Editor’s Note: Originally published on Aug. 6, 2019, updated on Feb. 28, 2023.
Not every A-to-Z claim on Amazon is an open-and-shut case. And fighting one is much harder than preventing it; especially if you don’t keep up with the latest Amazon claim policy changes. Here’s a short refresher course on how to handle an A-Z claim.
Amazon takes a tough stance on A-Z claims. But there is limited hands-on information about dealing with an A-to-Z claim on Amazon. Today we’ll go through the basics of managing AtoZ claims on Amazon in line with the current policy.
What is an A-Z Claim on Amazon?
When a buyer contacts the seller about a problem with their order, waits 48 hours for a reply, and isn’t satisfied with the outcome, they can file a claim from their Amazon account. The “Problem with this order” menu takes them through their options in 3 easy steps.
The same menu enables them to view the status of their appeal, cancel it, or take the matter further if they’re not satisfied with the outcome. This may include the option to provide additional information or escalate the issue.
There are several types of Amazon claims. Under the A-to-Z guarantee, most of them are granted in favor of the buyer- some instantly. Each one comes with specific rules for both the seller and the buyer, as follows:
- Item Not Received (INR) claims can be filed for items not delivered within 3 days to 90 days after the Estimated Delivery Date.
- Not As Expected (NAS) claims can be filed after a return, replacement, or refund request is made, even before the estimated delivery date and before the seller authorizes the return.
- Returned but No Refund (RNR) claims can only be filed for tracked returns. The weight and contents of the box returned isn’t checked in any way, so sellers should keep a returns log.
The Effects of A-Z Claims on Sellers
Amazon will only cover a refund for FBM items shipped on time with Buy Shipping labels. It also funds claims for FBA items that are lost or damaged by Amazon, as per policy (sign-in required). The rest comes out of the seller’s pocket.
Unless they are Withdrawn, Closed (denied), or Amazon-funded, these claims will affect the ODR. This means sellers may have no choice but to plead with buyers to withdraw unfair claims – and quickly.
But handling an A-Z claim is no small feat. For sellers who want to avoid a suspension in 2023, now’s the time to brush up on the A-Z guarantee and put together a strategy for appeals. Below are some pointers for drafting your claims strategy.
Practical Aspects of Amazon’s Claims Policy
Some sellers are a law unto themselves. So, Amazon keeps updating its claim policy. For buyers, it’s easy to look up changes on the A-Z guarantee page. For sellers, keeping up with the latest policy terms takes a bit more effort, so we’ll go through some key points here.
To start with, sellers should know that the A-Z guarantee doesn’t apply to services, digital items, or stored value instruments. Also, buyers can’t file a claim if they’ve already asked their bank to reverse the charge via chargeback.
Then there’s also a certain sequence of events that buyers must follow to file an Amazon claim. And there’s a brief window of opportunity for sellers to challenge it. However, there are a few loopholes:
- INR claims are only covered by Amazon if the items are shipped on time using Buy Shipping labels. Otherwise, sellers are expected to issue refunds and recoup their value from carriers.
- INR claims are granted by default if the seller doesn’t upload tracking information or there’s no signature confirmation, even if the item turns up.
- INR claims are also valid with remote signature (e.g., pre-signature by MyUSPS). Buyers don’t need to wait for a seller’s reply to file a claim.
- Virtually all INR claimants with no history of A-Z guarantee abuse or fraud can get a refund, even if they signed for the delivery.
- NAS claimants can file without waiting 2 days for their return authorization.
- RNR claimants can file an A-Z claim even without return authorization.
- Some sellers have 2-3 days to challenge a case, rather than the official 5 business days deadline.
- Buyers can file a claim for simply believing that they were overcharged.
In some situations, Amazon can even step in and issue the buyer a refund. Bear in mind that if a claim is denied, the buyer has another 30 days to bring new information. They also have 3 days to respond to specific questions from Amazon’s investigator.
