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Abusing Amazon Returns Can Land You in Jail

Abusing Amazon Returns Can Land You in Jail

Sellers may feel that Amazon returns policy requirements favor buyers to the extreme, but committing returns fraud through Amazon could land you in jail.

Amazon issued a statement on Tuesday about a man who was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison, though fraud related to the company does not appear to have been the major impetus behind the government’s case.

Nevertheless, the Department of Justice said in its press release on Friday that the person charged in the case would be ordered to make restitution to Amazon:

“It was alleged in court documents that Chaves defrauded Amazon through theft of inventory through falsely represented returns. It is alleged in court documents that Chaves ordered products from Amazon and, at times, replaced the original products with lesser value replacements, often items different than the ones he originally ordered, before returning the packages to Amazon for refunds.”

In a statement on Tuesday, Amazon said it had been defrauded of over $50,000 by the individual and said it supported the investigation, prosecution, and sentencing.

“We work hard to build a great shopping experience and that includes a seamless, customer-friendly returns policy. Mr. Chaves abused our policy, and we took action to protect our selling partners, our store, and the experience for all customers. We are grateful to the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island in their thorough pursuit of this case.

“Amazon has teams and systems in place to proactively detect, investigate, and stop suspicious behavior and prohibited activity. Amazon has an extensive history of protecting its customers from fraud and abuse.”

You can find the press release on the AboutAmazon.com website. Let us know if you think Amazon does a good job on cracking down on returns abuse.

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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/.

One thought on “Abusing Amazon Returns Can Land You in Jail”

  1. If only eBay would do something about its serial return abusers. Come on, eBay! You are always copying what Amazon does so copy the good too, not just the bad.

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