Comprehensive guide to customer returns when selling on Amazon

Learn how to handle every type of customer return when selling on Amazon
Seth Kniep
November 30, 2016
Grow your Amazon store
When your Amazon account is healthy you make a lot more money. A healthy Amazon account means you get a lot more opportunities than sellers whose accounts have mountains of negative seller feedback.

For example, Amazon is far more likely to ungate you when your Amazon seller account is healthy.

The fastest way to increase and maintain health on your Amazon account, is to give absolutely amazing customer service. Over 90% of all account problems are due to sellers not treating their customers fairly and wisely.

By fairly, I mean doing what is right for your customer. Honoring your return policy. Providing an extremely high quality product. Making sure that your product description accurately describes the product that shows up on their doorstep.

By wisely, I mean knowing how to respond to customer who are opportunists, abusing Amazon's system and lying to get as much from you as they can for as little pay as possible. Handling them wisely means setting your ego aside, and doing what will promote the health of your store even when you know that customer is leeching off of the policy to take from you.

Lose the battle graciously. Win the war victoriously.

The number one influencer of your store's health is going to be how you handle returns.

Your return policy and how you handle it is crucial to the health of your store.

When a customer requests a return, they have to select a reason for the return from a drop-down menu. The reasons include:

  • Bought by mistake
  • Better price available
  • Product damaged, but shipping box OK
  • Item arrived too late
  • Missing parts or accessories
  • Product and shipping box both damaged
  • Wrong item was sent
  • Item defective or doesn't work
  • Received extra item I didn't buy (no refund needed)
  • No longer needed
  • Didn't approve purchase
  • Inaccurate website description

At the end of this blog you can download a clean infographic that breaks down every reason a customer can give for returning an Amazon product and how to respond to each scenario.

For all items that shipped FBA, unless it's a type of item that Amazon does not allow returns for, Amazon will accept the return from the customer, regardless of the reason they selected for the return.

For items you are fulfilling (FBM), you can decide your own return policy window, but Amazon strongly encourages a return policy of 14 days or longer for customer satisfaction.

How many days should my return policy be?

If you have Amazon fulfill your orders for you (FBA), your products have a 30 day return policy with the exception of some categories that have up to a 90 day return policy, like baby items for example. You can see all the exceptions to Amazon's 30 day return policy here.

If you are fulfilling the orders yourself as the merchant (FBM), then you can set your own return policy.

How to create your own return policy (FBM only)

To do this, log into your Seller Central account and click on "settings" in the upper right, then click "return settings."

Comprehensive Guide to Csutomer Returns When Selling on Amazon

You will then see this page pull up: 

Comprehensive Guide to Customer Returns Edit Page
Comprehensive Guide to Customer Returns Edit Page 2

In this area you can do the following:

Email format

Choose whether or not you want to receive an email for a customer's return request. Whether or not you select this, you will still see their request in messages in your Seller Central account.

Automation rules

Set up your default automation rules. You can choose to manually authorize each return request, have Amazon automatically authorize all requests that meet Amazon's policy, or have Amazon automatically authorize all requests.

Optional override

You can select the "Optional override" which means you can set different return policies for different products. This has to be done by downloading a spreadsheet template, filling it out, and then uploading it.

Return window

You can set the window of your return policy from 1 to 30 days.

RMA

The Return Merchandise Authorization is a number that authorizes the return. You can set it up so that each time you create this yourself or Amazon to generates this for you.

Your return mailing label

You can have Amazon provide an un-paid mailing label or you can opt to purchase your own paid mailing label. If you provide your own mailing label, you can select a carrier of your choice: UPS, USPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.

Your return instructions

Here is where you type in a message to send to your customers each time someone requests a return. This way you don't have to keep retyping it every time. Make it personal and very positive. Here is an example of what I use:

 

Get the

Amazon Returns & How to Respond

chart

Treat your customers like royalty!

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Seth Kniep

Married a pearl. Fathered 4 miracles. Fired his boss. Turned a single dime into $104,857. Today, a self-made millionaire, Seth and his team of 8 badass coaches teach entrepreneurs how to build passive income on Amazon.

Dead serious about building income on Amazon with eight successful coaches in a community of badass Amazon sellers? We created something we've never done before: the Amazon Growth Bundle full year coaching course.

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