Amazon has always been a great place to shop with a fair and flexible return policy. For most customers, there are no problems but for those with high return rates things may be changing. If a customer is found to be abusing the service, that may result in Amazon banning the user.
About Amazon banning
What would it take to get banned on Amazon? That is an interesting question. Amazon advertises their free and easy return policy on many items, but their flexible return policy may not be as risk-free as we think.
It appears that the company bans shoppers for violations, including a high number of returns, and some users aren’t told what they did wrong. This leaves them confused as to how to rectify the situation. Many of them have taken to Twitter and Facebook to complain about Amazon closing their accounts without warning or an explanation.
The Return Policy
Amazon’s return policy is easy to find on their site. The return policy doesn’t tell customers that returning too many items can get them kicked out, but its conditions of use say the company reserves the right to terminate accounts at its discretion.
“We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time,” an Amazon representative said. “We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers. If a customer believes we’ve made an error, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can review their account and take appropriate action.”
What People are Saying
You can go on twitter and find many complaints with the hashtag #BoycottAmazon and similar. I read many of these and some seemed like they were honest people that didn’t understand. I also saw others stating that they would buy phones and cases for the phones, use them for a bit and then return them. They did this multiple times and then were outraged when they got banned. One customer mentioned he was banned when he returned 37 of 343 purchases. That to me is an excessive number of returns and I can see why they got flagged.
Are the abusers ruining it for others?
There are always going to be people that put their needs first and try to take advantage of return policies. This has happened in many retail outlets and is the reason for such strict return policies being created. Even stores like Kohl’s had to adjust their easy returns due to rampant abuse. So Amazon is not the only company that has had to react to the abuse of the system.
It is hard to take sides without knowing all the facts, but I can give a different viewpoint. I have been an Amazon seller for many years. I don’t sell much anymore for two reasons: scammers and Amazon’s fee policy. There are many buyers that repeatedly try to scam sellers and that includes using a product, taking it out of its original packaging which makes it no longer “new” and putting wear on the item. They then return it with the reason of “changed my mind”.
Though some of them could be innocent, think about the small seller and what that does to them. They are out the shipping cost, they no longer have a new product to sell, and used products sell for dramatically less money. They have to inspect the item to make sure nothing was stolen (ie: memory, components etc) if so then the item is not able to be sold.
Also, if a seller has too many returns it hurts their Amazon score which can result in them being let go as a seller. So it is not an “innocent” thing that doesn’t hurt anyone. It can and does hurt many small sellers (not just the deep pockets of Amazon). Just a different perspective to think about. The scammers on Amazon is one of the reasons I stopped selling there. That and Amazon’s fees kept increasing so it was not profitable to sell there unless you were a high volume seller.
What’s the Solution?
If you are an honest person that only does a few returns here and there this should not affect you at all. For those that are returning a lot, you may want to think about why you are doing so many returns. Maybe you could go into a store and try something out there before ordering so you are certain about the purchase. That may help you avoid this problem.
Try to remember that marketplace sellers are regular people that are affected when you return a lot. They lose money on returns and it affects their score/rating with Amazon. So maybe be thoughtful in your choices and wait to purchase until you are sure you know what you want. That should keep you safe from an Amazon banning and be a positive, kind approach.
Both sides could help
I do think that Amazon could help the situation by better communicating their policy on returns, but again most people will never really run into this problem. So I can see both sides on that one. Bottom line a little more respect for others, being aware of how your actions affect others, and better communication should help solve this problem.