There are many perks to becoming an Amazon seller, but is only logical to consider that among its thousands of buyers, there are a few bad apples willing to commit buyer fraud on Amazon.
The marketplace does everything in its power to stop them, but the best way for Amazon sellers to stay protected is to think about ways to prevent and handle it. Especially, since Amazon tends to be customer-centered.
In this article, you’ll read about different types of buyer fraud on Amazon so you can avoid them or deal with them.
Different Types of Fraud on Amazon
1. The product didn’t arrive
A buyer requests a refund claiming a failed delivery. Buyers can say their product was stolen or that they don’t know the person who signed for it. In this case, many sellers choose to simply send the refund to avoid dealing with the claim.
Tracking and verifying that that the order arrived can be one of the best ways to stop this type of fraud, especially if the product you sell is expensive.
Remember most Amazon A-to-Z claims often end up favoring the buyer.
2. The item is replaced with a damaged one
Another common buyer fraud is replacing a new product with a broken one and request a refund.
Sellers can use tamper-proof stickers after verifying the quality of the product. That way you’ll know if the product has been tampered or if the returned item is the one you sent.
Electronics and video games are big targets for this type of buyer fraud.
3. Claiming Products Are Not as Described
Some buyers, instead of replacing the product, they will use it for a while and then claim it was not what they expected or not as described to get free shipping. While sellers do get their product back, they can no longer sell it as new, loosing profit.
4. Partial Returns
Scammer will sometimes purchase products in bulk, keep a couple of them and return the rest. Or they will buy multiple items and return only one. For example, they’ll purchase a set of Tupperware, keep the ones they want and return the ones they don’t, claiming they returned the whole set.
5. Claiming they moved
In this case, a fraudulent buyer will make a purchase on the marketplace and enter an address for the delivery. After the order is placed, the buyer gets in touch with the seller and claims they need to ship the product to a new place because they moved.
Amazon’s policy is very clear in stating that the product must be sent to the address registered.
The biggest problem here is that you can decide to ship it to either address and the buyer can still claim they never got the product.
This is when a scammer pretends to be a reliablecompany to get their hands on personal information and take advantage of it.
Phishing has become more sophisticated over time and it is still pretty common on Amazon.
Emails are the easy way to send malicious links and attachments. If you click on those links, you’ll download a virus that can access your passwords and private information.
It’s important to know that Amazon will never ask you to login via email. Also, keep control of your Amazon-related emails to make sure you don’t get phished. If you get a suspicious email, don’t respond and delete it.
7. Credit Card Fraud
Credit card information is one of the main targets for phishing scammers.
Once you get phished, there are people out there willing to buy credit card numbers along with personal information to try to buy items online and ship it to different addresses.
Sellers who sell to fraudulent buyers may face chargebacks, which is when a buyer claims they were not the ones to make the purchase.
If this happens, the best way to go may be a Transaction Verification, although sellers are the ones that need to prove the transaction was legit.
Ways to Handle Buyer Fraud on Amazon
Now that you are more familiar with the most common ways of buyer fraud, we’ll tell you what to do if this does happen.
These are a few tactics for you to protect your business:
Amazon’s Return Policy
If you suspect you’re being scammed, the first thing to do is refer to Amazon’s return policy.
Check that the buyer requesting a refund is not in violation of Amazon’s policy. If it goes against the policy, you can just rely on the company’s rules regarding returns.
Defend Yourself Against a Buyer’s Claim
It is possible that scammers who don’t get the refund they want will file a claim with Amazon.
As a seller, when a customer files a claim against you, Amazon will contact you to let you know you will have seven business days to provide information to support your side of the story. When providing information, be as detailed as possible and provide as much evidence as you can. Remember Amazon is known for favoring the buyer.
How to Prevent Buyer Fraud on Amazon
Amazon marketplace reaches a huge audience, so it is better if you are prepared to deal with dishonest buyers.
As usual, the best way to protect yourself against buyer fraud and scams is prevention. Remember to always let Amazon know if you suspect you’re being scammed. If a buyer files a claim against you, all information will help you make your case.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Program
As a seller, you can decide to use the Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) program or the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. The FBM program has a greater risk of buyer fraud, since sellers are the ones responsible for shipping. In case of using the FBA program, Amazon is responsible for shipping, so they are the ones that have to deal with any issue related to shipping.
Related content: Tips and Tactics to Help You Improve Your Amazon FBA Business
2. Tracking your Orders
Keeping track of everything you send is an easy way to prevent fraud. Like we saw above, many fraudulent practices are related to the delivery of the item. So, with a tracking system, when a buyer claims a package did not arrive, you can verify with your shipper. Showing the buyer, a proof of delivery can save you time and money dealing with the claim.
3. Familiarize Yourself with Amazon’s Policies
Like we mentioned above, knowing Amazon’s policies regarding returns and orders can be a lifesaver.
Did you know that you are not under any obligation of providing a refund, until a product is returned?
If a buyer is insistent in getting a refund, you can send them a prepaid shipping label, as stated on Amazon’s policy.
The buyer can decide to ship the product back to you and collect a refund or keep the item they bought.
The most important thing to do first whenever you suspect someone is trying to scam you or sabotage your seller account is to send an email to Amazon, reporting this issue.
Here, we’ve provided a list of the most common buyer frauds so you can be aware of them when running your business. Besides tracking your orders, keeping a close communication with your buyers is the best way to protect your business.
The truth is that despite the few fraudster, Amazon is still a practical platform to run a successful online business. Following the advice, we provided and keeping an eye out for shady characters should you’re your business up and running without issue.