Amazon Return Policy for Sellers - All You Need To Know
No matter how big your Amazon business is, whether you’re a seller or a buyer, it’s a discouragement to deal with a return. At the same time, Amazon’s simplified return policy is one of the factors getting buyers to spend more money on the platform: they always rely on returning purchases should anything go wrong.
Though Amazon's returns policy may seem straightforward, there are still rules for sellers to know. This post will discuss Amazon's return policy for sellers, including what it is, how it works, and what it means for your business.
What Is Amazon's Return Policy?
A return is a product a buyer sends back to a fulfillment center or a seller. Amazon's return policy applies to most products sold on the platform, including those sold by third-party sellers.
Amazon's return policy is designed to protect both customers and sellers. It allows customers to return most items purchased on the platform within 30 days of receipt. Some categories, such as FBA baby items in a new, unopened condition and Birthday Gift Lists, have extended returns timeframe — 90 days. However, not all items are eligible for returns. Some items, such as perishables, personalized items, and digital content, cannot be returned.
Items that cannot be returned
- Hazardous materials;
- Personalized items, including jewelry orders;
- Items that have been consumed or installed;
- Digital products, such as ebooks or software that have been downloaded;
- Products missing the serial number or UPC;
- Online subscriptions after they have been used;
- Gift cards and prepaid game cards;
- Specific health and personal care orders;
- Grocery products;
- Items with special shipping restrictions;
- Live insects.
How Does Amazon Return Process Work?
Generally, Amazon buyers can initiate a return for eligible items within 30 days of receiving the shipment. Sometimes, if the item is defective, damaged, or not as described, the customer can request a return even after 30 days. Also, Amazon may extend the return window during the holiday season.
When a customer wants to return an item they purchased from an Amazon seller, they can do so by accessing their account and selecting the item they wish to return. For Fulfillment by Amazon sellers, Amazon processes all returns. If the item is returned in sellable condition, the buyer is refunded, and the seller is charged the equivalent amount.
Note: If you are an FBM seller, Amazon requires you to match or exceed their return policies. That means you must accept returns within Amazon’s 30-day return window, and you are required to refund the customer within 2 days of receiving the return shipment. The customer must ship the product back using a pre-paid shipping label.
When can Amazon buyers return products?
According to Amazon's return policy, buyers must return most items within 30 days of receipt. However, Amazon's return policy for sellers may differ for specific products. FBA baby items in a new, unopened condition and Birthday Gift Lists have extended returns timeframe — 90 days. Wedding registry gifts have a 180-day return policy; books, CDs, DVDs, software, etc., from Amazon’s electronics store, can be returned within 30 days; computers and cell phones bought from third-party sellers can only be returned within 30 days.
Also, third-party merchants may have their own 7 to 30-day return policies, which buyers must consider. In some instances, they may require contacting the manufacturer directly.
If the product is in new condition, a buyer can return it for almost any reason.
The most common reasons for returns
- Unwanted order — customer changed their mind about the purchase;
- The product is defective — the item is broken or doesn’t work;
- Unauthorized acquisition — when a kid or other person placed an unauthorized order;
- The item was not received by the estimated delivery time;
- The product is not as described on the website.
How to process a return request
For professional sellers, Amazon authorizes the returns automatically. However, if the return is outside the policy or exempt from a prepaid return, Amazon will ask the seller to process a return request.
To process a return request, in your Seller Central, go to Manage Returns to approve or decline the return and see its details. When you approve the request, Amazon will send a return label to the customer.
What Is Amazon FBA Returns Policy for Sellers?
Amazon’s return policy varies regarding returns for FBA and FBM sellers. With FBA, Amazon processes returns on behalf of sellers. They identify if the product is eligible for a return, and the seller has no control over accepting or declining a return, even if the product is damaged by the buyer. Unfortunately, Amazon often refunds buyers immediately and inspects the product later to identify its condition.
What happens to the customer-returned items on Amazon?
