Amazon's A - Z Guarantee...BEWARE


Here is the scenario I am currently experiencing with Amazon…

I listed a textbook (Sociology 15th Ed), sold a textbook to a customer, wrapped in bubble wrap and immediately shipped the item. The item I sent fits the description of the listed item, was brand new and in great shape.

The buyer receives the item, makes a false claim about the condition (States it was the instructors edition, front and back cover is broken/bent, isbn is removed) and she wants a refund.

I contest and simply request a return of the item to me and I will refund her.

She sends out a wrong book (Medical Language 2nd edition) and I receive.

I immediately take pictures, send them to Amazon and explain I did not receive the item, she has kept it.

Amazon A-Z Guarantee awards the refund to her and I am to refund $140 AND she is keeping the item…
The customer service at Amazon Seller Central wants me to take the book to our mail carrier and open a dispute with them…They do not seem to understand that she did not even send me the correct text book back! lol…

I have supplied images and proof, the buyer has simply made claims and supplied no proof (images or nothing). Yet, she is determined to have proven her case.

I have been selling through Amazon for 6 years, perfect rating and no case ever created against me. All 5 stars! I now have a negative rating from the buyer, less product to sell and $140 refund to issue…

This experience is amazing and Amazon Support has been non existent to the Seller (me). I have requested a phone call with Seller Support and they will not call me back.

I have reached out to them several times through their 1 800 # and each time they push me back to the Seller Central page and communicate through e-mail. Support is horrible and this decision is irrational.

Have others experienced this?


It is obviously a victim of fraudulent transaction, I understand that you sent your package through USPS, therefore you have to report this to the USPS Postal Inspection service of this number: 1-800-ASK USPS.


The switcharoo bandit strikes again. It sucks but it happens occasionally.


First off
Contact the postal police and open a case " Mail Fraud" notify her post master with the case number… Appeal the case and give amazon the postal polices name, number and case number. The Post Master Name and contact number. Ask Amazon to have a supervisor review the case in your appeal.

Amazon will refund your money but the A-Z wont go away.

The Post Office will investigate her! Been there myself. Oh also tell Amazon that the police want the contact information “WHICH THEY Will NEED” to the A-Z Department for there investigation. Ask Amazon assistant in prosecuting this person as they aided in the person committing not only mail fraud (F) but petite larceny (M).

Note: Amazon policy’s can not supersede state or federal law. Nor can there policy’s aide in a crime. Let me know what happens


Good Grief!

You should be righting spy novels why are you here?

As side from the fact that what he appealed to Amazon has no bearing, it does not negate the fact that a crime has been commit by several levels of law.

A reasonable person “BY LAW” within a reasonable amount of time “BY LAW” of receiving the item would contact the seller and express there displeasure with the item and request a return and a full refund “BY LAW” not pull a bate and switch.

My Case… Package deliver. Customer makes A-Z claim not received. Contact customer no package… Contact Community Center were the customer lives… Package was there at the Office and personally delivered “mail log”. Notify the customer. Rep to Amazon Hi Amazon i spoke with so so at the Customer Community Office she is a manager there her contact info is so and so she personally delivered the package to the customer prior to the A-Z claim. I also spoke with the post master who informed me that the package was delivered by the postal clerk to the community office because the package was to big for there community box. There contact info is so and so. The customer refuse to answer my emails. What do you think amazon did??? Refund… Illegal!!! Once again Amazon policy’s can not supersede the law. Appeal with the police info and them wanting to speak to Amazon A-Z Department with regards to the customer and there policy. Amazon refunds my money

Edited by: Smith Outfitters on Jun 28, 2014 7:22 AM


If the A-Z claim was granted and it is seller funded refund. Appeal the decision. I had similar case were a buyer got a xbox 360. opened it up (with out the proper tools) which causes obvious damage put his broken console inside my case and sent that back. I took pictures of the damage done to do the switch. lost the a-z. appealed lost the appeal. but out of sheer frustration replied to the denied appeal email and I quote.

"So no matter how much evidence is presented that a buyer is is stealing from you. The seller is expected to allow this and will be found at fault every time. So it is pointless to even try “Thanks For Nothing”

One hour later I received a email from a supervisor saying that upon review that the funds for the transaction were being put back in my account

If it is worth the head ache fight it


Photos taken of an item are mostly meaningless, as you can tell, it does not prove you sent the correct product or what you received in return.

> I have supplied images and proof, the buyer has simply made claims and supplied no proof (images or nothing).

