Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Jan 10 2015 16:58:13

Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

By: Ina Steiner

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The faster a customer receives a refund for a purchase they've returned, the faster they can get shopping again. That's the assertion from Bloomberg in an article about Amazon published Friday, "Amazon's Instant Refund Aims to Get You Spending Again Quickly."



Citing research from StellaService, Bloomberg said it takes Amazon 1.3 days on average to return cash, the quickest among online stores. "While most Web stores will only pay once a return parcel is on its way, Amazon offers instant refunds for some purchases, issuing immediate credit and 30 days to return a product."

In its help file, Amazon explains, "Most refunds are issued based on the payment method used at the time of purchase. In some cases, you may be offered an "Instant refund" option. If you want to use your refund without waiting for your return to process, you can select the instant refund option, if it's available. Instant refunds are either refunded to your credit card or issued as an Amazon.com Gift Card balance, depending on the instant refund type you selected. You will still need to return your items within 30 days."

Bloomberg said Amazon rolled out the instant refund feature "quietly" last year, and, according to StellaService, it gradually made it the default option for more returns during the year.

Presumably Amazon extends instant refunds to returns for third-party merchant sales. Would you be okay with Amazon refunding your customers before waiting for the item to be returned?

Would you feel differently if other marketplaces or payment services adopted the practice?




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Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sat Jan 10 17:27:43 2015

Shhh.... little venues have big ears. Another hoop will be looming in the future.


I don't sell on Amazon & buy very little there anymore.

BTW Amazon, why even bother with the purchase/return process. Let's just make everything free and get it over with.

Is this more about the entitled ''gotta have it NOW'' buyers unable to wait out the process for their freakin refunds?



Ecommercebytes recently posted the article about the sheer number of returns (in the Billions) expected - a warning retailers would be bogged down.


We had a large item to return. We emailed the retailer on 12/26 and got a return authorization right away which stated that ''someone would contact us'' within a few days with further instructions. When no contact, we called and were told they were slammed with returns but they had a record of our request, just be patient.

On 1/5 we received an email with instructions and a return label for drop-off or pick up.  Basically, we had been put in a holding queue on 12/26 and it took this big name retailer until 1/5 to get back to us so we could get our return shipped.

It obviously did not KILL me to wait since I am still on here babbling.

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Jan 10 17:32:36 2015

Ina asks: Would you be okay with Amazon refunding your customers before waiting for the item to be returned?

Absolutely, positively emphatically not. Too much buyer fraud and not enough seller protection.

Not on Amazon and most especially NOT on ebay!!!!

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Jan 10 18:41:52 2015

If Amazon, or any other venue, refunds the cost before the item is received back by the seller, why would the buyer ever be motivated to actually return the item? The buyer has the item and the refund. More free stuff from the internet! I'm sure there are people like me who have a conscience and would send back the item, but there appears to be monumental amount of scammers who would have no problem with filling their house with freebies.

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sat Jan 10 18:43:29 2015

Who knows, maybe Amazon could implement such a policy professionally, ie, if the product was not returned within the 30 day period the seller would not be penalised and the buyer would be re-debited; of course, there is no way that the cretins at eBay could implement such a policy "professionally" to the satisfaction of anyone but their own hip pocket ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: harkinfan This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 10 18:47:18 2015

No!  I would not be okay with it.  What next?  This FREE FOR ALL is getting out of hand.
This is my BUSINESS.  Its my money that is invested and my sweat and tears.  Amazon and eBay are just a place to advertise my items for sale.  I pay for the priviledge.  I am the PAYING CUSTOMER!

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: harkinfan This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 10 18:47:19 2015

No!  I would not be okay with it.  What next?  This FREE FOR ALL is getting out of hand.
This is my BUSINESS.  Its my money that is invested and my sweat and tears.  Amazon and eBay are just a place to advertise my items for sale.  I pay for the priviledge.  I am the PAYING CUSTOMER!

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 10 19:44:11 2015

If Amazon wants to refund buyers of THEIR OWN MERCHANDISE before its returned - god bless them.

But ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOT when its a 3rd party sale.

As it is, SO MANY people whom I spoke to at CES mentioned the horror stories of getting back "crap" from Amazons FBA program.

Wrong items, physically cracked items, items with out boxes, packaging, missing parts, and more.

