Returns and refunds on Amazon are a big obstacle for FBA Sellers.eCommerce return rates are extremely high in 2021 compared to traditional retail stores. For example, return rates for brick-and-mortar stores are around 8%. On the other hand, eCommerce return rates are more than double that figure, at 20%.
This can have a massive effect on sellers. Because of that, Amazon sellers must meet the high standards that Amazon has set for its customers’ experiences, which means that when it comes to their returns process, sellers must meet specific rules and deadlines for fulfilling requests.
Even when customers appear unreasonable, dealing with returns and refunds on Amazon politely, positively, and helpfully is critical.
How Does Amazon’s Return Policy Work?
Amazon accepts returns for most products within 30 days of delivery. Baby items and birthday gift lists, for example, can be returned within 90 days of shipment, whereas others cannot be returned and must be returned to the third party seller.
Amazon handles storage and logistics for FBA sellers (most sellers use FBA to sell). Amazon also handles customer returns. As a result, FBA sellers generally have little influence over whether Amazon accepts or rejects the return. However, because Amazon is committed to providing excellent customer service, it accepts the majority of customer returns at no cost to the shopper.
Customers who purchase from FBA sellers have 30 days from the date of purchase to request a return (for some categories, this time frame may be different). If a customer decides to return an order, Amazon notifies them that a return has been initiated and deducts the cost of the return from their account balance.
Returns and refunds on Amazon’s policies state that your return policy must be equal to or greater than the return policy for Amazon and FBA orders for individual or merchant-fulfilled sellers. Providing a 30-day return window for most of your products would be beneficial. They also advise responding to these requests within 24 hours and refunding the customer within 48 hours of initiating the return request. It’s also worth noting that if sellers don’t act within 2 business days, Amazon has the authority to initiate a refund on their behalf and charge the amount to their seller account.
Return orders will be sent directly to you as the seller, not to Amazon. This means that you must provide one of the following:
- The return address in the United States
- A prepaid shipping label
You only need to provide a return address and a method to reimburse your customer for return shipping costs for seller-fulfilled orders ( a prepaid shipping label or reimbursement of shipping costs).
If you do not provide at least one of these options, the customer may file an A-Z Claim, which can be time-consuming to handle, pile up, and be detrimental to account health.
Why Is Handling Returns and Refunds on Amazon So Important?
Effective Amazon return management is required to protect your account and reputation in the marketplace.
When you lose a sale, you must figure out what went wrong and fix it as soon as possible. The benefits of customer reviews and customer feedback are clear. Therefore, you must act on the issue and deal with it before increasing returns and negative feedback harm your seller metrics. If this happens, your visibility and Buy Box competitiveness will suffer.
Finally, too many returns may result in the suspension of your Amazon account.
When it comes to Amazon FBA returns, you must keep a close eye on them. Anything other than that, you may be out of pocket, and Amazon FBA return fees may reduce your profits.
A variety of issues may arise that must be addressed, including:
- Products are not actually returned
- Amazon is not properly reimbursing your account
- Misleading returns
How to Deal With Amazon Returns?
Even though returns and refunds on Amazon are inconvenient to deal with, sellers have nothing to fear as long as they are proactive in dealing with them.
Discover Why Items Are Being Returned
Understanding why products were returned is critical to reducing future returns. If there is a problem with quality or defects, you should contact your supplier. If there are issues with late delivery, you must resolve them.
Contacting customers can assist you in determining why items were returned. However, you can also do this by running a report in your Amazon Seller Account. This report is excellent for identifying recurring problems.
Go to ‘Reports,’ ‘Fulfillment,‘ ‘Customer concessions,’ and then ‘Returns‘ to create one. You can specify a custom time frame for the report. Some of the reasons for Amazon returns include:
- Accidental orders
- The wrong product was delivered.
- The item is damaged, but the package is not.
- Inadequate quality
- The item is damaged, but the package is not.
- The product is defective.
- The incorrect item was delivered.
If you’re an FBA seller and receive a return due to damage that occurred while your stock was in Amazon’s possession, you’re entitled to a refund of the product price and your referral fee.
Keep Track of Your Returns
Customers receive their money back immediately when they return items to Amazon FBA. To ensure the package is returned within 45 days, keep track of any incoming refund notifications in your email. If not, Amazon should reimburse you.
Add refund notifications to a dedicated email folder as they arrive. You’ll have a more accurate record this way. You could also track returns in your Amazon Seller Account by going to the reports section and selecting the returns tab. Check your account regularly in case you miss an email.
This report, on the other hand, only includes refunded products. To determine whether an item has arrived at Amazon’s fulfillment center, look for it in your FBA inventory.
Examine Your Refunds
Both FBA and FBM sellers should inspect their returns for two reasons:
- To determine whether it is suitable for resale
- To determine whether the stated reason for return is correct
Customers must pay for shipping if they select specific reasons for their returns. Unfortunately, some people may claim an item is defective to receive free return shipping when it is not. They might not realize how damaging this is to an Amazon seller’s metrics.
If you inspect a product that was returned as defective and discover it is not, you should open a support ticket with Amazon. Send a photo of the item’s condition and the order slip. It may result in reimbursement.
Inspecting Amazon FBA returns is a little more difficult for FBA sellers. First, requesting a removal order, which costs 50 cents for standard-sized items, is necessary.
When a product is returned to an Amazon Fulfillment Center, warehouse workers inspect it and determine whether or not it can be returned to your stock. If the product has been opened or is defective, it will be deemed unsellable.
You should request a removal order even if the items are deemed sellable. Why? If an Amazon employee makes a mistake, a future customer may receive an open or damaged product. It’s your reputation on the line, so go the extra mile to ensure your returns are in perfect condition before reselling them.