How Return and Refund take place on Amazon
When the customers buy an item from a seller on Amazon, they expect the classy customer services from them pre and post order receiving. Here Amazon too bounds the sellers to furnish its customers with the satisfactory services and in any case if customers do not get satisfied with their orders they can ask for return and refund. This is the Amazon’s game for sellers now to play for its customers. Amazon recommends its sellers to initiate the return/Replacement or refunds within the specified time frame as per the Amazon policy else it considers them as a verdict for non-responsiveness to its customers which may affect the ODR (Order Defect Rate). If your ODR is higher than the defined ODR, Amazon may suspend your account. Thus being an Amazon seller you should always follow the Amazon guidelines for every procedure and be careful with buyer-seller messages- right from order taking to delivery and even for return and refund and above all while communicating with your customers. Amazon keeps watching your every action which can take your Amazon account to the top or at the down.
Why a buyer returns???
- More often a buyer returns when he/she does not receive the items they have ordered. The color, size or the specifications can vary from the ordered and delivered items which make the buyer ask for the return and refund.
- A buyer has received the defective items.
- Maybe the seller has shipped the items to the wrong address.
- Maybe Seller has not facilitated the shipping services to the location where customer demands making the customer to cancel the confirmation to buy.
- A buyer has ordered an item and later on found that the item is out-of-stock from your store and no doubt he/she will click on cancellation of an item.
- Sometimes, a buyer returns just because they find the item no more interesting and needful for them amid their shopping and thus click on return option.
It is easy for a buyer to return. With few easy steps and clicks, a buyer can apply for return on Amazon.
Here are the steps:
- Click on Returns Support Centre followed by Return Items from your Amazon account.
- Select the order that a buyer wants to return and then return an item from this order. Then click Go.
- Here comes an option for a buyer to mention the reason for return. In this section, buyer comments about the reason why he/she wants to return whether it is wrong delivery, different color, size or they no longer want this product or any additional reason they feel to return.
- Finally, click on Submit for Approval.
Amazon has specified the time period within which a customer can apply for return and refund of the purchased item:
Post this submission, here comes the seller’s role. The sellers have no option to decline the return. Amazon never discourages its customers. Let the fault will on any side (whether buyer’s or seller’s), the sellers are abode to accept the returns by the buyers. The seller reviews the return request and replies via email about the guidelines on how to return an item. Amazon strictly bounds its sellers to respond to their buyers within two business days. If the seller does not respond within 2 days, a buyer can claim A-to-Z guarantee. The sellers who have opted for Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) does not need to worry about the return pick-up, Amazon does all this, behalf of its sellers while the sellers with Merchant Fulfillment Network (MFN) are responsible for picking up the returned Product from the buyer. Know the Pros and cons of FBA & MFN on Amazon. The buyers here need to send the purchased item with Return Authorization Number to the seller’s address as discussed in the return guidelines.
Who will bear shipping charges and why??
- All fault is at seller’s side when sellers deliver the wrong item (different color, size, specifications etc.) to their buyer and therefore buyer would surely ask for return. Here seller is responsible for paying the shipping charges to its buyers. Amazon worths each and every penny of its customers. The sellers need to pay for their fault.
- When the return is just because that a buyer no longer wants the product then the shipping charges are incurred to the buyer only. Thank you, Amazon for understanding its sellers so much!
Now comes the refund for the purchased item
The sellers with FBA do not get to be worried as Amazon will handle all returns, shipment, picking-up the returned product and communicate with the buyers for further processing for the refund. When customers ask for a refund, Amazon initiates itself without seller’s knowledge and later on get reimbursed from the sellers. Obviously, sellers need to pay to Amazon. But what if sellers don’t have any fault and there is no condition to issue a refund, but Amazon has already done it. Then sellers can claim the issue in A-to-Z guarantee and if Amazon finds it legitimate, then only, refund gets canceled else hard luck of sellers.
Amazon sellers who are handling the shipment through MFN need to fight with Amazon’s more often changing policies. It becomes more hectic for MFN sellers to handle their customers as well as buyers concerning Amazon. Sellers need to manage this very efficiently and be very careful in handling the returns & refunds
Post the buyer’s submission the sellers contact their customers and completes the return process and initiates the refund process post the reception of the item at its warehouse (for MFN) or at Amazon’s warehouse if a seller has opted for FBA. It’s a mandate for sellers to issue a refund within the five days post receiving the returned item/items from the buyer. All the orders below $35 in the United States, the Buyers need to incur the shipping charges, these shipping charges are refunded only when the fault is at the seller’s side (defective product, wrong product delivery). The shipping charges are refunded only as per the conditions.
Partial Refund: When the seller receives the product defective or not in the same condition the seller had dispatched then he can reimburse only partial refund. But for making this decision, the seller should clearly communicate with its buyers, else buyers may claim A-to-Z Guarantee.
Precautions for sellers while issuing a refund:
- While listing, selling and dispatching the sellers should clearly mention the return and refund policies to the buyers.
- The sellers should wait for the returned product. Post receiving the only a refund should be initiated.
- Check the returned product with the conditions they had dispatched. In any mismatch, you can opt for a partial refund.
- Sometimes, the buyers refuse that they have received any product even though they had received it. These fraud buyers (scammers) initiate for a refund and in the absence of the evidence, the sellers need to pay the refund. This causes loss of the money as well as the product. Thus, while delivering, the sellers should have the signature of the buyer at the receipt and should have the product label details. This might prevent the seller from the returnless refunds.
- Track the delivery at every point while shipping.
- Stay connected with the buyers and keep answering their queries. Maintain a good seller-buyer relationship. By this, you can maintain the trust of the buyers and easily sort out the issue else no one can stop the buyer to claim the A-to-Z guarantee and here you know how the Amazon concerns for its buyers.
- Take the help of the Amazon service provider to maintain your Amazon store setup right from handling orders to dispatching and further contacting the customers.
- If you could not handle the customer’s issue efficiently, customer can give you negative feedback which surely affects your future sales as other customers would go through these negative reviews and might stop them themselves before clicking on the buying button. Here being panic is not the solution to any issue. If a customer gives any negative review or comment, contact them and communicate politely and find out the reason and sort out all. After all, Amazon’s customers are quite understanding. For more to know read: How to deal with negative reviews?
- You can take all this lightly but Amazon won’t. It will track all your account details and responding and action time from the seller’s side and if you find something fishy, you might bear Amazon account suspension. Thus handling the return and refund request timely is recommended for all Amazon sellers. For preventing your Amazon account from suspension, read: Save Yourself From Getting Suspended on Amazon Seller Central-Reasons & Reinstatement.
Properly prepare your product listings and shipping before dispatching it to buyers so that they cannot blame you for the receiving empty box or wrong product. All the returns and refunds can easily be handled if you follow Amazon’s policies. Don’t try to snuggle with Amazon even if you find the buyer’s fault. Be patient and process the return and refund to your valuable customers. This will help in building a bridge of trust among you, your buyers and more importantly Amazon.