Introducing Free Replacement Offers on All MFN and SFP Orders


#559

Aside from the wording of the actual policy and several dozen posts in this thread? Nothing.


#560

That seems to be an internally contradictory statement. “Doc, what body part are you going to remove while I’m under?” “Haven’t decided yet, but I’m sure it won’t make much difference.”

At issue is not just how this plays out, but how Amazon sees our relationship. I’d guess (IANAL) that having us sell items under one TOS, then enforcing returns, refunds and exchanges under another, is out and out illegal. If our “partner” is willing to bet that they can do whatever they like, legal or otherwise, because they have a DC full of lawyers, that should tell you about the wisdom of putting eggs in this particular basket. It sounds like it won’t, though.


#561

To my fellow sellers with high dollar items:

I guess one way around this is to only list one of each item in a given condition. Unfortunately, that means waiting for 30 days+shipping time between listing another of the same item for sale.

I guess you could get a little more mileage by putting several up for sale and then reduce the quantity to zero before any of the items sold get delivered. It sounds like more trouble than it is worth.

btw, to update my own question from earlier:

It seems that we can sell until April 15th and then reduce inventory on all items sold in the past 30 days + shipping time to zero, and we would avoid learning the hard way how this policy is going to play out.


#562

Best response in this entire thread! :grin:


#563

Again, since this policy is only half-baked, we can only speculate, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you can (and maybe should) put your store on vacation the day the first item under this policy arrives at a buyer, and leave it there until the fora start providing some real-world experiences with whatever they finally settle on for a policy.

Another question for Amazon: will we be required to auto-exchange if you have identical inventory but your store is on vacation? How is that supposed to work? How have you not considered this situation?

Or: is international inventory considered inventory for the purpose of this conversation? Are you looking at point of origin for those items when deciding if they can be shipped as replacements for domestic sales? Do you even have that ability?

Or: if a return comes back with a buyer complaint – even (or especially?) if it’s a spurious complaint – does that increment inventory of an out of stock item, making the ostensibly defective item eligible for reshipment as a replacement?

Or: how many of these edge conditions were not even considered, and how few of them are needed to impact thousands if not millions of transactions on a platform this size? Isn’t the scale of the platform alone enough to justify more pre-planning for any changes of this seriousness?


#564

I am not against the idea of replacements. It is not the idea that is problematic, it is the implementation.

For example,

  • It should be an opt-in program, in the very least for now.
  • It should not require the Seller to ship prior to receiving the original item back–that is just ludicrous.
  • It should not count against a Sellers metrics if they choose to cancel the replacement at any stage. After all, they already properly fulfilled the order once. If the Seller determines that the Buyer is in some way at fault, why feed the scammer or otherwise upset the misguided customer even more by sending another of the same product?
  • Furthermore, there is the usual lack of guidance and transparency with the new program.

Lastly, one would hope that Amazon tested this on themselves prior to unleashing on 3P Sellers.

Oh, and they DEFINITELY better not make replacements available for people who claim they did not receive their order. :sweat_smile: Actually I would kind of love to watch the drama unfold if they did!

After putting my account on vacation, of course.


#565

Exactly. I can guarantee you, that is about all I will see. I virtually never send out defective items or wrong items. Over 99% of the time in this situation where a customer says I sent them the wrong thing, in fact they didn’t read the description and didn’t know what they were doing and ordered the wrong thing. The only solution I can think of is to watch the returns section regularly and when I see an exchange one, inform the customer of their mistake and explain that the replacement item will be exactly the same as what they are returning, and that if they don’t want that, they will need to send me a order cancellation request message with the “Order Cancellation” subject. Of course, we know that a lot of Amazon customers don’t even read their messages, but it seems the best I can do under this absurdity.


#566

Nothing in HM is subject to automated returns.


#567

what am embarrassment to Amazon with this ridiculous policy…
I guess Amazon is aware that alot of buyers have been asking for replacements and Amazon is trying to fill in that need. These buyers if they purchased and item from walmart, they will have to drive there and do a return and issued a refund, END OF STORY… buyer can go back walk to the store and repurchase…Here they want us Sellers to be like peons and Buyers like Kings, “ahhh please send me a replacement, free because I am lazy to repurchase sitting on my couch”… …Amazon tells us so we DONT lose a sale, thinking that we Sellers are going to benefit by this lousy policy…Amazon cares about us losing money???..well if you care about us losing money, then dont do this ridiculous policy that will make us pay 3 times the shipping cost. Amazon, you are not aware what is beneficial to Sellers…so reducing my inventory or posting inventory A one month and inventory B the following month or try other things like raising the price or great opportunity to leave this place


#568

But the topic says " Introducing Free Replacement Offers on All MFN and SFP Orders"

That’s for all items & all order then, correct? (why even bring up returnless refunds?)

