Processing returns on Amazon is something that businesses of all sizes have to deal with at some point. Therefore, becoming familiar with the new Returns Performance Dashboard on Seller Central is paramount to keep their business up and running.
Continue reading to learn more about how you can handle returns on Amazon like a pro.
Returns on Amazon: FBA Return Policy
Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of the Returns Performance Dashboard on Seller Central, we’ll go over the most important aspects about the FBA Return Policy.
As we all know, sellers that are part of the FBA program get support from Amazon to handle customer service and returns.
This is why sellers should be familiar with Amazon’s customer return policy to know exactly which are the things that make an item eligible for return.
Keep in mind that once Amazon accepts a return request, there’s nothing you can do.
Another thing to consider is that customers have 30 days, after receiving their order, to request a return. We must highlight that Amazon sometimes DOES make exceptions and allows returns even if it’s past that timeframe.
Most Common Reasons Why Customers Return a Product
Every time a customer submits a return complaint on Amazon, they have to select a reason for returning an item.
The reason for the return determines whether the seller or the buyer is responsible for the shipping costs.
There is a list of official reasons for customer returns which you can find here (sign-in required).
Overall, sellers are responsible for expenses in these situations:
- The product doesn’t work
- Parts are missing
Most common reasons for customers to return an item are:
- “Arrived too late”
- “Not satisfied with the quality”
However, the customer will be at fault when they use the following reasons:
- “Better price is available”
- “Did not have the color”
Customers are normally responsible whenever there’s an issue with preference, size, or when they change their mind about the product.
If an item is accepted for return due to the customer changing their minds, the return must comply with the following conditions:
- All packaging and documentation, including boxes, manuals, warranty cards, and certificates of authenticity, grading, and appraisal must be unopened and sealed intact.
- Products must be new or unworn.
Sellers should provide a return address in the elected county or pay for return shipping costs. You can choose to send the buyer a prepaid return shipping label or reimburse the costs for shipping, which they can do as soon as the buyer provides a return shipping receipt.
Watch this video to learn more about How to manage returns on Seller Central:
Sources: Seller Central and Jungle Scout
International Returns on Amazon
In a nutshell, when you sell on Amazon in different countries, you should offer your customers the following options:
1. Domestic Return: The customer must be able to return the product to a local address that is convenient for them.
2. Returnless Refund: They can get a full refund without having to return the product.
3. Prepaid International Return Shipping: You can send your own prepaid return mailing label with tracking included.
Review the Customer Returns for International Sales guidelines in Seller Central to learn more.
Returns Specifications by Product Category
New books, music, videos, and DVDs (BMVD) in their original condition postmarked within 30 days of the delivery of the original shipment can be returned.
For used BMVD products, defects should be reported by the buyer within 14 days of receipt and it must be postmarked within 30 days from the latest estimated date of arrival to be accepted.
This is a unique category with specific guidelines.
- A return can be denied if the item was sold in new condition and it was opened by the buyer, as long as there wasn’t a defect.
- Sellers can refuse a Used/Open item that is not defective.
Electronic products can be returned if they’re postmarked within 30 days of the delivery of the original shipment.
Buyers must report a damage or defect for New or Used products within 14 days of receipt to arrange a return with the seller.
In case of a warranty claim 30 days after shipment, sellers should assist the buyer in pursuing a warranty claim with the manufacturer.
According to the Amazon return policy, buyers are not allowed to return hazardous items containing flammable liquids or that are gas-powered. They also cannot return laptop or desktop computers more than 30 days after delivery.
Managing Seller-fulfilled Returns
Amazon encourages all sellers to follow Amazon’s return policies to ensure a consistent experience for buyers.
If a return request falls within the policy, Amazon will automatically authorize it.
Out-of-policy return requests or categories that do not qualify are sent for manual authorization.
Sellers have the option to upload merchant-paid labels when a buyer requests a return. You’ll get an email from Amazon stating the reason for the return. You’ll also be notified of failed return requests. You can read more in Amazon’s out-of-policy return requests.
Manual authorization should be done within 24 hours and the refund must happen within two business days of receipt of a return.
Amazon sometimes refunds buyers and charges the sellers if the sellers fail to respond.
Manage seller-fulfilled returns tool
Returning requests and other actions can be managed through the Manage Seller Fulfilled Returns tool, where you can do the following:
- View all return requests
- Notifications about what actions you still need to take, like authorizing a request, issue a refund, or upload a prepaid return-shipping label.
- Completed returns
- Return requests with an A-To-Z claims.
In the Seller Central you can also download a returns and refunds summary for a specific timeframe in the Return Reports tab or by going to View reports in the Manage Seller Fulfilled Returns tool.
After a return has been issued, depending on the payment method, it can take 3 to 5 days, for the buyer to receive it.
How to Appeal Returns or Refunds on Amazon
Generally, Amazon will reimburse you if it can prove that:
- The customer did not follow Amazon’s return or refund policy
- The item was not returned to you according to the standards approved by Amazon. i, e. unsellable, unused, and in perfect conditions
- You were sent an item other than the one you sold
- The customer did not return the product
Check the Reimbursement policy for Prepaid Return Labels (PRL) in the seller-fulfilled network for more information.
Related content: Inside Refund at First Scan by Amazon
Available October 21, 2021: New Returns Performance Sashboard
Amazon is doing everything in its power to help out sellers with seller-fulfilled returns. That’s why they’re launching the Returns Performance dashboard on October 21, 2021.
The Returns Performance dashboard can help sellers to better monitor their returns performance to be able to address return-related issues effectively.
The Performance dashboard focuses on three key returns performance metrics:
- Declined return requests
- Buyer contact rate related to returns
- Return requests approved in less than 24 hours
You can find the following details within the metrics:
- Performance of current metric Threshold target metric
- Metric definition
- Metric calculation explanation
- mportance of metric
- Policy information
The Returns Analysis page is also being launched with the Returns performance dashboard.
This tool will help you identify and take action on any return issues. You can identify the top return reason for each product. This way you can improve your buyer’s experience.
Within the Manage Returns page you can view a summary of your returns performance metrics.
Returns Performance Dashboard FAQ
What’s the goal of the Returns Performance dashboard?
Up to now, there was not a tool available for sellers to monitor their performance regarding returns. Now, the Returns Performance dashboard is here to make sure sellers are handling their returns more proactively.
Sellers can find information about the metric definition, current metric performance, target metric threshold, and an explanation of how the metric is calculated.
What is the Returns Analysis page?
The Returns Analysis page designed to point out the top return issue for each of your listings so sellers can improve the buyers’ experience.
Within the Returns Analysis page, you can filter by product category, time period, and product order type.
How are metrics calculated in the Returns Performance dashboard?
Amazon considers the return volume when calculating sellers’ returns performance metrics with the use of a smoothing formula.
That way, if you have 10 return requests and it takes you more than 24 hours to approve them, your metric will have a lower percentage, since it’s divided between the pending requests.
We hope this article has helped you clarify your doubts related to handling returns and why you should use the new Returns Performance Dashboard to stay on top of your game.