New Amazon Return System


#211

While I’m impressed by the plethora of omniscience from the Amazon cheerleaders (who seem to be the same people that seem to think everyone – but themselves – an idiot), I can make some predictions that I – in my stupidity, but after closely reading the policy and selling on this platform too long – are confident in:

  • If your defense against “free rentals” of your items is a restocking fee (which may not cover the devaluation of a new item if it’s returned not-new), then you can be reassured that this change being billed as “a nifty way to reduce a metric that is still in beta and doesn’t affect your selling rating” is an even bigger stretch than it seems at face value. If you are competing against Amazon – which by definition has at least 15% of price to give away on each sale – and they don’t charge a restock fee, you can bet sellers will complain when you do.

  • Amazon will do nothing to set expectations of a restock fee, and will continue to muddy the difference – to buyers – between 3PS and Amazon-fulfilled, and in the absence of condition notes, the chances buyers will see that info in advance is about 0% .

  • Whatever the initial rules are is irrelevant, as the point of those rules is to make this shite shandwich palatable, and these rules will become less pleasant over time, as there are aspects that aren’t (yet) 100% buyer-centric

  • This “in beta” metric will become hard and fast (i.e. out of beta) once this program is off the ground, meaning that restock fees will have to go away if you want to sell on the platform. Frog, meet slowly boiling pot of water.

  • Amazon will eventually decide that the protest channel is too expensive – no matter which country they outsource it to – and even if they don’t cancel the option to argue your case eventually, you can expect them to frequently side with the buyer even when the buyer is wrong (or lying). In the interim, expect your ROI to drop as you spend hours dealing with staff undertrained in the new process, who are eager to hand your money to buyers, and will tell you “well, you can solve this problem by simply giving the money AND the product to the buyer”. When buyers don’t like the SAFE-T outcome, expect other negatives (e.g. return dissatisfaction) to spike.

  • Amazon is MUCH tigher-arsed with metrics than eBay, and one of the reasons that platform is dying is because eBay decide that, like Amazon, their customers should be their buyers-not-sellers, and given a choice between doubting a buyer and taking money from a seller, they will always side with the buyer. Getting a buyer banned is difficult to impossible (and a time sink, protecting your competition more than you, therefore generally not pursued). Eventually, all buyers come to expect more for less money, and a large number of buyers abuse the system without repercussions. I expect changing buyer expectations (e.g. why go to the store when someone will ship you something for free to try on/sit on/sleep on at home ?) to become the bigger issue than fraud (although Amazon doesn’t deal well with fraud, at least not when 3PSs foot the bill).

  • Amazon doesn’t need most of its 3PS to fill most of the long tail in product availability. Amazon doesn’t need to make a profit to please its shareholders, Amazon will mine your data, Amazon will misrepresent to your suppliers to get their products directly, Amazon will push more sellers into FBA, Amazon will increase all forms of pay-to-play, Amazon will continue to hand your money to buyers where possible, Amazon will push to get your margins BELOW the 15% you need to hand them in order to sell something … so just like Amazon you can profit off your rising share price in lieu of margins (what, you aren’t publicly traded??) … and eventually, many 3PSs will leave, but not the huge ones that can survive on super-thin margins (or misrepresentation, Mr. Chinese Seller, sir) that can fill most of the catalog. This is just the next step in the inevitable evolutionary slog where most sellers get priced off the platform. Be happy you made it this far. Maybe like Zappos, you can survive long enough and lose enough money on free 2-way shipping that you’ll be acquired by e-Walmart, um, I mean, Amazon.

Now you can tell me why I’m an idiot who didn’t read the policy, and how you don’t understand why I shouldn’t blindly trust that this time will be different than all other historic trendlines on this seller-friendly platform that in no way is run by a guy whose goal is to put all of us out of business. /flame on


#212

>If your defense against “free rentals” of your items is a restocking fee (which may not cover the devaluation of a new item if it’s returned not-new), then you can be reassured that this change being billed as “a nifty way to reduce a metric that is still in beta and doesn’t affect your selling rating” is an even bigger stretch than it seems at face value. If you are competing against Amazon – which by definition has at least 15% of price to give away on each sale – and they don’t charge a restock fee, you can bet sellers(sic) will complain when you do.
>
>Amazon will do nothing to set expectations of a restock fee, and will continue to muddy the difference – to buyers – between 3PS and Amazon-fulfilled, and in the absence of condition notes, the chances buyers will see that info in advance is about 0% .

