How to Respond to Amazon FBA Returns

When your customers want to return a product that they bought on FBA, Amazon will immediately return the funds from your disbursement and give the customer a shipping label. Customers are then required to return the item within 45 days of receiving the label. What many sellers don’t realize until this happens to them is that there are Amazon FBA fees related to returns. 

While this is just one of the fees for selling on Amazon, the returns processing fee is something that you have no control over. The returns processing policy offers Amazon customers free returns. When a customer receives a free return, the FBA sellers are charged a fee for each returned unit. The fee is the same as the fulfillment fees for each individual unit and applies to all customer returns. 

Responding to Amazon FBA Returns

Sellable Returns

When Amazon receives a request for a return, they will look at the customer’s reason for returning the item and decide on whether the item is still sellable after the item has been returned to the warehouse. Once an item is deemed sellable, it will be automatically returned to the seller’s active inventory. There is no extra work required of you at this point. 

Damaged Returns

An item may return to the Amazon warehouse damaged for a number of reasons, from being damaged in transit to being damaged in the FBA warehouse. If the item was found to be damaged in transit, then Amazon will look into where the damage occurred. If the damage is a result of your carelessness, then there will be no reimbursement. However, if the blame falls on Amazon, then you will be eligible for reimbursement. 

Damaged By Customer Returns

There is also a third possibility when it comes to returns: the item was damaged by the customer. Items can be returned as “customer damaged.” These items will not be returned to your sellable inventory. It’s important to note that this does not mean that the customer bought the product, broke it, and is trying to return it. 

It could also mean that the customer opened the item and found that it was not in new condition. 

It’s also possible that a customer claims they’ve opened up the package but didn’t, and the product is still in new condition. When it comes to items returned this way, the best thing you can do is open up a removal order and have the items sent back to you. This will allow you to see whether or not the item is still sellable. 

Carrier Damaged Returns

If an item is damaged in transit, then the fault falls on the shipping company (UPS, FedEx, USPS) for not taking care of the package while it was in their hands. These returns are something that you should always be reimbursed for since it wasn’t your fault that an item was damaged. In this case, don’t open up a removal order. Amazon will not reimburse you for items that are damaged by the carrier if you request that the items be returned to you.

Defective Returns 

An item can also be returned to Amazon as “defective” when a customer believes that it doesn’t work properly or is faulty. When a return like this occurs, the customer is refunded, and the item will remain in your inventory as “unsellable.” When this happens, you should create a removal order to have the item returned to you. 

You can then inspect it to determine whether or not the product is actually defective. It’s possible the customer opened their package and did not read the directions properly and then assumed that the product was defective. 

Buyers may also return an item to Amazon saying it’s defective just to get the free return shipping. If, after inspection, you find that the product is not defective, you can send it back to Amazon to be sold again.

When it comes to defective returns, it’s important to protect your business if the item is not found to be defective. False claims can negatively impact future sales. Too many defective claims can hurt your metrics and put your Amazon FBA account at risk of suspension. If a customer falsely claims an item defective, you can follow steps to protect yourself. 

Amazon Seller Fees Calculator for Returns

Calculating the returns processing fee is easy because it’s equal to the total fulfillment fee for each product. The fee only applies to products sold in selected categories. If multiple units were shipped as part of a single order, the fee might be higher on a single unit than the total fulfillment fees because the returns processing fee is assessed on a single unit per shipment. 

Steps to Take for Returns

When it comes to dealing with returns, there are a few steps you may want to consider taking for each return you have to deal with in order to avoid Amazon fulfillment fees. These include: 

Keep a record

When a customer returns an item, Amazon will send you an email. They will immediately issue a refund without waiting for the return of the item. They will notify you that this has happened. You should always save these notifications and can verify that the return occurs within 45 days. 

Have Returns Sent Back to You

You may not want to do this with every single return, but it’s a good idea to have at least some of your returned items sent back to you for inspection. While a warehouse worker will inspect items that are returned to see if it can be returned to your inventory as a sellable item, it is always a good idea to have returns labeled as damaged or faulty sent back to you for inspection. 

You know your products better than anyone, so you’ll be able to determine whether or not these items are, in fact, sellable. 

Find Out Reasons for Returns

For every single item returned to the warehouse, you should find out the reason for the return. You can run a report in your Seller Central account to find items in question and the reason given for the return. 

Are you interested in learning more about Amazon FBA fulfillment fees and returns? Join Beau’s FBA course today!

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