6 steps to manage Amazon returns (2023)

Sell ​​on AmazonIt can be great, but one downside is how Amazon returns are handled. One of the most annoying emails FBA sellers receive from Amazon begins with "Refund initiated for order #102-12345-67890". Receiving a recovery notification is not only annoying but can sometimes lead to some scary questions.

  • Is this return one of the high-priced items I just sold?
  • Will the buyer say the item was defective (affecting my seller metrics)?
  • Can the returned item be resold or was it damaged by the customer?
  • Will the buyer leave me negative feedback now?
  • What can I do to protect my account from this bounce?

When it comes to getting returns, there are a few key steps you need to follow, such as:Fulfilled by Amazonseller forProtect your account.If you don't monitor your returns and do your due diligence to ensure your account is maintained, you could suffer negative consequences in the future.

So what should you do to protect your account when a customer returns an item and says they no longer want it?

Here are six steps you need to take when it comes to Amazon returns:

1. Write down Amazon's return notification email.

When a customer initiates a return for an item ordered through Prime Shipping, Amazon issues that refund immediately, without waiting for the item to be returned. Amazon will notify you that the refund has been processed from your account. You should keep a folder in your email application to organize these emails so that you have a record of this refund and can verify that the refund is indeed issued within 45 days.

2. If you find an item has not been returned within the 45 day period, please request a refund from Amazon.

Please make sure that these are "returned" itemsactually went back to FBAfor more details.

(Video) Amazon FBA Returns and Refunds Explained | What You Can Do and Actually Happens for Beginners

3. Protect your seller feedback by contacting the buyer.

Sometimes, after a buyer requests a refund, one of the next things they do is leave feedback for you, the seller. It doesn't matter if you left negative feedback or not, I think it's a good idea to contact the buyer and personally apologize for the negative customer experience.

I would say something like

"I have just been notified by Amazon that you have requested a return of item X. I am sorry that the item did not meet your expectations. As this was a Prime order Amazon should give you an immediate refund so I'll follow up to make sure the refund went through correctly. I would also like to know if there is anything I can do to improve things. Thank you for taking the time to read this message. I wish you a nice day."

Sometimes sending this email will prevent the buyer from leaving negative feedback. If negative feedback has already been left, this email opens the door for the customer to see you as a helpful person and may consider removing the feedback.

4. Send the shipped items back to you for checking.

When the item appears in the Amazon warehouse, a warehouse worker will examine the item to determine whether or not it should be returned to your inventory as an executable file. If they notice that the customer has opened an item, it will be marked as "Customer Damaged" and cannot be put back into your refillable inventory. If an item is returned as "defective", it cannot be re-added to your refillable inventory.

However, if the warehouse clerk determines that the customer has not opened an item, that the packaging is not damaged, and that it was not returned as "defective," they decide to return it to their salable inventory.

(Video) How to RETURN something to Amazon for a full refund! UK step by step

Regardless of your decision, all returns must be sent back for your personal inspection. Warehouse workers try to get the job done at high speed, and they may miss something during their inspection. If an item appears as new, the packaging must also be in good condition.

Even a small tear in the box or the missing piece of roll foil can surprise the customer about the new condition of his article. And when that prospect returns an item and reports it as a used item that you want to sell as new, you get a big dent in your seller account, even though the warehouse clerk was the one who determined the condition value after the return. You want to be the one making that decision. Don't leave it with the warehouse worker.

Monitoring:If you've returned multiple items and put them back into your inventory as sellable, it's up to you to decide if it's worth removing them for review. For me I remove up to 3 items for inspection, but if I have more than 3 in stock and one is returned as salable I usually write it down. That way, if I'm ever accused of selling an opened/used item as new, I have proof that an FBA warehouse clerk found the item salable and returned it to my inventory, and it's not my fault.

5. For all items returned to the FBA warehouse, find out the reason for the return.

You can generate a report to find out why by following these steps:

  • Sign in to Seller Central.
  • Sobreports, choosegreeting, SoCustomer Concessions, then clickreturns.
  • I typically run the report for 30-60 days depending on how long the item has been returned.
  • Locate the item in question on the report and determine the reason for the return.

For some reason not all of your returns appear in this report. If the item you're looking for isn't in this report, you'll need to open a ticket with Seller Central and check thereWeilthe item has been returned.