Buyers are not required to supply proof an item is defective or damaged.


One Amazon employee expressed in the comments on the Reddit post that, “We learn this on day one at Amazon: customers come first. Customers are the reason we are here and they are who we work for.”

Amazon bans seller.

“Because you listed an item in a different condition than the one advertised on the detail page, the item was materially different than described, and the buyer is automatically eligible for the A-to-z Guarantee, whether they return the item or not. We always hope that sellers and buyers are able to work out a transaction before resorting to the Guarantee, but once a Guarantee claim is filed, we must take appropriate action from our end. We have reimbursed the buyer and your seller account will be debited. If you’d like to view our Policies, Glossary and FAQs, please visit:”


Amazon is not going to spend any time investigating this situation. They will make a ruling based on the information provided and move on… time is money. Amazon will make note of it, and if the buyer has a habit of claiming they get the wrong product, Amazon might do something at a later date.

The odds are against you. This is a risk involved with selling on-line, the same as shoplifting is a risk for B&M stores.

The Amazon rep suggested you bring this to the attention of the post office. They might be confused but the advice isn’t bad. If the package was shipped via USPS, you can file a lost of stolen report with the United States Postal Inspectors. The branch of the government is different from the post office that delivers the mail. Nothing is likely to come of it, but at least there is a record of it, outside of Amazon.


I would guess she opened the A to Z by saying the book was Not As Described. Amazon will refund for that. Did you have proof of what book you sent, in terms of photos, etc.? You said you had photos, but I’m assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that your photos are of the book she sent back. If you could not produce proof of what you sent, Amazon has no way of really knowing which one of you isn’t being truthful. In such a case, they will side with the buyer.

It’s not fair in that it rewards those few buyers who are actually stealing from sellers and lying. I don’t know what the answer is–perhaps other sellers will have suggestions.

Be glad that you have had such good experience for the years you have been selling! This shouldn’t hurt you too much–I know, it’s little consolation at a time like this.


Email the buyer and tell them that you have opened a case with the USPS fraud division, so she should be expecting a visit from detectives soon.


“The item I sent fits the description of the listed item, was brand new and in great shape”

little white lies cost money don’t they? USED ISN’T BRAND NEW, great shape isn’t BRAND NEW

instructors edition…probably true…fits the description?
front and back cover is broken/bent…great shape?
isbn is removed…instructors edition…true.

“I contest and simply request a return of the item to me and I will refund her”
if you sent her a label she would have…instead you got one she didn’t need.

Support is horrible and this decision is irrational?
“The item I sent fits the description of the listed item, was brand new and in great shape”
you sent that quote to amazon didn’t you…yeah…they sided with the educated customer.
Sociology/Medical…psychologist with a sense of humor…dark humor at that…funny


Sorry to hear this happened to you. So you already responded to the A-z and the refund has been granted to the buyer from your account? Sometimes it is best not to jump the gun and to do what you can to mitigate the loss from such scammers.

In fact, it should start when the buyer requests a return. Professional and polite, while hopefully calling their bluff if there is one.

+"Dear Customer:+

+Thank you for contacting me about your book __________ (title). I am sorry to hear that you are not satisfied with your purchase. I would be happy to accept the book back for a full refund.+

+In order to receive your refund, you will need to return the same book that was sent to you, including my unique seller’s mark for identification. If you have ordered multiple books from multiple sellers, please be sure you are returning the correct book to the correct seller.+

+Please return it using the following instructions: XXXXXXXX+

+Your Seller+

And then if they still dare to pull a switcheroo and send back some worthless book, you can, with all politeness and presuming they made an honest mistake, say something like this:

+Dear Buyer,+

+Thank you for your return package. I was surprised to find that the book inside is not the same title as the book I sent out. In fact, I have never carried this title in my inventory. I know that if you have multiple orders, it can be easy to make a mistake returning books to various sellers. Please let me know how you would like me to return this item to you. Once I receive the original book I sent to you, I can process a refund.+

+Yours truly,+

+Your Seller+

If the buyer is not cooperating and is belligerent about making sure the exact item was returned… well then you can consider going down the “switcheroo bandit” route (just search those words on the forums). Basically you are taking the buyer at his/her word and presuming all the best, and in the name of good customer service, you will be working with the federal postal inspectors to make sure that the buyer’s mail is not being tampered with, as that is only thing that could have happened if the buyer is 100% sure they sent back the right book, but the seller received a different one. The inspectors might come by and ask questions, and they may monitor the mail for a month or so, sometimes requiring signatures.

