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One of the main reasons why Amazon is so successful is the service that they provide to their customers. Amazon puts a huge emphasis on the customer experience. When you sell on the Amazon platform they expect you to comply with this as well.
Amazon allows customers to raise A-Z claims in case there are issues with their orders so that they can get a refund or partial refund in certain circumstances and therefore it offers protection to the customer.
When Can a Customer Raise an A-Z Amazon Claim?
Amazon allows customers to raise an A-Z in any of the following situations:
- The order hasn’t arrived, or it arrived 3 days after the maximum expected delivery date or 30 days from the order date, whatever is sooner.
- The product received has been damaged in transit, is defective or completely different from what was described in the listing.
- The buyer has changed their mind and returned the product however they have not been refunded or the refunded amount is incorrect or a replacement has not been sent out.
- The seller hasn’t accepted a buyer’s return request that was within Amazon’s return policy.
- The buyer wants to return an international order and the seller has not provided a return address, provided a pre-paid return label or offered a full refund without requesting the item to be returned.
Buyers have to file an A-to-Z claim within 90 days from the estimated delivery date. If an item has been damaged in transit or is different from what was described in the listing, the buyer has to contact the seller within 30 days of receiving their order and they must return it within 45 days.
Does Receiving an A-Z Claim Affect my Seller Metrics?
A-Z claims which go in favour of the buyer can affect your selling metrics, in particular to your order defect rate (ODR). The ODR is the metric that Amazon uses to determine your eligibility for the Buy Box. ODR measures a combination of three different performance metrics including negative customer feedback, A-Z claims and the service chargeback rate.
If a seller’s ODR reaches 1%, you lose the eligibility for the Buy Box for items Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) although it does not affect Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) products. After losing this, it will take 30 days with an ODR below 1% to be eligible again.
You should be particularly careful when you’re first starting out selling on Amazon. If you have less than 100 orders within a 90 day period, just one A-Z claim will mean your ODR will reach 1% and could mean that your account is in trouble and could be suspended.
Please note, if your A-Z claim is denied or withdrawn before a refund is issued, it does not count against your ODR.
What Happens When I Receive an A-Z Claim?
While it may be frustrating receiving an A-Z claim from one of your customers, even if you do believe you’ve provided top-notch service, it still requires your immediate attention. If you simply just ignore the claim, after 7 days, Amazon will consider you the seller at fault and the buyer will be refunded for the amount due and your ODR ratings will drop.
If you believe you are at fault, you will need to refund the buyer. Depending on the claim the buyer has made, you will need to refund them for the item cost and in some occasions the original shipping costs and/or return shipping costs (see the below table which details what costs you will need to refund depending on the situation).
|Original Shipping Cost
|Return Shipping Cost
|Product was damaged in transit, defective or different from what listed
|Any other reason, seller contacted within 14 days of receipt of order
|Any other reason, seller contacted after 14 days of receipt of order
|Apparel, shoes and handbags – for any reason
If you disagree with the buyers claim, you will have up to 7 days to present your case. Include as much information as possible to defend your case so that Amazon can review the evidence and come to their decision. Once Amazon has come to their decision, they will notify the buyer regarding the outcome by email.
Dealing with Dishonest A-Z Claims
Like with any marketplace there will be unscrupulous people about. If you believe an A-Z claim has been raised by a dishonest customer who is trying to keep the goods and get their money back, your aim will be to minimise your losses and fight your case.
Provide as much details why you believe you’re right. For example, if your buyer is claiming you’re selling counterfeit goods, provide Amazon with copies of your invoices to prove that the goods you’re selling are genuine. In certain circumstances Amazon will refund the buyer and you won’t have to although it’s still black tick against your seller metrics.
In some circumstances you may have to accept defeat, especially if you’re selling metrics are poor. You don’t want to have a claim go against you even if you know you’re in the right especially if your seller account could get suspended. You therefore need to weigh up whether it would make more sense refunding the buyer for a product or face having your account being suspended and not being able to sell on Amazon.
Can You Appeal an A-Z Claim Once it’s Been Granted?
Sellers have up 30 days to appeal against a claim which has gone in a buyer’s favour. If you believe the claim was granted incorrectly to the buyer, you should appeal.
How to Avoid A-Z Claims in the First Place
You should always try to minimise the chances of getting an A-Z claim. If you’ve received A-Z claims in the past, understand why that was, are customers complaining about late shipments, or is it because the product that you’re selling don’t live up to expectations? Whatever it is, you need to prevent them from happening again. Too many A-Z claims mean getting your seller suspended!
Ways to minimise getting A-Z’s
Respond to Customer emails promptly
All customer messages should be replied to within 24 hours. If their message/complaint is acknowledged promptly, the buyer is less likely to raise an A-Z claim. If you’re investigating a customer issue, keep them informed and provide regular updates so they know you’re looking into their concern.
Ensure you use adequate packaging material as well provide tracking information
When dispatching orders, always make sure you use packaging which adequately protects your products. If the item is fragile, use bubble wrap to ensure the items are not damaged in transit.
Always make sure your items are sent tracked and the tracking number is updated for the order. Not only will customers be able to see when they expect to receive their items, it will also reduce the likelihood of scammers raising fraudulent A-Z claims as you can prove whether an item has been delivered or not. For high-value items, always get proof of signature on delivery, this should provide an extra layer of protection for both parties.
If the customer proves that the item that they have ordered has been damaged in transit, refund them, that way the customer won’t need to escalate the matter by raising an A-Z claim.
Use accurate product descriptions & use clear photographs of the products
When you list an item, always make sure your product descriptions are as accurate as possible. Provide information such as weight, size, colour and condition of the product (never list something as new if it is not). As buyers are buying over the internet make sure you include as many photos as possible so that buyers are clear what they are getting. All photos should be on a white background and include close-up images. If you’re listing a product on already created listing which you believe has inaccurate/invalid information, contact Amazon to get this corrected before adding your product to the listing.