As an FBA approved Amazon seller, you’ve probably encountered many instances where some of your returned items are refunded to customers beyond the normal return period of 30 days. In most cases, you would probably be right to signal Amazon about the extra time and file for reimbursements. That being said, there are a couple of instances where the same rules do not apply.
Such occurrences are sometimes permanent, such as certain product categories. For instance, certain products in the baby category are given a 90 day return period, whereas other categories sometimes get the same benefits due to some extraordinary circumstances. The most recent large scale event to qualify is the COVID-19 pandemic, during which certain products such as house utilities saw similar benefits. But other times these extensions can be both temporary and predictable. As a seller on the Amazon platform, it is in your best interest to stay informed and plan ahead of time around such inconveniences.
Here is what you should know:
Extended holiday returns are a common practice at Amazon. They can typically be predicted based on previous year holidays, though the duration always remains at Amazon’s discretion. The most recent example was announced at the end of September 2020 for the October-December return policy. The screenshot above shows the seller account point of view of the announcement, which can be found in the Holiday Returns Policy window.
To access it follow the path:
Help -> Returns, refunds, cancellations, and claims -> Manage seller-fulfilled returns -> Holiday Returns Policy
In this case, most orders shipped between October 1 and December 31 may be returned up to January 31, 2021, including FBA covered orders. As a result, any reimbursement claims that would otherwise be valid for the over 30 day period would be rejected by Amazon support. Had this policy caught you off guard, you would have lost a lot of time and effort trying to correct seemingly egregious discrepancies in the returns policy you’ve grown so accustomed to. Moreover, if you’ve been using any automated software in regulating FBA customer returns discrepancies, you may also have become alarmed by much higher volumes of irregularities than usual.
Information is power, and you the seller deserve to have as much of it at your disposal. While Amazon has not always been the best communicator when it comes to policy changes, it does a pretty good job covering its tracks, albeit later than desired. In order to stay prepared for any future upcoming changes, we recommend checking the holiday returns policy window in your SellerCentral account at least once every two weeks. That way, you may plan ahead of the holiday season and adjust your inventory expectations accordingly.