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Archive | April, 2024

The plague of Amazon return theft

I’m glad someone is finally reporting on the phenomenon.

Amazon’s liberal no-questions-asked return policy is, at best, prone to mistakes, and at worst, prone to abuse.

It works like this: someone orders and expensive item from Amazon and then returns it, but substitutes something cheaper in the return box, and claims they returned the part as they should have.  The buyer then keeps the expensive item, or, in the case of organized theft rings, they sell it on another marketplace, or even itself, to turn it into cash.

The biggest part of this problem is that Amazon will often blindly put things back into inventory without even the most cursory of inspections or validations, so the merchant may not find about the theft until some time later when a customer complains they got the wrong thing.  If this happens a lot, Amazon may even suspend the seller due to “excessive problems”, to add insult to injury.  But it gets worse, as Amazon’s seller support is notoriously poor, as you can tell by our difficulties with the hijacking of our listings.

We’ve had some very strange things returned instead of our products at times.  I presume because our parts aren’t incredibly expensive, people aren’t intentionally substituting cheaper goods for our parts.  But they often return damaged parts or parts that are missing something.  Amazon simply does very little checking of returned items, and it causes all kinds of problems.  A single item that is returned damaged or missing parts can then go to several other customers in the next few months, leading to bad reviews and excessive complaints.

As a seller, I can’t see us continuing to stay with Amazon unless they significantly improve the return process, to the benefit of sellers, and their seller support.