How to Handle a Claims Issue with Amazon

Imagine you sell an expensive item via Amazon FBA, only to have it returned. Whats more is that once it is returned, you realize it’s not even the same item you sent out! Now you’re out the money AND the item, and to make matters worse, you have a negative feedback too! That’s a scary thought that holds many sellers back from using online marketplaces such as Amazon or eBay. It does happen, although not very often, and it’s no fun! It just happened to me, and over the last few weeks I was able to have the negative feedback removed, AND I got my money back from the scammer. Here’s how I did it:

On May 15th a customer ordered a Nintendo Wii bundle via FBA for $168.97. A week or so later they left a negative feedback complaining that it was defective. At the time, I figured that the Wii was either damaged in shipping, or it died from normal ware and tear (this can be common with pre-owned items). Considering it was shipped via FBA and likely damaged in shipping, I reached out to amazon to have the feedback removed.

Contacting amazon regarding a feedback is simple! Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “contact seller support.” Next you’ll look to the left and click “customers and orders” followed by “customer feedback.” You’ll then enter the order number from the negative feedback and fill out a brief form stating your case. Depending on the nature of the feedback amazon could automatically remove it immediately, or assign a customer support specialist to review it. In the latter case, it should be resolved within a day or two.

Around the time the negative feedback was left, a refund was initiated for the return of the Wii bundle. Considering Amazon agreed with me in assuming the item was damaged in shipping, I contacted them once more to find out why the customer was refunded out of my own pocket. I was informed that it can be revisited once the product was returned to amazon.

On June 11th I received the Wii and noted some discrepancies. For starters, the Wii was missing a piece on the bottom. It also had the incorrect screws holding it together, considerably different than the factory uses. I then tested the console, and it indeed did not power on. I also attempted to test it with a different power cord because sometimes that can be the issue. Lastly, the serial number did not match my records. Always make sure to keep record of serial numbers on higher priced items. Because I send several Wii consoles to FBA each month on the same MSKU, I cannot keep track of which console has which serial number, however when I get one back, I am able to look into my records to see whether or not I ever had that particular Wii.

At this point, I was very upset that a customer scammed me. Most likely the case, the customer’s personal Wii stopped working, so they bought mine and returned their defective Wii, in an effort to fraudulently get a free working console. Later in the day on June 11th I contacted Amazon once more. This is the email I sent them:

You’ll notice that I remained professional in this email, and made sure to use terminology that amazon uses like “providing the best possible customer satisfaction.” I also offered to send Amazon the Wii for inspection, should they request it.

Their response was as follows:

It took a day or two to find time to take photos, but I made sure to make them very detailed, and include descriptions of exactly what the support specialist is looking at. I was able to do this in Microsoft Paint by right clicking the photo and clicking edit on my PC. I also reiterated the exact issue I was having in the followup email. Notice the professionalism.

The photos shown below are exactly as I sent them (notes and all)

I got a response back within a day and the specialist reimbursed me for the claim. I received a total of $145.34 the next day. Unfortunately it is not the same as I would have received from the bundle’s sale (minus fees), but it’s within $10 so I’m happy!

I hear of issues similar to this many times from other sellers and almost every time the seller tells me that amazon’s response was “that’s a cost of doing business,” essentially “tough luck kid.” The key here is to remain professional, don’t make assumptions (notice I never directly accused the customer), and use terminology that you would expect to receive from amazon. Contrary to popular belief, Amazon does want us, the sellers, to be satisfied just as much as the customers.

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