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Tue June 14 2011 09:17:38

Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Policy

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
Just received an email from Amazon titled Return Policy Information Displayed to Buyers:

To ensure a consistent experience for buyers, Amazon sellers are required to have return policies that are at least as favorable as the Amazon return policies. To help provide the best experience for buyers, we will be updating the return information in your Amazon.com Returns tab on July 11, 2011, to clarify that buyers may return products to you in accordance with the Amazon return policies.

The updated return information will direct buyers to the Amazon return policies and will continue to give buyers the ability to contact you for information about any more favorable policies that may apply. If your inventory includes Fulfillment by Amazon items, your Returns tab will continue to reference the Amazon return policies.

See this Help page for more information about the Amazon return policies:
link

If you have questions, please contact our Seller Support team by clicking the Contact Seller Support link at the bottom of any seller Help page.

Oh, great is all I can say... It's bad enough that PayPal has virtually taken away a seller's rights of having any kind of policy via their "buy guarantee"... now Amazon is forcing sellers to abide by what they determine to be a "favorable return policy".

They are removing (they call it "updating") the Return Policy posted by the seller and will now direct buyers to the Amazon Return Policy. But will "continue to give buyers the ability to contact you for information about any more favorable policies that may apply".

Really?? Mine is 30 days..pretty standard... a low 15% restock fee if item is returned in used or unsellable condition.

And here's the kicker... my items aren't even listed under any of their Return Policies.. I'm in, I guess, Home & Garden, and that's not even listed! Outdoor Living says to refer to the seller's policies to return. That will be changed, I guess. If I go to Return An Item one of their policies are: Any item that is not in its original condition, is damaged, or is missing parts for reasons not due to our error: up to 50% of item's price. I could not even do that to a buyer and not get screamed at. They would run to the A-Z guarantee or file a charge back.

This just irritates me... Maybe they are trying to get rid of some sellers that have unreasonable return policies, but then why not address them as needed? I just feel that it's one more thing to deny sellers rights, do we have any anymore?

I mean, what's next? Insert Marketplace Name Here _____: Ok, Sellers, we have decided what the Return Policy will be here on anything that you sell, and you must abide by it OR offer a better one?? It's scary if Amazon does this, then it opens the field wide open for other marketplaces to justify it, too.

Disappointed in Amazon....
Julie (a 4 year Pro Merchant)



Comments (25) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: MR ME

Tue Jun 14 09:53:36 2011

In my experience , a large percentage of returns are caused by "Buyers Remorse", "User error" , or "Buyer not reading the description", resulting in the seller "absorbing" the initial shipping cost, and in worst case, getting back a "buyer-damaged" item.... eBays/Paypal policy stinks, now it looks like Amazon is following the  eBay route.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Julie

Tue Jun 14 10:04:09 2011

I do want to clarify that the policy of having a Return Policy equal to or exceeding Amazon has always been this way. What bothers me is the fact that they are removing our policy from the page. My policy was written carefully and gives all the information for a buyer to return their items. By removing the information as it pertains to our company means that now buyers will have to contact us and ask for the information.

So  instead of a buyer being able to go to the Return Policy page or being able to refer buyers to it, now we must send them our return policy along with the return address each time any return is requested.

Our return rate is really low and I don't have an issue with keeping my policy in line. It's the removal of information from the buyers that bothers me.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: YDDD

Tue Jun 14 10:56:57 2011

Above poster is right, I am stuck on ebay, my buyers want to return because of buyers remorse or not reading description, and that is bullsh*t !

Amazon never appealed to me, I was die hard eBay, but since Donahoe wants to be a copy cat of Amazon, look for eBay before Christmas to announce mandatory returns, I guarante that is coming sooner rather than later !

I know abbreviate my name cause of Uncle Rico

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Moonwishes
Web Site

Tue Jun 14 11:20:23 2011

On ecrater, where we are allowed to set our own policies regarding refunds, due to the type of items I sell we have a strict NO refunds policy unless for our error. So imagine our surprise when a buyer did an end run two weeks after getting their purchase, sent it back without contacting us wanting a refund (buyer's remorse). Now I'm sitting here with their product wondering what I should do. To give a refund is not fair to those that have asked that I have told no to, and yet I have their product here. B&M stores have traditonally never accepted refunds on this item either, so this just isn't me setting no refunds for the fun of it. Of course the payment companies have us by the nose since they can at any time come and scoop up our money just because the buyer files a complaint to the cc company. It is just frustrating that someone 'buys' stuff just because they want a closer look at it and then decide they don't need it.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Geekworking

Tue Jun 14 11:50:53 2011

Your mistake is believing that you are any more than a drop-shipper in Amazon's eyes.