So basically a replacement request will override the returnless refund option if set up for a particular item or items.

Or is this only for items setup for returnless refunds (which I’m sure customers love so why is Amazon messing with it).

Here’s an easy answer, Instead of sending out a return label and creating a zero cost order, just refund the customer (as it works now) and auto send them a direct link to the same product so they can purchase it again.

Another question, We use Order Reports, will the new order actually show ZERO as the price or a price with 100% discount or something? How can these orders be identified?


#569

Here’s an easy answer, Instead of sending out a return label and creating a zero cost order, just refund the customer (as it works now) and auto send them a direct link to the same product so they can purchase it again.

I think they don’t do it this way because for items that have a shipping cost the customer would have to pay the shipping again. It seems Amazon is trying to force us sellers to pay to ship an item to the customer again that likely was correct in the first place at our expense.


#570

You will need to add [Important] at the beginning of the subject line to bypass filters and get your message seen in their email inbox.


#571

Right, will need to remember to do that. Thanks.


#572

Lets keep this alive.


#573

Huge concerns over this policy in regards to clothing/footwear items. We get constant return requests for size exchanges, which we are happy to oblige and deal with the customers. We have size charts posted, but often times those are ignored and customers order what sizes they are accustomed to.

With this, customers can just claim we sent an incorrect item when it didn’t fit, get the replacement and keep the original. Hopefully there are some ways to mitigate the buyers who will abuse this type of policy, as most of our customers are honest with size requests, but there are still some questionable requests every day.


#574

Glad to see that Amazon is at least monitoring responses at this point but I think you’re still missing what many are saying.

The problem isn’t the idea but the implementation.
If I could double bold this and make it flash I would… this applies to so much of what Amazon does that very negatively impacts sellers.

I think most of us appreciate (and many of us have been begging for) an alternative to a Refund-only returns system. In my experience, buyers are confused and frustrated by needing to re-purchase items when they receive a defective product or want to exchange an item.

That said, when it comes to the IMPLEMENTATION this is essentially guaranteed to cause sellers nothing but grief and problems… because Amazon seems to think these things through on paper, hand them off to someone else who designs how the system works, send out vague instructions and processing quotas to support staff and then move along… at no stage taking into account seller needs, experiences, real world scenarios, or how under-trained support staff will handle issues.

The largest problem with this is the same problem that Amazon already has with the returns and disputes systems… Automation. Amazon’s sole concern is very clearly customer experience. You essentially want a customer to be able to click a button and get an immediate result. “I want to return this item, I didn’t like it” = “ok. here’s a label”, “this item was wrong or wasn’t as described” = “ok, here’s a label. The seller will pay for it”, “It says this item was delivered 2 days after it was shipped but I didn’t get it” = “ok, here’s a full refund” etc. etc. etc. –

So there isn’t too much of a problem with the first one. Amazon wants to insist that any item can be returned, that’s fine. It’s a policy decision, sellers agree to it in order to utilize the site. The problem is that many customers soon figure out that if they select B instead of A, they aren’t responsible for postage. So then nearly all returns become “damaged”, “defective” or not as “described.”

If a customer legitimately believes that an item is damaged, defective or not as described… “Here’s a label. The seller will pay for it.” There’s no discussion with the seller. Thus, not only have you encouraged buyers to falsify the reason, you’ve very often made the solution inadequate for both the buyer and the seller. Damaged coffee mug? Ship that thing back! The seller pays $7-$10 for that box of broken glass rather than just getting photos to confirm the damage and sending a replacement. 2x-3x times the cost for the seller and the customer waits twice as long for a replacement.

“Did you put batteries in it” “did you pull the plastic protector off the screen” “it may have looked reddish on your screen but these only come in green and black. you’re welcome to return it but it’s not ‘defective/the wrong color’ and any replacement/new order would be the same color.” etc. etc.

That one step… the momentary communication with the seller allows US the ability to offer better customer service and satisfaction AND significantly helps to reduce fraud.

