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Returns are the bane of every Amazon seller's existence. Unfortunately, though, there's no avoiding them as they come with your ability to sell on Amazon.
So, what can you do about Amazon returns to protect yourself and ensure you are not getting screwed? Because, let's be honest, there are a lot of unscrupulous buyers out there who will send back a different item, a well used item, or a damaged item just because they know that Amazon's return policy is so generous.
Amazon's return policy is as follows:
Items shipped from Amazon.com, including Warehouse Deals, can be returned within 30 days of receipt of shipment in most cases. Some products have different policies or requirements associated with them.
You see how it says 30 days in there policy? Well, that's not entirely true...
The unofficial number is actually 45 days. Technically after 30 days, the order will show that the item(s) can no longer be returned, however, if the customer contacts Amazon about returning the item within 45 days, Amazon will allow it.
Now let's look at what Amazon says cannot be returned (bolding is mine):
Do you see how Amazon mentions that products without a UPC and grocery products cannot be returned? Well, that's just for looks because I receive products without UPC and the occasional grocery product way too often.
Fortunately, Amazon is usually good about reimbursing you for these returns, but they usually require you to contact them about it first - as it slips their mind most of the time...
No matter what business you look at, more often than not there are people working there that are negligent, lazy, and/or forgetful. And the larger the business is, the more likely it is to have these types of people somewhere in the company.
Unfortunately, that means if your return(s) end up in the hands of one of these people, you'll be getting it back without an automatic reimbursement. That sucks, right?
Well, at least there's something you can do about it...
Amazon charges $0.50 per standard size item as a "removal fee" when you have the items sent back to you. They charge $0.60 if the item is oversized.
They only charge $0.15 for standard sized items and $0.30 for oversized items if you have them disposed of.
That's not huge money, but if you have hundreds of items (ie. books) that need to be disposed of or returned to avoid long term storage fees, it can add up.
Whenever a return is deemed unsellable whether via "customer damage" or "defective," you'll need to dispose of it or have it sent back to you for inspection.
I very rarely dispose of anything, because I know that Amazon sometimes accepts product returns when they shouldn't, so I have almost every return sent back to me.
When a product is returned to Amazon, they will look it over to see if it's resell-able as is. If it's still brand new, they'll simply put it back in your inventory and you won't even know it. If' it's deemed "customer damaged," then they'll mark it as such and you'll have to dispose of it or have it resent back to you. However, if it's marked "defective" by a customer, then it won't even be inspected, it will just need to be sent back or disposed of.
Customers often will mark products as "defective" because they want Amazon to cover the return shipping. Unforutnately, there's nothing you can do about this other than have the product sent to you for inspection. If you determine that the product is not defective, you can request reimbursement from Amazon.
Once you receive your return(s), you'll want to inspect the item(s) to determine if they are legitimate returns. If they are, then that's a bummer - you'll just have to sell the item as used. If they aren't, then you'll want to contact Amazon to get reimbursed.
Here are some reasons you can ask for a reimbursal from Amazon:
Once you've determined that your product(s) falls into one of the categories above, you'll want to contact Amazon.
You can do this by going to Seller Central, clicking Help, then Contact Us. Now, click Fulfillment by Amazon, then FBA Issue, then "Something Else."
Now click Email. Once you do all that, you should be at the section that you see below:
Once you're there, it's time to submit the reimbursal. Here is the script I use:
Contact Reason: Reimbursement Request for Damage Items
Attached you will find the following pictures:
1. Removal Receipt for the damaged items (Shipment ID [NUMBER])
2. The Damaged Product(s) - [TITLE OF DAMAGED ITEMS]
3. The Box and Shipping Label
What was damaged: [DESCRIPTION OF THE DAMAGED ITEM]
As these items were either accepted in a condition different than what is allowed by Amazon policy OR they were damaged in transit during the request for removal, I request that you submit a reimbursement request for the following ASINs:
Thank you for your time and assistance!
As you can probably already assume from the script, you'll also want to attached at least 3 images to your request:
Amazon doesn't necessarily need the picture of the box/shipping label, but some customer service reps ask for it, so it's easier to just send it all in one message then wait for them to request it.
After you submit all that information, a rep will look over your case and either ask for more info or reimburse you within the nest 24 hours. Usually, though, they respond way quicker than that.
On rare occasions, you'll get reimbursed less than what you paid for an item. If this happens, simply send another message to customer support with a picture of your invoice/receipt and say that you were not reimbursed enough. Here's the script I use:
Contact Reason: Reimbursement Too Low
Thank you for submitting my reimbursement. Unfortunately, I paid more for this product than I was reimbursed. Attached you will find a picture of my invoice showing how much I paid for the item.
Would you please submit a reimbursement adjustment for that amount?
Thank you for your assistance!
Simple as that!
Not every return you get will be eligible for reimbursement, but many of them will and it's important that you stay on top of these, because Amazon won't.
If you don't submit reimbursement requests for your returns that are eligible, you're leaving money on the table!