Automatic returns how does it work?


We just got auto returns. How does the customer get the label now? Does anyone know?
Also how much is Amazon going to charge us for this?


If the reason for the return is seller caused (i.e. damaged, not as described, etc.), then the buyer gets a pre-paid return label to send the item back. If the reason is buyer caused (i.e. accidental order, no longer wanted/needed, etc.), then the buyer is given the choice of a pre-paid label or to return at their own cost. Amazon makes it clear that in this situation (buyer caused), the cost of the label will be deducted from the refund after it is returned.

So, regardless of the reason, a pre-paid return label is offered (exactly the same way an sale handles returns). Once the label is scanned by the carrier, the seller will see a charge for that label against their seller account balance. If the label is not used (i.e. they decide to not return it), there is no charge and no need to refund since it is not coming back.

How much the label costs depends on the weight of the product as shown on the product page. There has been much speculation as to how accurate these weights are so it would be beneficial to find time to review these and get them corrected if there is any error. A question about why Amazon simply does not replicate the outbound shipping label that would have the correct weight not be used, but that is another story.

Amazon has a pay rate chart on the [Shipping costs for seller fulfilled returns|] help page that can show you what the fees for the label will be.

Once you get it back, click the ‘Refund’ button like you usually do. If the buyer used a pre-paid return label to return it, you will see the charge on the right side of the refund page. If buyer fault, simply reduce the refund by the cost of the label, do your withholding of the original shipping and assess any restock fees (just as before). If seller caused, you will do a full refund (just as before).

If you have products that you can have returned to you for less cost than Amazon’s label option, or have high valued products that you want returned with insurance (since Amazon’s label does not have this), you can file for an exemption on those products.

If you have low cost items that you normally waive return and simply refund, you can enable returnless refunding on those units.

If you have a return where the reason selected was not correct – holding you accountable for the return shipping – you can file a SAFE-T claim with Amazon to report this and have Amazon reimburse you for the cost of the label. We have done this were the buyer says the item was defective but was returned in a sealed/new condition. Providing a picture of the product along with the return label/package, Amazon refunds the label cost.

The following help pages cover this in more detail but the gist is fairly simple. We have been on this program since the start of the year, and have withheld the return label costs if buyer fault without any negative results. Any out of policy return request will be sent to you just as before so you can either approve or deny it.

[Shipping costs for seller fulfilled returns|]

[Requesting an exemption|]

[Returnless refunds|]

[Appeal a return/SAFE-T Claim|]

I hope this helps answer your questions.


For Amazon FBA orders (where Amazon ships inventory to buyers for you), there is no charge for return shipping regardless of the reason – just as there is no net revenue to you should the buyer order and pay for 1 day shipping – Amazon takes care of all that.



We have been on this pre-paid return program since the start of the year. And, in fact, we save money under this program. Why? Well, for a couple reasons:

    1. Lower return shipping costs: When we are responsible for return shipping, the labels Amazon provide are far less than what we can provide. You can see the cost of the labels from the [Shipping costs for seller fulfilled returns|] help page.
    1. Lower processing time: Unlike how returns work now, buyers are instantly provided return label and instructions; minimizing our need to authorize them. When we do provide labels, we now do not have to monitor for the return since we are not charged for the label until used. So, since not all returns are actually returned, no more monitoring label usage and doing refunds on prepaid return labels we provide
    1. SAFE-T Claims: When we get a return where we are not responsible for the return shipping, we simply file a SAFE-T claim to have Amazon credit the cost of the return label. This happens when a buyer chooses ‘Defective’ but what was returned is still sealed. We have yet to have a problem getting our funds returned. This process is outlined in the [Appeal a return|] help page.
      So, we spend less time processing returns, have lower costs to return goods and can recoup labels for which the buyer should have been responsible for the return costs.

In addition, we have not had a single negative response for ‘Return Dissatisfaction’ while under this program.

For us, we find this to be one of the best solutions Amazon has designed in a long time. A benefit to the buyer and the seller with processes in place that are to ensure minimal financial impact.

Keep in mind that you still are responsible for refunding. Restock fees still apply so no difference with the new program when it comes to that process.

I would recommend that everyone take some time reading the [Prepaid returns for seller fulfilled orders|] help page and all its links to ensure you know all your options on how this program works. There are ways to exempt products should the new process not work for you (i.e. multiple return addresses, specialized shipping requirements, return cost prohibited, etc.) which sellers should take advantage of if necessary.


Thanks for all your information on this.

Edited by: Orion Toy Company on Nov 12, 2017 8:30 AM


This is so helpful and I feel much better about it. We sell clothing, so some buyers wear items and return them. I still have some concerns about a higher return rate. Our SF items have a 18% return rate, but FBA items have a 25% return rate.

Also I read somewhere that we have 48 hours to refund or it will be automatic. Is that correct?


The 48 hour requirement to refund upon return has always been policy. However, since Amazon was not providing labels (with tracking), they did not know when an item was received back to the seller unless the buyer reported an issue.

Now, Amazon knows to the minute, via tracking, when you got the return and there have been some sellers posting here asking why Amazon refunded a return in full on their behalf and it was because it had been longer than 48 hours since the return was received.

If you want to have the option to assess restock fees or withhold shipping concessions, you need to be sure you refund within 48 hours because if Amazon does it, they do a full refund and you have no way to recoup the loss you otherwise would have withheld.



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