Selling on Amazon can be a great income generator, but dealing with Amazon returns can be quite a challenge. When receiving an email notification about a returned item, there are critical steps you need to take to protect your seller account.
Here are the important steps to take in the event you get a returned item from a customer.
1. Save The “Return” Email From Amazon
Once a customer returns an item ordered through Prime Shipping, Amazon issues the refund right away, this is without waiting for the item to be returned. Amazon will then let you know that the refund has been issued from your account. These correspondences should be saved within a specific folder in your email. This is so you can have a record of the refund, as well as a confirmation that the return will occur within 45 days from the date of the refund being issued to the customer.
2. Check If The Item Is Returned Within 45 Days
If an item is not returned to FBA within 45 days, then you would need to request a reimbursement from Amazon by raising a seller support case and providing them with the product information, transaction ID and order ID.
3. Contact The Buyer
You need to do this to protect your Seller Feedback score. There are times when a customer requests a return, the next thing they do is to leave feedback to the seller. Regardless of the customer’s feedback, whether good or bad, it is a very good practice to contact the buyer and apologise for the poor experience.
Here is an example template message you can use:
“Hi [Buyers Name],
We just received a notification from Amazon that you requested a return for <INSERT ITEM>. We would like to sincerely apologise if the item did not meet your expectations. Having placed this as a Prime Order, Amazon should provide you with an immediate refund, and I would just like to ensure if the refund has been successful.
We would also like to know if there is anything we can do to make things better?
We appreciate your time reading this message, have a fantastic day.”
Reaching out to the buyer, and sending a message like this can help make a customer think twice about leaving you with negative feedback. Alternatively, if negative feedback was already left, this message will still leave the customer an impression that you are helpful, and that you care for their welfare. Be sure to check the negative feedback they have left you and if it does not comply with Amazon guidelines, you can request for it to be removed.
4. Ask The Returned Items Be Sent Back To You
As soon as the item arrives at the Amazon Warehouse, a warehouse worker will inspect the item to see if it’s still fulfillable or not. If the item is seen as already opened by the customer, it will usually be marked as “Customer Damaged” and will be deemed as unfulfillable. Also, if the item was returned as “Defective”, naturally it will be unfulfillable. However, if the item wasn’t opened by the customer, and wasn’t returned as “Defective”, they will then add it back to your fulfillable inventory, for resale to the next customer.
Regardless of Amazon’s decision, you may have all the returns sent back to you, so you can inspect them personally. Why? There are times when warehouse workers work at high speed that they sometimes miss something from their inspection. Having said this, it will also be wise to set a specific cap of multiple returned items that you want to be sent back to you.
5. Personally Inspect The Items Returned To You
Upon inspecting the item and you find out that it’s unopened and still in new condition, you may send it back to Amazon to sell it. Yes, it may take some time, effort and a little cash, however, this is one way to protect your seller account.
If you find out that a “Defective” returned item has never been opened, or is working properly upon testing, then, you should immediately open a ticket with Seller Support. In your message to Amazon, tell them that the item in question wasn’t defective and that you think the customer was trying to get free shipping. You should also attach a photo of the returned item, along with the return packing slip from Amazon. You should also attach a close up photo of the packing slip with the numbers and text visible. They may reimburse you.
On the other hand, if the item is indeed defective, you have to take responsibility as a seller and find out why. Perhaps you can fulfill it on another platform as used if it is just the packaging that is damaged and not the item itself.
These steps will be helpful in protecting your account from any red flags that could trigger the fearsome suspension. No need to be scared of returns, all you have to be is prepared in handling these situations and taking immediate action to achieve a swift resolution.
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