Policy update: Automatic verification of customer A-to-z Guarantee Claims with proof of tracking


#1

UPDATE
posted June 4, 2021

On May 17, 2021, we announced a policy update about Automatic verification of customer A-to-z Guarantee Claims with proof of tracking. Automatic verification of claims does not change any existing A-to-z Guarantee Claims policies. Please see the following frequently-asked questions for additional information:

1. If I use Buy Shipping Services and ship the items on time, am I protected against A-to-z Guarantee Claims?

If you use Buy Shipping Services, existing A-to-z Guarantee Claims policies will apply. If you ship the items on time and respond to the Buyer-Seller message within 48 hours, you will be protected against any A-to-z Guarantee Claims filed if a customer reports a delivery issue.

If you ensure your shipment carrier has a pick up scan before the order ship-by date, you will not be penalized for delays caused by the carrier. Amazon will cover the cost of these A-to-z Guarantee Claims and they will not affect your Order Defect Rate (ODR).

2. Do customers no longer need to reach out to me before filing an A-to-z Guarantee Claim?

If tracking indicates the item was undeliverable, or was returned to you, then customers will not need to contact you in order to file an A-to-z Guarantee Claim, and the customer claim will be granted. If you disagree with the decision, you can always use the appeal mechanism and provide proof of delivery.

3. What is “proof of delivery”?

Proof of delivery refers to delivery confirmation from your carrier with the customer’s signature.

4. How will my Order Defect Rate (ODR) be impacted if an A-to-z Guarantee Claim was filed due to an item being lost or damaged by the carrier?

If an item is lost or damaged by the carrier and you have included tracking, the tracking will demonstrate that you were not at fault and your ODR will not be affected.

5. How do I get reimbursed for shipping costs?

You can file an A-to-z Guarantee Claim Appeal and request a restocking fee. Read our Guidelines for charging restocking fees.

6. How can I prevent A-to-z Guarantee Claims filed by customers due to delivery issues?

To prevent A-to-z Guarantee Claims filed by customers due to delivery issues, we recommend that you:

  • Ensure your shipment carrier can pick up the item and scan the item before the order ship-by date.
  • Confirm the item shipped on time and has a valid tracking number.
  • Ensure deliveries are completed by the Maximum Estimated Delivery Date, or update the delivery date to manage customer expectations.
  • Respond within 48 hours if you receive a Buyer-Seller message.
  • If requested, provide Amazon with proof of delivery with the customer’s signature from your carrier in the Buyer-Seller messages within 48 hours.

If you want to appeal an A-to-z Guarantee Claim, you can contact us within 30 days of the decision and provide proof of delivery and/or proof of an alternate solution agreed to with the customer.

ORIGINAL ANNOUNCEMENT
posted May 17, 2021

From May 24, 2021, we will automatically verify customer claims and offer refunds on your behalf, for specific scenarios where Amazon can verify package delivery using the tracking information provided during order confirmation. This update will simplify the A-to-z Guarantee Claims experience for you and your customers, and will help protect your Order Defect Rate (ODR).

How will this update improve my A-to-z Guarantee Claims experience?

Currently, you must respond to customer messages about delivery issues within 48 hours, review the issue, verify tracking, and refund the order amount to the customer (if eligible). If you do not respond in 48 hours, the customer is more likely to file an A-to-z Guarantee Claim, which may result in an account debit that would negatively impact your account health or ODR.

The automatic verification update will reduce the time and effort it takes to verify a valid claim. If the tracking information entered in Seller Central demonstrates that the customer claim is valid, we will issue a refund. We will carefully review all tracking information to protect you from unjustified claims.

How will automatic verification of Buyer A-to-z Claims work?

Some examples of Buyer A-to-z Guarantee Claims that can be automatically verified using proof of delivery include:


  1. Tracking shows that the package is refused and returned to you – If a customer refuses a package on delivery, and we receive tracking information indicating that the package is returning to you, we will automatically refund the buyer and debit your account for the claim amount. It does not impact your account health or ODR.
  2. Tracking shows that you have not shipped the package by the Ship-by date- If you have not shipped the package by the expected ship date, or you have not confirmed the shipment on Seller Central, we will automatically refund the buyer and debit your account for the claim amount. It impacts your account health or ODR.
Note: If we cannot verify the customer’s claim through tracking information, we will require them to reach out to you to resolve the issue before they file a claim. Customers will still need to contact you directly for any returns-related issues.

