Walmart vs. Amazon Return Policy: Which Online Marketplace Has a Better Policy for Sellers

May 9, 2022
Written by Nicasio Co III
app logos of Amazon and Walmart displayed on a smartphone

As an ecommerce seller, you must contemplate and research before making any crucial decisions for your business. Whether it’s choosing a supplier or an online marketplace to set up your products, you need to be aware of all your options and their pros and cons. Doing this will help you minimize your losses and achieve your business goals faster.

This is important if you are still deciding between selling on Amazon or Walmart. Despite being two of the biggest online marketplaces globally, they have distinct features, services, and policies that can affect your decision, especially their return policies.

This article contains the essential elements of Walmart and Amazon return policies along with their pros and cons. Read on to know which return policy best suits your needs as a seller!

Walmart Return Policy

Walmart has long been a household name in the US because of its multiple branches, low prices, and trustworthy services since the 1960s. If you want to start selling your products through the Walmart Marketplace, here are some notable return policies you need to know:

Return/refund durations

  • For orders sold and shipped by Walmart, customers can have their purchased items returned or replaced within 90 days of receipt. However, some items must be returned within 14, 30, or 60 days depending on their category. They would also require the receipt or Walmart.com order number to secure a refund or exchange.
  • Products with less than a 90-day return window will start their return period on December 26 as long as they were purchased or received from November 1 to December 25.

Other policies regarding returns and refunds

  • Walmart has set up minimum return standards for specific products for third-party sellers to follow. This way, they can provide a consistent shopping experience like Walmart. Sellers must set at least 14 days for customers to return electronics and luxury items and at least 30 days for others.
  • Customers who want to return items can ship them back or return them to the nearest Walmart store. But hazardous materials sold by third-party sellers are not eligible for an in-store return.
  • Some items are only available for exchange for an exact or similar item. These include unlocked wireless phones, opened or used airbeds, crutches, and walkers.
  • If the customer wants to return an item sold by Walmart, the company reserves the right to limit or decline the request whether they have a receipt or not.
  • Walmart reserves the right to close marketplace accounts or refuse orders or returns if they detect violations, abuse, or fraudulent activities related to these.

Guarantees

  • The Walmart Marketplace Promise provides peace of mind for shoppers who purchase from Walmart third-party sellers. Under this guarantee, sellers must provide a resolution within 48 hours. Otherwise, Walmart will decide on a course of action, and it will be final.

Amazon Return Policy

As Amazon fulfills its vision to be the most customer-centric company in the world, they ensure that their customers get the best services by creating comprehensive and reasonable marketplace policies. Below are the returns policies that you must take note of as an Amazon seller:

Return/refund durations

  • Customers are allowed to return items within 30 days of shipment, whether they buy from Amazon or third-party sellers. However, it does not apply to some items, such as prepaid game cards, customized or personalized orders, and grocery products. Computer laptops, desktops, and Kindles would not be accepted anymore if they were returned more than 30 days after delivery.
  • During the holiday season, customers are eligible to return items until January 31 for orders shipped between October 1 and December 31. Because of this, buyers can return products they bought during the Black Friday sale.

Other policies regarding returns and refunds

  • If the product is eligible for the Amazon Prime return policy, it will have the same return policies as other items that Amazon fulfilled.
  • Third-party sellers can modify their refund policies to fit their operations and costs. So, customers must follow their policies because Amazon will not meddle with return requests of sellers with customized policies.
  • Returns for merchant-fulfilled orders will be directly sent to the seller. Therefore, you must provide either a return US address or a prepaid return label. If not, the customer can file an A-to-Z claim, which can be time-consuming and harmful to your seller account health.

Guarantees

  • Amazon uses the A-to-Z Guarantee to protect buyers when they purchase merchant-fulfilled items. This way, customers can still have a satisfying shopping experience on Amazon, even without ordering from an FBA seller.
  • For merchant-fulfilled orders, sellers must respond to a return request within 24 hours and issue a refund within two business days upon receiving the returned items. Otherwise, Amazon would automatically refund the customers on their behalf and charge them directly from the seller account.
  • Amazon sellers can offer returnless refunds to avoid spending additional costs on product returns. However, you can choose which items are eligible for this to avoid scammers from taking advantage of you.
  • Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe lets shoppers try out the items at home and decide which items to keep or return. But through the Amazon Fashion returns policy, Amazon has the right to reject return requests if they are not in sellable condition.

Because there are still several return policies not included in this section, it would be best for you to consult an Amazon expert if you still have questions about refunds, returns, or reimbursements.

amazon return policy - positive and negative signs placed on a scale

The Pros and Cons of Each Policy

It is evident in the points given above that Walmart and Amazon have distinct return policies, which reflect their identities and objectives as businesses. However, as a seller, you must accept that there’s no perfect set of policies that would favor everyone. Therefore, at some point, you have to compromise to keep your business going.

But regardless of this sad reality and the differences between the two online marketplace giants, sellers like you must still weigh their pros and cons before deciding. This way, you can have a clearer picture of what you can expect from the company and how you can work your way around their policies.

In the table below, you will know the pros and cons of Walmart and Amazon return policies for sellers like you. 

ProsCons
Walmart• They have the right to deny return requests that seem fraudulent.

• Some items can only be exchanged, which prevents buyers from abusing the return policies.
• Complete information and guidelines about returns are not provided on their website. You still need to consult with a customer service representative if you need clarification, which is inconvenient.

• It has limited options for returned products.
Amazon• It has more specific return guidelines for all categories.

• Its Amazon FBA Grade and Resell program allows sellers to resell their returned items labeled as used.
• It allows returnless refunds, which encourages others to take advantage of the system.

•Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe can be a hassle for sellers offering products eligible for this program.

Which One Should You Choose?

Based on the information above, the return policy of Amazon is more comprehensive with customer satisfaction as its priority. On the other hand, Walmart is more flexible by allowing third-party sellers to modify their return policies as long as they follow the minimum requirements.

Furthermore, Amazon sellers can offer returnless refunds on selected items, which is not available at Walmart. Of course, having this feature means that you might encounter pretentious customers, but it could also be your way to gain customer loyalty.

Lastly, Amazon has several seller programs that can give you options for handling your returns, which Walmart does not offer. These include Amazon FBA Grade and Resell and Amazon Renewed. 

Regardless of your choice, returns and refunds are not a small part of any business because they can make or break it. But because product returns are inevitable in ecommerce, you must be prepared to handle possible losses or find ways to reduce or prevent them from occurring in the first place. It would also be best to outweigh the benefits from the risks through the help of marketplace experts.

Bottom Line

Both Walmart and Amazon became trustworthy online marketplaces for people worldwide because of their reliable services and reasonable return policies. Additionally, because returns are essential to provide customer satisfaction, they continue to improve their policies and introduce new ones.

However, some sellers might have difficulty catching up with the continuous revisions on these marketplaces’ return policies. So, it would be best for you to look for a credible account management agency, like Seller Interactive, that can guide you on Amazon or Walmart policies, whether they are related to returns or not. In addition, they have experienced sellers and consultants on board to help you with returns or account management.


Is this something you’d want to know for your business? Email [email protected] today to get started on your journey to growth and success!

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