Amazon announced a new option for handling returns, but it was greeted with questions and a dose of dismay from sellers. The change impacts seller-fulfilled orders (in other words, not items fulfilled through the FBA program).
“This change will provide you additional return resolutions, and offer customers the option to receive a replacement item at no extra cost,” according to the announcement.
One seller said, “It seems to me they are asking us to ship the replacement before we even SEE the returned item. Suppose the returned item is a BOX of ROCKS?”
Another said, “What about buyers who order the wrong part and claim it is defective because it does not work for them, because they ordered the wrong item?”
The early morning announcement racked up over 200 comments in 9 hours.
The full announcement follows below:
Returnless and free replacements for seller-fulfilled returns
We continuously improve the seller-fulfilled returns experience. From April 15, 2021, we will offer your customers returnless and free replacements as an option for eligible items as part of our Prepaid Return Label program . This change will provide you additional return resolutions, and offer customers the option to receive a replacement item at no extra cost.
In addition to the option to request a refund for an item that is damaged, defective, or different from what was ordered, customers now have the option to ask for a replacement product. This can preserve your sale and not turn the transaction into a refund. Customers will continue to receive prepaid return labels for their items, regardless of whether they request a replacement or refund.
Under the free replacements program, the customer has seven days to return the original item. We will receive confirmation of the customer’s return when the prepaid return label is scanned and notify you to send a replacement. For items that are eligible for returnless refunds, customers will have the option of a returnless replacement.
To learn more about the Prepaid Return Label program, visit Prepaid returns for seller-fulfilled orders.
For more information on free replacements for seller-fulfilled returns, visit Replacements for seller-fulfilled orders.
You can find the announcement and seller reaction on Amazon Seller Central.
Update 3/15/2021: Amazon updated the announcement, see our coverage here.