How will I be notified if Amazon resolves an A-to-z Guarantee Claim on my behalf?

If we make a claim decision and issue a refund on your behalf, we will send you a confirmation email to clarify the reason.

How can I appeal an A-to-z Guarantee Claim decision?

You will have 30 calendar days to submit an appeal if you disagree with our decision. The A-to-z Guarantee Claim decision confirmation email will include steps to appeal the decision or you can directly submit your appeals on the Manage A-to-z Claims page using link: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/guarantee-claims/home.html/ref=xx_azclaims_dnav_home#/. You need to provide proof for us to re-investigate the claim, for example, proof that your product was delivered to the customer.

For more information on preventing claims, go to How to prevent A-to-z Guarantee Claims.


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#2

“We will carefully review all tracking information to protect you from unjustified claims.”

Why do I not have faith in this statement??


#3

This is getting worst by the day.


#4

So if a buyer refuses a package, we get stuck with the shipping costs?


#5

Notice the “double-speak” Amazon is famous for. The notice claims that Amazon will “we will automatically verify customer claims and offer refunds on your behalf, for specific scenarios where Amazon can verify package delivery using the tracking information provided during order confirmation.”

But one of the examples given - Buyer refused delivery - full refund when tracking shows delivered back to you - full refund = YOU lose the outgoing postage and an Amazon Refund Processing Fee.

Another example: “If we cannot verify the customer’s claim through tracking information, we will require them to reach out to you to resolve the issue before they file a claim.” So the scammers who claim non delivery even though the Post Office (or other carrier) certifies delivery, they must “reach out” before they file a claim. What are we going to do? The carrier has certified delivery (legal proof in every Court in the United States except the Amazon Kangaroo version). You obviously deny the refund because delivery is legally verified and the scammer files a claim anyway. Guess what Amazon will do - grant their claim for a full refund = YOU LOSE full price of the product, postage to send it and an Amazon refund processing fee.

Appeals - we need to provide proof of delivery - I had that scenario in December, Express Mail, Signature Required - delivered at 10:00 AM, scammer filed an A to Z at 10:30 AM - claim granted. Appeal denied because according to the Amazon “team” the Post Office record (including the scammer’s signature) was not sufficient proof of delivery" - and NO further appeals possible (2 separate cases opened and never replied to). I know many other Amazon 3P FBM sellers over the holiday season with the same results.

Just another way for Amazon to take our money and give it to the scammers.


#6

So wait, if for some unforeseen reason, a package goes out a day late and is still shown as delivered by the time the case is filed they will issue a refund to the thief making an A-Z claim?!
If that is the case, we’re done here, period.


#7

“offer refunds on your behalf”. Amazon makes it sound like they are doing us a favor by taking money out of our pockets.


#8

Wow. So if a product gets damaged or lost by UPS, the customer doesn’t need to contact us to take care of it…it just goes right to A-to-Z and a metrics hit?


#9

Do we still get INR Protection for packages shipped on time?


#10

This sounds like just another way to (insert bad word here) over sellers.

Actually, it seems obvious that it’s not actual ‘sellers’ that they want any more. They only want ‘vendors’ who will ship whatever, to whoever; pay for everything no matter the cost to them.

It’s only about Amazon getting their money.

:face_with_symbols_over_mouth:


#11

It has already been this way for several months. We cannot deduct for shipping or restocking anymore.


#12

That’s what I want to know. If we use Amazon’s Buy Shipping, and they are the shipper of record, and we ship on time, are we protected? Or will they automatically grant a claim and deduct it from us and not allow us to appeal?


#13

Thank you, Amazon. Once again, this change will streamline the A-Z claim process and parallel the FBM channel with FBA.


#14

We use Amazon Buy Shipping Services for all of our orders. UPS refuses to scan our parcels at pickup due to volume. We have had orders go missing that don’t start showing movement for days after pickup or in some instances, never.

We’ve handled these situations by promptly issuing a refund after clicking on the tracking number in seller central and verifying no movement. Literally takes 1 second.

So, in these scenarios is the customer no longer required to reach out to us? We just take the ODR hit for something that we could have handled in less than a minute ourselves?

Is Amazon going to start sending sellers an email when a package is running late/did not arrive they way they do buyers so that we can take preemptive action?

This is worded in a way to make it seem like their is a benefit to us here, but it sounds like quite the opposite.