A lot of customers now are skipping the returns and going straight to A-to-Z claims because Amazon promotes it but doesn’t explain the negative repercussions to customers. A customer claims they didn’t receive an item despite delivery confirmation showing that it was delivered = “Here’s a full refund on behalf of the seller” (no skin off Amazon’s back). No pause for the carrier to catch and correct a misdelivery. No communication with the seller for them to say ’ the carrier not only confirmed delivery but pulled their GPS record to show that it was, in fact delivered to that specific address.’ or this same customer pulled the same thing on another platform last month’ or ‘here’s a picture of them on Instagram showing off the thing they claim not to have received’ etc. Sure, we can dispute it but the opened & closed A-to-Z claim but that team has no actual interest in admitting they’re wrong… just in meeting their quotas.

So, ‘Umm… this person was arrested for this same type of fraud two months ago… here’s delivery conf, further proof from the carrier, the basic cut and paste message they sent before opening the A-to-Z, a facebook post saying “check out this cool new X I just got for free off Amazon” etc.’ just two minutes after submitting the claim ‘We’ve reviewed your claim but come to the conclusion that we made the right decision.’

The implementation and is almost always the problem. The changes & how they’re explained are almost always fine… ways to improve the customer experience. But in practice they’re often just complicated and confusing to customers in a different way, severely penalize sellers for the shortcomings of the system, and are often handled such that they encourage and significantly increase fraud. There are hundreds of videos just on youtube with hundreds of thousands views which teach people how scam on Amazon. Yet little to nothing changes to prevent that fraud and it doesn’t appear to be taken into consideration when further developing or changing those or other elements.

So here’s what sellers see in what you’ve posted about this change:

  • Buyer claims a product is defective. Requests a replacement & is provided with a return label. Amazon places a $0 order with the seller on their behalf. Customer has 7 days to return the item. Seller has to fill the order within the handling time. Thus <7 days handling, that customer just received an item for free. They can fail to return the item, return an empty box, a random item, etc. Seller doesn’t fill on time or cancels that replacement… Metric Strikes. Dishonest customer gets a free item.

  • Buyer claims a product arrived broken request a ‘no return replacement’ - No proof required. Amazon places a $0 order with the seller on their behalf. Seller cannot cancel that order or Metric Strikes. Dishonest customer gets a free item.

  • Buyer claims an item didn’t arrive despite delivery confirmation. Amazon issues a $0 order with seller on their behalf. Buyer then finds or receives item later that afternoon or the following day. Seller either has to take a Metric Strike for cancelling the order or the customer receives a duplicate item. Even if they’re honest enough to return duplicate item, seller pays 2x postage.

Dishonest customers are a given… fraud is going to happen from time to time. We all plan for a certain amount of fraud and loss. It’s the nature of the business. However, when Amazon makes changes like this with no input from sellers, seemingly little to no concern about fraud, etc. and then poorly supports sellers in dealing with the flaws in that system and legitimate fraud, it emboldens and encourages fraud. It will be days to weeks before there are posts and videos teaching people how to “get free items from Amazon” utilizing these system and policy changes.

As so many of us have repeatedly said for years at this point. Amazon needs to stop treating sellers as irrelevant and replaceable… realize that we are your partners and that the vast majority of us aren’t out to screw over customers. We want (partially) what Amazon wants… high customer satisfaction and for all parts of a transaction, communication, etc. to go as smoothly as possible. By cutting sellers out of that process, sure, you might improve customer satisfaction in many regards with a ‘click button get answer’ solutions but you’re quite literally robbing sellers, potentially running them out of business or off Amazon, encouraging and creating fraud, and ultimately creating a less ‘human’ approach to communication which normally encourages higher customer retention and satisfaction.


#575

Great so now we can eat the cost of two products as opposed to just one! I love it! What will you guys think of next?! (sarcasm) :expressionless:


#576

Thanks for taking the time to write all that out! I totally agree with your arguments, but I’ll bet you $5 Amazon won’t do anything to fix these changes to accommodate the needs of us sellers.


#577

I’m not at all optimistic. They don’t seem to have listened to much sellers have had to say in the past decade. But if I’m going to be screaming into the void anyway I figure I might as well do it in text form where at least there’s some fractional chance of it being heard rather than just letting it echo around in my head.

Wishing everyone the best of luck dealing with this new layer of insanity…


#578

I appreciate your efforts nonetheless.