Amazon does charge restocking fees in some cases.

In any event, I continue to be amazed at sellers who do not charge restocking fees but who think they can lecture those who do about what happens when you do. Hint - you can’t. As I have posted previously, the chances of being hit by an A-z for restocking fees in one particular year I documented were 0.7% – and we won all four of those cases, so no hit to our metrics:

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/message.jspa?messageID=3395736#3395736

What you call “omniscience” I would also call “omniscience”. From actual experience.

>This “in beta” metric will become hard and fast (i.e. out of beta) once this program is off the ground, meaning that restock fees will have to go away if you want to sell on the platform.

I suppose one can predict almost anything, really . . .

>Amazon will eventually decide that the protest channel is too expensive – no matter which country they outsource it to – and even if they don’t cancel the option to argue your case eventually, you can expect them to frequently side with the buyer even when the buyer is wrong (or lying).

I suppose one can predict almost anything, really . . . and the experience of sellers who have been in the pilot program disagrees with you(r lack thereof).

>When buyers don’t like the SAFE-T outcome, expect other negatives (e.g. return dissatisfaction) to spike.

What makes you think buyers get charged if the SAFE-T decision is decided in favor of the seller? From what I have read, Amazon reimburses the seller. I’m willing to believe that money comes out of the buyer’s pocket, but so far no one has said that it does. In addition, as long as we’re predicting, I’ll predict complaints about return label costs in feedback will be removable. But then I suppose one can predict almost anything, really.

>I expect changing buyer expectations (e.g. why go to the store when someone will ship you something for free to try on/sit on/sleep on at home ?) to become the bigger issue than fraud (although Amazon doesn’t deal well with fraud, at least not when 3PSs foot the bill).

This assumes that the cost to sellers for returns will be notably different from what it is now. That conjecture flies in the face of the experience of sellers who have been in the pilot program (unlike you).

>you can tell me why I’m an idiot who didn’t read the policy

I’ll settle for telling you that you’re an idiot who didn’t read either the policy or any of the voluminous discussion on the topic from people who have actual experience with the pilot program, charging restocking fees, etc. But then for a week or more now this topic has been a source of non-stop entertainment as far as reading the untutored opinions of those who don’t understand how the policy is going to work but feel the need to comment on it anyway.

bunga bunga!


#213

Bunga, in what scenarios have you charged restocking fees on your Amazon returns?

Our return rate is relatively low and I have always just opted to refund in full rather than deal with unhappy customers and either neg feedback or A-Z’s.

You make the point that you will typically win A-Z’s in the case of buyers protesting restocking fees. However, it is still a metric hit, unlike an INR with buy shipping services, for example.

Please kindly enlighten me.

Thank you.


#214

>Bunga, in what scenarios have you charged restocking fees on your Amazon returns?

The only scenario in which you can charge restocking is for a customer discretionary return, unless you’re talking about the 50% for damaged product version. We have done both.

As to discretionary, in the past we charged 15% restocking for sales above some level, I can’t remember, $35 maybe. We charged it above some level because Amazon gets too big a bite at points below that, and because in those days any A-z counted against you, so it seemed too dangerous to grab a $3 restocking fee of which Amazon was getting $1.80, meaning we took the neg / A-z risk but got 40% of the payoff.

When the new Amazon fee structure came through we went to 20% for all returns, because for customer returns where shipping is not refunded, Amazon would keep a fee of $1.80 + $0.60 = $2.40 leaving a whole $1.59 to cover our outbound shipping, and that was not enough. Also, denied claims no longer count against the seller, and our experience has been that we get few claims relating to restocking in any event, so we felt we could push the envelope a bit.

