for example. Did the order get canceled? Where's the money from the product that the user refunded? How long will it take for the money to transfer back to the users bank account.

  • Hi i've updated the question with further clarification. – Ameen Akbar Nov 8 '16 at 10:13
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Absolutely - Yes! Always put user first when working on UX. Think of users feelings and how would it make you feel if you would not be notified of what is happening with your money. Not to forget, many people use their credit (short-term loan) cards and, in some cases, their last money to purchase a present for their close ones. Losing their money would be extremely distressing for them.

A good example is namecheap.com, in case if your purchase for some reason did not go through, you get an email notifying you of a refund that has been issued. PayPal send an email automatically in this case.

Also updating order status to "refunded" would be a great move that would instill trust and dispose any mistrust.

  • Specifically, if the (original) payment has been processed to the point that the user may get notification from their CC provider/PayPal (or so that it would appear on their statement), then – once the refund has been confirmed – you need to let them know that the refund has also been processed (if there's a delay between the user asking to cancel the order, and the refund being definitely acted-upon, then the status should be something like "Order being cancelled"). – TripeHound Jan 12 '18 at 9:18

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