Stefaniy Martynenko

What happens to returns on amazon? A detailed overview

One of the most annoying situations for sellers on Amazon is product returns. And the point is not so much that it is a new headache. The most annoying thing is that in most cases, the buyer has no objective reasons for such an act. Taking advantage of the platform’s loyal conditions, many people make rash orders, take products for comparison or just to look at them. This means that a return ≠ a mistake on your part.

One of the most common reasons for returns is “unauthorised purchases” – orders made by children without parental consent. This term can also refer to fraudulent transactions.

But let’s not exaggerate, because in 90% of cases, such transactions do not cause critical inconvenience to the seller.

What is Amazon’s return policy for goods

The normal return period is 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of the parcel. For some categories (e.g. children’s toys or Birthday Gift List gifts), this is extended to 90 days. In exceptional cases, the period may be extended to 1 year (valid for Amazon Elements, Wickedly Prime, etc.).

In general, the marketplace’s policy in this regard can be called quite generous. On the one hand, it encourages buyers to spend more money. On the other hand, it forces sellers to process almost every return without dispute. Amazon will not even ask you if you are ready to accept the goods back, because most requests are processed automatically (this applies to stores operating under the FBA model).

Very often, the platform will first refund the buyer’s money, and only then will it investigate whether the goods are damaged. And here is a case where the generosity of the policy has also affected sellers. If a parcel is returned to the warehouse in an improper condition and the product itself is defective (and it is not the fault of the manufacturer or yours), Amazon will credit the seller’s balance with an amount equal to the full cost.It is also important to note that not all categories of orders from Amazon can be returned. Thus, buyers are not allowed to exchange individual and some jewellery, online subscriptions, groceries, medicines, and insects. You can find more details in the relevant section of the rules.

What happens to returns on Amazon?

The goods are returned to the prep centre. If it is intact and in good condition, it will be repackaged and sent back to the warehouse. This means that it is returned to your balance sheet ready to be sold again.

If the product is damaged, there are several possible scenarios:

  • you request the removal of the item and receive a refund of the fee, taxes, and an amount equal to the cost (provided that the fault for the damage lies with Amazon or the buyer);

  • the item falls into the “unexecuted” category, you will receive a refund of the commission for closing the trade (provided that the illiquidity of the position is your fault);

  • it is possible to resell the goods as used within the Grade and Resell programme (to do this, you need to re-register and create a new ad);

  • FBA members can apply for liquidation and receive up to 10% of the estimated value;

  • you can donate products to charitable organisations to avoid recycling fees (FBA Donations option).

Can the seller change the return policy?

Yes, it is possible. But only for those who work on the Fulfilment by Merchant model (i.e. send parcels to the buyer on their own, without using the warehouses and preparatory centres of the trading platform).

Do such situations affect the store’s reputation?

Absolutely. And it’s not just about negative reviews. A high defect rate directly reduces the health of the account and its position in the overall rating. A large number of returns can lead to account blocking.

How to reduce the percentage of returns and is it possible to eliminate them altogether?

Unfortunately, you cannot fully protect yourself. However, it is always important to work on the quality of products, provide detailed descriptions, competent photo and useful video content to the buyer.

As you can see, the process of returning to Amazon is quite comfortable for both parties to the transaction. Nevertheless, we wish sellers to face such situations as little as possible and remind you that Nexus specialists will be happy to help you with any issue related to your Amazon business.

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