There are rules about offering a “money-back guarantee” that brands and their customers should know.

The FTC’s rule is that a seller can use the terms “satisfaction guarantee,” “money back guarantee,” or similar language only if it “refunds the full purchase price of the advertised product at the purchaser’s request.”

The rule also requires that any “limitations or conditions that apply” need to be presented “with such clarity and prominence as will be noticed and understood” by customers.

In other words, if the guarantee doesn’t mean a complete, no-questions-asked refund, then the conditions need to be explained clearly enough that no one could miss it.

So, if you advertise a “60-day money back guarantee,” but the customer has to pay shipping, submit some kind of proof about using the product, or other condition, that needs to be set out clearly at the same time as the guarantee offer is presented.

A real-life example:

Last year, the FTC reached a $22M settlement with a manufacturer of a pain relief device.

Among other problems, the lawsuit alleged that the seller offered a “risk-free” and “money-back” guarantee, but that shipping and handling was not refundable.

The seller only disclosed that limitation in separate links on their website and at the bottom of invoices.

They also sometimes required “burdensome tasks” to obtain a refund, including proof of completing a treatment regimen—also only disclosed in separate links and on invoices.

Paying attention to your guarantee language up front can save a lot of trouble later.