Selling on Amazon can be both enjoyable and profitable. However, a buyer may be dissatisfied with the product you are selling and request a return and refund. And, of course, buyer returns are unavoidable, especially for ecommerce businesses, because customers cannot interact with the products before purchasing them. Consequently, you will need to familiarize yourself with Amazon seller partial refund policy.
Amazon always advises sellers to deliver excellent customer service with professionalism to maintain a profitable business. Similarly, you must follow a defined process to deal with customer refunds. This post will take you through the steps necessary to issue a refund conveniently by yourself. Read on!
What Are the Main Types of Refunds?
Amazon and 3rd party Amazon sellers can only issue two types of refunds; full or partial.
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i). Full Refund
As its name implies, you will need to issue a full refund to the buyer for the total amount they spent, including shipping expenses. Note that any buyer returning a product is eligible for a full refund if the product is undamaged and has no missing components. Also, a buyer is eligible for a full refund if they received the wrong package or encountered any seller error.
ii). Partial Refund
Unlike a full refund, a partial one implies refunding less than the amount the buyer initially paid. Here are some common scenarios where Amazon sellers issue buyers a partial refund:
- The buyer didn't return the item within Amazon's 30-day return period
- The buyer forgoes returning the products they bought
- The buyer is responsible for the item's damage.
The following is the refund amount for a partial refund, which is determined by the item's condition and restocking fees:
- Items in their original condition that have passed the 30-day try return period: you refund 80% of the total price.
- Opened DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, and Vinyl records: you refund 50% of the total cost.
- Damaged, missing, or unoriginal items: you refund up to 50% of the total price.
How Do You Process A Return Request?
As a seller, you can use Manage Returns to take different actions on a return request, including authorizing the request, closing the request, issuing a refund, and contacting the buyer.
1. Authorize the Request
Individual sellers who choose manual authorization and professional sellers who receive an out-of-policy request can manually review the request. To do this, follow the steps outlined below:
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Step 1: Log in to your Amazon seller central account and navigate to Orders > Manage Returns.
Step 2: To authorize a single-return request, you must select the specific one you want to review.
Step 3: After completing step 2, you will be requested to use the Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number generated by Amazon or create a custom RMA number. This RMA number will appear on the buyer's return authorization slip below the return label.
You can use an unpaid return label (usually generated by Amazon) or upload your prepaid return label. If Amazon generates the label, your return address will be automatically generated on the label.
To change your address, navigate to Account Info and choose Return Address. And if the return is being processed manually, you will be prompted to enter a return address. Plus, you can use one of your previously saved addresses for returns or enter a new one.
Step 4: To authorize several return requests simultaneously, select the request you want to review. Then, from the Manage Returns page, select Authorize all selected returns from the dropdown menu. Furthermore, to get a return request email with a link to close, reply, or authorize, go to Settings > Return Settings and select the appropriate checkbox.
Individual and professional sellers who receive an out-of-policy request can automatically authorize the return request. In such a case, Amazon provides the buyer with an unpaid label. On the other hand, a professional seller with SKUs excluded from the prepaid program has the option to authorize the return request automatically or manually.
2. Close the Request
You can close a return request instantly if you:
- Plan to issue a refund without asking for the return of the item.
- Decide whether to accept the return (for example, if the return request is outside Amazon policies).
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Choose a suitable reason for closing the return request and explain it to the buyer. Once the return request is closed, Amazon usually emails the buyer the message you sent and the reason for the closure. Conversely, a buyer can also close a return request. In that instance, you will get an email notifying you about it.
3. Issue a Refund
A refund can be issued in the following circumstances:
- After the product has been returned
- If you allow the buyer to retain the item
However, if you want your item back from the buyer, Amazon suggests you wait until you get it before issuing a refund.
Amazon expects you to handle the refund within 48 hours of receiving your item back. However, if you do not complete the refund within this time frame, Amazon reserves the right to return the specified amount of money to the buyer and charge the same amount to your seller account.
As a result, to avoid a terrible buyer experience, actively monitor your refund and ensure that the buyer receives it on time.
4. Contact the Buyer
You can contact the buyer by email to discuss the problem. After all, it is usually preferable to address the issue rather than handle the return and offer a refund.
The FBA Seller Amazon Return Process
When a return request is made to an FBA seller's account, they must act immediately. Besides, if Amazon considers the items returned "unfulfillable," you may be charged an additional fee. Here are some of the possible cases this can happen.
