Authors Beware: Money Back Guarantees and Limited Change Your Mind Clauses

It ticks me off when I hear about authors getting scammed. It ticks me off when I get lied to. And it really ticks me off when authors I work with get scammed.

Publishing Predators come in all kinds of sizes and shapes. In all kinds of titles and services. Some come across as sleazy from the get-go … your warning lights are flashing and you know to be cautious or turn and run.

Have you ever been taken by a “nice guy” … one that you would never suspect would be on the flim-flam side of things? They walk and talk like they are the real thing, but oh-oh, disaster could be lurking in your midst. I have.

Last year, many authors heard a speaker who proclaimed to be an expert in funnel and online marketing. He was a last-minute substitute for someone who was hit by one of the many hurricanes last year. From the platform, we all thought he was the cat’s meow … and could deliver answers and solutions to many of the complex issues that authors face with online book marketing. Buzz started. Many signed up, not realizing that per his contract, that there was a limited three-day, get your money back clause buried in it.

The dark side surfaced. Not communicating; not working with the client; not get approvals are all huge taboos in my book. It turned into a marketing and financial nightmare. Kind of like “take our money and run.”

Here’s what happened: he was a dud post the event. His communications were the pits; he was difficult to get a hold of with excuses of illness and childcare responsibilities; few could figure out what he was doing; and if he created something and pushed it out—no one knew what it was, saw it, nor had they been given the opportunity to see and approve anything that was done in their name.

For several, we were highly disappointed and felt taken … something no one wants to feel or experience. The credit card companies have resisted returning moneys because of the 3-day clause. Anyone who calls me, I forewarn them now—do not deal with him.

My advice forward: I will not sign anything that does not carry at least a 30-day money back guarantee (60 days are better)—no matter how much I think I like someone. I need, and you need, time to experience and evaluate an individual’s or company’s services.

  • If it’s a referral, how long has the person worked with the individual or company?
  • Would they work with them again?
  • Has the individual or company worked with other authors?
  • What was done and what are the verifiable results?
  • Approval is needed for any work that is pushed out before it is publicly available.
  • Any moneys needed to support a service must be pre-approved.
  • There must be an escape clause with a money back guarantee, no less than 30 days.

If it’s a product, you need to “use it” to determine if it delivers what the claim is. Not on someone else you don’t personally know. If his, her or its services sound too good to be true, they probably aren’t.

And never again will I ever let anyone participate in a program I’m affiliated with unless I’ve had a pre-existing personal working experience with. I don’t care what the sponsor claims.

My two bits.





Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (Foreword IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35, How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos has earned 7 national book awards in 2017Get your copy now.

Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged Bootcamp, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2018, the dates are June 23-25.  Participate in her Judith Briles Speaking Unplugged Bootcamp held in March and November. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at

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