If Amazon wants to play (gamble) with their own money - let them.

If I want to gamble I'll go to AC (if its still there!) or go back to Vegas when its not CES and the rooms arent $350 a night.

And yes SHHHHH - eBays brain trust might decide to force this on us "We take the hassle of of waiting for returns.All you need to do is apply for the refund online and eBay does the rest. The money will be back in your Paypal account instantly and you have 30 days to return the item using standard tracking as proof".  Sellers will be protected under the eBay "Seller Protection" policy to insure they receive their items back in a complete and timely fashion".

I"ll bet you every penny JD stole from sellers that it WILL one day come to eBay .... any takers?

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 10 19:56:32 2015

Every day I am thankful that I am slowly moving my business to its own site. I just know that Ebay will be instituting this and I refuse to play this game.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 10 20:06:20 2015

Wow , I guess it shows the desperation to get buyers. Amazon is its own entity. I don't buy or sell there , though buying is looking perty good .LOL !  

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 10 21:21:46 2015

For buyers this seems to be a good deal. Not even a brick and mortar will offer a refund without the item AND the original receipt. Certainly can be a problem for sellers. Perhaps it could work so long as Amazon is refunding the money, then collects later from the the seller once the item is returned in good condition. In which case Amazon would absorb the risk, while to the seller it would be just like any other return. I suppose that would be alright for a seller. Let's face it, if I get strong visibility and traffic, appropriate support and the like, then sure, anything to gain an edge is good. Without those trade offs though it won't pencil out. I wonder how long before the (always following behind Amazon) managers at Ebay heave a program like this upon sellers. No doubt it will be rushed, half baked, with little thought put into the process, and likely zero consideration of the seller.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 11 00:34:08 2015

Unfortunately, this seems to be the way of the future.  I recently called CS at Amazon when I received 3 items thrown into a carton with no cushioning and thus arrived smashed. From the tracking, it actually looked like they fell apart at the UPS depot and the box had been retaped with clear tape.  At any rate, CS at Amazon apologised profusely and offered an immediate refund, presumably because it was FBA.  Didn't even ask if I wanted a replacement.  I wasn't asked to return the items since they were broken.

This week, I received something from Horchow and the quality was very poor so I called to return it.  They credited me immediately and will pick it up this coming week.

Frankly, I haven't had so many items with such poor quality or packing == well, in years.  No wonder returns are so high.

That said, it occurred to me that the people who read this blog are educated about online sites.  Most of the public does not know that items on Amazon come from all different kinds of sellers, from large to small.  They feel that everything comes from Amazon.  My adult daughter and brother and friends all thought Amazon purchased the items for sale and therefore was responsible for such items.  They think of these sites like a Costco.

Which leads me to my last point:  Ebay was always known as a venue bringing smaller sellers and buyers together, and in my experience, the "bad" sellers/buyers were few and far between.  It was only when Ebay tried to emulate Amazon that the problems began.  The point is:  newer online buyers think of Amazon and Ebay as they would Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel or Walmart.  Which is why the identities of the small sellers are  purposefully being obscured by Ebay and Amazon mgt.  The perception of a big box store is something that Ebay and Amazon would like to perpetuate.  That's why they are putting in these stupid rules and hurting smaller sellers.  And perception, if repeated often enough, can become reality.

My sense is that there is a real need for a venue for the small seller which isn't a publicly listed company searching for quarterly results.  Apologies for the ramble.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 11 07:24:11 2015

This is the problem with these venues they will stop at nothing, and the main reason is,,,,,,

IT''S NOT THEIR MONEY OR PRODUCT SO WHO CARES.

What's next? name our first born ebay or amazon?  get their company logo tattooed on our head?

Put a stop to this madness pull your products and take back control of your business.

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 11 09:13:31 2015

Ebay's thinking day logic.

''Let's just refund the potential buyer the starting price before they purchase the item.
That way they will go back to shopping sooner and have more money to spend.''

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 11 09:41:15 2015

Since when is this a new issue?  

I have personal experience - SEVERAL YEARS AGO a close friend tried selling books on Amazon. Customer purchased/paid/received the book and immediately filed SNAD!!!   Amazon immediately refunded his entire payment, right out of my friend's account.

Nobody ever required him to return the book he supposedly didn't like. So he got to keep the book AND got his money back.  

