There has been a recent change to Amazon’s refund policy. The company sent an email to sellers announcing the new policy for refunds highlighting that merchants who fulfil their own orders are now subject to the same rules as items shipped by Amazon. Although this new policy will undoubtedly make things easier for buyers to send back items they don’t like, it is not at the expense of Sellers.


Small business owners are concerned that the new refunds policy of Amazon will crush their businesses. Through the email sent, Amazon made it clear that starting from Oct. 2, sellers on the marketplace that ship products from their warehouse, garage or home instead of through Amazon’s fulfilment facilities, will be authorized for return automatically. Once an item has been returned to the seller, a refund must be issued within 2 business days or Amazon will automatically do that by charging the account of the seller.


However, if this update in any way affects you, there is absolutely no reason for you to panic. Understanding the full scope of the new refunds policy and ways to thrive through it is what you need to do. Read on to get a full insight.


Reason for Amazon’s change in returns policy

As indicated in an email sent to sellers who fulfil their own orders, the ecommerce giant mentioned that it’s making this change to “reduce the effort required to manage your returns and decrease your customer Return Dissatisfaction Rate (RDR), thereby improving your ratings.”


However, this is not a specific indication of the reason behind the update. According to recent survey of sales in the first of 2017, third-party sellers transact more than 50% of the items sold on Amazon. This policy is a way of levelling the field between Self-managed fulfilment by third party sellers and the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). This means a unified selling experience and it may in fact mean more sales for third-party sellers.

Protection for low-cost items

In addition to the new policy, Amazon is also introducing a “returnless refunds,” feature. The company backed this up with the claim that the “returnless refunds” feature is highly demanded by sellers. In simple terms, this change will allow sellers to be able to provide refunds for and item without it been returned to the seller. This is needed because more often than not, low cost items may be hard to resell or too expensive to ship back (considering all the fees attached to shipping), which isn’t financially wise.


How to prevent scams

Obviously, there is a very big possibility of buyers taking advantage of this new refunds policy to send back items for a number of reasons. This would be bad for business and you need to learn how to prevent it from happening.


Amazon also knows there is a possibility of buyers attempting to scam sellers and has advised that sellers request to have some items excluded from the policy, especially those that are heavy or expensive to ship. Also, for faulty returns, sellers are allowed to remove the shipping cost from the refunds and charge a restocking fee of about 20 to 50%.


When a buyer initiates a return, Amazon gives the seller the opportunity to appeal the return. However, if the reason for the return is wrong item delivery, the seller will have to pay every last bit of the refund.


Our Advice

All in all, when a buyer returns an item, you should try to see it as an opportunity. Mostly, people buy on Amazon because they want it, not because they plan to return it. Hence, you can respond passionately to return requests and build a network of loyal customers. They may even buy something else when satisfied with your customer support and stick with you for a long time.