Many sellers are concerned about how marketplaces are handling Item Not Received (INR) claims from buyers caused by late deliveries due to the holiday-shipping logjam. They worry about what happens if the marketplace refunds the buyer, but then the item arrives - that means the buyer gets their money back *and* they receive the item.
It turns out Amazon has a beautiful solution to handle such situations for its own first-party sales, but sellers said the company doesn't appear to be applying the same solution to its marketplace sellers.
One seller shared their experience on a discussion board thread. They had ordered an item, filed a claim when it didn't arrive and received a refund, but then the item showed up. The seller pasted the message Amazon sent them:
We delivered your package on Sat, Dec 26. We issued a refund on Fri, Dec 18 per your request. Please send the item back using the return label to avoid being charged.
If you have already sent the item back, you can disregard this message.
(Print return label and instructions)
(View returns & refund status)
Send by: Fri, Mar 12
Return ship method: PackageLess-UPSDropOff
"As a buyer I claimed INR and was refunded. Item finally showed up and Amazon sent me that email saying to return item or they will re-charge me for it. I'm fine with that.
"As a seller - buyers are being refunded by filing INR for items shipped but delayed in transit due to COVID and record Holiday shipping by all delivery services. Amazon is refunding them from our account (regardless if we use Amazon shipping) and dinging our metrics.
"When item does finally arrive, we are not permitted to make the buyer return item or we will re-charge as Amazon is doing, and if we appeal the A-Z receive a denial stating A-Z also covers timely deliveries."
One seller pointed out that Amazon is currently under the microscope with Congressional investigations. "This kind of double standard does not bode well for Amazon," the seller wrote.
They went on to say, "Honestly, what is the downside for Amazon to extend this service to 3rd party sellers and charge a few extra dollars and freight to get the item back, if the 3rd party seller wants the item back?"
Another seller described a situation in which their buyer *wanted* to return the refund after their item arrived, but the Amazon customer service rep allegedly insisted that the buyer "keep the item or dispose it. You don't need to return the item."
Sellers are also worrying about how eBay and Etsy are handling (or will handle) such situations. Please let us know what you're experiencing.