One of Amazon’s selling points is free and easy returns for many items. Customers can purchase and then return, for free, many items within a certain period. That sure makes shopping easy, especially online shopping, since one of the things that worries online shoppers is not seeing the actual product before buying it. Obviously there’s the other side to this, where sellers often get stuck with opened or used products that they can no longer sell as new. I have personally had some of these issues as a seller. About two years ago I sold an iPad and the customer returned it with a similarly sized box, but with a digital thermometer inside. Amazon had to foot the bill on that instance after a few weeks of going back and forth.
One, two or a few returns are understandable for each customer. But what happens when you return many items within a short period, or you just try to game the system? Amazon is now cracking down on that behavior. They are now banning shoppers for violations, which include returning items too often, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some users aren’t even told what they did wrong, which is usually the case with Amazon or eBay. They often give a vague reason.
Many people have started complaining on social media about recent account closures. Paul Fidalgo writes about his ban here. Claire received the note below requiring explanation after returning six items within the last 12 months.
There’s no real limit on how many items you can return, or what percentage of purchases can be safely returned without risking a shutdown. Amazon’s return policy doesn’t say at all that returning too many items can get you kicked out. But it does say the company reserves the right to terminate accounts at its discretion.
I suspect that Amazon is mostly going after those who abuse the system, but surely there will be people with legitimate returns being caught up in this as well. It’s bad news if you do a lot of shopping on Amazon, as you’d also be more likely to return more items that the average customer. On the other side it could be good news for seller that use Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) fulfillment services, as it should cut down on their returns.
How do you feel about this? Let me know!