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If the item was sold on Amazon.com and Amazon determines that the product returned is still in sellable condition, it will be automatically added to the inventory and labeled as "Fulfillable" once again. Amazon FBA also credits your account with a portion of the referral income and, if applicable, covers the item's Variable Closing Fees.
If Amazon deems that the item is damaged, in a non-sellable condition, and accepts full responsibility for the damage, the item won't be added back to your inventory. In this situation, Amazon credits your selling account with the following:
- Item's selling price + a portion of the referral fees + Applicable taxes
- The Variable Closing Fees, if applicable
Suppose Amazon deems the item is in a damaged & non-sellable condition and does not accept responsibility. In that case, the item will be added to your inventory but marked as "Unfulfillable."
In this situation, Amazon will credit your selling account with the following:
- All or a portion of the referral fee + Variable closing charge (if applicable)
Moreover, you can place a removal order to have the item returned to you.
3 Main Reasons Why a Buyer May Return an Item
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1. The Product is "Materially Different" from the Product Listings
If the buyer receives an item that doesn't match the description on the listing, the images, or any notes you may have included, it may be considered "materially different."
If a buyer alleges something isn't as described, it's best to accept the return and issue a full refund immediately. This is because "materially different" claims are usually covered under Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee. And if a buyer resorts to using one of them, it might negatively affect your Amazon seller rating.
2. The Buyer No Longer Wants the Purchase
For this one, there is nothing wrong with the item. However, the buyers do not want it any longer. Perhaps someone purchased one for them or found one on sale while shopping there. On the other hand, they may have purchased it as a gift, but the recipient did not like it.
If this happens, you aren't required to refund the shipping charges. You must, however, accept the return and refund the buyer within two days of receiving your item back.
3. The Buyer's Purchase is Damaged
Sometimes, the buyer can receive a damaged product, and as a seller, you are looking at completely losing your investment if you issue a full refund. The good thing is Amazon understands this and allows you to issue a partial refund instead for damaged items if the damage wasn't your fault. However, remember that the buyer may not be happy with a partial refund and may give you negative feedback. So, sometimes it is worthwhile to accept the hit and return all their money.
On the other hand, there is a catch. If the purchase arrives damaged, it's eligible for a full refund under the A-to-z Guarantee. This provides a grey area for products that the carrier has damaged. You may be able to issue a partial refund, after which the buyer may file an A-to-Z claim to get the full refund.
If the carrier is the cause of the damage, consider issuing a full refund. If the damage is the buyer's fault, you can always provide a partial refund.
Precautions and Tips for Sellers Issuing a Refund
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1. You should state your return and refund policies to buyers when listing, selling, and dispatching.
2. You should wait for the merchandise to be returned. Next, compare the returned product to the circumstances in which it was dispatched. In case of a mismatch, you can issue a partial refund.
3. Track the delivery at every stage of the shipping process.
4. Maintain contact with the buyers and keep responding to their questions. Doing so can maintain the buyers' trust, and in case of any issue, you can resolve it. Otherwise, no one can stop the buyer from claiming the A-to-Z guarantee; you know how Amazon cares about its customers.
5. Buyers will sometimes deny receiving the item they ordered even after receiving it. The fraudulent ones can request a refund, and without evidence, the sellers must provide the refund. This results in a loss of both money and product. Hence, as the seller, you should have the buyer's signature on the receipt and the product label details while delivering. This will protect you from returnless refunds.
6. You should handle return and refund requests as soon as possible to prevent your Amazon account from being suspended.
7. Use an Amazon service provider to handle your store setup, from receiving orders to dispatching and contacting customers.
8. If you can't resolve the customer's issue effectively, the customer may give you negative feedback, which will undoubtedly affect your future sales. After all, other customers will see these negative reviews and may decide not to purchase from you.
In such a case, contact the customer and communicate politely to find out the reason and settle everything. You may be lucky, as some Amazon buyers are quite understanding.
Frequently Asked Questions on Amazon Seller Partial Refund
1. Does an Amazon Seller have to accept returns?
Yes, they have to. However, in rare circumstances, return requests are unreasonable, and you can decline them. As a result, if you are a seller, you must be cautious in declining such requests to prevent the dreaded A-to-Z customer claims. These claims may result in warnings or the termination of the seller's account.
2. What if I disagree with the refund request?
If you disagree with the refund request, you can contact the buyer and try to find a solution. If you cannot solve the issue, you can escalate it to Amazon by logging into your Seller account and looking for the affected order. After that, click the "File A Claim" button. You'll be able to follow the instruction from there.
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