Seller reports Amazon refund of FBA item after 1 year

By Dan Wilson April 16, 2014 - 12:20 am

We received information about a most interesting case recently. And it would be interesting to hear whether anyone else has had similar experiences.

Here’s the story from a Tamebay reader and Amazon FBA seller:

“We’ve been selling on Amazon using FBA for many years. Occasionally we saw that a customer had returned something to Amazon after several months – even over a year, and Amazon customer services had refunded the customer in full and taken the money out of our account. In these cases when we opened a case to FBA support they issued us with a reimbursement for the full amount.”

“Recently I noticed that a customer who purchased an electrical beauty device in March 2013 on one of our FBA DE listings had been given a full refund (134 EUR). I applied for the usual reimbursement and was told:

‘As previously mentioned, our policy to reimburse sellers when we receive a customer return 30 days outside the stated return window does not apply to items in defective condition. This is valid if the buyer returns the defective item within 2 years.

This rule does not apply only to DE. On 13th March 2014, we launched the Seller Immunity defective use case in the EU region, which will no longer immunise Sellers for Customer returns that are defective.

In the EU, there is a law that “the seller is liable … where the lack of conformity becomes apparent within two years as from the moment of delivery” (full law attached). This is a guarantee that is legally afforded to EU Customers by Sellers, and FBA will no longer absorb the cost of this guarantee.

Therefore, Amazon will no longer reimburse Sellers for Customer returns that are defective and received back within two years.'”

As the seller notes: “This is extremely disconcerting that all of the items sold between 2 and 24 months ago by FBA could potentially be returned to Amazon for a full refund if they go faulty. It is our understanding that a customer is entitled to a repair or replacement but not a refund but we’re not given an opportunity to sort this out for the customer. Instead they’re just given a full refund.”

Has anyone had a similar experience or communication from Amazon?

  • Andrew
    4 years ago

    Dan – I’m the seller who emailed you about this so thanks for posting it. Since my original email I’ve had 3 further cases from Amazon UK:

    £125 refund after 8 months
    £175 refund after 18 months
    £120 refund after 20 months

    I’d love to know if this has affected anyone else.

  • Alex
    4 years ago

    I don’t get this. This seems like more poorly thought out EU legislative meddeling.

    Many items are sold with a 1 year warranty. I’m not suggesting that items break after 12 months as most go on working for many years. My question is how can legislation impose a 2 year returns period when the item is sold with a 1 year warranty (as is typical of many new items)?

    Also, does the buyer get refunded regardless of returning the item? And also, shouldn’t the seller have repair or replace options?

  • Andrew
    4 years ago

    Hi Alex – the EU laws state that a customer is entitled to a repair or replacement. Amazon have taken this a step further and are just granting refunds.

    I’ve done a removal order for 2 of the refunded products and one of them isn’t even defective. I think the customer just changed her mind after a year so told Amazon it was defective.

    I believe the buyer’s are refunded as soon as they alert Amazon that the goods are defective, but their cards are charged if they don’t return it within 30 days.

  • JD
    4 years ago

    Marketplace sellers are in grave peril of being caught in the middle of an ongoing battle between Amazon and eBay in their pursuit of customers.

    In this case, over who can offer the perceived longest and easiest returns policy.

    Third party sellers, it would appear, are the devils who must take the hindmost.

  • Jimbo
    4 years ago

    I wonder is Amazon are so liberal with items bought directly from Amazon?

  • Andrew
    4 years ago

    JD – agreed.

    Jimbo – yes I imagine they are as I’m sure in their terms with suppliers they can just return such products for a full refund of whatever they paid.

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