Service Offers Insurance Against Disputes

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Return Assured Inc. has announced the Return Assured Seal of Approval, its flagship service designed to free cash flow for direct marketers as well as work as a customer relations tool.

Constructed with e-commerce, direct mail, telemarketing and direct response television marketers in mind, the service eliminates cash holdbacks that are typically levied by credit card firms on merchants in case of disputed transactions. Credit companies sometimes hold as much as 15 percent of the cash amount for each transaction to cover potential disputes.

Through a partnership with Lloyd's of London, Return Assured will take out an insurance policy with Lloyd's for a merchant's credit card company accounts. Return Assured said credit firms will then waive the holdbacks when customers dispute a bill.

According to Return Assured, the Lloyd's of London program has worked so far with its first client,, which began using the service last month.

Web Seal of Approval will cost marketers between 5 cents and 75 cents per transaction, depending on the amount of each purchase. There are no maintenance or setup fees.

The service also works as a consumer insurance plan, as it allows consumers to get their money back without contacting the vendor, manufacturer or credit card company.

For instance, Return Assured will send a reimbursement check to customers who buy pants at an apparel site that goes out of business prior to fulfillment of the order. Return Assured will then contact the site to collect for the disputed order.

E-tailers participating in the program will display a Return Assured logo on their checkout pages. Viewers can click on the logo to read about the Lloyd's of London backing.

Return Assured, Los Angeles, said the strength of the Lloyd's of London brand name will make consumers who are wary of giving their credit card numbers through direct sales channels feel more secure.

"Even if you don't trust a company's 30-day return policy, [the service] guarantees you'll get your money back," said Joel Margulies, president of Transactional Marketing Partners, Santa Monica, CA, the company handling marketing for Return Assured.

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