Refunds or Exchanges of Purchased Artwork

Refunds or Exchanges of Purchased Artwork

This post was prompted by a student who asked a question about issuing refunds for purchased artwork. Someone had purchased a painting from them, and for whatever reason wanted to return it for a refund. Every artist will probably have a different way to handle this situation. My approach is to offer an exchange of the artwork for another piece of equal or greater value - I do not offer refunds.

The reason I take this approach is to protect myself. Let’s look at an example of something that happened to an artist friend of mine. Someone purchased quite a few pieces of work from this artist and later wanted to return them ALL for a refund. After some investigation on the artist’s part, it was determined that she purchased the pieces for a large party she was having for some dignitaries and wanted to make her house look great for the party. After the party, she wanted to return everything for a refund. It’s the same as the person who buys clothing for a fancy party, then returns the item after wearing it to the party.

I don’t really think it matters what your policy is - whether you accept refunds or only exchanges - it really matters that you have your policy written wherever you sell your art, so that the customer knows the policy prior to purchasing the art. If there is no stated policy, then there will be confusion on the part of each party if a situation arises. If you have a written policy, on your website for example, then when the customer buys the artwork from your website, they have agreed to the terms of the policy.

To assist in eliminating future issues from a customer, be sure to also write and show as much information about the paintings as possible wherever you sell them. For example, you should tell the customer what type of paints and substrates you use and how the edges of the canvases are treated, if they are framed or unframed, and possibly how they are shipped. This gives the potential customer enough information to make an informed decision about the work and helps you eliminate, or minimize issues from the customer that may come later if they aren’t armed with sufficient information. Artists are typically terrible at providing any information on their websites. Many barely have good pictures and a title of the piece for selling.

Learn to protect yourself and provide adequate parameters for selling your work so that you can have happy, informed customers who will love your work, and love purchasing it from you.

If you'd like to learn about abstract painting, then please join me for a painting workshop: (You can view a list of 2019 workshops HERE)

  • May 16-18, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. Mentorship Workshop. For information and registration Click Here.

  • June 12-14, 2019 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.

  • June 20-22 Floyd Art Center, Floyd, VA. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 10-12 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio-Mentorship Workshop, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 19 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio-Modern Watercolor on Canvas, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and registration Click Here.

  • July 24-26 Showcase Art Center, Greeley, CO. For information and registration contact Colette Pitcher, email:

  • August 7-9 David M. Kessler Fine Art Studio, Winston-Salem, NC. For information and Registration Click Here.

As always, thanks for your support!


P.S. If you you'd like to learn more about Abstract Painting in the comfort of your home or studio, I have a great course called Abstract Painting Academy available for you:

Abstract Painting Academy is the next best thing to a live workshop event. You can find out more by Clicking Here.

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You Can View My Paintings Here. Use the Coupon Code: EMAILDISCOUNT at check out.


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You Can View and/or Purchase HERE.