How to Prevent A-to-Z Claims on Amazon
Prevention is better than cure. To reduce your risk of an A-Z claim, go through all the items on this list:
- Update your return policy with realistic and well-thought-through timelines and rules.
- Make it clear in the return policy that buyers may need to cover return costs themselves.
- Make sure your customers agree with the terms of your return policy before they return.
- Dispose of, delist, and blacklist problem items, and report inaccurate listings to Amazon.
- Improve descriptions and images with precise measurements and accurate details.
- Optimize shipping, using a tracked service with signature confirmation.
- Improve warehouse layout and upgrade equipment to avoid shipping errors and mixups.
- Confirm dispatch quickly and upload the tracking number right away.
- Use safer packaging, keep delivery reports, and switch carriers if problems persist.
- Limit the number of emails you send to buyers to avoid becoming a nuisance.
- Reply to emails quickly- especially order status queries-, and with a measured response.
How to Minimize the Number of Claims
The A-Z claims page has been spruced up with search bar and date sorting. So, it’s easier for sellers to visualize and deal with an A-to-Z claim on Amazon quickly. They can also see how a claim is classified when a decision is reached, and point out any mistakes to Amazon.
There are cases where you’re not in the wrong. But for some reason, the investigator or the system may not have picked up on it. You should bring this up with Amazon if you want the case closed. For instance:
- you used Buy Shipping labels or Amazon delivered the item for you and it was lost.
- the buyer confirmed the delivery of an expensive item, albeit late or with a presumed flaw, but refuses to return it even if you’re covering return costs and you offered a replacement or a refund.
If Amazon is not liable for the refund, the next step is to ask the buyer to withdraw the A-Z claim. While the claims process has been streamlined for buyers, the withdrawal process hasn’t. But be ready for some hand-holding, because buyers can’t withdraw a claim from their order dashboard.
When you only have a 2-3 day window to challenge a case, you need to be very persuasive. A charm offensive is the only option. Explain to buyers that they need to let Amazon know that they’re withdrawing the claim, and that you can’t do it for them.
Address Your A-Z Claim
Try to be prompt and concise when you make your appeal. Think ahead for busy sales seasons, and don’t fall behind on your appeals. Keep an eye on claim count and appeal status. Maintain regular claims reports to visualize and prepare for the busiest times of the year.
If, after a successful appeal, your claim status doesn’t change, it may still affect your ODR score. Contact Seller Performance to ask that they ignore these A-Z claims when they calculate your ODR. It can take up to 2 days, so don’t put it off.
Finally, bear in mind that replacement orders are eligible for SAFE-T claims. To file one, go to the Orders> Manage Safe-T claims menu in Seller CentralAmazon Seller Central is a portal or a h… More. You may also file this type of claim against a buyer if they damaged or swapped an item. In effect, this is your only safeguard against scammers.
With so much at stake, sorting out an A-to-Z claim on Amazon is a race against time. If you feel like you’re falling behind, our Account Monitoring team may be able to help take the pressure off. And if Amazon has already removed your selling privileges, you can rely on our Account Rescue crew for impartial advice.
Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.
I have been involved in a dispute with Amazon and a 3rd party (suncoo) for almost 3 months.
Suncoo agreed to refund damaged item .
Then there was a dispute about weather I should have to pay for shipping back because it was going to cost me more than what paid for item $550 approx.
Amazon finally agreed to pay for item AND postage that I paid and Amazon would go after 3rd party for cost of item .
Problem is it’s been over 2 weeks after being told I would get my money back in 3 to 5 business days Amazon said a to z would be in contact with me in 24 hrs it’s now been 48 hrs and nothing I’m getting a real runaround .
Claim number is 111-7715949-7325036
I’m sorry you’ve been having trouble with your Amazon return. They can sometimes be slow to resolve these issues, but with Amazon “the customer is always right”. I’m sure you’ll receive your refund soon, if you haven’t already.
