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Third party merchants received an email from Amazon this week explaining a few new return policy changes that will go into effect on October 2. These new changes are directed at sellers who choose to fulfill orders themselves instead of using FBA.
There are two notable changes that this new policy will bring.
First, shoppers will be able to instantly print a prepaid return shipping label via Amazon’s Online Return Center. In other words, customers will no longer need to contact you, the seller, before sending an item back. This completely removes your ability to communicate with buyers to offer help or advice before being required to issue a refund.
Second, Amazon’s email announced the advent of “return-less refunds” for your customers. This change will enable you to offer a refund without taking back an item that may be expensive to ship and/or hard to resell.
Amazon did confirm that sellers can “receive exemptions to have specific inventory excluded” and that the return-less service will be optional. For those merchants who agree, a refund will be automatically issued without the consumer being required to return the item.
Perhaps some third party sellers will be pleased to have the option to not have to bother paying for return shipping. On the other hand, maybe this policy change will spur consumers to do future business with a merchant if they can avoid the expense and inconvenience of returning an unwanted product.
Amazon is clearly dedicated providing the same experience for customers regardless of whether the products they buy come from Amazon or a third-party merchant, which is the reasoning behind these policy changes. At the very least, a return-less refund or the ability to instantly print a return label will spare shoppers the extra time (or cost) of managing a return.
For all the third party sellers in our community, we’re curious: how do these new policy changes sit with you? Do you foresee yourself offering return-less refunds on some of your products? What are your thoughts on customers being able to instantly print return shipping labels without ever having to contact you?