6. Check the items returned to you.

If you inspect a returned item and find that it has not been opened and is in like-new condition, you can return it to Amazon for sale. It takes time, effort, and a small amount of money (less than $1) to get these items back to you for inspection prior to return, but you want to spend that time and money to protect your selling account.

(Video) Where Online Returns Really End Up And What Amazon Is Doing About It

Another layer of protection is to verify the reason for the return. Customers may choose to return an item for a variety of reasons, including accidental order, item no longer required, unauthorized purchase, inaccurate website description, or incorrectly shipped item. Some of the return reasons require the customer to pay for return shipping. Some of the reasons not.

Due to this free returns issue, you should verify that all items returned as "Faulty" are actually faulty. It's sad but true that some buyers choose "Defective" as the return reason just to get free reshipment. You have no idea this action is hurting third party sellers on Amazon. You just want to save $5 on shipping and this is the easiest way to do it.

If you find that an item has been returned to you as "defective" but has never been opened, or if you test it and find it not defective, open a ticket with Seller Central immediately.

In your message tell them the item was returned defective but you have no doubt it is NOT defective and suspect the customer was trying to get free shipping. In your message, please include a photo of the returned item with Amazon's return receipt and a close-up photo of the shipping receipt where the numbers and text are visible.

Note: ONLY perform these actions if you are absolutely certain that the item is not defective.UE

If an item is genuinely defective, it is your responsibility as a seller to find out why and stop selling that defective item.

(Video) The Hidden Costs Of Amazon Shipping And Returns

When I've performed the above steps with non-defective items in the past, I've received one of two responses from Amazon:

  • A message that you can see from my photo that the item is unopened or defective; thank you for bringing this to your attention; and stating that they will add a note to the customer's account about the incident (if a customer continues this "buyer abuse" behavior, their shopping account may be terminated).
  • The above message plus a statement that they are requesting a refund for this item on my behalf.

If the item is unopened and in like-new condition, Amazon will not refund you as you can simply return it for sale. If it's open they usually refund.

final thoughts

Following these steps will help protect your account from hits that could trigger thatSuspensionBots every Amazon seller fears. You don't have to worry about returns as long as you proactively protect your account.

6 steps to manage Amazon returns (1)

About the author
6 steps to manage Amazon returns (2)My name is Esteban and I love my job! I am honored to work alone from home. I have been using Amazon FBA since 2011 and have been able to fully support myself and my family almost from the start.
On my FBA blog, we talk about what it takes to make FBA a full-time job.

Read more from this author:

  • How to Suppress Retail Arbitrage on Amazon
  • How to use Keepa and CamelCamelCamel for Fulfillment by Amazon


How do I manage returns on Amazon? ›

Go to the Returns Center at www.amazon.com/returns on a desktop or laptop computer. Select Manage returns. Select Cancel this return. A text box will pop up to confirm you want to cancel the return, select Cancel this return.

What are the Amazon return methods? ›

You can return items in the following ways:
  • Using drop off services at locations that are convenient for you.
  • Using pickup options.
  • Using Heavy-Bulky return options, handled by a specialty carrier team.
  • Using Locker, Locker+, and Amazon Hub Counter locations for small packages.

Can Amazon block your account for too many returns? ›

If you return 5-10 items per month or more than 10% of what you order for no reason other than that you changed your mind, you may receive a warning. If you continue returning items, your account will be suspended or you'll even be banned from Amazon.

Does Amazon penalize you for returns? ›

If the reason for the return is a defective product, incorrect description, or wrong item sent, you will not have to pay the return shipping fees. Be aware that you may get hit with a restocking fee if the item is damaged due to misuse, missing parts, or unauthorized tampering.

How does Amazon handle returns for sellers? ›

Amazon will process and handles all Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) returns. If the item is returned in sellable condition, the buyer will be refunded and the seller will be charged the equivalent amount. The seller will also be refunded some or all of the referral fee and the variable closing fee.

What challenges does Amazon have with respect to handling customer returns? ›

4 common issues with FBA returns
  • The product wasn't returned. Customers have 45 days to return a product to the fulfillment center after requesting a return. ...
  • Amazon never reimbursed you. ...
  • Amazon is ignoring you. ...
  • Customer returned a damaged product.
Dec 23, 2019

How do Amazon return centers work? ›

Take your item to the Amazon Hub Counter and show your return QR code to the Amazon Hub Counter associate. The Amazon Hub Counter associate scans the QR code to accept the return. The Amazon Hub Counter associate puts your item into a polyethylene bag, applies a return label to the package, and sends it back to Amazon.