>You make the point that you will typically win A-Z’s in the case of buyers protesting restocking fees. However, it is still a metric hit, unlike an INR with buy shipping services, for example.

Denied A-z claims have not hit sellers’ metrics for quite some time now.

And even if they did . . . as I said upthread, we had a 0.7% rate of restocking fee instances with claims to restocking fee instances. If we had lost them all, the effect on our ODRs would have been imperceptible. As it happened, we won them all, primarily because restocking fees are allowed on Amazon, and because of course we don’t charge them in situations where they are not warranted.

As to the general decision to charge restocking, overall I think commodity sellers should, and are more likely to do so, and more specialized sellers should not, and are more likely not to. The former rarely get repeat business because their customer base goes strictly on price, so annoying the customer is a comparatively unimportant negative, and keeping costs down is very important, whereas the latter get repeat business from people buying in their area, so keeping the customer happy is more important, and higher margins make it easier to absorb the cost of returns.

Philosophically I prefer to have the person who is returning something cover the costs associated with his own return, rather than expecting all of my customers, including the 98.5% who don’t return their purchases, to cover them. That’s not particularly compelling as far as making the decision whether or not to charge them goes, but it sits well with me.

bunga bunga!


#215

[quote=“GOFORIT”]

Bunga, in what scenarios have you charged restocking fees on your Amazon returns?
+I have charged restocking fee’s for used product, or damaged returns. or items where the item came back in damaged packaging.+
Our return rate is relatively low and I have always just opted to refund in full rather than deal with unhappy customers and either neg feedback or A-Z’s.
+And that is your choice, we have a price point at which we will automatically refund vs taking a return+
You make the point that you will typically win A-Z’s in the case of buyers protesting restocking fees. However, it is still a metric hit, unlike an INR with buy shipping services, for example.
+So what if it’s a metric hit? The amazon platform realistically isn’t designed for the small ducks, it’s a give and take design. approximately 200 orders to offset each a-z claim.+
Please kindly enlighten me.
+Well you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink.+
Thank you.


#216

I am thinking once the scammer find and target the sellers who go to returnless refunds their returns will sky rocket


#217

Did this go into effect today? I can still see the option in my return settings that I can authorize each request.


#218

It’s going to be rolled out to all sellers over the course of a few weeks.


#219

There is a LARGER number of sellers that have OPTED OUT OF EMAILS, so you can pretend like you have some magic touch, you are just full of baloney. Is this Jeff Bezos? You make it sound so easy so I know you are lying.


#220

I have had no problem charging a restocking fee on discretionary returns. I rarely even field a question about it. For one, it prevents returns when they know all of the costs upfront. I have only ever had a couple questions about it. I have had no issue getting a couple of negatives regarding return issues removed. A-Z is no concern on the 20% restocking fee as it is policy and nothing to haggle over. I ALWAYS charge discretionary restocking unless I see the customer has been with us quite a while and never caused an issue or returned in the past.

In fact, I find this will save me a little time and a little money. First, if I am not at my desk producing a shipping label and changing it to jpg is a massive hassle. The ShipStation app doesn’t do it well. It takes me 15-20 minutes to get a customer a label if I’m on the road. Two, I suspect we will see less false return reasons in which I have to provide a label and refund 100%. Now I will be able to deduct the label and restocking fees on more returns. It may eliminate a major annoyance of the return system for us.

Edited by: JWarehouse on Oct 3, 2017 5:53 PM


#221

BEZOS the CLOWN has gone too far. The entire company HATES SELLERS. TIME TO BOYCOTT THE THIEVES - YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE MONEY AND GO OUT OF BUSINESS ANYWAY. I am taking down over 2000 items…There is NO WAY this is legal - it’s just dirty and vile. PUT AMAZON OUT OF BUSINESS. TAKE your items to eBay and the customers WILL FOLLOW.

Edited by: Jake@SellerSupport on Oct 4, 2017 7:21 AM

This comment has been partially removed as it demonstrates little or no relevance to seller issues. Please review the [Forums Guidelines|https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/guidelines.jsp?ref_=xx_sfgdln_anav_sforums] when posting in the future.


