Holy Cow! FBA refunds customer a year later?

Normal Amazon sellers have an added level of protection - customers have 30 days to request a return or refund, and only 90 days to leave negative feedback or do a credit card chargeback.

However, sellers give up these rights under FBA. Today, we learned of a customer who read the book ELEVEN MONTHS after receiving it (yes, 11 months) ... didn't enjoy the book, and requested a refund.

FBA granted the refund without consulting the seller (they never do).

The good news is that they credited the seller for the cost of the book ($3.99). But this is bad for the seller: First, there is no limit to what FBA can do to your account - hold funds, issue refunds, not restock your returned items, etc. They don't have to credit the seller.

Second, this counts against your metrics. Every time a customer returns an item it hurts your merchant performance metrics. When you have low merchant performance, it's like a snowball effect - Amazon is less likely to remove inappropriate negative feedback, less likely to issue a credit for things like this, more likely to take the buyer's side on disputes, more likely to side against you on A-Z claims, and more likely to suspend your listings and/or your entire account.

This is not about the money - when FBA gives refunds, they blame YOU, no matter what the circumstances. Even if the item was damaged in transit, they blame YOU for selling items that are prone to damage in transit. If your performance metrics are not perfect across the board, you are in high risk for having your account yanked at any moment. Avoiding FBA, and taking control over your own shipping & customer support, is the best way to prevent this from happening.


Anonymous said...

That looks to me like Amazon just paid you an additional $0.60. The transaction above that return is for 3.99 adjustment. It looks like Amazon ate that one, not the seller.

gwsfoods said...

Amazon refunded the customer, and then gave the 3.99 back to the Seller. That is the Misc. Adjustment of 3.99 above the refund. The Seller lost NO money in the refund transaction, FYI.

Anonymous said...

Correct gwsfoods, and you really have to wonder how the writer of this blog could have failed to notice that.

karvsmith said...

FBA refunds become Cashflow Problems for many small businesses

Johnny D said...

I believe FBA policies have changed. In the long run, it's a small price to pay for essentially outsourcing your packing, shipping and customer service.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone know the answer to this question:

When a prime member buys one of my FBA products and the shipping is free to them, do I have to pay any money to Amazon or does Amazon absorb that shipping cost? I know that I will pay the fulfillment costs just like I would for any order regardless if it was sold to a PRIME member or not.


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