When a customer returns an item to an FBA seller, Amazon will inspect the item to ensure it's in the same condition as when it was sent to the customer.
If the item is returned as sellable, it will be returned to the seller's inventory and made available for sale again. Amazon refunds a seller for a part of the referral fee and, in some instances, pays the variable closing fees.
If the product is unsellable and it’s Amazon’s fault, a seller has to process a removal order, and Amazon will credit a seller with the product’s selling price, part of the referral fees, and taxes.
If the item is damaged and it’s the seller’s fault, the product will be returned to their inventory and marked “Unfulfillable.” Then a seller has to process a removal order, and Amazon will credit the seller's account with all or part of the referral fee and variable closing fee (if applicable).
Related: Amazon FBA Fees 2023
What if the buyer does not return the product?
If the buyer does not return the product within 45 days of initiating the return request, Amazon will recharge the buyer if they were already refunded and reimburse the seller.
If that doesn’t happen, a seller must open a support case to get reimbursement.
What to do with the returned inventory?
If the product is returned to a fulfillment center and Amazon marks it as sellable, you can try to sell it again. Still, Amazon may not notice that the product is damaged, which will generate even more negative feedback on your account when somebody buys it. Otherwise, you’ll have to remove or dispose of your inventory and pay for that. To help sellers deal with returned or damaged items, Amazon offers several options.
With the FBA Liquidations program, sellers can file a liquidation request in Seller Central. Amazon will evaluate the average product’s selling price, and you can get around 5% to 10% of it from wholesale liquidators within 60 days.
FBA Grade and Resell
With FBA Grade and Resell program, you can relist unfulfillable returned inventory as used items. When you submit the inventory into the program, Amazon will assign them the appropriate condition (Used – Like New, Used – Very Good, Used – Good, or Used – Acceptable) and create a new listing.
With Amazon’s FBA Donations program, you can donate your inventory to US charities. In this program, Amazon partners with Good360 to donate inventory. This option allows for avoiding removal and disposal fees.
What Is Amazon FBM Seller Returns Policy?
If you are an FBM seller, your returns policy works differently from FBA. Amazon requires that FBM sellers match or exceed Amazon's return policy, which means they must accept returns within 30 days of receipt, regardless of the reason.
Returns are sent back to the address you specified, and you must refund the customer within 2 days of receiving the return.
If you are a professional seller, you will be automatically enrolled in the Amazon Prepaid Returns Label program. With it, Amazon sends the buyer a prepaid return shipping label on your behalf. That doesn’t allow you to contact the customer and settle the issue before they are automatically refunded. If you are an individual seller, you may apply for enrollment in the program.
How to Find Return Policy on Amazon?
Amazon's return policy is available on its website under the Returns & Refunds page. Sellers can also access the return policy through the Amazon seller portal. Each order on Amazon has its own history. You can use the product’s ASIN and download the history report to view shipment, return, and refund details.
Why Returns Matter on Amazon?
First of all, returns negatively impact your seller's reputation. In addition to losing money, they generate bad reviews and seller feedback from customers. That may further impact your sales because your Amazon buyers consider reviews and feedback about you as a seller shared by other shoppers.
In addition, returns, together with customer feedback, successful A-to-z guarantee claims, and chargeback claims, influence your Order Defect Rate and Account Health Rating on Amazon. Order Defect Rate should be kept below 1% to maintain a ‘Healthy’ Account Health Rating. If you have too many returns, Amazon may terminate the listing or suspend your account.
As an Amazon seller, it's important to understand Amazon's return policy to avoid confusion and provide your customers with the best possible experience. Returns are a common occurrence on Amazon, and they can significantly impact your business if you're unprepared.
Seller Assistant App helps you immediately see if a product has previously triggered problems with account health. It is an all-in-one extension incorporating features vital for product research. It combines an FBM&FBA profit calculator, Quick View, Stock Checker, and Restrictions Checker in one tool.