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Your A-to-z Claims questions answered

by Seller_bP5Px0hRk3e74

Thank you for submitting 300+ questions and 4,400+ votes! We read every response.

In some cases your questions were about problems we’re already working on (which helps us know we’re on the right track), but you also flagged a number of issues which were not on our radar until now. We’ve spent the last week investigating and talking with teams across Amazon to answer your questions and in some cases adjust our strategy to improve your experience with A-to-z Claims. Because some of the questions were about similar issues, we’ve selected one to answer for each theme.

We hope you find this as valuable as we did. Let us know if you valued this Q&A Session.

Thanks again,

A-to-z Claims team

1. There are buyers who file an A-to-z Claim because the seller deducts a restocking fee. A lot of the time, the A-to-z team will refunds at the sellers’ expense. It depends on the A-to-z specialist who reviews the case. When a seller files an appeal, A-to-z team ignores it and does not respond back at all. Amazon return policy is 20-50% restocking fee plus the cost of shipping both ways. But the A-to-z team refunds that amount back to the customer. This is unfair to the seller when it’s not the seller’s fault. Do you have a guideline for A-to-z Specialists to handle correctly? @beach_bo @sevendays @bagdup
Yes, we have detailed policies on when and how sellers can charge shipping and restocking fees for returned items. They can be reviewed here. The situation you describe of a customer filing an A-to-z Claim to avoid being charged shipping and restocking fees is against our policy and we deny claims filed for this reason. First, if you have restocking fees, you should outline your policy on your seller profile page. If you see that we mistakenly granted one of these claims, we encourage you to appeal and note that your return policy includes restocking fees.

2. Why aren’t rulings in line with seller policy from the outset, instead of having to be contested/appealed by the seller, sometimes multiple times? If each claims specialist was following the same guidelines, this would not be an issue. @sevendays
Our claims specialists are trained on our guidelines and Amazon policies. Getting it right the first time is our goal, but we can sometimes get it wrong. We think about this a lot, and our teams spend a large part of our day working on projects and technologies to help us make more accurate and consistent decisions. Submitting an appeal is the best way to let us know that you have a concern. We’re also expanding the evidence we consider when making a decision, see question #14 for more detail. Perhaps most importantly, we’re working to provide you and our buying customers with clearer policies and more useful guidance—like this forum Q&A—so we can prevent confusion, returns, or appeals before they happen.

3. Why are claims specialists only allowed to send boilerplate responses, some of which are thoroughly unrelated to the claim being discussed, and/or do not address the questions being asked by the seller? @sevendays @bagdup
That’s definitely not the experience we’re trying to create, but we understand that it does sometimes feels that way. We want you to have a consistent experience, and sometimes that consistency may seem detached. We suggest you watch this space as we have a number of projects in the works designed to give specialists a deeper understanding of each case before responding, and you should see improvements in both accuracy and communication as a result.

4. Situation: A customer places an order that is Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM). The seller uses Amazon Buy Shipping and ships on time. The customer opens an A-to-z Claim stating that the package was never delivered.
Scenario 1 – the tracking information shows the shipment is delivered.
Scenario 2 – the tracking information does not show the shipment was delivered/lost in transit.
In these scenarios, will the refund be funded by Amazon? Will the claim count against the seller’s Order Defect Rate (ODR)? Do these answers depend on domestic versus international shipments? @sevendays @bunga_bunga @Forum_Friend
In the first scenario, Amazon will fund the claim and the claim will not count against the seller’s ODR because the order was delivered using Amazon Buy Shipping. However, in the second scenario, Amazon will fund the claim as long as the seller ships the package on time by the ‘ship by’ date – failure to ship on time affects your Late Shipment Rate and negatively affects your chances of winning a claim. You can learn more about our Buy Shipping policies here. The answers are the same for domestic and international shipments.

5. Why does Amazon keep rewriting help pages regarding A-to-z Claims without notifying sellers? Pages come, pages change, pages go. @bunga_bunga @Pacific_Scentworks
We sometimes make clarification changes to help pages, often after hearing questions or feedback from sellers like you. You’ve also told us that the help pages could be better organized and more clearly written, and we’re working on this too. Additionally, stay up to date with changes via the Seller News web page.

6. Why is a claim granted to the customer when there is delivery confirmation? @bunga_bunga @Kosher_Casual
As home delivery has increased, package thieves, also known as “porch pirates” have also increased. While we work hard to limit loss, there are risks to the delivery experience that are out of our control. One option is to consider using Amazon Buy Shipping, which we discuss in question #11.

7. Why doesn’t the A-to-z Claim response process allow the upload of images and other evidentiary information? @bunga_bunga @221577
Great idea! We have heard this feedback before and it’s on our roadmap. Stay tuned to Seller News for more information.

8. There seem to be many A-to-z Claims that should be communicated first to the seller through regular communication before escalating to the A-to-z process. Are customers required to communicate with the seller before filing a claim? @Kosher_Casual @gr8t153 @Studio_56
Yes. Customers are always required to contact you, either via Buyer-Seller Messaging or a Return Request, prior to filing an A-to-z Claim.

9. Why do you allow customers to submit more than one A-to-z Claim for the same order? For example, a buyer can open a claim with reason “item not received”. If Amazon closes the claim in favor of the seller, the buyer can then open another A-to-z Claim (with the help of Amazon Customer Service) for a different reason like “item not as described”. @My_Home_Theater_Seat
We do not allow claims to be filed multiple times on an item. We do allow multiple claims to be filed for different items in the same order. For example, an order of two different items could have one defective and one not as described. Customers can open a claim themselves or contact Customer Service for assistance.