Think about it.  

You don't get an order, you get an item, shipping method, and address just like any other drop-shipper.  

They don't give you more information for the same reason that you wouldn't give too much information to a drop-shipper that you may use -- they don't want you to bypass them and have a relationship with "their" customers.

You don't list your products. You add products to their catalog and then get the opportunity to compete with other sellers of "your" item to try to "win" the buy button.

Every marketplace, past, present, and future will always put their interests before the sellers.

Sellers use marketplaces only because they have to. Marketplaces have grown so large that no small business with non-niche products has the resources to grab enough traffic to survive without selling their soul to the marketplaces.

The only option as a seller is to be able to shift gears fast enough to avoid being stepped on by the 800lb gorilla.

Sucks, but it is just a fact of life for a marketplace seller.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: buck efay

Tue Jun 14 13:05:31 2011

Have a very low return rate, but it burns me up when I get played on Amazon's "Rent & Return" policy, where some cheapskate burns a copy of my media then makes some nonsense claim & demands a refund. Hurts my metrics & costs me shipping. Amazon needs to investigate buyers with higher than say 5% return rate, which is already high enough. At least I did win one claim with such a buyer because he had negative feedback stating the same issue from other sellers(YES you can leave NEGATIVE FEEDBACK for bad buyers on aMazon)

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: George

Tue Jun 14 13:29:44 2011

I am not surprised Amazon is doing this and YES ebay is already gearing up to do the same thing.

ebay, amazon and a few others are trying to FORCE sellers to operate like the big box stores.  They will take pretty much anything back and then RESELL it and when they get massive complaints from unsuspecting buyers who buy the returned CRAP they do not have to worry about the negatives and bad ratings because they are not held accountable like the small sellers.  

So small sellers are held to CORPORATE expenses but held to a FAR HIGHER accountability.

The reason this is is because the CEOS of ebay, amazon etc are CORPORATE men an woman and they are protecting their buddies by KILLING OFF their competition which are the small sellers.

How we BEAT THEM is by LL of us listing our items at the smaller venues as well as these larger ones and continue to send OUR customers to our other venues at every turn and offering them incentives.  But do not just use one or even two small venues because once they get bigger they too will begin to do as ebay and amazon.

HEre are some examples of incentives.

1. Do NOT offer free shipping on ebay or amazon but DO offer it on the other venues.
2. Sell them for 10-15% LESS on the other venues.
3. Offer items on the other venues that you do NOT offer on ebay or Amazon.

Here are some venues I suggest.

ecrater (totally FREE to sell, you pay NO listing fees and NO FVF),
ebid, low FVF
Bonanza, low FVF
atomic mall lower fees

These are just some, there are others.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Grocery Vitamin Guy

Tue Jun 14 16:25:36 2011

What if you sell food items or vitamins?  Once the seal is broken, I should not be forced to take this product back.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: ToH

Tue Jun 14 22:13:49 2011

Agree with @Geekworking

You play in my sandbox you play by my rules.

Rule #1. I can change the rules at anytime, anyway I want, with little or no notice, for whatever reason.

All marketplaces have rule number 1 in some form or other. Always have. All sellers have agreed to the rule in some form or other.
Unless the marketplace has breached a contract with you, you have few choices -- comply or leave.

As someone else said above in so many words -- move buyers to your web-site as often as you can. Use all the marketplaces as customer generators. They are not your customers until they buy directly from you via email or your web-site.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jun 15 03:48:17 2011

@ToH,

So true, it's eBay's sand pit and they can do whatever bodily functions they like in it, and that's precisely why eBay is slowly dying: nobody likes the resulting smell. ...

The fact is the rusting old hulk eBay is presently being kept afloat by the clunky PreyPal so it’s good to see these boys recently squabbling and threats to PreyPal’s online dominance now coming thick and fast. It’s interesting times ahead for all we eBay “haters” (oops, I mean “watchers”). I just hope that someone has remembered to bring the popcorn.

Enron / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: George

Wed Jun 15 13:48:53 2011

While it is true that paypal keeps ebay afloat, it is also true that ebay keeps paypal afloat.  MOST of paypals customers come directly from ebay, which is why ebay has FORCED their sellers to use it.

