If you sell on Amazon long enough, it’s inevitable you’ll deal with an A-to-z claim. As much as RepricerExpress would love to protect you from that, it’s impossible to do. But what we can do is help you deal with claims when they do arise, as well as how to reduce your chances of getting one in the first place.
What is Amazon’s A-to-z Guarantee?
In their words, “The Amazon A-to-z Guarantee protects [the seller] when you purchase items sold and fulfilled by a third-party seller. Our guarantee covers both the timely delivery and the condition of your items. If either is unsatisfactory, you can report the problem to us and our team will determine if you are eligible for a refund.”
Or, in a plainer way of putting it, Amazon will help buyers get their money back if their order isn’t up to snuff. As a seller, you’ve got to be extra careful of sourcing, shipping, storing and fulfilling products that are exactly as you’ve described, otherwise, you could face a penalty against your account.
There are occasions when unscrupulous buyers start A-to-z claims just to game the system, but it’s not often and you can easily tell them apart from honest buyers. Buyers have a limited number of A-to-z claims they can file, so you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of whether it’s worth it to fight back or better to let it go.
Note, Amazon A-to-z Claims don’t apply to the following:
- Digital item or service
- If the order was paid by Amazon gift cards, vouchers, coupons, etc.
- If a chargeback has already been made
How Does the A-to-z Claim Process Work?
Although it may seem like an out-of-the-blue shock to wake up to an A-to-z claim message in your inbox, it’s actually a very structured and orderly procedure. Here’s how the whole process goes down.
- A buyer hasn’t received their product at least three days after the latest estimated delivery date, they received something different than what they ordered, or they returned an item with a trackable shipping method and haven’t gotten their refund.
- The buyer is encouraged to first reach out to the seller and try and resolve things, either by message or return request. Both parties have 48 hours to try and make something right, otherwise the buyer is allowed to file a complaint straight to Amazon.
- If things have reached this stage, the seller has a 72-hour window in which to respond. If they don’t, then the buyer automatically “wins” the claim and the refund amount will go from your account to theirs.
- This isn’t the end of the road just yet, as the seller has 30 days to file an appeal if they think the claim was awarded erroneously. Amazon might have to contact the buyer via email for more information and will give them 72 hours for a response.
How to React and Respond to an Amazon A-to-z Claim
Your first reaction will probably be confusion, anger and frustration. But it’s so important that you take a deep breath and let those emotions go, as responding the wrong way can affect your account in multiple ways.
The first thing you should do is examine the order and see if the buyer has a leg to stand on. If you did indeed mess up, then examine how and why, as well as figure out a plan to avoid doing so in the future.
And if it’s something like a scam buyer, it’s up to you to decide if you want to call them out or eat the cost of the claim and not waste any valuable time. If you opt for the former, be polite, no matter how much it’s eating you up on the inside to remain civil.
But if it’s a legitimate claim, respond. Not doing so can hurt your account far more than you think. Remember, you have 48 hours from the first message to get back to the buyer and try and fix things yourselves. If you ignore their first message, the buyer is allowed to file a claim and you’ll be forced to write an appeal (within 72 hours) or else the refund will be automatically taken out of your account.
You’ll have to fill out a form as your response and this will go on records, so make sure to craft your words carefully because they could be associated with you in the future. You have 48 hours or 72 hours (depending on how attentive you’ve been during the process), so take a few hours to clear your head and think of what you’ll write.
Once you’ve submitted the form, make sure you’ve received a yes or no from Amazon within the allotted timeframe so nothing falls through the cracks. If you’re successful with your appeal, check your claim status to see that it’s been changed within 2 days; if not, get in touch with Seller Performance so it doesn’t adversely affect your account.
But if you’ve lost your appeal, you’ll need to correct things to either avoid or minimize claims in the future.
How to Handle A-to-z Claims in the Future
Avoiding an A-to-z claim is your primary goal, so follow these best practices for prevention:
- Go over images and product descriptions and verify that they match the products. Details and measurements should be accurate and precise.
- If you have any inaccurate listings, report them to Amazon right away so they’re aware of it before any potential A-to-z claims. For any problem items, delist/blacklist those products (perhaps until you’re able to address those problems).
- While products may be fine when they left your hands, something might have happened during shipment, either to the storage center or the customer’s doorstep. If this is the case, assess if you want to remain with the shipping companies you’re currently using or if it’s time to start a new relationship. And no matter if you stay or go, always ensure there’s a tracking label and that you’ve uploaded the number as soon as you get it.
- Make sure your return policy reflects what you’re realistically capable of (i.e. timelines).
- If you don’t think you can afford to absorb refund costs, make sure your return policy explicitly states the buyer is responsible for those fees — and make sure you get the buyer’s agreement of the terms first.
- When it comes to dealing with buyers, message them back quickly. The A-to-z claim process isn’t a terribly long one, so time isn’t exactly on your side. And as for messages in general, don’t pester buyers by sending an email every time there’s a tiny change.
While avoiding A-to-z claims is the optimal goal, you likely won’t be able to prevent them entirely and minimizing is your next priority. One of the main ways of doing so is to successfully argue mistake claims, such as when you’re clearly not in the wrong.
For example, maybe you had Amazon deliver the item for you and it was lost. Or perhaps the buyer confirmed delivery and started a claim, but won’t return the item even if you’re covering return costs AND you offered a replacement or return.
If something like this is the case and Amazon isn’t liable for the claim, your next move is to ask the buyer to withdraw their claim. You’ll need a bit of finesse for this part, as buyers can’t withdraw claims from their dashboard and will need to tell Amazon they’re withdrawing their claim. Be polite, persuasive, helpful and charming because your timeline here is a very small window.
Getting dinged by an Amazon A-to-z claim can hurt financially, so a really smart way to cushion the blow in the future is through higher sales. And one of the easiest ways there is through RepricerExpress, ensuring your pricing rules are working around the clock to always nab you that sale. Your competitors are using repricing to take away your sales, but you can reverse that by signing up now and starting your free trial.