[Seller speak] “Amazon’s return policy has loophole!” Seller throws light

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The return policies of online marketplaces have come under much scrutiny off late, causing many a woe for the online sellers on these platforms. In this IOS article, we tried to approach and understand the issue from a seller’s POV.

Although they remained quiet last year, sellers have begun to question marketplaces on why they should be burdened with the entire amount for product returns. In this interview, seller Mayank echoed everyone’s thoughts on the need to change return policies.

Interestingly, so far we heard that Amazon’s returns policy is better out of the lot. So when Mr. eSeller (Name withheld on request), reputed online seller of mobile phones, wrote to us about a certain loophole in Amazon’s policy, we had to share the experience.

Mr. eSeller shares ..

Amazon’s return policy for damaged/defective mobile phones has a serious loophole:

  1. Amazon does not verify if the product is damaged/defected. They just accept open box items and return it back to seller.

  2. Sellers are asked to get test certificate from manufacturer, but no certificate is asked from buyer before returning product. Buyer might have used product for 10 days or dropped and damaged it themselves, which is not checked. Also, they can remove a spare part from the product and get away with it since no checks are done anyway.

  3. Amazon doesn’t check the product being returned. A customer of mine sent a totally different product. The claim has been open for 3 months with no action.

  4. Sellers don’t get any protection from fraudulent buyers. The SAFE-T claims person will ask for a manufacturer test certification. In our case, when we contacted Samsung, they mentioned that no such certificate is issued. How can Amazon ask for something that does not exist? Who has the time and money to create something that manufacturer does not provide?

  5. The support just copy-pastes responses without understanding issue. A customer mentioned that he is returning the product, as he is not happy with performance, which is equivalent to not liking the product. Amazon auto-approved the RMA without even checking the details.

I feel eBay is better of the lot when it comes to return policies as the customer is questioned equally like a seller.

All marketplaces should verify the packages from customers before accepting returns to ensure the right product is being sent back. Otherwise sellers will continue to incur huge losses. High-ticket products like mobile phones can suck away entire month’s profit.

Buyers (who want to scam) are always on the lookout for such loopholes to capitalize and make money. Marketplaces should take immediate actions to curb these fraudulent activities.

Disclaimer: Views/opinions expressed in this article are solely of the online seller.

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11 Comments

  1. amit Reply

    I am seller at snapdeal & I also got into a bad experiance about return policy. I think all marketplaced are following same procedure for return goods.

  2. Arun Jain Reply

    Flipkart has Rating Loopholes, Buyer can order an item and on the way of order he can rate the seller even if later without receiving the item he cancel the order, Rating for seller will be published. This is big loopholes, how anybody can rate seller without even receiving the product.

  3. Mukesh Sachdeva Reply

    Same problem exist at every plateform. These peoples have to understand one thing that sellers are their customers and they should first of all think for their intrest not only for buyer’s intrest. Now a days mostly buyers have mentality to misuse the option of return facility.

  4. Saurabh Reply

    Hi,
    I also agree with Mr Amit as snapdeal have more such cases and even today on snapdeal RTO products are not returned to sellers and they deduct the amount saying that we had returned the product to the seller and when the seller ask for POD(proof of delivery) they have no answer and close the case.

    Also in some case customer are sending atta filled in the containers by replacing seller products and on raising the issue snapdeal replies we can only pay u 50% amount and also impose penalty on the sellers.

    We will never suggest any new seller to join snapdeal as it seems that they are going to run from the market in coming days.

    So be careful.

  5. Pramod Reply

    All the marketplaces, without exception, are heavily skewed towards the buyers as compared to sellers. I also sell Samsung phones on Amazon and Flipkart and have faced this issue many times. One high value return is sufficient to wipe out entire profit that I make in a month. The returns have to be accepted only after proper verification of complaint, the way it is done in brick and mortar stores. It is all the more important for mobile phones where the margins are extremely thin.

  6. Meghal shah Reply

    We too are having as case open with amazon. The good part of the case is that they amazon team is unaware of any charges and they have mixed up the seller fullfilment and amazon full filment policy.

    It will be fun to find that number of policy link if clicked will take to amazon europe or amazon us. In my two hours talk with the customer care person he tried a number of policy of which one was related to buyer return policy. I had to laugh on that.

  7. We are selling books on all major stores. After reading the book customer returned the book on 29th day. For a book how many days one needs to check that specially in a education / entrance exams book. Students do practice from the book and returned it back after giving exams. Amazon says seller has to take it back under 30 days return policy. Thanks to Flipkart who has changed the return policy to 10 days from 20th June 2016.

  8. S. Prasad Reply

    Snapdeal has to win first prize for return policy. They have a protocol for returns where they ask you to take images of product received to show that there was no defect, we even submitted videos, so they cannot claim doctored! but response is always the same sanctimonious one.. “our QA department has validated customer’s claim, and their complaint is found to be genuine, your rating will be affected”. So if a customer says “product not good”, my sales go down!.

    I have called and spoken to them so many times.. no point… I even wrote to Kunal Bahl, … no reply!1
    one is bothered.

    Wonder what they will do when lose all their sellers, probably go on picnics with them, since there will be nothing to sell!

  9. Devi Reply

    Amazon is the worst among all online platforms. I sell on Amazon as well as buy. Even as a buyer I faced issue on returns. The product quality was poor which was not clearly portrayed on the images. Firstly, dont understand how amazon is accepting only one image per product where as as a seller, I know there needs to be 4 to 5 images to show texture, design and quality. And when I returned on a fair background, and the seller approved the return, but amazon did not pay me for more than a month. After i followed up almost 5 times to seller and then contacted amazon, then amazon transferred me money. Why is there a lethargic attitude over buyer and seller. Platform like Amazon is not expected to act like this.

  10. Buyers cannot have everything, this is one thing they must understand, Amazon , Flipkart , etc must educate to buyers that there is nothing like free lunch. Buyers must read SELLER TERMS before buying. Indians want everything for free and expect sellers to take all losses. Pause and think why an item is so cheap ?. read terms, description, call seller or email before buying. You would do same in brick mortar store, how do you assume everything will be fine when buying online. Sellers are people like you only. They have family and bills to pay. Making other people take losses for no reason will not work in long run.

    Lot of our issues are because Indians are not honest and ethical. If they find a loophole in system, they want to STEAL and claim that your system allowed. How can you remove spares from products and send back, this is 100% stealing and criminal offence. Online marketplaces must have strict laws and police inquiry for such cases.

  11. Samir A Ahluwalia Reply

    These policies are carried over from US unfortunately people over there are honest, which is not the case in a country like India we have issues where customers has returned a totally different item of order which had a value of hundred or so rupees.

    I really do not think Amazon cares they have already taken steps to protect themselves and stoped return on most electronics items which is the main source of sales for cloudtails but have turned a blind eye towards other items because they are not losing anything its the buyers who are suffering.

    They have arm twisted sellers into subscribing to runaway program because if you dont customer support will be trigger happy in filling claims against you.

    Unfortunately when Amazon came to India they had issues but they had some respect for sellers lately there is no such things what they do not understand is the moment sellers have another option they will dump Amazon

    I am just waiting for Alibaba to come in because i beleive they will change the landscape atleast for couple of years if not more till they establish themselves.

    I also believe Amazon is out growing itself

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