I call BS on your statement. I’ve been dealing with a broken washer/dryer combo since March 2020 – it is not the end of September that was $1265 plus a $175 warranty that was bought. Item arrived broken – we were told to deal with the seller – requested the broken part multiple times. Seller never responded. Told we couldn’t file a claim under the warranty because it arrived broken. 3 times Amazon requested a shipping label from the seller. Many notes to file that Seller is not cooperating and emails that said don’t worry – Amazon will back you! We filed a claim July 2 – it was denied August 31st Appealed 9/2 told they had 24 hours to respond. Called multiple times – appeal denied 9/25!!!! OUT $1440 FOR AN ITEM THAT ARRIVED BROKEN!!!!!
Someone should start making an A-Z Claim Abuser site so help the seller. That’s would be a valuable service.
I want a 100% reason why you denied my claim.. I had enough of your bullshit. I am going to to write, email, and push this problem I had with ur Amazon team dropping the ball and ur 3rd party doing horrible job with customer service. I am the one who reached out to them, you and every other punk behind a keyboard didn’t read through the issue. I want my money. if I was in the wrong I would take blame and understand. but because Amazon and its a-z team didn’t look this issue over the right way the first couple times I have to eat $485.00 sorry pal doesn’t work that way. also this is my 25 time contacting Amazon. I am going to follow with up with a call to the seller and Amazon. maybe my lawyer.
I think there is a bit of confusion here. We are not Amazon. We are a third-party solution provider for Amazon sellers. We also run the blog section where we aim to put up valuable information for our readers. You sent us a comment on one of our blog posts. I am sorry for this confusion. Please get back to Amazon via your SellerCentral account on this matter.
After how many days will the A-Z claim go away (days after case has been filed)
from the sellerperformance/ODR calculation?
Thank you for your question. The ODR metric will show you a certain 60-day period, for example if you look today, you might see it says: “Time window: 60 days, followed by Nov 27, 2020 – Jan 25, 2021”. That means that the metric counts against your account all a-to-z claims filed for orders the buyer placed in that time period. So, it is not so much when the claim itself was filed, but when the order was placed by the buyer. I hope this answers your question.
Adriana @SellerEngine Services
facing a problem my buyer purchase 4 jacket and we can ship that 4 leather jacket direct to the buyer and provide that 4 tracking number as well but few days buyer contact us for his last jacket they said they received 3 jackets but the tracking said they received 4 jackets tell us what we can do they file A to Z Claim for his last jacket but tracking said they received 4 jackets on time we appeal amazon for that A to Z claim we send amazon that 4 tracking number tracking details and all prove that we have but still amaozn.ca give 1 jacket payment refund to that customer why where is our problem we give all the details of that item and tracking number tracking prove but still amazon refund that 1 jacket payment we are highly disappointed with that tell us how we can close this A to Z because this Claim kill us or ODR we have your best customer reviews best rating and happy customer with there picture reviews on our listing please some one help me and tell us how we can close this A to Z we also contact customer for that but they didnot answer or any question
Unfortunately this does happen sometimes, and Amazon always expects the seller to be the one to absorb the loss. We’d recommend issuing a refund or a replacement to the buyer, and to make sure that all of your future orders have tracking. Utilizing FBA can cut down on these types of issues. In the future you can always reach out to us for advice with these types of issues. We are happy to help!
I have an issue with a buyer who claims falsely to have received a damaged item, There was no proof given despite my asking for a picture no prompt reply despite my offering to replace the so called broken piece. This is a known scam online with expensive items containing a battery; I am now 3100$ out and the person has both my money and my item; the claim was decided in his favor despite zero proof or involvement from him. Any advice?
thanks so much
We are really sorry to hear about this!
Unfortunately, this kind of issues are quite often with Amazon. Since the customer won’t offer you additional information, Amazon takes their initial claim as valid. As such, Amazon granted the refund, without further inquiries, which leaves the issue without other options moving forward. We know that this is frustrating, but most of the times, with Amazon “the customer is always right” and “the seller should be responsible for any possible issues reported by the customer”.
To avoid bigger losses for your business, you could think about using the FBA services moving forward.
If you need further assistance for your business, our company would be happy to help you!