The Seller's Guide to Amazon Returns

While only around 9% of brick-and-mortar purchases are returned, that number shoots up to 30% as soon as the purchases go online. If your business operates primarily through online storefronts like Amazon, that can be a massive headache.

So if you're an Amazon seller trying to wrap your head around Amazon returns and Amazon seller refunds, what do you need to know? What are the ins and outs of this system which can drive so many Amazon sellers crazy?

Well, you came to the right place. Let us take you through a quick but comprehensive guide to the wild world of Amazon returns and Amazon FBA inventory reimbursement.

Let's go!

What Is the Policy With Amazon Returns?

Amazon's FBA refunds and returns policy changes regularly, so it can be hard to keep on top of what is expected of you as a seller operating on Amazon's marketplace. Nevertheless, let's try to get into how things are as they currently stand.

To begin, let's clarify that the Amazon FBA refunds system allows Amazon customers to return items (purchased on Amazon) free of charge, with Amazon covering the shipping fee. Still with us? Good.

When it works, this is a great system for taking a big burden off of sellers operating on Amazon and putting it onto, well, Amazon. Rather than having to cover the time, effort, and money of processing and verifying a return, Amazon handles it for you.

That means Amazon checks out the returned product, decides if it's defective or not, then decides whether to fulfill a return.

Of course, it's dependent on the seller (you) having a replacement item in your inventory that Amazon can dip into to give to the customer. That's still a bit of a hassle, but much less than having to deal with everything yourself.

So, presuming that you trust Amazon to handle all this stuff for you, it's not a bad deal. And considering you already trust them to handle a lot of things by selling through Amazon, it'd be strange to stop trusting them at this point.

But that doesn't mean everything is totally rosy. Some sellers do have complaints.

What Problems Do People Have With Amazon Returns?

Now, for the most part, plenty of Amazon sellers are all too happy not to have to field returns themselves. Still, people do have issues with the system, so it's worth it to give them an overview before you decide whether or not to participate in the Amazon FBA inventory reimbursement process.

For one thing, utilizing Amazon's FBA system means giving Amazon free reign over your inventory. They need that in order to furnish your customers with replacements, which makes sense. But still, it sets certain sellers' teeth on edge to not have total control over their stock. Especially if they deal in items that aren't exactly in abundant supply right now (like anything with a computer chip in it).

Sellers also get nervous about the possibility of customers returning items wantonly. After all, when the returns process is totally cost-free for the customer, there's nothing to prevent abuse of the system. It also means customers can be more likely to immediately send back a product they aren't immediately in love with, even if they might end up appreciating it after a short period.

Are Amazon's Investigations Reliable?

Savvy sellers will notice that the whole FBA audit process hinges on one key moment: the Amazon-led investigation into the customer's returned product. The question is, how reliable are those investigations?

Well, pretty reliable, on the whole. Amazon didn't become one of the biggest companies on the planet with sloppy operating procedures, but there are still a few risks for sellers in this process.

Let's say your business sells mirrors. You sell a mirror through Amazon, the customer returns it, and the Amazon investigation team has to decide whether or not the mirror is actually defective or not. That's pretty easy: if the mirror has a huge crack in it, it's hard to miss. If it's totally flawless, that's easy to see too.

Now let's say you sell camera lenses, and a customer returns one claiming that the colors of the photos they take are wrong. Does the  investigator Amazon assigns the assessment to have a robust enough knowledge of photography and color settings to properly appraise the return?

You see the problem: relying on a distant Amazon investigator to appraise your Amazon seller refunds means putting a key part of your business in the hands of people who aren't as familiar with the field as you are. Depending on how complex your products are, that can either be totally fine or a total dealbreaker.

Is the Amazon Returns Process Open to Scammers?

The one million dollar question. Is it possible for nefarious ne'er-do-wells to take advantage of the gaps in the Amazon FBA audit process to exploit your company?

There are a few horror stories. The tale of the scammer who bought a load of broken smartphones off the back of a truck, then bought brand new versions and sent in the broken ones 'for a refund' is one that everyone has heard. And it's true, any human-run system is going to run into trouble on occasion.

But the truth is, such stories are rare, and the vast majority of sellers that operate using Amazon returns don't run into these kinds of problems. Nevertheless, if you're worried about any of these problems, you can always enlist the aid of professional help.

A Returns Policy That Works for You

So there you have it, a quick guide to the ins and outs, ups and downs of the Amazon returns and FBA audit system. Whether you're knee-deep in Amazon's processes already or just about to make the decision, there's something in here to help you figure out where your business stands.

And besides, hopefully you won't receive any refund requests anyway!

Liked this article? Got questions? Get in touch!

While only around 9% of brick-and-mortar purchases are returned, that number shoots up to 30% as soon as the purchases go online. If your business operates primarily through online storefronts like Amazon, that can be a massive headache.

So if you're an Amazon seller trying to wrap your head around Amazon returns and Amazon seller refunds, what do you need to know? What are the ins and outs of this system which can drive so many Amazon sellers crazy?

