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What is Amazon’s first-scan refund policy?
On May 4th, Amazon introduced Refund First Scan (RFS) to all merchants using its prepaid return labeling program. Items returned through Amazon’s prepaid labeling program are automatically submitted to RFS and are already required for items delivered by merchants and sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon.
“With RFS, we are in no rush to process refunds in a two-day SLA,” explains Amazon. “You will receive a refund after the first courier scan when you return or return an item using the Amazon prepaid return label. For all returns processed by RFS, via Amazon notification email, you will continue to receive refund notifications.
What do other sellers think of this policy?
Amazon claims that refunds issued through RFS are eligible for SAFET refunds if the buyer returns damaged or significantly different returns, but some sellers are concerned about the new policy.
One seller said that scammers would get their money before sellers know what they actually send back. Another claimed to have denied almost all of the Safe-T complaints filed by Amazon.
However, another thanked the company and wrote, “It is important that Amazon customers get the same level of service from sellers who fulfill orders that they expect from FBA sellers.”
Why is this a worry for third-party sellers?
Amazon wants to make sure that every customer has the most convenient shopping experience. This includes the ability to easily return unwanted items.
However, this automatic option may harm the seller. If the customer decides to return the item automatically, the seller loses the ability to find out why the problem occurred. The customer does not need to explain why the item is no longer needed. If sellers fail to resolve these issues, it not only robs them of the opportunity to improve their business but also risks their Amazon account being suspended. As any suspended Amazon seller knows, many phone calls indicate the “root cause” of the problem. Unfortunately, the seller cannot know why the problem occurred or what the problem was until the seller decided to return the item.
Most of the sellers expressed their worry as Amazon is slowly becoming a rental center and this would lead to exploitation of the policy. One of the main concerns here is that Amazon is now forcing 3rd party sellers to accept a policy that will completely take over the return inspection and charging restocking fee ability. The buyer will get the money back immediately without the item being checked once the label is scanned.
Not only it is mandatory, but also only buyer fault return is eligible for SAFE-T. If the buyer uses the false return reason claiming seller fault, then the seller cannot file SAFE-T and no other place seller can go to dispute.
Is there any way to tackle this?
One of the obvious solutions to this problem is FBA. However, if you still choose to continue to fulfill via SFP, here is something you can do to save yourself from fraud:
- Contact the UPS fraud department in case you suspect a fraud return case.
- You can also contact the postmaster general office and get them to thoroughly investigate your case.