Home Business Himanshu Pal of Sales Duo – Mastering Amazon’s Return Policy: A Comprehensive Guide for Sellers in 2024

Himanshu Pal of Sales Duo – Mastering Amazon’s Return Policy: A Comprehensive Guide for Sellers in 2024

by James William

Amazon, the world’s largest online marketplace, is known for its customer-centric return policy which is a selling point for many customers. However, for sellers, this return policy can often be a double-edged sword. Sellers are facing a significant impact due to the changes in Amazon’s return policy in 2024. This article aims to shed light on Amazon’s return policy, and how it impacts sellers and provides strategies on how to effectively manage and reduce return rates.

Amazon’s Return Policy: An Overview

Amazon has a lenient return policy, allowing customers to conveniently return items they are not satisfied with. As an Amazon seller, you are expected to comply with Amazon’s return policy. Customers can usually request a return within 30 days of receiving the product, with some exceptions.

The return policy is designed to give customers peace of mind when shopping on Amazon. However, for sellers, this can often lead to challenges, especially if a product is returned in a damaged or defective state. While Amazon handles returns for FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) sellers, FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) sellers are responsible for handling returns and issuing refunds.

Here’s a breakdown of which return requests qualify for restocking fees.

Return Request Restocking Fee
The buyer changes their mind* about a purchase and returns an item in the original condition within the return window. No restocking fee.
The buyer changes their mind* about a purchase and returns an item in the original condition outside of the return window Yes. Up to 20% of the item’s price.
The buyer refuses delivery due to visible damage incurred during shipping or caused by the carrier. No restocking fee. The seller pays for return shipping but can file a claim with the carrier or insurance company if they purchased insurance.
The buyer receives a used or damaged item. No restocking fee. The seller can file a claim with the carrier or insurance company if they purchased insurance.
The buyer changes their mind* about a purchase and returns a non-media item within the return window but the seller receives the item damaged or materially different than how it was originally shipped to the buyer. Yes. Up to 50% of the item’s price.
The buyer returns a book within the return window with obvious signs of use. Yes. Up to 50% of the item’s price.
The buyer returns a CD, DVD, VHS tape, , cassette tape, or vinyl record within the return window that has been opened (taken out of the plastic wrap). Yes. Up to 50% of item’s price.
The buyer changes their mind* and returns open software or video games. Yes. Up to 100% of item’s price
The buyer returns an item they received materially different from what they ordered. No restocking fee.

 How Refunds Work on Amazon

Amazon usually refunds customers promptly, often before the seller even receives the returned item. This is due to Amazon’s Refund at First Scan (RFS) policy. This policy is designed to enhance customer satisfaction by ensuring quick refunds. However, it is recommended for sellers to issue refunds within two business days of receiving the returned item to avoid Amazon stepping in and handling the return on behalf of the seller.

Dealing with Amazon Returns: A Key Responsibility for Sellers

Handling returns is a key responsibility for Amazon sellers. While handling returns, sellers should provide clear instructions to customers on how to return the item. Sellers are also responsible for ensuring that the item is returned in its original condition and packaging. If the item is not returned in its original condition, the customer may receive a partial refund or no refund at all.

Amazon’s 2024 Return Policy Update

In 2024, Amazon introduced a new feature for sellers named “Return Insights,” found under the Manage FBA returns section of the seller account. This tool gives sellers a more detailed look into their customer returns, helping them understand and reduce their return rate. This tool allows sellers to examine trends in their return rates and returned items, enabling them to make strategic adjustments to reduce returns.

Reasons for Returns on Amazon

Understanding the reasons for returns is crucial in reducing return rates. The common reasons for returns include quality issues, late delivery, and discrepancies in product descriptions. Sellers can use customer feedback from returns to improve their products and listings, thereby reducing future returns. Amazon offers a reporting feature for sellers to analyze return data, helping them identify recurring issues and implement corrective measures.

Here are some other reasons customers cite in the returns process, and Amazon finds at fault for each:

  •       “Arrived too late”; seller
  •       “Not satisfied with the quality”; seller
  •       “Better price is available”; customer
  •       “Did not like color”; customer

The Impact of Returns on Seller Performance

Returns can impact your seller performance metrics on Amazon. Amazon’s algorithm considers the number of returns and the reasons for the returns when calculating your metrics. If you have a high number of returns, your metrics and ratings may suffer, which can ultimately impact your ability to sell on the platform.

We will select “Account Health” from Seller Central after selecting the “Performance” tab. We can view “Policy Compliance” in that section.

My account health rating appears to be in the green, which is fantastic!

But hold on, there is a single complaint visible next to “Product Condition Customer Complaints.”

Further investigation reveals the actual reason why the product was flagged. Additionally, we can observe what Amazon did—the listing was taken down, issued warning, supressed buy box etc.

You need to click “Appeal” and send Amazon a plan of action in order to get your listing back. In essence, you have to tell Amazon how you fixed the problem and the precautions you took to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

By taking a little action, you can see the rationale behind each return that was required.

Legal and Policy Compliance on Amazon

As an Amazon seller, it is crucial to comply with Amazon’s policies and legal requirements. Amazon has strict rules and policies that sellers must abide by to ensure a fair and safe marketplace for buyers. Sellers must provide accurate and complete information about their products, including any potential hazards or risks.

Handling Returned Products

Sellers have several options when it comes to handling returned products. Amazon provides several programs including FBA Liquidations, FBA Grade and Resell, and FBA Donations to help sellers deal with returned or damaged items efficiently and minimize potential losses.

Handling Return Disputes

Occasionally, a customer may dispute a return for various reasons such as a damaged or defective product. As a seller, it is important to handle these disputes in a timely and professional manner. If a return dispute cannot be resolved between you and the customer, Amazon may step in to mediate the situation.

Mitigating the Impact of Returns

There are several strategies sellers can adopt to mitigate the impact of returns on their business. These include providing accurate and detailed product descriptions, improving quality control, providing excellent customer service, and monitoring return rates. By proactively addressing the factors that often lead to returns, you can significantly reduce their impact on your business.


Amazon’s return policy, while designed to ensure a great shopping experience for customers, can often present challenges for sellers. However, by understanding the policy, keeping track of return trends, and adopting strategies to minimize returns, sellers can effectively manage returns and maintain a successful business on Amazon.

A leading Full Service Agency like SalesDuo can be a one-stop solution to manage all aspects of the Amazon and eCommerce business. This makes it easy for retail brands of all sizes to focus on what matters most while we help them set up, manage, and grow their business on multiple marketplaces across various markets. For more information, visit salesduo.com.

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