How do you return an item on Amazon and get a refund? ›

Here's how to do it in three easy steps.
  1. Go to pay.amazon.com and sign in, then click “Check your Amazon Pay orders.”
  2. Find your order and click “Details.”
  3. Under “Need to Resolve a Problem?” click “Choose a problem type” and select “Request return, refund, or cancellation.” It's that easy.
Feb 22, 2022

What is considered return abuse? ›

Refund abuse (aka. returns abuse) occurs when a customer uses the returns policy of a merchant so much that it becomes unprofitable. Customers may also abuse refunds by faking returns/receipts, or reselling merchandise.

How many free returns does Amazon allow? ›

All return-eligible items, weighing under 50 lbs and sold by Amazon, have at least one free return option. You can return the item for any reason in new and unused condition for up to 30 days after purchase.

Why is Amazon letting me keep my return? ›

Major retailers are offering a surprising new option to customers for some returns: just keep it. That's because it doesn't always make financial sense for large retailers to process the return. Walmart, Target, and Amazon are some of the major retailers offering so-called returnless refunds.

Can you get in trouble for returning too much? ›

Generally, a consumer is safe from being arrested if they are honest with a store about the item they are returning.

Does Amazon charge sellers for customer returns? ›

Reimbursements. Anytime Amazon refunds a customer or sends a replacement item, they'll charge your FBA seller account for some or all of the refund value. You may also be debited for a restocking fee if the item was opened, and a returns processing fee of $2.12 to $75.08 per item (depending on product size).

How strict is Amazon returns? ›

For Amazon, a rigid and comprehensive returns policy is put in place to protect both sellers and customers on the platform. Customers can return items sold and fulfilled by Amazon for free within thirty days of delivery. However, Amazon has no control over returned items bought from third-party sellers.

What is the biggest challenge Amazon is facing? ›

Cashflow is easily one of the biggest challenges that most Amazon sellers will face (and really, this can apply to other ecommerce businesses as well).

What is Amazon's biggest challenge? ›

Amazon FBA in 2022: Biggest Challenges and How to Overcome Them
  • Compromised Cash Flow. Amazon has a strict structure around payouts. ...
  • High Degree of Competition. Amazon allows a large number of sellers to sell the same product. ...
  • Packaging Restrictions. ...
  • Strict Inventory Expectations. ...
  • High Amazon Fees. ...
  • Way Forward.

What are the issues around product returns? ›

The retailer incurs additional supply chain costs when a product is returned or exchanged. The returned product often cannot be resold at the original price. This is due to damage, wear and tear, or obsolescence/devaluation given the passage of time. This is particularly an issue with fashion or seasonal products.

What do Amazon do with returned items? ›

Once you have returned a product to Amazon, it processes it and sells it to Amazon warehouses or liquidation retailers. Some returns make their way back to Amazon. However, most are put on pallets and sold in bulk to liquidation companies.

What does a customer returns associate do at Amazon? ›

FULFILLMENT CENTERS (CUSTOMER RETURNS) - Work inside an Amazon warehouse, receiving and processing customer returns. In this fast-paced, active role, you will play an important part in protecting customer trust by evaluating the condition of returned items to determine if they can be resold.

Why won't Amazon let me return my item? ›

We cannot exchange items unless they are defective or damaged. Items that are returned more than 30 days after delivery, are in unsellable condition, or are missing parts will be charged a restocking fee at our discretion. We cannot accept items returned after 60 days.

Can I get a refund on Amazon and still get my package? ›

Log into your account and visit the Customer Service portal. Once you've selected your order on Amazon's customer service portal, you should see the option “Says it's delivered, but it's not here.” Select this option and go to the next step. Usually, you can choose to request a refund or chat with an agent.

Where do you drop off Amazon Returns? ›

If the item you're returning and your location are eligible, you'll see the option to drop off your return at an Amazon Hub Counter. When you choose this option, you can select Choose an Amazon Hub Counter to return your item to view a map and select an Amazon Hub Counter.

How do I change return shipping on Amazon? ›

To change your order information:
  1. Go to Your Orders.
  2. Select Order Details for the order you want to change. Change orders shipped by Amazon by selecting, Change next to the details you want to update (shipping address, payment method, gift options, etc.).
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to change the information.


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