Once again we seem to have run afoul of Amazon.com and they removed both of our listings for pot handles, vintage and more modern variety. These were our top-selling items there, with many hundreds selling every month.
The problem this time is the high return rate; we seem to average between 7-10% of these products being returned, which apparently is too high for Amazon.com. We’ve had our listings suspended a number of times for the same issue; this time they opted to remove one of the listings, for the single screw pot handle, permanently.
With every previous suspension, we’ve tweaked our listings to try and make it less likely people will buy them just to try them on an item we specifically say it won’t work on. For some reason, our listing now has reverted to the initial version from quite a few years ago, loosing all of these edits.
The problem with selling on Amazon.com is that they make it extremely hard to get any good information from the customers as to what is wrong. Here are the comments we got along with returns in February (the few that actually gave us a comment).
- It is not broke, it is not compatible with my pot
- Product was not what I was expecting and I do not want them.
- will not fit on my stock pot
- Par de mango para macetas (which translates to “Pair of potting handles”)
Not very helpful. And the Fulfillment by Amazon take-it-or-leave-it no questions asked return policy precludes us from having a conversation with customers before a return is authorized, to determine whether there is actually a real problem, with either the product itself, or the products somehow getting damaged through the fulfillment process. To make things worse, they appear to be returning damaged items back to inventory, such that they get shipped to another customer and rack up yet another return. Here is just a few returns they processed.
|Disposition||Customer Return Reason||Status|
|Customer Damaged||Product damaged or defective prior to shipping||Unit returned to inventory|
|Customer Damaged||Item is defective||Unit returned to inventory|
|Customer Damaged||Product is not as described on website||Unit returned to inventory|
In dispute of the listing removal, we sent Amazon.com a three page brief on everything that was wrong with their service from a sellers perspective. Ultimately, it was the fact that they appear to be putting defective or damaged items back into inventory that seems to have convinced them to allows us to relist the product.
I seriously doubt there is anything wrong with our actual product; we sell about half as many on our own website as we do on Amazon.com, and rarely ever receive a complaint about these handles not working. I suspect that when customers have to pay for shipping, and return shipping is not free, people tend to actually do some due diligence before buying, which probably avoids 99% of the potential issues.
I love the convenience of buying from a business like Amazon.com, but with all the problems from a buyers perspective and a sellers perspective, that I see every day/week/month, I have real concerns about continuing to use Amazon.com as either a buyer or seller.
Like Google, Amazon.com seems impossible to replace. But complacency has felled many past giants. Along those lines, for several months now I’ve been participating in a alpha test of a new search engine. With almost no exceptions, I haven’t needed Google search since I started. If Google can be replaced for search, it isn’t that hard to believe that an alternative to Amazon.com, for both buyers and sellers, might come along. Here’s hoping.