If you're a third-party seller on Amazon then you come under big Daddy Bezos' Amazon A to Z Guarantee policy, but what does this mean exactly?
Well, the Amazon A to Z guarantee is a buyer protection policy that offers Amazon customers the same kind of buyer protection that they would normally receive when purchasing products via Amazon FBA.
Given how customer-centric Amazon is, it makes sense really. It wouldn't make sense to offer protection to customers based on who they purchased from. They're buying from Amazon who are renowned for consistency, reliability and good customer service for its buyers.
So if you're an Amazon seller and you want to avoid A to Z Claims popping up in your Seller Central account, make sure you read to the end of this guide and implement everything! This will ensure that you're protected and can continue as a successful Amazon seller!
What is the Amazon A to Z Guarantee Policy?
You've probably already got a pretty good idea of what it is, but Amazon's A to Z policy protects customers for the following instances:
- The customer's order doesn't arrive
- The customer's order arrives damaged
- The product a customer received is significantly different to what the product description detailed
- The customer is unsatisfied with the quality of the product
- The customer was charged customs duties or some other amount not covered by the seller
As a seller it can be hard to control the shipping process, but all of the other factors are generally in your control. Selling quality products and being realistic with your shipping times will help keep you out of hot water where you might find yourself involved in Amazon A to Z claims.
How Does the Amazon A to Z Guarantee Work?
Now you've got an idea of what the guarantee covers, let's look at how it actually works from a buyer's perspective.
- 1If buyers make a purchase on Amazon and the item they receive is defective, damaged, or not as described in the listing, they can request a refund or replacement through the Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee.
- 2To request a refund or replacement, buyers will need to contact Amazon customer service and provide information about the purchase, including the order number, the name of the seller, and a description of the issue.
- 3Amazon will review the request and, if they determine that the buyer is entitled to a refund or replacement, they will process the request and issue the appropriate credit or replacement item.
- 4If the seller disputes the claim or if Amazon is unable to reach a resolution with the seller, Amazon may refund the buyer's purchase price and any shipping costs.
The Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee is intended to provide customers with protection against sellers who may not follow through on their commitments or who may not accurately represent the items they are selling.
Amazon makes it easy for customer's to report an issue with their order so as a seller, make sure you take every measure possible to avoid this happening.
It's a valuable resource for customers who want to shop with confidence on the Amazon platform, regardless of whether they purchase from a product being sold via Amazon FBA or Amazon FBM (fulfilled by merchant).
Here's what happens from the seller's perspective:
Once a buyer lodges their claim, Amazon will contact you and request more information relating to the claim.
You may be asked to present the following information to Amazon:
- If the claim is related to a delivery issues, you will need to show information relating to the shipping method, proof of delivery, tracking numbers, and details of the shipping carrier.
- If the claim is relating to a product return dispute, you will need to show details of the eligibility of return request and prove that you provide a domestic return address and returns shipping details eg. a returns label.
- If you have had any previous correspondence with the buyer who has opened the claim, you need to show evidence of any correspondence relating to the transaction in question.
When Amazon request information from you as the seller, you need to respond within 48 hours otherwise the claim will be closed in the favor of the buyer and they will get a full refund.
What's not covered:
- If the buyer has lodged a chargeback with their bank, they will forfeit their rights to pursue an Amazon A to Z claim.
- Products such as spot buys, stored value instruments, services or digital products are not covered under the A to Z policy.
Protecting Yourself from Amazon A to Z Claims
A to Z claims that closed in the buyer's favor will have a negative impact on your order defect rate so do whatever you can to avoid claims altogether.
It's worth taking a look at your listing quality dashboard inside seller central to see if Amazon themselves are making any recommendations.
It's not always easy to avoid unhappy customers, but you can take the following measures to protect your seller account and maintain good account health:
Improve Your Listing Description
Make sure your product descriptions are not only accurate, but also be easy to understand. If customers are confused when reading about the product then there is a risk of misunderstanding which may result in a claim.
Include product specifications and any other information that a buy might find relevant.
Include High-Quality Images
Review your product photography and make sure you have high-quality and clear images showing the product from multiple angles. Product images should be high enough resolution that they don't blur when zoomed.
Don't forget that you may not only get an A to Z claim, but you may also get poor reviews if your description and photos do not clearly and accurately represent the product that customers receive.
Ship as Quickly as Possible
Amazon offers such great shipping that buyers have come to expect so if you're fulfilling products yourself, don't be hasty when it comes to packaging and shipping out orders. Make sure you get your product shipped out ASAP and confirm it in your Seller Central Account.
If you're using a courier for shipping make sure they scan the product before the ship-by date.
Package Your Products Properly
Don't go cheap on your product packaging! Do as much as possible to minimize the risk of products getting damaged in transit. Spending a fraction more on your packaging will save you a lot in the long-run.
Ensure a Timely Delivery
Be realistic with your latest estimated delivery date for your products and if for some reason you're going to exceed the maximum estimated delivery date, let your customer know and have them accept the new estimated delivery date.
Use a Trackable Shipping Method
The ability to track your shipments is important as it allows your buyers to use the provided tracking information to track their order. This will save you a lot of customer service enquiries and will keep your customers happy.
Consider Using Amazon's Buy Shipping Service
If you opt to use Amazon's Buy Shipping service you can purchase domestic shipping labels from a number of their preferred carriers. While its not available for international shipping, using Amazon's Buy Shipping will protect you from A to Z claims if you've shipped the order on time.
Respond Quickly to Customers
If a customer contacts you with a message, make sure you respond quickly so they remain satisfied. No matter what the query is, one of the best things you can do is to action the issue directly and swiftly.
Handle Return Requests Properly
Much the same as any communication, make sure you respond to any return request within 48 hours. Whether its a defective product or the wrong item altogether, you need to refund your customer as soon as possible if they are eligible.
Claims for Property Damage and Personal Injury
If you think this sounds kind of serious, you'd be right. The A to Z policy also covers the event that a product purchased through Amazon causes property damage or personal injury to a customer.
When it gets into serious legal territory like this I personally don't like to comment too much, but one thing I can say is make sure you have suitable insurance.
This is going to differ greatly depending on the size and scope of your business but at the time of writing, Amazon requires you to have commercial liability insurance of up to $1,000,000 if you are exceeding more than $10,000 revenue in your selling business each month.
I highly recommend you take a read of Amazon's A to Z policy about claims for property damage and personal injury.
The Final Word on Amazon A to Z Guarantee Claims
While its a great policy for customers of Amazon, sellers probably aren't too fond of the A to Z guarantee! When you break it down though, it's pretty fair and it maintains a minimum level of service that all sellers need to abide by.
So whether you like it or not, Amazon is going to hold you to a certain standard as a seller so you may as well get used to it.
Those new to reselling on Amazon and Amazon FBA pros alike should always be striving to do better, so I hope this guide to Amazon's A to Z policy has armed you with some extra knowledge to help you succeed.