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 or computer 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. In the CUSTOMER CONCESSIONS section on the left side column, click on FBA CUSTOMER RETURNS.
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. Click on the TRANSACTION VIEW tab. 4. 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. 4. Click on ADVANCED SEARCH 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. 7. Now, on the top of the Seller Central page, hover over REPORTS and click on FULFILLMENT. 8. On the left side of the column, in the Inventory section, click on the SHOW MORE option.
9. Click on INVENTORY EVENT DETAIL. 10. Paste the Merchant SKU in the search bar, make sure the event date includes the date of the purchase (or just choose LAST 365 DAYS if you’re not sure, and click GENERATE REPORT. 11. From there you should see all of the activity this item has experienced. Here is how to understand this report:
Receipt – Amazon warehouse has received this item from the seller.
WhseTransfers – Amazon moved the item to a different fulfillment center.
Adjustments – Amazon lost, damaged or found your inventory.
Shipments – Item was shipped to a customer.
CustomerReturns – Customer returned an item to Amazon warehouse.
VendorReturns – Seller removed item to return it to them.
If the customer returned the item to Amazon, then you should see an entry for CustomerReturns and a positive number in the quantity column.
Below is an example of an item that was received by an Amazon warehouse on May 24, 2017. A customer purchased the item on June 16 and returned it to Amazon on July 4
12. Finally, if you see there is no entry for CustomerReturns on this report and the 45-day window has passed, then it’s up to you to contact Seller Support and open up a case.
Here is a quick video walk-through on how to open up a case with Seller Support.
When you open the case with Seller Support, simply ask them to look into this return 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.
If you ever get a response from Amazon stating something like “this item was returned to Amazon on 7/12/18 and was added to your inventory,” then you can follow up and send them a screen shot of the Inventory Detail Report. You can ask them to look again as this item’s Inventory Detail Report doesn’t show the item was returned to your inventory. This will help you avoid a Seller Support worker who is using a standard “copy and paste” response and not actually looking into the details of the item.
How do you handle returns? Any other tips you’d like to share with other FBA sellers?
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*This post was updated for 2019