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New Amazon Guidance Misses the Point Say FBA Sellers

New Amazon Guidance Misses the Point Say FBA Sellers

Amazon issued new guidance to help sellers address product condition issues, but some sellers responded by offering their own guidance to Amazon.

Amazon told sellers who use its FBA fulfillment service that customers who file complaints about product condition frequently point to “scratches and scuffs, previously opened packaging, signs of damage, and items not working.”

“We have a new Preventing product condition issues Help page to help you prevent product condition issues,” Amazon announced.

Among the advice Amazon dispensed to sellers were the following suggestions:

  • Describe your products accurately and select the correct listing condition according to Amazon’s Condition guidelines. This will ensure that there is no confusion about what the customer should expect to receive.
  • Improve your quality control processes and inspect your products regularly to ensure that they match the description in your listing and function as expected. Work with your supplier to identify issues and areas for improvement.
  • Implement packaging improvements to prevent minor damage during storage and shipping, keeping in mind the unique features of your products.

“By describing your products accurately and addressing potential product condition issues early, you can maintain great account health,” Amazon wrote.

But sellers responded by asserting that many issues could be avoided if Amazon gave more control to sellers in how returns are handled, asserting that workers in the company’s fulfillment centers are classifying returns as “sellable” and placing them back on the shelf for resale.

“FBA sellers should have an option whereby no return item even in perfect condition to be put back as sellable,” wrote one seller.

Another seller said employees at Amazon Fulfillment Centers couldn’t be expected to know every item, “one of the single most convincing arguments to actually allow sellers to sideline FBA returns and have them marked as unfulfillable.”

The seller called for Amazon to allow sellers to have the option of shouldering the burden of returned FBA orders. “You can still issue the return label to the customer, but utilize our warehouse instead of the FC. This will decrease the cost to the FCs (labor, material, storage) and put the onus on the merchants to self-certify their returned products.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.