Amazon's New Return Policy Starts Tomorrow
Update: Per a note from a reader, we thought it was important to add the following disclaimer: “This program only currently applies to sellers who have received an e-mail regarding the program. No actions are required if you have not received the program e-mail. If you have received an e-mail, the program is scheduled to begin 11/1/2016.” as noted by GleenS from Amazon at Sept. 11, 2016 10:46 a.m.
Amazon.com has been making some big policy changes impacting merchants and consumers, and one effective Nov. 1, states that when a request is submitted to return a U.S. seller-fulfilled product, it will be automatically authorized if it falls within Amazon’s returns policy. Amazon will then provide customers with pre-paid return labels on behalf of the seller, with the shipping to be paid for by the seller. The pre-paid return shipping policy doesn't impact sellers that use Amazon's FBA fulfillment service.
Total Retail's Take: While Amazon has said that the change to its returns policy is designed to benefit both "the seller and your customers," some sellers aren't convinced. For one, automated receipts take away the possibility of rescuing the sale. Perhaps it’s user error and a quick customer support call could save the sale. Others believe Amazon's return shipping costs are too high. Finally, sellers that use drop-shippers usually have returns sent directly to their suppliers, but with this new policy, they would have to supply a default address and thus deal with returns processing at a non-warehouse location without storage space and staff in place to handle Amazon's required 48-hour turnaround time. Amazon has said that sellers can request exemptions from this program, but sellers believe the exemptions may not be enough.