Seller Central Tip #1 – How to Check if “Returned” Items are Actually Returned to FBA

Amazon FBA Returns

It happens probably more often than you know. A customer requests a refund from Amazon but never actually returns the refunded item. Amazon is supposed to automatically reimburse you once 45 days has past, but sometimes Amazon “forgets.” Of course, Amazon doesn’t really forget, but for some reason, these reimbursements are not done 100% of the time. When this happens, it’s up to you to contact Amazon and remind them that they owe you a reimbursement.

When Amazon refunds your customer, Seller Support will send you an email with the subject line “Refund initiated for order.” I always move these emails to a dedicated folder in my email system. Amazon allows the customer 45 days to return the item to Amazon, so it’s a good idea to set up a reminder on your smartphone to check on this item in 45 days.

Ok, so saving these Return Notification emails from Amazon is a good idea, but what happens if you didn’t save that email? Well, you’re in luck because there is another way to see what items have been returned (and why).

1. Login to Seller Central and click on REPORTS at the top of the screen. 
2. Click on the FULFILLMENT link under REPORTS. 
3. Click on RETURNS from the left side column. 

Or you can do this to generate a Returns Report:

1. Login to Seller Central and hover the cursor over REPORTS at the top of the screen. 
2. Click on the PAYMENTS link under REPORTS. 
3. From there filter view by Refund, select the time frame, and click Update. 

Now that we know what items have been refunded to your customers, we need to find out if the item has indeed been returned. Here is how to do that (skip to step 7 if you have the Merchant SKU or ASIN from the above mentioned Returns Report):

1. Look at your Refund Notification email from Amazon and copy the order number. 
2. Login to Seller Central and hover the cursor over ORDERS at the top of the screen. 
3. Click on MANAGE ORDERS. 
5. Paste the order number in the search bar and click SEARCH at the bottom of the page. 
6. On the next page, you’ll be able to see exactly which item was returned. From this page copy the item’s Merchant SKU or ASIN. 
7. Now, on the top of the Seller Central page, hover over INVENTORY and click on MANAGE FBA INVENTORY. 
8. Paste the Merchant SKU or AISN in the search bar and click Search. 
9. If you don’t see the item you’re looking for, click the radio button that states “Include Archived Items.”
10. From there you should see if your item is in your inventory (either as fulfillable or unfulfillable). 

Just because the item is not currently in your inventory doesn’t mean that it was never returned to an Amazon FBA warehouse. It could have been returned to your inventory and then sold soon after. So what do you do if you don’t know? Currently, Amazon does not notify you when (or even if) your item has been returned to an FBA warehouse. This last step is up to you.

11. Contact Seller Support and open up a case. 

seller-supportSimply ask them to look into this for you. After I enter in the specific item information, I usually say something like this: “The buyer of this item was given a refund, but failed to return the item to an FBA warehouse. It’s been over 45 days since the refund was given. Please reimburse me the original sales price. Thank you.” Most of the time I’ll get a quick response from Amazon stating that a reimbursement will be issued soon. Some of the time I’ll get a response from Amazon stating something like “this item was returned to Amazon on 5/12/13 and was added to your inventory.” When I see this notification, but my current inventory shows zero, then I know that the item was indeed returned, and then was sold soon after. I can even search all my orders to confirm that it was sold.

How do you handle returns? Any other tips you’d like to share with other FBA sellers?

For more Seller Central Tips, just click here.

21 responses to “Seller Central Tip #1 – How to Check if “Returned” Items are Actually Returned to FBA

  1. I’ve never re-check it (my refund and returned items) ’till I read your great post. My luck is it lower than o.2% :)

    Many Thanks

  2. You’re welcome! Enjoy the reimbursement money that will soon be coming your way.

  3. How do you handle an item that you have multiples of? How would you ever know if a refunded item had been returned? Thx for your help.

  4. Great question! I would just open up a case and ask Amazon to look into it anyway. They have the information… so since they don’t offer it up in an “easy to find out” way, go ahead and ask them to look into it. They will be able to tell you if the item was returned and added back to your inventory at any time.

  5. Great post Stephen!

  6. THANK YOU for this post! I have never been able to figure out to pull the needed reports for my returns/ reimbursements.

    This is now my project for tomorrow. It will be good to get some action ( one way or another) on old refunds.

  7. Pingback: Returns in January – Something to worry about?

  8. Pingback: Seller Central Tip #4 – How to Check for Reimbursable Lost Items | Full-Time FBA

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  10. For the question about multiples, run the Returns report and see what Amazon did with the item. Use this report to see when Amazon simply put the inventory back in active status.

  11. Hi thanks for this info (I got here from the new ebook)

    Isn’t there a big difference between the fulfillment/returns report that has only things that actually got back to amazon as opposed to payment/refunds that has all customer return requests.

    So the way I do it is see all my refunds check if it was received in returns report and if it was not I search reimbursement report with order ID and if its not there I request a refund.
    If it was returned and is marked as sellable there you have a hard time to figure out if it was placed back in your inventory (if you have multiple items).

    I still don’t have clear way of finding if amazon lost inventory when shiping in between warehouses etc.(when you have multiple items it get hard) maybe you can write a post on this.

    • Yes, your way of checking on lost returns is the same thing I do. As for the items that get lost during shipments is a little harder to figure out. Sometimes, this link helps me find out if something was lost… If I find something labeled as misplaced, then I wait a few days (in case they find it), and then if it’s still lost, I’ll open up a request for reimbursement. Here is the link I’m talking about:
      Just be sure to change the reporting time to whatever amount of time you wish to look into the past.

  12. hi,

    we have never sell on Amazon before. last week an Amazon senior purchaser saw our website and told us they are very interested to work with us and invited us to join the Vendor Central program. Now they have set us up on that.

    we sell bikes. we have 32 diff types.

    as we are new to this we hv several questions:

    1. if Amazon purchaser invite us to this program, in your opinion how confident (%) are they that our products will sell on Amazon?

    2. usually for 1st order, wld they get us to send to 1 FC or multiple FC across the nation?

    3. Amazon refused to tell us how much qty they will require us to send for the 1st time until they finalise their PO. In your opinion usually how much qty is 1st order like?

    4. Do u think Vendor central can potentially grant a huge volume?

    Hope to hear from you.

  13. Dear Stephen,
    I just found your blog and thought to’ ask for your help.
    I am a amazon seller , ( not FBA) I sold an item but customer didnt like it and requested an AZ program for refund we never received the item but amazon proceeded to refunded the customer.
    There say case is closed and that its our problem to recuperate the goods ( amazon france) this happened allready twice and we lost £1200 worth of jewellery can you suggest us anything.
    Sincere Regards

    • Gian, If the customer returned the item through Amazon, then Amazon would know if it was delivered of not. Open up a help ticket and ask them to investigate. Once they see the item was not returned, they should reimburse you.

  14. I just received this email from a potential buyer.

    Hello, I am looking to buy this product $112, but i have 0 experience and not sure my skin will be fine with it. I am wondering what you return and refund policy concerning this item.

    I know what it is when I MFN, but I am bummed as this item is fulfilled by AZ.
    What should my reply be? AZ refunds money as soon as a return is requested.

    • You should reply to them a link to Amazon’s return policy page. Amazon’s very generous return policy sometimes comes back to bite us sellers in the rear, but overall, the return policy helps generate more sales.

      If an Amazon seller has been selling long enough, they’ll have a few stories of high dollar returns. I know I’ve had a $300 item returned before. It hurt… but I got over it and have made up for it multiple times since then.

      Fingers crossed that this item won’t be returned!

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