As my friend said, she never got her book back to try to resell to help recoup her losses.  She was even willing to pay the return shipping !!!!  But NO!!!!! Amazon flatly refused, gave her no help, no NOTHING.

I always was interested in the opinion of so many people that ''The Ho'' was dumping small sellers to make eBay more like Amazon. There are pages and pages of ''HOW TO GET STUFF FREE OFF EBAY'' if you Google search.  

I just searched for the same thing substituting AMAZON for EBAY and guess what came up right at the top : ''''This is an in depth hacking tutorial that will teach you how to get anything on amazon for FREE ...''''

No wonder internet fraud is T-H-E number one complaint to any Attorney General's office!!!!!!

Check out http://www.nw3c.org for more thought provoking information.

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 11 09:49:35 2015

@pace 306 - SHHHHH may be right !!!!

I just got a note from eBay about my TRS standing that apparently had just been reviewed for the current period (and I passed) - I was told that they had protected my TRS+ standing, but had disallowed two attempts to return merchandise early !??????

HUH??

I got only POSITIVE GLOWING feedback from all my sales........Nobody contacted me about maybe a return??? No buyers, not even eBay warning me of a possible threat to my TRS standing ??

Liar-liar-pants-on-fire!!!!!!!!

I guess the next step may be that when there aren't any defects, perhaps they will be cooked up ??

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 11 09:57:58 2015

@ Connecticut Gal

RE: ''My sense is that there is a real need for a venue for the small seller which isn't a publicly listed company searching for quarterly results.''

Again this year, Ina has given us an opportunity to survey online selling venues !!  Check 'em out and consider one or more!! Maybe with seller support and a ton of advertising, it could happen.

I fully agree with you (and all the others expressing the same sentiment) but any site that has started up that might have taken over my selling area from eBay has never been able to make it financially. It's David vs. monster Goliath and so far the Davids have been just too small............  

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Jan 11 10:41:39 2015

User agreement or not, how is this legal?

If this came out of Amazon's pocket this would not happen.

It's a shame that we live in a world where politicians look out for big business, even when those big businesses are run like the mafia.

If you are selling on any of these ecommerce beasts expect to be abused.....and robbed.  And it is getting worse and worse.  These beasts are actually making it quite easy.

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Sun Jan 11 11:22:13 2015

To HELL with eBay and Amazon !

Both compete against each other to spoil fraudulent buyers at OUR ( The Seller's ) expense !

I hate BOTH of these treat sellers like dirt companies !

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Sun Jan 11 11:38:06 2015

Also lets not forget it was John Donahoe who made Amazon the powerful gigantic monster that it is, since he took over eBay in 2008

And lets not forget Donahoe purposely DESTROYED eBay to make it the dysfunctional, broken monster that it is right now !

Sorry, but Amazon owes a mega debt of Gratitude to John Donahoe !

He made Amazon what it is in my opinion, and BOTH eBay and Amazon treat us small sellers so unfairly !

John Donhoe ushered in the  day and age of BUYER ABUSE

As I said, eBay and Amazon offer the easiest way for buyers to abuse and rob us sellers at OUR expense !

Now I know eBay has to be the monkey see monkey do and copy Amazon

When in reality they should learn how to make eBay small seller friendly and the MASSES would return to eBay and leave Amazon in the dust !

Where all the sellers go is where the buyers have to go Wenig !

End the madness Wenig ! Don't continue it ! eBay is a joke, and when it stands alone, it will collapse unless you go back to the eBay early day playbooks and reinstate allot of what made eBay #1 originally  

Perminate Link for Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns   Amazon Refunds Customers Instantly for Some Returns

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sun Jan 11 12:30:22 2015

“User agreement or not, how is this legal?”

It’s a matter of contract law. If you are selling on eBay or Amazon as a “business” then anything that is in their “terms of business”, that you have already agreed to, is “legal”; if you are “in business” then you are not otherwise protected by any statutory “consumer” protections that apply for goods/services purchased for personal use; you are deemed to be able to look after yourself; that’s why eBay’s/Amazon’s user agreements are of such enormous length and complexity; unless you can get a court to find that the other party is in breach of that contract or a particular clause in the contract is unconscionable, your only other option is to not enter into the contract. Frankly, if you have not at least skimmed a primer on the basics of mercantile/contract law you probably should not be “in business” …

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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