Before I get too wordy -- because you should know by now how much of a wind-bag I can be -- let me just give you the short answer:
From a customer e-mail:
I received my Envy color ring today and have chosen the colors that I think will work for me. I would like to take advantage of your Thanksgiving sale but still receive a credit for the color ring against that purchase. I know that I cannot get credit for the color ring until you receive it back and verify all swatches intact. Can I place an order during the Thanksgiving sale at the 35% discount and you hold processing and shipment until you receive the color ring?
This is a very fair question, and I really wish we could be that accommodating. However, for security reasons, it just isn't possible.
We have all of our payment security settings on CysterWigs cranked up to 11. It's the reason we don't accept payment over the phone, and why we are generally very frank with customers who send us information via e-mail (like credit card numbers) that they honestly should never, EVER send via e-mail. (FTR: We will NEVER ask you for this information via e-mail and as a general rule of thumb, you should be very suspicious of anyone who requests that you do this!)
My business partner and I used to work in IT, and your information security is very important to us. For example, we’re so airtight about how we process your credit card payments, that we have things set up so we never see more than just the last four digits of your card number. Ever. We can't add items after you've pressed the submit button, and we can't alter the wording of an order after the fact. It's basically like a little contract . . . and that's exactly how we like it. We don't fear accountability, because we've got no tricks up our sleeves -- so bring on the transparency! :)
So in this particular case, the main reason why we can't do what this client is asking -- or similar requests, via extension of principle -- is down to a simple matter of the payment gateway.
We are only given a very brief window to alter the majority of credit card payment transactions on the website (about 10 days - for security reasons), and after that time has passed, we cannot accept your payment or issue refunds. (In full disclosure: this window is slightly longer for PayPal transactions, but we cannot make individual exceptions based on payment method.)
For this reason, we always give people store credit for the returned color rings and their exchanged wigs.