Others sites do use paypal but many of them also offer other merchants and because of paypals horrible policies more and more people are getting rid of paypal it that trend will also continue.

If we want to put paypal in check we also have to stop using it on other sites.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Lisa

Wed Jun 15 15:44:09 2011

I deplore sellers with "restocking fees" and 15% is inexcusable! When I sell on Amazon, I'm selling used books or viewed once DVDs or BDs. My return policy is no returns.  That is consistent with Amazon's policy on the same item, if they sold the same item. New items that are still sealed are 30 days - same as Amazon. Amazon won't take CDs or movies that have been opened back, neither will I.  I've only ever had one dispute where somebody said it wasn't sealed. I always state in my listings, no matter eBay or Amazon, if it's been previously viewed or isn't sealed.  I can't force people to read the listing and since my hands are tied on warning other sellers, I can only respond that the condition was clearly stated in the listing. Books I'll gladly take back, especially since I usually only sell college textbooks and end up making the same or more on a resale. I've never been asked to have one returned, but I don't have a problem accepting them and I NEVER charge anybody a restocking fee! It's bad enough that something wasn't as expected and I had to pay to return it, it's a slap in my face that anybody would charge a "restocking fee" to put it back on a shelf or relist it. I consider that shameful, greedy conduct and I won't buy from that seller.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Lisa

Wed Jun 15 15:51:10 2011

This from "George":

"How we BEAT THEM is by LL of us listing our items at the smaller venues as well as these larger ones and continue to send OUR customers to our other venues at every turn and offering them incentives.  But do not just use one or even two small venues because once they get bigger they too will begin to do as ebay and amazon.

HEre are some examples of incentives.

1. Do NOT offer free shipping on ebay or amazon but DO offer it on the other venues.
2. Sell them for 10-15% LESS on the other venues.
3. Offer items on the other venues that you do NOT offer on ebay or Amazon."

George, have you ever had an opportunity to glance over eBay's User Agreement as it pertains to items you list?  It doesn't sound like it. Because if you had, you would know that it is a listing violation to offer the same item on another site for less than what you're offering it on eBay for.  By encourating others to violate eBay TOS, you're setting yourself and others up for some rude awakenings. I build the cost of shipping into my items, I always ship free, and I don't sell at a loss so I don't buy anything I can't resell at a profit. If I buy a Blu Ray disc, and hate the movie, I list it on eBay as viewed 1x with free shipping. If I paid $25 for the disc and I get $17.99 for it, I figure the $6 difference is what it would have cost me to rent the movie on HD PPV.  Well worth it.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Julie

Wed Jun 15 16:54:57 2011

@ Lisa

When July 11th comes, your return policy will be null, void and erased and Amazon's policy will be in effect. Any wording you have about ''no returns'' will no longer apply. All a buyer has to do is claim the used book is defective or damaged and they can return it within 30 days.

''For used media, defects/damage/material difference should be reported to you within 14 days of receipt and the returned merchandise should still be postmarked within 30 days of shipment. There should be no restocking fee charged if the item is defective/damaged/materially different. ''

Restocking fees are inexcusable? I beg to differ. All of my items are new when they leave here. If a buyer returns an item because ''insert reason here'', and the item is missing tags, instructions, packaging.. (never mind that this is stated in the seller's return policy, but, oh, wait, that will be gone). So buyer is reimbursed and the item is now an ''open box'' that has to be reduced to sell or donated or written off as a loss. I don't think 15% is really all that much to deduct in a case like that. (And let me add that in 4 years time only ONCE have I ever done this to a Amazon buyer, like I stated, our return rate is really low vs the amount of sales and buyers are very careful to return items as they were sent to them.)

Besides...look at Amazon's Restocking Fees/Partial Refund policy (which will apply to all 3rd party sellers soon):

   * Any unopened media item or non-media item in original condition that is returned more than 30 days after delivery: 80% of item's price.
   * Any book that has obvious signs of use: 50% of item's price.
   * Any CD, DVD, VHS tape, software, video game, cassette tape, or vinyl record that has been opened (taken out of its plastic wrap): 50% of item's price.
   * Any item that is not in its original condition, is damaged, or is missing parts for reasons not due to our error: up to 50% of item's price

Here is the unnerving part: returned MORE than 30 days after delivery...

