EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2909 - October 09, 2012     2 of 5

Amazon Sellers Must Deal with Buyer's Remorse

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Amazon used its Seller Support blog to remind sellers they could charge buyers restocking fees for returns - as long as it's within its guidelines, which are fairly restrictive.

"Managing returns can be a real hassle for the seller," Amazon said, "especially in cases of buyer remorse or when a returned item has been damaged by the buyer. In situations such as these, you may charge a reasonable restocking fee." However, many sellers feel they should not have to accept returns at all in cases of buyer's remorse or when a buyer damages the item.

How much is a "reasonable" restocking fee? It depends on the type of item and the condition in which it is returned. Most importantly, the company said in its blog post, "Amazon allows sellers to charge restocking fees only in well-defined situations."

Here is Amazon's own guidance for "Partial refunds/Restocking Fees":

  • Any unopened media item or non-media item in original condition that is returned more than 30 days after delivery: you'll receive 80% of item's price.

  • Any book that has obvious signs of use: you'll receive 50% of item's price.

  • Any CD, DVD, VHS tape, video game, cassette tape, or vinyl record that has been opened (taken out of its plastic wrap): you'll receive 50% of item's price.

  • Any item that is not in its original condition, is damaged, or is missing parts for reasons not due to our error: you'll receive up to 50% of item's price.

  • Any opened software is ineligible for a refund.

Sellers can obtain information about restocking fees for their own items by searching on "managing returns" in Seller Central Help.

Are Amazon's Expectations for Returns Reasonable? Let us know what you think on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

About the author:

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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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