Amazon suddenly changed the condition of books, CDs and DVDs, and video games without informing sellers - on a Friday, no less, leaving sellers to cope over the weekend. When they sought answers on the Amazon discussion boards, company moderators said it was part of a test.
"Our team is testing some new condition types. Buyers may see conditions such as 'Perfect' and Excellent’ in their Used Offer and All Offers displays. These 'testing' conditions won't appear in Seller Central or Invoices."
But sellers are gravely concerned for a number of reasons - including why Amazon would change a seller's grading, how Amazon changed their grading ("Perfect"?!), and why Amazon would do so without any notice to sellers.
"This is a this is a disaster," one seller wrote
. "People know what Good means, and now everything we listed as Very Good is suddenly merely Good? Someone should be fired for implementing this."
"Now "good" is Fair, and acceptable is "Fair" also," another seller wrote.
"Bizarre and unnecessary," another seller called the sudden, unannounced change. "A disaster," said another.
Sellers are also concerned about the ramifications - "Buyers don't always look at descriptions, just conditions," a seller wrote. "I see a spike in returns just over the horizon."
Another wrote, "So when a customer orders a book described as "Perfect" by these new conditions, and returns it for "Not as Described" because it's only as good as the condition in which we listed it, will Amazon refund ALL fees, including shipping both ways? Because if Amazon shows one of my books as "Perfect", or "Excellent", or anything else other than the condition which I used when listing, then any "Not As Described" is 100% on them."
A reader who told us about the change said a seller might have listed a book as "Good" and suddenly Amazon has, "unilaterally, and without notice," declared the book "Fair."
"This change may not be visible to sellers in their reports, but it is visible to buyers," the reader explained.
As of the end of day Monday, Amazon had not provided an update to sellers.