Amazon insist on 3rd party seller 30 day returns
Amazon are to align 3rd party seller returns policies with their own generous 30 day return rights. Amazon sellers will be required to have return policies that are at least as favourable as Amazon’s own return policies from the 6th of August 2012. That means up to 30 days to return a product which, dependent on category, might only have to be returned in “Best Possible Condition“.
Strangely Amazon’s Marketplace return policy doesn’t currently require sellers to fulfil their legal obligations. It states “If you need to return an item due to a fault on the part of the seller, you can request that the seller also reimburse you for return postage costs, however please bear in mind that the seller is only obliged to refund you the total cost of the order in these circumstances.“. If the buyer simply wishes to return an item because they’ve changed their mind then they are liable for return postage costs, however if it’s due to a seller fault (such as a mis-ship or a faulty item) then the seller should also be picking up return postage costs.
I doubt too many Amazon seller will be happy with this announcement. However it’s worth bearing in mind that most buyers will request an early return if they’re unhappy with a product – the longer time period probably won’t make much difference. Some retailers such as Zappos have always operated a 365 day no questions asked returns policy and it hasn’t put them out of business. Offering a longer returns policy can give more customer peace of mind without necessarily increasing overall returns rates significantly, although there’s always that one customer that tries it on.
Amazon play at the cutting edge of ecommerce, they’re already offering next day delivery and recent rumours are that even that’s not enough and they’re aiming to delight customers with a same day service. They’ll treat returns in the same manner and aim to be the best in the business.
Seller might not want to offer 30 day returns and there’s certainly a cost. While it may not significantly increase the overall number of returns it will almost certainly result in some later returns. If there’s no hurry why send an item back the next day?
Regardless if you agree with Amazon or not there’s not a lot of choice for sellers. The Amazon way is either to offer the same great service as they do, or don’t play at their party. In order to cut out work for 3rd party sellers (and to make sure no one decides not to comply), Amazon will update the returns policy on Amazon accounts on the 6th August to ensure that everyone offers 30 day returns.
Full Text of the Amazon Email
To ensure a consistent experience for buyers, Amazon sellers are required to have return policies that are at least as favourable as Amazon’s own return policies. To help provide the best experience for buyers, we will be updating the return information in the Returns section of your Amazon.co.uk storefront page on 6 August 2012 to clarify that buyers may return products to you in accordance with Amazon’s return policies.
The updated return information will direct buyers to Amazon’s return policies and will continue to give buyers the ability to contact you for information about any more favourable policies that may apply. If your inventory includes Fulfilment by Amazon items, your Returns section will continue to reference the Amazon return policies.
See this Help page for more information about Amazon’s return policies:
If you have questions, please contact our Seller Support team by clicking the Contact Seller Support link at the bottom of any seller Help page.
Amazon Services Europe