If the buyer is being honest and doesn’t have something to hide, then they should not be worried at all and should welcome the investigation, because based on this situation, actual mail tampering be occurring. If the buyer is scamming or has something to hide, this could make them change their story, as now the authorities may catch onto them.

You might be surprised (or not) how quickly the buyer will suddenly find the right book and realize that it’s actually not in bad shape and that they have you confused with another seller. Or they might get mad and open an A-z claim with Amazon, in which case you’d be no worse off than you are now.

It all depends on how much time/energy you want to put into it for the $140, and if your metrics/feedback can take a hit.


James, I feel your pain.

But you say you’ve been selling for 6 years with a good standing and no prior issues.

I hope it’s 6 more years before you run into another situation like this.

Really, it’s just one of those things that happen.

If you haven’t posted a response to the negative fb, I suggest you do, but keep it short,
simple, and professional.

Having owned a B&M store for years before going on-line, I’d like to say that my personal
experience has been that there are fewer on-line bad experiences like this. My loss in
my store from “inventory shrinkage” (i.e., theft) was about 1% (well below industry averages, according to my CPA – mostly because I personally spent about 90 hours a week
in my store!). On-line, I run into scammers less than 1/10 of a single percent.

Good luck.



YES YES YES. This is a all too familiar experience. Have we all heard this statement, “The customer is always right.” Yea right!! As a seller we all have either run into your exact experience or will run into your experience. Bottom line is WE the sellers have little to no protection in this marketplace that we rake in the big bucks for them. No respect at all for OUR hard work.
I wonder all the time if the people who run Amazon cannot get some of the simplest concepts down. Such as- when a customer walks into any brick and mortar store and make a purchase, when they return they need 1 thing: THE PRODUCT IN GOOD CONDITION WITH THE PACKAGING IN A CERTAIN TIME PERIOD. What is so hard? I cannot walk into any store without the product I purchased and demand a refund and GET IT. So why do Amazon allow these customers to do this to us everyday all day. They keep our stuff and TELL us to send another or give them money.



P.S. for the people who don’t understand that the last paragraph is SARCASM.

Edited by: Lauren@SellerSupport on Jun 28, 2014 4:40 PM

Edited to remove offensive language.


I agree with contacting the postal inspectors, you should also contact the Secret Service, which investigates credit card fraud.
Also check out the buyer’s state’s attorney general’s website - some states have cybercrime divisions.

The reason why it is important to get this in front of as many Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) is that most scammers are career criminals, who are often already on parole, probation, or have other existing wants and warrants.

If you really want to be vindictive (I would) send a letter to her state sales tax board, reporting that she did not pay the Use Tax on the book they stole. Ill gotten gains are still taxable gains. :slight_smile:

In general you might also want to include verbage in your sales and shipping terms establishing legal venue for any disputes as the city you live in. Then should that happen in the future, you can sue them in your local court, and sell the judgement to a collections agency. The Supreme Court has ruled that such verbage is a binding contract. (Shrink-wrap/clickwrap contracts).

Also if you sales volume really warrants it, there are companies that track Abusive Returners, similar to credit agencies. Such as (I have no relationship to this company)


You’ve got to have a better number for us than that. Come on.


You Sir, Are my new best friend!!

Great advice. Great Idea…

Very true some of these people do this for a living… No not all customers are scamming but Laws were written in common sense to make sense. If it looks lika duck and quacks lika duck… What happen to the guy is a complete scam. I hope he gets his money back…

Run the gamut brother dont lay down!

Customer deserve Great Service

Scammers Deserve there day in court to be judge by the people with common sense.


Contacting USPS on this case will not work.

The problem is not with USPS but through Amazon.

Packages were delivered.Even though the contents may be wrong,that is not a USPS matter.

Also,What I hate is even if a buyer is caught in fraud some time down the road,Sellers do not ever know the outcome or even get their money back.

This kind of fraud can not be avoided or refunded with insurance.

It’s sad that this kind of crap happens.

Amazon seller support is outsourced to Asia (I think?)Just like Microsoft support is from India.

It’s a sad state of affairs that the USA has lowered itself to this point of life.

I learned one good thing about this problem.Take pictures before sending to the buyer and send the pictures with all the details to seller support before shipment.It’s always a good thing to cover your donkey.


You misunderstood. That 800 # is the suicide hotline for when you have these kind of problems