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Amazon Clarifies Change in Returns Policy

Amazon Clarifies Change in Returns Policy

Last week, Amazon made changes to its policy around returns that, as we noted at the time, resulted in questions and dismay from sellers, with over 200 comments underneath the Announcement board post in just 9 hours.

Two-and-a-half days later, Amazon edited the post to clarify the policy, and in doing so, renamed the title of the post from:

“Returnless and free replacements for seller-fulfilled returns”

to the new title:

“Introducing Free Replacement Offers on All MFN and SFP Orders.”

In the update, Amazon clarified that the change to the policy impacting free replacements was new, but said the returnless refunds program was not new.

Sellers still have concerns even after the update to the announcement.

Theoretically it can benefit sellers if they have the option to send a replacement to a buyer rather than have to refund them. One seller said, “I am not against the idea of replacements. It is not the idea that is problematic, it is the implementation.” That seller wanted the program to be optional and wrote:

“It should not count against a Sellers metrics if they choose to cancel the replacement at any stage. After all, they already properly fulfilled the order once. If the Seller determines that the Buyer is in some way at fault, why feed the scammer or otherwise upset the misguided customer even more by sending another of the same product?”

The seller also said the Amazon policy should not require seller to ship prior to receiving the original item back, which was a major complaint when the policy was announced on March 9th.

The update to the post follows below:

Introducing Free Replacement Offers on All MFN and SFP Orders
Hello Sellers,
After monitoring this thread for the past 3 days and working to answer your questions, I am posting an update here to clear up the confusion around “Free Replacements” and “Returnless Refunds”. Please note that I also changed the title of this topic in an attempt to avoid further confusion.

Free Replacements versus Returnless Refunds

  • The Returnless Refunds program IS NOT new.
  • The Free Replacements program IS new.

Beginning April 15, a Buyer who receives an item damaged, defective or different from what was ordered, may request a refund OR a replacement. Amazon will issue a zero value replacement order along with a shipping label ONLY IF you have the same item in stock AND in the same condition as the item in the original order. If for some reason you DO NOT want to fulfill the replacement order, you may cancel it. Yes, cancelling will affect your cancellation rate.

If you have ELECTED a Returnless Refund for one of your SKUs (note you HAVE TO opt in for this) and the Buyer receives the item damaged, defective or different from what was ordered, then the Buyer will be offered a Returnless Refund or a Returnless Replacement.

I hope this update helps you. I will continue to monitor this topic and will try to respond to as many of your questions as possible.

Best regards,

The full post is found on Seller Central.

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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/.