Well, you came to the right place. Let us take you through a quick but comprehensive guide to the wild world of Amazon returns and Amazon FBA inventory reimbursement.

Let's go!

What Is the Policy With Amazon Returns?

Amazon's FBA refunds and returns policy changes regularly, so it can be hard to keep on top of what is expected of you as a seller operating on Amazon's marketplace. Nevertheless, let's try to get into how things are as they currently stand.

To begin, let's clarify that the Amazon FBA refunds system allows Amazon customers to return items (purchased on Amazon) free of charge, with Amazon covering the shipping fee. Still with us? Good.

When it works, this is a great system for taking a big burden off of sellers operating on Amazon and putting it onto, well, Amazon. Rather than having to cover the time, effort, and money of processing and verifying a return, Amazon handles it for you.

That means Amazon checks out the returned product, decides if it's defective or not, then decides whether to fulfill a return.

Of course, it's dependent on the seller (you) having a replacement item in your inventory that Amazon can dip into to give to the customer. That's still a bit of a hassle, but much less than having to deal with everything yourself.

So, presuming that you trust Amazon to handle all this stuff for you, it's not a bad deal. And considering you already trust them to handle a lot of things by selling through Amazon, it'd be strange to stop trusting them at this point.

But that doesn't mean everything is totally rosy. Some sellers do have complaints.

What Problems Do People Have With Amazon Returns?

Now, for the most part, plenty of Amazon sellers are all too happy not to have to field returns themselves. Still, people do have issues with the system, so it's worth it to give them an overview before you decide whether or not to participate in the Amazon FBA inventory reimbursement process.

For one thing, utilizing Amazon's FBA system means giving Amazon free reign over your inventory. They need that in order to furnish your customers with replacements, which makes sense. But still, it sets certain sellers' teeth on edge to not have total control over their stock. Especially if they deal in items that aren't exactly in abundant supply right now (like anything with a computer chip in it).

Sellers also get nervous about the possibility of customers returning items wantonly. After all, when the returns process is totally cost-free for the customer, there's nothing to prevent abuse of the system. It also means customers can be more likely to immediately send back a product they aren't immediately in love with, even if they might end up appreciating it after a short period.

Are Amazon's Investigations Reliable?

Savvy sellers will notice that the whole FBA audit process hinges on one key moment: the Amazon-led investigation into the customer's returned product. The question is, how reliable are those investigations?

Well, pretty reliable, on the whole. Amazon didn't become one of the biggest companies on the planet with sloppy operating procedures, but there are still a few risks for sellers in this process.

Let's say your business sells mirrors. You sell a mirror through Amazon, the customer returns it, and the Amazon investigation team has to decide whether or not the mirror is actually defective or not. That's pretty easy: if the mirror has a huge crack in it, it's hard to miss. If it's totally flawless, that's easy to see too.

Now let's say you sell camera lenses, and a customer returns one claiming that the colors of the photos they take are wrong. Does the  investigator Amazon assigns the assessment to have a robust enough knowledge of photography and color settings to properly appraise the return?

You see the problem: relying on a distant Amazon investigator to appraise your Amazon seller refunds means putting a key part of your business in the hands of people who aren't as familiar with the field as you are. Depending on how complex your products are, that can either be totally fine or a total dealbreaker.

Is the Amazon Returns Process Open to Scammers?

The one million dollar question. Is it possible for nefarious ne'er-do-wells to take advantage of the gaps in the Amazon FBA audit process to exploit your company?

There are a few horror stories. The tale of the scammer who bought a load of broken smartphones off the back of a truck, then bought brand new versions and sent in the broken ones 'for a refund' is one that everyone has heard. And it's true, any human-run system is going to run into trouble on occasion.

But the truth is, such stories are rare, and the vast majority of sellers that operate using Amazon returns don't run into these kinds of problems. Nevertheless, if you're worried about any of these problems, you can always enlist the aid of professional help.

A Returns Policy That Works for You

So there you have it, a quick guide to the ins and outs, ups and downs of the Amazon returns and FBA audit system. Whether you're knee-deep in Amazon's processes already or just about to make the decision, there's something in here to help you figure out where your business stands.

And besides, hopefully you won't receive any refund requests anyway!

Liked this article? Got questions? Get in touch!

Our Amazon Refund Service

Affordable

We don’t make money until we get you every Amazon refund you’re owed. There are no start-up costs, monthly fees or long-term commitments to worry about. Once the money is reimbursed, we charge a competitive commission on the money recovered.

Efficient

We work smart to make sure you’re reimbursed as soon as possible. You'll start seeing reimbursements in as little as 48 hours plus, we review your account and file for reimbursements every 2 weeks. Others do it every few months.

Complete

We deliver comprehensive recovery reports detailing your refund activity, ensuring all items are accounted for and that you receive refunds for everything you deserve. You’ll be able to rest easy knowing where your inventory stands at all times.

Related Posts