This is my official return policy.
If a customer receives a defective board, I will pay for the return shipping both ways. However, I need proof of the defective nature through photos. A defect is an obvious crack or split that has opened up during transit or happened through no fault of the customer within the first 90 days after receipt. If the board has warped due to prolonged contact with water resulting in splits, cracks and warps, that is not a manufacturing defect.
Occasionally the heat inside a UPS trailer or the pressure of boxes piled on top will result in a crack which I will honor as a defect. Warps caused by shipping pressure will go away once the board is allowed to relax in its new surroundings. If it doesn't relax and flatten, I will replace it. Mineral stains and other natural colorations of a board are not defects. Those were placed there by a natural reaction of the tree to an insect or tapping for maple sap. Those mineral stains are visible in 30 to 50% of the maple I buy and are almost impossible to work around. (I once had a customer who demanded I throw away all the wood that contained mineral stains.)
If a board is damaged in transit, UPS will normally pay for the return but if they deny the damage claim, I will have it returned then pay to resend another board. Otherwise, I will resend once the damage claim is accepted at my expense and wait for UPS to pay for the damages.
If the customer is simply not pleased with the appearance of the board, the return shipping is on the customer. If the customer wants to return a board for appearance questions, I will refund the cost of the board once the board has been received back to the shop. I do not refund the original shipping charges.
What happens to returned boards? The few that are returned are cut up and deposited in the dumpster. Why? Would you use a cutting board that another customer had? Once the shrink wrap is broken, anything can happen and I simply can't afford to take that chance.
As an aside, the photos on the web site are there for illustrative purposes only and the boards received will be different in appearance. The wood from tree to tree can and will vary in shades and coloration. The web site photos were taken of boards that were shipped to other customers and were not taken of special boards made just for photography.