Amazon is the most sought-after online retailer and for good reasons too. As of 2021, there were over 300 million active buyers, and the marketplace owned 50% of the U.S eCommerce market (Source: Techjury). Amazon owes its growth and popularity to its customer-centric business approach. The Amazon A-to-Z guarantee claim is the company’s way of looking out for its customers.
Like returns, too many A-to-Z claims against you will hurt your business. Hence, you must understand how Amazon A-to-Z claims affect you as a seller so that you can avoid them. We will give you the scoop on Amazon A-to-Z guarantee claims in this post if you read to the end. Let’s dive in!
What is the Amazon A-to-Z guarantee?
The Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee ensures that Amazon consumers are protected when they purchase products from third-party sellers. The guarantee protects buyers from a variety of issues, from late deliveries to bad customer service. It’s safe to say that the Amazon A-to-Z guarantee is the company’s way of regulating customer experience.
No seller is immune to these claims. So regardless of the fulfillment option you use (FBA or FBM), you can still have buyers lay claims against you. FBA sellers, however, are not held responsible for delivery or packaging issues.
Before making a claim, buyers must contact the seller. By doing so, Amazon gives sellers a chance to resolve customer issues and possibly prevent returns or refunds. Buyers who do not receive a solution from the seller within 48 hours can make a claim. If this happens, only Amazon can decide if the buyer is eligible for a refund.
Making too many refunds can hurt your business and even cause you to lose your account. A preventive measure is to monitor buyer-seller messages and keep an eye out for any customer complaints. But what happens if a customer eventually files a claim? Where does this leave you as a seller?
How Do A-to-Z Claims Affect Sellers?
When a buyer files a claim against you, there is a high chance that it will be resolved in their favor. If this happens, you may have to make refunds. Frequent returns and refunds will damage your order defect rate and account health.
Returns and refunds are a regular part of every online business. But if you get too many claims and your order defect rate goes above 1%, you may lose your seller account. Whatever you do as a seller, never take claims with levity. No one wants to lose money, so an unsatisfied customer will go to any length to get their money back. This is why you should pay attention to customer complaints and ensure your customers get the best experience.
Amazon is always looking out for its customers but not at the mercy of its sellers. 53% of the firm’s revenue comes from third-party sellers, so sellers are important to Amazon too. Hence, buyers cannot randomly decide to file claims, they must be eligible to do so. The question is, what makes a buyer eligible to file a claim?
What Makes A Buyer Eligible To File An A-to-Z Guarantee Claim?
Buyers cannot file claims at every instance. Amazon specifies two instances where buyers are eligible to file claims.
Buyers can file claims when a seller fails to meet up with the agreed delivery date. Usually, the time window is 3 calendar days from the expected delivery date or date confirmed by a valid tracking link.
Buyers are eligible to file claims if:
- They have waited for 3 extra days after the estimated delivery date (EDD) and reached out to the seller.
- The seller was unable to resolve the issue within 48 hours after the buyer’s first message.
Bad Product Quality
If a buyer is not satisfied with a purchase, it often falls into any of these categories:
- The buyer received a damaged item or one that is significantly different from what was ordered. Or the buyer returned the product in line with Amazon’s return policy but didn’t get a refund.
- The buyer wants to return a product across international borders but the seller did not:
- Provide a return address
- Make a prepaid return label available
- Or offer a returnless refund.
3. The buyer was charged more than the fixed price as a result of extra costs not covered by the seller.
FBA sellers often fall victim to the second and third points. The seller will receive a reimbursement for the cost of the refund if the claim is filed for the first reason and the damage is caused by Amazon.
FBM sellers are more susceptible to these errors, so there is a higher chance of returns or refunds. If you sell via FBM, ensure you provide excellent customer service and check your buyer-seller messages frequently.
No matter what the circumstances are, a buyer can only file a claim if they have contacted the seller and not received a response within 48 hours.
How Does The Amazon A-to-Z Claims Process Work?
