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Selling on Amazon; can this be fixed?

The last year has been plagued by issues selling our replacement parts on  First there was some abuse by a single customer who ordered about 100 parts just so she could go through them and pick the few she wanted with the smallest molding defects, and then returned almost all of them.  We stopped selling on for about a month while we worked to tighten down our sales policies to avoid that type of thing in the future, and while Amazon investigated, and possibly banned her from continuing to purchase there.

Then Amazon started suspending some of our listings due to high return rates.  We did some major revamping of our listings, added lots of photos with circles and arrows and writing to make it explicitly clear exactly what the parts were and were not made for.  Amazon made this very difficult as we had to go through multiple support requests for each part, just to be able to get listing changes approved; the entire process took a month and a half.  We also removed the low volume parts that had high return rates figuring people will just have to get them from our website.

Now they’ve once again suspended our listing for our most popular part, the single screw pot handle, that fits most Revere Ware pots from 1968 through the late 2010’s.  On reviewing our return rate we see that, despite all of our new “educational” material, we are still seeing lots of returns, perhaps even more than before.  And the process to get it restored has become that much more complicated.

I am seriously scratching my head on this one.  We have something like a 1% return rate for sales made from our own website. Because people are forced to contact us before they return something, we have a chance to help solve the problem, and often times, these customers just need a little help figuring things out, and we are able to avoid a return, or we can send them a replacement for a defective part.

For sales on some of the return rates approach 25%.  It seems that there is just no way to convince customers not to order items they aren’t sure will work, or to at least ask questions before ordering. Furthermore, almost no-one contacts us to ask for help before returning a part, despite the fact that we’ve added explicit instructions to most of our listings on how to contact us through  The only real differences between ordering on our site and is the free shipping.  Free shipping, it seems, causes people to act unreasonably, by ordering things they have no real expectation will work, and making no attempt to get help before giving up.

The real shame of all this is that it makes items unavailable for everyone else.  More and more of our parts are now available on our own website only.

I’m not sure of the path forward this time, but I’ve got a few ideas.

  • Raise the prices on significantly to discourage casual buyers looking for generic parts and that don’t read the details.
  • Start shipping problem items ourselves so that people have to contact us for a return, and we can interact with them.  Not excited about this one; there are a lot of shipments and I already have a day job.
  • Somehow get to stop returning parts deemed defective by customers back into inventory.  Seriously, look at this return report.

Does returning items that customers claim are defective back into inventory strike anyone else as odd?  I can’t help but wonder if quite a few of my returns are the same few defective or customer damaged parts getting sold over and over again.

  • Start stuffing every part with a detailed troubleshooting guide, and contact information.
  • Stop selling on altogether.  I’ve thought about this from time-to-time.  It seems that the majority of time I spend on this business is now related to  This will probably mean that our sales will drop by about half, but my workload for this business (above and beyond my real day job) will drop by 75% or more.  We ship things to our fulfillment center for our own website sales in boxes, with a cover sheet. We ship things to and every item has to be labeled, and some get an additional insert (to try and help reduce the return rate ha ha).  This is a business of passion much more than profit, so I don’t like the idea of making replacement parts less available to people, but is just not a good partner anymore.

That’s what I’ve come up with so far.  Any Fulfillment by Amazon gurus out there with some other ideas?

3 Responses to Selling on Amazon; can this be fixed?

  1. Patricia Lardy July 7, 2021 at 6:34 pm #

    I hear your pain. We sell feather boas. They wear them to a party then claim they are defective and return them. I feel for you brother!
    Patricia Lardy

  2. Robin July 8, 2021 at 3:11 pm #

    I am very happy to order from your website…I too got free shipping because I ordered $30 worth of parts. If I were you, I’d stop selling on Amazon. eBay has the same trouble with returns but not quite…because nothing would be returned to inventory; it would be returned to you. Maybe you can just pay someone else to ship the orders…seriously–as my husband died and I’m lookng to work from home on the side.
    eBay orders for a handle part could go out in a bubble mailer cheaply. And so ship costs wouldn’t be free, but would be lower.
    That way, only those seriously needing a specific part would be ordering in the first place.

    That said, I recently ordered over $100 worth of parts from your website and got one double screw handle which did not fit my 1960s small pan, and one which did.
    I’ll drill out the older handle to fit if I can–though it might be too close.
    Otherwise, I’ll need a replacement.
    Why are the holes in different places for the same part?
    Is this a QC issue?

    • RevereWareParts July 8, 2021 at 4:19 pm #

      We do utilize a fulfillment contractor for shipments from our website, and for the orders that occur on eBay for the few parts we currently sell there.

      The main reason I lament possibly discontinuing is the volume. We do sell quite a bit there, and our sales would undoubtedly drop.

      With regards to the holes not lining up, it may be one of two things; if you have the wrong size the handles may appear to fit but one or both don’t line up properly. If one of the holes is barely off, say 1/16th of an inch or so, then it is probably just a natural manufacturing variation in the original Revere Ware handle spline, and our handles don’t handle these variations as well as the original handles did.

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