New Refund System & Policy Updates

What changes have you made to the refund system?

In late July, we announced that we’d be releasing a series of experiments and updates to our existing refund system. Our team has been hard at work building a new refund system from the ground up. Our goal with these improvements is to provide a better experience for revenue-driving students, while protecting your course content — and your revenue — from bad actors.

We’re excited to announce that improvements to the refund system are now live in three main areas:

  • The platform
  • Refund policies
  • Credits

Why did you make those changes? Why not remove the ability to refund entirely?

Refunds are an important part of Udemy. They provide students with the ability to explore learning online, the Udemy platform, and new instructors – all risk free. Based on our user research data, Udemy’s refund policy has a noticeable impact on a students confidence and willingness to buy a course. This is true for students new to Udemy and existing students unsure whether a new instructor or course is the right fit for their learning goal. While our data shows that the vast majority of students on Udemy never request a refund, we know from our user research studies that the refund policy increases confidence in students’ purchases.

However, we recognize that there is a small subset of students who abuse the refund system. That is why over the last two months, we built a new refund platform that allows us to better set student expectations and identify refund abuse.

What changes did you make to the refund platform?

We have rebuilt the refund platform from the ground up which will allow us to track and process refunds more efficiently for students. Students will see the same request as a refund experience that they see today but they will now be able to track the status of their refund directly from their purchase history page.

While the student experience will appear largely the same, the new platform gives Udemy the ability to better monitor and enforce existing refund policies, and implement new ones. We’ll now be able to better flag and catch refund abuse, and deny refund requests from students abusing the refund policy before they are able to request a refund.

How will the new refund abuse policies work?

Due to the overhaul of our refund platform, we have been able to build new refund-abuse rules directly into the platform. With the new platform, we are denying refund requests instantly if a student breaks our refund policy. These denials consider our existing policy and new abuse thresholds we have put in place as part of the refund revamp work.

These thresholds are based on:

  • Account refund rates
  • Course consumption
  • Multiple refund requests for the same course

If I suspect refund abuse, how can I notify the Udemy team?

If you suspect refund abuse, fraudulent behavior, or any other violation of the Udemy terms of service, please notify our Trust & Safety team by emailing policy@udemy.com. Please include specifics about the suspected abuse, any relevant screenshots, dates, etc. for our team to investigate.

How will the credit refunds work?

Udemy credits are an alternative form of refund that are available to students at the point that they request a refund. Unlike cash refunds, credits are instantly available in student accounts, encouraging them to explore immediately and find the right course to fit their learning needs.

Students are only able to purchase courses on the marketplace with Udemy credits. They will not be able to use credits off of the marketplace. Credits are subject to the same refund abuse policies as cash payments. You can find details about how the credit system works in our support FAQ here.

What will I see differently in my revenue report with a credit refund or purchase?

You will not see any changes in your revenue report with the new credit system. All purchases made with credits will be listed the same as any other purchase method with the price and currency.

When will the changes to refunds be live?

The new refund platform, refund abuse policies, and credit system are all live now.

Will you be doing any additional work on refunds?

While the updates outlined above cover the refund system revamp we spoke of during the May 2020 State of Udemy announcement, the work on refunds will not stop there. We will continue to monitor refund trends, reasons, and behavior to identify opportunities for additional improvements.

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