Unless you are certain that the customer is seeking to defraud you, you should try to resolve the issue directly with the customer. If the issue is not resolved within 48 hours, they may file a claim.
Once a claim has been filed, three outcomes are possible:
- The buyer withdraws their claim leaving your account and order defect rate intact.
- While the investigation is still underway, you may choose to refund the customer. If you do, the claim will be closed and you won’t have to do anything else. Once a claim is opened, your account and order defect rate bear the brunt. Hence, this approach doesn’t leave your account without any impact. So it’s best to take care of these issues before they escalate.
- Amazon investigates the claim determines what the conclusion should be. While the investigation is ongoing, AMZ may ask for more information regarding the claim. A claim will be granted in favor of the buyer if you do not respond to Amazon within 48 hours. Amazon files the claim in favor of the buyer. This is more likely if you didn’t:
- Provide a tracking number
- Respond to a buyer-seller message or a return request from the customer
- Ship or deliver the package at the right time.
Related: Amazon seller shipping methods
How To Handle An Amazon A-to-Z Claim
Not all customers will be satisfied even if you provide stellar customer service. So, when you get a claim, don’t panic.
Take the time to evaluate the situation before responding. Make a note of all the reasons why you believe the claim should be filed in your favor. You may also support your notes with evidence related to the transaction.
As we mentioned before, Amazon may reach out to you for more information. Here are a few details you should have ready.
- Dispatch method, delivery proof, tracking number, and carrier information for delivery claims.
- The eligibility of the return request, the domestic return address, and information about how to ship returns (such as a return label) are all required for returns-related claims.
- Proof of prior conversation with the buyer. Preferably one that shows that they were satisfied with the order and/or your service.
Despite receiving the package, some customers may claim they never received it. Unfortunately, some folks will misuse the process to obtain free products. To prove that an item was delivered successfully, you should always include tracking information such as carrier and tracking numbers.
If Amazon ends up filing the claim in favor of the buyer, you can appeal the decision. Here’s how to go about that.
How to file an appeal
A 30-day appeal period applies if Amazon grants the claim in favor of the buyer. Once the 30-day window elapses, the claim will be closed and any negative impact on your ODR won’t be reversed.
If a buyer files a claim, how do you know?
You will receive an email notification from Amazon if a buyer files an A-to-Z Claim against you. Make sure to monitor your ‘Manage A-to-Z Claims’ page frequently. On the Performance tab, click “A-to-Z Guarantee Claims”.
How To Prevent Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee Claims
It is almost impossible to reverse the effect of A-to-Z claims except the buyer withdraws the claim. Hence, your best bet is to stay alert and prevent customers from filing against you. Here are a few other ways to prevent A-to-Z claims.
- Provide correct shipping and tracking information. If you don’t, the claim is more likely to be resolved in the buyer’s favor.
- Stick to your delivery schedule and deliver promptly. If you foresee any delay in shipping, inform the customer so they know what to expect.
- Ensure your listings provide correct information. Typically, buyers return products because there is a difference between what the seller advertised and what they received. Make sure your listings display exactly what you’re offering.
- Pay attention to your product’s packaging. If a product is damaged in transit, the buyer may file a claim against you.
- Get the buyer to sign after receiving an expensive item. The signature will serve as proof of receipt should the buyer file a claim and say otherwise.
- Use Amazon-supported carriers. Sellers who use carriers under the Amazon buy shipping service will not be responsible for delivery-related issues.
- The most effective way to prevent guarantee claims is to check your buyer-seller messages often. Also, ensure you respond and resolve customer complaints within 48 hours.
Amazon’s policy is that customers get the best service and the exact products that they paid for. The A to Z claims helps to assure buyers of the best service possible. However, some customers file claims in an attempt to defraud sellers. In cases like this, you should weigh your options and if the cost of the product is very little, you may want to forgo it and make a refund instead.
Whatever happens, always keep it polite when dealing with customers. Good luck on your journey!