Amazon can take 20% but they won't get negative feedback... a 3rd party seller takes 20% after 30 days... negative feedback can be almost guaranteed.

Now if Amazon would allow negative feedback to be removed in a case where the buyer was mad because we followed Amazon's rules for Returns, that would make it more tolerable, I guess. Not that I am holding my breath for that to ever happen. ;)

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Lawrence A Dickerson

Wed Jun 15 17:32:23 2011

Thinking as a buyer only think of how difficult it is to read the millions of separate  return and shipping policies.There needs to be a uniform policy that all sellers are mandated to adhere to in order to  simplify the buying procedure..When will you sellers ever recognize that it is the end consumer that drives the market economy and dictates your success or failure.

When I am comparative shopping I hardly have time to read the many policies that the sellers mandate.Take your blinders off and rethink your positions.Competition is tough and whoever said life is fair in the first place?

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Mel

Wed Jun 15 20:18:44 2011

''When I am comparative shopping I hardly have time to read the many policies that the sellers mandate.Take your blinders off and rethink your positions.Competition is tough and whoever said life is fair in the first place?''

First, I don't remember anyone saying life was fair. Second, according to your statement all businesses should have a universal return policy. Perhaps the government should take up this issue so you are not inconvenienced.

I shop several stores local and online. As a responsible buyer I take the time to make myself familiar with a store's policies prior to purchase. I don't need a mediator (PayPal, Amazon A-Z, credit card, etc) to cover my backside because I'm not responsible enough to make an educated decision when purchasing goods.

As for Amazon, they can require whatever they wish as it's their sand box. I don't necessarily agree with their position but if I want to play I will have to follow the rules.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Dman

Wed Jun 15 22:09:17 2011

@Lisa

“George, have you ever had an opportunity to glance over eBay's User Agreement as it pertains to items you list?  It doesn't sound like it. Because if you had, you would know that it is a listing violation to offer the same item on another site for less than what you're offering it on eBay for.  By encourating others to violate eBay TOS, you're setting yourself and others up for some rude awakenings. “

I know you’re right, I do recall this from looking at it once long ago.

But it’s just hilarious!

Everyone in my category sells for more on Ebay then they do on their own websites. I’m talking everyone from 1,000 FB to 100,000+ FB.  Why would they do such a thing?  Because it costs more to sell on Ebay, duh!  Ebay, can’t and no longer will be the place to get the best deal, they have brought it onto themselves.

Also, if memory serves me, I purchased an item from buy.com directly after finding it on Ebay and then checking their website to find that the terms which were better from them directly, and they were one of Ebays biggest partners in crime.

Lastly, how in the heck is Ebay going to police that when they force you into offering free shipping. Knowing full well you’re rolling the additional FVF into the price of the item along with the shipping costs.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: MR ME

Thu Jun 16 11:52:55 2011

A sleezball Acquaintance from work proudly recounted, when going on vacation, he goes to Best Buy and "purchases" the most expensive camcorder, shoots his vacation footage, and then returns the camera as "defective" and since he "paid" on his or his girlfriends credit card, never has any problems. Free rental ! This seems to be commonplace.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Jason

Thu Jun 16 17:15:44 2011

Folks, eBay already does mandate returns. It's called their Buyer Protection program. Most people I know on eBay already know if they do not want something regardless of the reason, there is no need to contact the seller, all they need do is open a dispute. Regardless of reason eBay will find in favor of the buyer and the seller must refund original shipping too. Get back a damaged item or empty box? Doesn't matter, if the buyer has a tracking number showing delivery, you lose the money.

I have heard by the holidays, eBay will also deduct an additional amount from your PayPal account to reimburse the buyer for return shipping (also going to happen with Amazon).

For the eBay cheerleaders out there, yes, eBay has a legal right to do what they want. They do not have a legal right to make false advertisements though. Hence, when they claim all over their site they are ''just a medium between buyer and seller'', but then take full control of transactions, they are no longer a medium. Instead they themselves are a retailer, and eBay sellers are merely suppliers of products who drop ship for them.

Perminate Link for Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli   Amazon Mandates New Third-Party Seller Return Poli

by: Digby

Sat Jun 18 05:25:29 2011

WE have to remeber that when selling on an inline market place thta we are competting with the really big boys, eg the Top 500 Internet Retailers.
The big fashion,  computer technology, fishing, hunting, companies that sell direct via their websites.

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