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How Amazon's New Return Policy Affects MFN/FBM Sellers?

February 12, 2018

Amazon has made a change in its return policy – they can now process returns automatically if the MFN/FBM sellers fail to do their duty. The change took effect last October 2, 2017. So, what does this mean? It only means that Amazon has started to authorize refunds that were initiated by the buyers. They would also be providing the prepaid return shipping labels automatically as well.

In the new policy, in case the seller failed to process the refund, Amazon would be the one to process it for them. The sad news here is that it would still be charged to the account of the seller. The timeframe given by Amazon to sellers in processing refunds is 48 hours. There is also a return less refunds option on top of that, which means that the refund can be processed for some items without the need for the customer to return the items back to the seller. Amazon said that many sellers prefer this option for the reason that they would be able to save some cost onthe return of the shipment.

Such change has been made by Amazon to simplify the return process. Amazon sincerely hopes that this decision will help reduce the RDR or Return Dissatisfaction Rate of customers. They also believe that it can help sellers save time and effort in managing the return requests of their customers.

In-depth information regarding seller’s responsibilities as per the new returns policy

  • Sellers need to identify a return address within the file. When they want to put a different return address, they have to update their information indicated in Seller Central. Once they haven’t determined a certain return address on or before October 2, the business address of the seller will become the return address.
  • They need to give a refund in two business days upon receipt of return. Once they don’t take any action about the refund request, the platform will refund the customer and charge that amount on the seller.
  • As per Amazon’s policies, seller should shoulder the return shipping cost.
  • There are some items which are not qualified for the prepaid return shipping. Sellers can request specific exemptions for these items within their inventory right after August 31.
  • Sellers can plea return disputes to Amazon directly.

Sellers have shown different reactions upon hearing this news. For some, it’s not considered as something bad as they no longer need to spend much time in processing returns while there are also some sellers who are worried that it can encourage impulse returns as it makes it easier for customers to return the “unwanted items” they have ordered.

There’s no doubt that the new policy is overwhelming, making sellers confused. But on the other side of the coin, buyers will be rest assured of the return process of Amazon. Unlike before, it is now more convenient for them, resulting to a boost on overall sales.

Whether it will have a positive or a negative effect on the MFN/FBM sellers, only time will tell. So, let’s just all wait and see.