Last updated on March 19th, 2023
Written by Ken Zhou
Everyone is a buyer, sellers included and everyone has purchased something in one way or the other. More importantly, everything you see and experience is related to physics. With that said, Murphy’s Law states that anything that can happen will happenーand that includes getting wrong orders or damaged goods.
But returning something you’ve purchased online is like a game of 20 questions - you first have to assess what’s wrong with the product, and if it’s still returnable. These are just some of the things you should consider before initiating a return.
You might have received a product that is any of the following:
As an Amazon seller, returns might upset you. But put yourselves in the buyer’s shoes. Remember your first disappointing purchase and what you hoped the seller would do for you then. Try to be as patient as possible and remember that these things happen. Let us help you turn it all around.
After all, helping your customers means helping your business in the long run. If a customer needs help with returns whether from your store or not, here’s what to do next.
Of course, you know your policies but your customer may someday face returns with another seller. Better to guide them now and earn some customer service points.
The first thing you have to ask your customers to do is check their receipt and order details in Your Orders. There, identify who sold them the item and the seller’s info. Was it from Amazon.com or was it from a third-party seller? Are they based locally or internationally?
Answering these questions determines which Amazon Return Policies apply. For example, the Amazon Global Store Returns and Amazon International Returns would be the policies in effect if the customer resides outside the US.
After identifying where the item was sold, your buyers need to identify exactly what it is they bought and under what product category it falls under. Upon identification, they should proceed to the Amazon site and check their list of items that cannot be returned.
If the product is eligible for a return, they can then proceed to the next steps. If not, they can reach out to Amazon or the seller directly and ask for a settlement, if possible.
Amazon and most sellers and brands on it, offer free returns within 30 days of receipt. But just because you bought something on Amazon does not mean you can return it to Amazon. If you purchased from a first-party or 1P seller, it means Amazon assumes full responsibility as they are the official merchant of the items.
Know that Amazon does not accept returns of items bought from third-party sellers. But that doesn’t mean they can’t return an item, they just couldn’t return it TO Amazon. The third-party seller or brand has its own return policy with specifics that may differ from Amazon’s Return Policy. These policies should be accessible on the seller’s Refund/Return Policies tab.
A return’s costs depend on the order's category, value, weight, and the reasons for return. Most items can be returned for free. These orders are usually new, unopened, and unused. These should weigh less than 50 lbs and have been received within the 30-day timeframe.
If unsure of the total cost, it’s better to check how much the return costs are as posted by Amazon. This list includes the flat rate shipping cost for your order's category plus the cost of each item included in that shipment.
If the product was ordered from a 3P seller, the item would be returned to the seller and not to Amazon. As a 3P seller, you have to provide the buyer with the following options:
Buyers may file an A-to-Z Guarantee claim if a seller does not offer any method of return or refund. You can also get help from Amazon managers and customer representatives in doing this.
Also, take note of the product value declared. Products worth more than $35 need a trackable service while items worth $100 and over need to be insured and shipped via a trackable service. Signature shipping is advised for both or risk not being covered by the A-to- Guarantee.
Some of the 3P products are eligible for Amazon Prime. If so, these will be under the same policies as those fulfilled by Amazon.
The detailed steps are posted on Amazon Return Your Item page. But here’s a quick breakdown of what your buyers would have to do:
Note: Submit a return request if the product is from an Amazon 3P seller. (The seller will review the return request before issuing a refund or replacement. If the buyer doesn't receive a reply within two business days, they can submit an A-to-z Guarantee claim. )
For most items, there is an automatic refund. If proven that the item is defective, you can receive a full refund on postage. Again, it all depends on the specifics mentioned above.
For Global Returns, it could take up to 25 days for the product to reach Amazon. After the returned items reach the warehouse, add a few more days for processing before the buyer can expect to get their refund.
As a seller, you can be better informed and guided by account managers on refunds and reimbursements.
Sellers may choose to re-list the item or mark down the price due to its less than perfect condition. You can still make the most of your returned items. There are a lot of zero-waste advocates who are willing to purchase used but not abused merchandise to lessen their carbon footprint. So take advantage of these and market your returned items around this.
The most upsetting thing a disappointing purchase will probably cause is the loss of trust. As a seller, this is something you’d never want to experience.Buyers are now aware that scammers exist in e-commerce.
Scammers take advantage of the fact you only get to inspect the products after delivery. Buyers shouldn’t lose faith no matter how traumatizing their experience was. There are many stages before items reach them, each one having its own possible difficulties. Scrupulous sellers should take proactive steps to ensure each stage has safeguards in place.
Sellers also become aware of buyers who abuse Amazon’s customer-centric strategies. Examples of these strategies are Amazon’s Returnless Refunds and free returns. Bogus buyers would order and then demand refunds after stating that they received a defective product - even when they did not.
Everyone wants fast and simple transactions, especially when both parties have already been aggrieved. As a seller, you should take returns and refunds as a learning experience. Although these will cost you time and money, customer satisfaction should be one of your top priorities if you truly want to succeed in selling on Amazon.
Although returns are inevitable, you can always reduce them. You can protect your products from being returned and refunded by investing in quality packaging, signing up with a trusted logistics partner, and working with a credible manufacturer that produces high-quality products. But in some cases wherein the returns were not due to defects or damage, you can always relist the items.
Hire a customer-attentive team of Amazon account managers to help protect your brand and take care of your buyers as they should be taken care of. If this is an opportunity you’d want for your business, schedule a call with us at [email protected] today!
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