10. What does Amazon do to protect sellers from customers making fake item not received claims? @bunga_bunga @AMZ_SD
The A-to-z Guarantee helps millions of great customers feel protected shopping on Amazon. We take this responsibility very seriously. Unfortunately, there are those who take advantage of this commitment to great customer service. Like everything we do, we are always investing in getting better at identifying and protecting our sellers. In this case, we use a combination of machine learning and automated systems as well as specialized, trained abuse investigators to identify and prevent abusive claims. This is a tricky problem, but we’re continuing to invest heavily in getting better at this over time.

11. On the A-to-z claims help page, it states: “If you purchase Amazon Buy Shipping and ship on time, you are protected against claims where a customer reports problems with delivery. Amazon will cover the cost of these claims and they will not affect your Order Defect Rate.” Why is Amazon Buy Shipping treated differently than paying for shipping outside of Amazon? @Gomedia @mjesli
Amazon offers many tools and services and each seller can decide which are useful for their business. Buy Shipping is one such service and a key feature is that Amazon takes on the risk (and the cost) of a claim as long as the product is shipped on time.

12. When a buyer contacts a seller advising they received a damaged item and a prepaid return shipping label is immediately provided to the buyer, why does Amazon allow this buyer to file an A-to-z Claim, allowing the buyer to keep the item and get a refund? @Pacific_Scentworks
If you provide a customer with a prepaid return label and the customer files a claim before using the label to return the item, we will help facilitate the return with the customer and either leave the claim open until the refund is issued or withdraw the claim. In the event a refund is not issued after the return is delivered, we would then grant the claim in the customer’s favor.

13. Many A-to-z Claims are filed based on communication. I have seen where customers file a claim because they state they are not receiving seller messages. Are there any plans to address this? @a_dying_breed @WBBaby
If a customer opens a claim stating that they haven’t received messages you’ve sent, you can provide information to us at any time during our review using the “Respond to Amazon” button next to the claim on the A-to-z Guarantee Claims page in Seller Central. We take your additional information into consideration as we make our decision on the claim.

14. Why is negative feedback allowed to stand from customers who have lost an A-to-z claim? @papyrophilia @ojc_rep We do not plan to prevent customers from leaving Seller Feedback if they have lost an A-to-z Claim. There are situations where we deny a claim and a customer has a negative experience unrelated to the claim. If you believe the feedback violates our policies, you can request removal using the Feedback Manager page on Seller Central.

15. I had an A-to-z Claim filed and it was decided in my favor. The customer refiled on the same claim and the decision was reversed in their favor. How can this happen? @The_Gift_Basket_Gall
Customers and sellers can both appeal A-to-z Claim decisions. In the situation you described, we would have received additional information that changed our decision when we reviewed the claim a second time.

16. Most sellers want to do the right thing and want to follow Amazon’s policies. Can the A-to-z team provide sellers the 15-20 examples of common issues and what Amazon’s policies are / what Amazon expects of sellers in those scenarios? @ShipZero
Great idea! We’ll work on compiling a reference for sellers and share via Seller News within 90 days. In the meantime, shout-out to @AngelicPretty for taking the time to write up a very detailed guide on common scenarios.

17. Has Amazon considered a mechanism to allow sellers to block future purchases from customers who were granted an A-to-z claim? @mjesli
We have previously discussed this as a team and currently do not plan to build this. We do, however, protect sellers by using technology to monitor for abusive behavior among our 300 million customers worldwide.

18. Why are customers able to open an A-to-z Claim when their order is no longer eligible for a refund (after 30 days + 15 days allowed for transportation from the customer to the seller)? @AMZ_SD
Similar to a goalie in soccer, the A-to-z Guarantee is the last line of protection for customers. We view the return request as the “defense” which catches the vast majority of customer issues. The 90-day window for an A-to-z Claim is due to the back and forth that sometimes happens after an order, such as longer shipment windows, lengthy returns, and replacement shipments.

19. Why are customers not automatically denied when the return request reason is different from the A-to-z Claim reason? @AMZ_SD
This is a great question which led to an intense discussion among the team. We hear from customers that orders can have more than one problem or that there is sometimes confusion over which ‘reason’ should be chosen. We think we’ve all been in situations where the drop down options don’t quite capture our thinking. We also know the return request and A-to-z Claim reasons do not match one to one, and we will work on better aligning them this year.

20. We have had claims opened for “item not as described”, “inaccurate description”, and “wrong item sent”. When we receive the returned item back, this is not the case. Why is there no requirement for the buyer to show some proof that they have a valid reason for a claim? @BFD
We know both as consumers and as a business that customers love easy, no hassle returns and we aspire to enable the same for the A-to-z Claims experience. That being said, we do have a team that monitors and investigates abusive claims. We’ve heard similar feedback before, and we’re looking into enabling more opportunities for sellers to report suspected abuse.

21. What has changed on the new GUI (graphical user interface) of the ‘Manage A-to-z Claims’ page? @Gomedia @AngelicPretty @gr8t153 @Cush_for_the_Tush @Dogtamer @Rushdie
We’ve updated our A-to-z Guarantee Claims page to make it faster and easier to use. We now display clearer claim statuses with descriptions that match our email communications and offer search functionality so that you can find any claim by Order ID. We will continue to make improvements to the new page based on your feedback, such as adding back the claim timeline and improving clarity on claim response deadlines.

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Tags: A to Z Claims, Customer, Refunds
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