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A Beginner's Guide to Amazon Returns

 As an Amazon Seller, you might have realized by now that one of the most critical aspects of managing a successful Amazon operation is understanding how to handle returns to avoid account or listing suspensions.

For the past several years, return delivery costs have reached 75% or a whopping $550 billion in 2020. That figure only accounts for the return shipping fees. As an Amazon Seller, you may be paying more than that. When you factor in the processing fees, restocking, and reselling items after their return Being an FBA seller, you may also be charged inventory removal and disposal fees if Amazon deems your product is no longer sellable.

Successfully managing these returns is mandatory to minimize their cost and maximize your profits.

Reasons Why Customers Return an Item

At first glance, the Amazon Seller return policy may seem complicated. They have a policy for nearly every category, and simplifying things seems inconceivable. Nevertheless, there are three reasons why a buyer can return an item.


1. Customers No Longer Want the Item They Purchased

Let’s face it. There is nothing wrong with your product. It might even be perfect. The problem is, the customer just doesn’t want it anymore—tough luck.

It may also be possible they found a cheaper product or someone gave them the same product as a gift. Or the person to whom they planned to give the product doesn’t want it. The good news is, you don’t need to refund the cost of shipping for this product. But you still have to accept the returned product and refund the cost of it to the buyer within two days of receiving the return.


2. The Product Is Damaged
There are many incidents where customers receive damaged packages. Needless to say, this is not a good customer experience. You may get a bad review from the buyer, not to mention losing your investment once you issue the customer a full refund.

Amazon acknowledges this issue; that is why they allow sellers to offer partial refunds for damaged items if it is proven that the incident is not your fault. Of course, the customer might not like the offer and might retaliate by giving you negative feedback or a bad review. In most cases, it is more advisable to process the return quickly and provide a full refund.

3. The Item the Customer Received is Considerably Different from the Amazon Listing.

Receiving products that are very different than advertised is a horror story that has flooded the web. And sadly, it remains to be valid until now. When the product the customer receives does not match the description on the listing, the images you use and the additional information you have included are deemed materially different.

When a customer claims the product they received is different from what is described in your listing, your best option is to accept the return and immediately process a full refund. Why? Because materially different claims are covered under the Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee. If a customer opts to use this claim, it can negatively impact your Amazon seller rating.

For more details, check out the Amazon Refund Policy.

4. The Customer is Always Right Even When They Are Not

“Amazon sellers should listen to all customer complaints if they want to avoid suspensions. No seller wants to become a suspended Amazon seller who needs a Plan of Action or appeal. In order to remain in good standing with Amazon and avoid account suspensions or listing suspensions, Amazon sellers should immediately issue a refund or replacement if there is anything truly wrong with the product.” ~ Ashley DiPinto, Paralegal at Rosenbaum Famularo, PC

It really all boils down to avoiding a suspension and maintaining a good standing with Amazon. Nobody wants their listing or, worse, their account suspended. What we need to do is to keep our customers happy and focus on managing our return rate.

How to Manage Your Amazon Return Rate

1. Implement a Buyer Friendly Return Policy


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Bottom line, 58% of shoppers prefer an efficient, no-questions-asked return policy. Also, almost 50% of all shoppers stay away from stores with restrictive return policies. These stats emphasize why Amazon advocates easy returns on FBA orders.

A buyer-friendly return policy results in a positive customer experience, which helps build trust between buyer and seller. Before you dwell on the cost of a generous return policy, keep in mind that Amazon heavily promotes (and rewards) free returns. The kind of return policy your brand offers may also negatively affect your chances of winning the Buy Box or ranking above competitors.

2. Provide a Detailed Product Description

If the rate of a product return from your listing is on the uptrend, it is possible that there is something wrong with your listing. Your product listing may lack the necessary detail to set the right expectations with your buyers.

Make sure your product listing includes the following:

  • Exact product dimensions
  • Actual product images
  • Weight of product, if needed
  • Size and color choices
  • Materials description
  • Manufacturing location
  • Warranty information
  • Satisfaction guarantee and return policy
  • Answers to FAQs
  • Product instructions for use, if applicable

Transparency is the name of the game. Providing an in-depth product description leads to more sales and fewer returns. It can also help in improving your Amazon SEO.

3. Use High-Quality Images, Videos, and A+ on Your Listing

Professional product photos in high-resolution are a must to be successful on Amazon. The bare minimum is to provide product shots at every angle, including images of its variants, if applicable. However, I strongly recommend using lifestyle shots that are professionally done so prospective buyers can relate to the people in the picture.

Videos are a great asset in selling your products. If created professionally, product videos can help buyers to visualize themselves using the product. You may also want to take advantage of the A+ content or Amazon Live options. These are robust features provided by Amazon that help, showcase your product.

Remember, since people cannot visit the actual store to view your product, these visual aids are the closest thing they have in seeing your store or familiarizing themselves with your product. It’s to your advantage to make the most out of your listing and give them a good show!

4. Maintain Strict Quality FBA Products

The Golden Rule of FBA ensures that the product you are sending the customer is of high quality and has been adequately inspected before shipping. In short, make sure the product you are sending out is in mint condition.

Never compromise quality. If you think that a small dent or scratch on the box or packaging is not a big deal, think again. There is a big chance that your customer will notice and affect their satisfaction.

If you are selling high-quality luxury items, it is especially important to ensure there are no flaws. You must take great care that the product is perfect by either inspecting it personally or making sure those that do are well-trained to do so. Make sure that your team knows your standards for quality and conforms with them.

As an additional protective measure, you might consider creating an iron-clad replacement agreement between you and your supplier. Remember, your return rate, review, and feedback are not the only critical elements. Your product and brand reputation are also at risk if you continuously deliver products in below-par condition.

How Can We Help You?

We can share more best practices with you and even teach you ways to lower your return rate, improve your delivery system, and improve your relationships with your buyers and Amazon. We can also share different ways to leverage platforms and opportunities that Amazon provides its sellers to better engage your customers and portray yourself as a reputable and customer-friendly brand.

If you need help, feel free to reach out to us at, and we will be more than happy to schedule a meeting with you. We hope to hear from you soon!

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