In September, Amazon extended its holiday return policy for items delivered between October 1 and December 31, increasing the window from 92 days to about 120 days this year.
What is Amazon’s holiday return policy? Now, returns for items in specific categories are automatically authorized through January 31, 2021.
This policy includes orders that are shipped by sellers (FBM) and orders that are shipped by Amazon (FBA). This means that Amazon has extended its authority over a third party seller-type account as well.
At this point, Amazon is holding its authority over sellers heads more than Donald Trump’s toupee on a windy day on the campaign trail. This isn’t the first time this year that Amazon has extended its return window this year for shoppers, though.
If you’re worried about Amazon’s extended return policy this holiday season, listen up. In this blog, we’ll go over how to reduce losses and returns as much as possible.
Changes to Amazon’s Return Policy, A Timeline
In April 2020, as COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns in the United States began, Amazon extended its return policies for items purchased in US, Canada, and EU marketplaces.
After experiencing lengthy shipping delays this year for Amazon Prime members, shoppers are likely to begin their shopping for holiday deals earlier than usual.
Our Amazon experts speculate that the advance in the extended holiday return policy will give shoppers confidence that gifts purchased early (or face lengthy shipping delays) can still be returned after January 31, 2021.
Although it’s not new news that Amazon’s returns policy is extended during the holiday season (November 1st), Sellers were not pleased that the return window has been advanced by 1 month.
Amazon Extended Holiday Return Policy Stirs Debate Among Sellers
Generally, the Amazon Seller return policy states that the return deadline for items is 30 days. However, now customers can receive a full refund for items shipped before Amazon’s highest-grossing Prime Day to date.
This takes Amazon’s customer-obsessed mentality to another level, and has been controversial for Sellers within seller forums.
Users have gone so far as to create memes expressing their discontent with the new policy on orders received between October 1 and December 31.
As a seller yourself, you may be concerned that because items purchased from October to December are now returnable through January 31.
In our experience, however, an extended holiday return policy doesn’t necessarily indicate an above-average increase in returns.
Instead, our understanding of consumer behavior indicates that Amazon’s generous return policy encourages customers to buy more than it does to return.
Use the Amazon Seller Return Policy to Your Advantage
In the event that you experience extreme losses unfairly, stay on top of knowing if you can charge restocking fees for returns that have been damaged by the customer or damaged during shipping.
Brush up on all the information regarding charging a restocking fee on Amazon here.
Sellers should also note that buyers can only leave feedback within 90 days of purchasing.
This means that reviews on any return past 90 days will not appear on their Amazon seller detail page, which is somewhat comforting to know.
The Amazon returns and refunds policy always changes during the holiday season, so although items delivered between October and the end of December can be returned until January 31, it’s not new news.
Annoying? Yes. Unexpected and unfair? All we’ll say is, it’s Amazon’s world and we’re just living in it.
That said, there are a few things Amazon Sellers can do to mitigate unjust returns in Q4:
- Know your rights and risks as an Amazon seller by educating yourself on the Amazon Seller Return Policy
- Keep customers accountable by charging a restocking fee, if you meet the criteria
- If you’re currently FBM, be sure you handle return requests like a champ
- Optimize your listings to ensure customers know exactly what they’re getting