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New ‘Frequently Returned’ Warning for Amazon Shoppers

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The ‘Frequently Returned’ policy is a security blanket for customers. It allows them to purchase a product and simply return it if they don’t like it. This is especially crucial when shopping online, since customers can’t physically touch or use the product before buying it.

You’ve probably seen news headlines, such as “Amazon Starts Flagging Frequently Returned Products.” If so, then you know that frequent returns may have consequences. 

For businesses, frequent returns result in lost revenue. So much so that returned products have accumulated value of $50 billion, an amount that affects e-commerce businesses growth as a whole.

Amazon also noticed customers are taking advantage of their generous return policy. Here’s more information about the retail giant’s ‘frequently returned’ policy updates and what that means for businesses and customers.

 

What Does the Frequently Returned Policy Mean?

 

Before, Amazon offered a lenient return policy. Customers could return any item for free within 30 days of shipment if the item was unused. Consumers would be entitled to a full refund.

However, users started taking advantage of this policy, and sellers started receiving many returns for certain items. Amazon took note of this and created its “frequently returned” policy.

So what happens if you keep returning items to Amazon? This policy has two core components:

 

Some Products Will Have a Warning

 

Products that have received excessive returns will have a ‘Frequently Returned’ warning displayed by the seller. The warnings will also offer insight, such as more detailed product information and return rates.

This is done to help customers make more informed decisions.

 

UPS Returns Will No Longer Be Free

 

While returns are free if they go through Amazon’s courier service, items shipped through UPS will be charged $1 per return. 

For these returns, customers must drop the order off at UPS locations. Also, the fee will only apply if there’s a Kohl’s, Whole Foods, or Amazon Fresh location closer to the customer’s address than the UPS store. 

This dissuades customers from mass returning items when they have another option nearby.

Related Content: 2023 Amazon Return Policy

 

Why Did Amazon Create a Frequently Returned Policy?

 

Frequent returns hurt the seller as much as the Amazon Platform. At best, the returned item hasn’t been opened or used, and the merchant can resell it. But if the item can’t be sold as new, the seller will be charged a fee by Amazon.

Excessive returns not only come with financial drawbacks but are also time-consuming. When Amazon receives a return, they must process it to ensure the seller can return it to their inventory. If they can’t, it will go into liquidation. 

Even if the seller can resell the products, they will send them back to Amazon warehouses if they go through FBA (meaning Amazon handles the fulfillment).

Amazon created the ‘Frequently Returned’ policy to ensure their sellers can limit losses from returns and customers aren’t abusing the generous return policy. 

At the same time, Amazon also knows sellers could be selling low-quality items and creating misleading product descriptions to turn more of a profit. The retail giant is also slapping this return policy on these deceptive sellers so they offer honesty and transparency.

 

Avoiding the Frequently Returned Restrictions for Customers

 

Will Amazon stop customers from returning too much? It depends. Should Amazon suspect fraud on their part, they will cancel the offending account. Otherwise,other tactics will be used, such as the $1 UPS return fee, to dissuade customers from returning items.

Even though these policies seem harsh, this isn’t to deter customers from returning items altogether. There could be a number of reasons why users need to return the item, such as accidentally ordering the wrong item or unexpectedly spending more than they could afford.

There are still some best practices customers should follow. The best way to avoid any return restrictions is by following Amazon’s return guidelines: 

  • Customers can return items within 30 days of purchase. 
  • The items must be in their original condition.
  • Products must be ideally unopened and unused.

It’s also best for customers to avoid returning unreturnable items. These products include customized items, electronic devices, and grocery or food items.

How many returns are excessive on Amazon? Apparently, the number looks to be at 10% of the items ordered. For most, that equals 5-10 items per month.

How Businesses Can Work With the “Frequently Returned” Policy

 

If you’re a business owner, handling Amazon returns is a hassle as it is. But how does this new policy affect sellers? And is there an Amazon refund trick for businesses?

 

Sell Satisfactory Products

 

Ensure that your customers are satisfied with your products. Pay attention to your sales and growth, and focus on your best-performing products. Write accurate product descriptions and upload high-quality images, so customers can assess whether or not your items are what they’re looking for.

Sellers should also keep up with notifications. Amazon will notify sellers if a product falls below a sales/profit threshold. If it gets to this point, the marketplace will recommend the item less often.

 

Update Your Return Policy

 

If you’re handling your own fulfillment, you can offer your own return policy. While it should meet or exceed Amazon’s, you can set return limits to ensure Amazon won’t penalize or ban your account.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by offering the bare minimum return policy: returns within a 30-day window, no questions asked. 

You can offer returns after this for qualifying items, such as defective ones, but you can restrict returnable items after the 30-day window. For example, you may not allow returns for items with an incorrect description outside the return window, in addition to items that Amazon deems non-returnable. 

amazon-frequent-returns

It’s also important to note any optional aspects of their return policy, such as “returnless returns.” 

Returnless returns occur when sellers make a refund to customers, without returning the physical item. Brands can save time and money with such a practice. You won’t be able to resell the item, but you’ll also save on shipping and processing costs.

Amazon also offers other features, such as refund at first scan, that benefit businesses during the return process.

 

Working With Amazon’s Frequently Returned Policy

 

Amazon’s ‘Frequently Returned’ warning affects both sellers and customers. The policy will require sellers to list products with a high return rate as “frequently returned.” Customers may also face restrictions when returning these items.

There are many ways to work around this policy. For example:

  • Customers should only return unused items in the 30-day window and not exceed 5-10 returns in one month. 
  • Businesses can improve their product quality, and manage their own fulfillment to offer a customized return policy.

Some sellers may need more help to optimize their product listings. AMZ Advisers is a full-service e-commerce agency that can take your store to new levels on Amazon and other marketplaces.

Schedule a call with us today.

 

Author

sephanie-jensenStephanie Jensen has been writing e-commerce content for seven years, and her copy has helped numerous stores rank on Amazon. Follow her on LinkedIn for more insight into freelance writing and creating high-quality content.

 

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