#222

you are so full of baloney. How much money and time are you spending trying to fight the policies and get the customer to pay. This is UNACCEPTABLE on any level and BEZOS the CLOWN doesn’t CARE if you LIVE OR DIE. SALES are INCREASING ON EBAY and I hope it continues. There is NOTHING but greed behind this. Amazon has tried to put small sellers out of business FOR YEARS. This is just his best attempt ever.


#223

You are completely off here. Been in this program voluntarily and involuntarily due to sfp. It is a blessing and only saves a lot of time. Amazon gives no grief about restocking and deducting return label fee for non seller faulted returns. Yes there are buyers who claim defective and get away but that is just the cost of doing business. Even for atoz claims u will be fine, just make sure to take pics. Surprisingly not a lot of buyers complain about restocking fee either. Just make ur auto return authorization is very clear about it as that it what the customer will print out. Overall save time to make more money.

Will add a bit more: we have had a good bit of switcheroos and we declined to refund. Either the buyer took it back when confronted while some adamantly claimed that is what came out of the box. Amazon refunded the buyer but promptly reimbursed us when we sent in pics of what was sent to the buyer versus what we received (yes we take pics of everything). Amazon Has decided to run on no to low margins but in my opinion they are not doing so at our cost and have been very genuine! Be smart and make money of this no margin enterprise or else complain and get booted.

This program does hurt the dropshippers which is good for fbm folks since the dropshippers will have to mark up more now :slight_smile:

Edited by: Sellsome on Oct 3, 2017 9:21 PM


#224

*bologna


#225

Not all categories are returnable


#226

I was not aware sellers can opt out of emails. I know +buyers+ can.

Bunga Bunga’s experience with Amazon policy is backed up by our own. Which makes your commentary come across as wishes and fancy rather then fact. On the forums almost every time a Seller complains about Amazon’s abuse of something we come to find out that the seller did not do as required of them. While there are a few exceptions, they are just that. A few exceptions.

Since you are so unhappy dealing with Amazon perhaps this place is just not for you.


#227

So by my count this will be the 21st beginning of the end of 3rd party sellers so far this year. Oy.


#228

>I was not aware sellers can opt out of emails.

Yeah there is a whole confusing page for that, although I haven’t read this whole thread to see what sorts of emails he is talking about. See Seller Central / Settings / Notification Preferences. You can turn off lots of stuff there, and I see they have reorganized that page into categories to make it easier.

bunga bunga!


#229

Here is what amuses me. If Amazon wanted 3P sellers off the site all they have to do is open the door and kick us out.

There is no contract saying we have to be here or else Amazon will go to jail, be fined, have someone steal their lollipop…

They can decide that they only want one kind of seller here. Or not. The fact that people are still selling books, other media, computers, groceries, etc shows that they still want 3P sellers here.

The rules changes are for Amazon’s benefit. The fact that they help us as well is just a bonus. The automated returns system, for instance, enforces Amazons return policy that all sellers should be adhering to anyway. It also permits Amazon to automatically track all the returns and hopefully find abusers on both sides of the coin. And it is customer centric like most of Amazons policies are.

Amazon wants 3P sellers. Why? We make money for them. Its the problem children Amazon does not want. Those cost Amazon money and all this, when you look at it, is about money and automation.

Nothing that I have seen in Amazon’s changes in the years I have been here have been the death of anybody who were unable to adapt and move on. They have forced people to raise prices, ship faster, and be held to a higher standard then Amazon holds itself to, but nothing has been a killing blow.

Beginning of the end my left foot! It is the end only if you choose to end it!!

/rant

Edited by: Qwik Goods on Oct 4, 2017 1:07 PM


#230

Most of the email opt outs are meh. You see the notifications when you log in.

The important ones you cannot opt out of. And there are others that if you opt out of them you will get what you deserve for being a numbskull.

They basically have it setup now so that every possible event they can send something to you for, they will let you get an email for. Makes me wonder if Legal told them to do it? Just in case for lawsuits about people not getting emails about “important things”?