#15

This is not clear:
A) - Is this “new” policy somehow bypassing the A-z Process, where a customer would now inquire about a package through messaging, and Amazon would somehow “take over” the situation, without an A-z being filed or requiring the seller to respond within 48hrs ???
Or is this new policy not “new” and they are simply telling us that they will handle the A-z & debit us , as they already do???

B) What about the muchmore important INR guarantee? It’s 50/50 now, (at best), that Amz follows it’s own INR policy.
I just recently had an INR A-z, shipped on time, using Amz postage, and was debited and metrics hit lost the claim. When I appealed, quoting and linking to the Amz INR policy ect, They removed the metrics hit, but told us they will not reverse the refund/funds.
In December I had a similar cut-and-dried INR, shipped on time, w/Amz postage label, Item was delivered , but buyer filed A-Z for package not received. Lost funds, took a metrics hit and lost appeals.
PLEASE AMAZON straighten out the seller INR guarantee !!!


#16

First off, please stop with the “we’re happy to announce that in order to improve your experience we are encouraging buyers to steal your money.” We are not stupid, and some of us have been here long enough to see the fnords in your announcements, and we wish you would simply stop insulting us with this idiocy.

Secondly, this will NOT protect our metrics. There is a HUGE difference between “tracking not yet entered” and “item not yet shipped, or in some irretrievable automated process of shipping”. Buyers (including P.O.'d sellers that you’ve driven off the platform after teaching black hat tactics to) will learn to file an A2Z the minute an item is late. In many cases, that will mean free product for items that will arrive well before the end of their deliver-by window, and a huge number of A2Zs. [If you intended to say that buyers will need to wait 48 hours still to make this claim, you should both SAY that and make sure you’ve coded for that … we’re tired of you making promises or claims that the actual functioning of the site does not support.]

Thirdly, the presumption of guilt coupled with a sure-to-be defective, imperfect and overwhelmed appeals system is not getting us back to the same place we started from. Not only will we unfairly have money taken away, but nothing in here says the appeals will scrub our A2Z metrics. Amazon will likely say “it was late, that’s a violation, you can have your money back (if you’re so lucky), but we’re not fixing your metrics for you.” So, I predict more A2Zs, and a higher rate of A2Zs sticking around. This doesn’t “protect” diddle.

Fourth: please define “proof product was delivered to customer.” Because simple tracking already doesn’t suffice, and we’ve had instances where proof of signature is not enough. This is going to become critical for this policy, and is just another example of Amazon not fixing one broken policy, and instituting a new, related policy, which compounds the dysfunction.

Fifth: what’s the mechanism for us collecting return shipping costs on buyer-refused deliveries? If that’s not the definition of a buyer-fault return, what is?? And saying “we are doing you the favor of not dinging your metrics for this” sounds like a veiled threat: in what circumstances will you start punishing us for buyer-fault returns?

If the issue is that you’ve onboarded too many bad actors, and this is the only possible solution you can see to some bad sellers somehow figuring out how to withhold payment, perhaps you should look in the mirror before creating policy to deal with the actions of sellers your screening process should have caught. Or, simply stop onboarding new sellers at such a rate that you can’t properly vet them. Or, rely more heavily on those sellers that have proven to be decent human beings.


#17

Once again, Amazon has found a way to screw the sellers. This new policy guarantees that us, the sellers, will get stuck losing the shipping costs and the buyer gets a FULL refund. Also, this policy guarantees that there is no more restock fees that we can charge the buyer for just refusing a shipment. It also guarantees that if the buyer sends back some other garbage or anything back that the seller didn’t sell them, we will lose all our money and merchandise. It also guarantees we will not be able to charge the 50% fee if a product is returned damaged and not in the same condition it was sent. This new policy all around, screws the sellers! Amazon I just don’t know what to say anymore!!!


#18

If there is anything that we can learn from this pandemic " Let’s be nice to each other"!


#19

Dear Amazon,

This policy change is garbage. Don’t do anything “on my behalf”. Fix your blundering seller support instead.

signed,

Sellers with common sense


#20

Just had an A-Z claim filed yesterday, less then 24 hours later they approved the claim for the customer and charged me the fee and told me that this counted against my performance. This is despite the fact that I used FedEx to ship the items AND FedEx provided proof of delivery and detailed tracking information. FedEx also delivered the package before the ship date.

Sellers don’t have the ability to upload this information after Amazon had made the decision which is pretty pathetic. Honestly I just think they just approve and stick it to the sellers. Very dissapointed.