We’re entering the home stretch of the Christmas sales season and, unless you specialize in surf supplies or Halloween decorations, you’re probably doing the best business you’ve done all year. Keeping that momentum is imperative and, while that should be easy to achieve, it makes it less of a sure thing with the unpredictability of customer complaints.
While it’s true that the majority of your customers will walk away from the transaction satisfied with their purchase and buying experience, there are always customers who are hard to satisfy or distrusting of a product’s legitimacy. And, on even smaller occasions, potentially you’ll run into customers who are simply trying to game the system. There are some in every crowd.
The key is understanding that Amazon is a customer service driven company and to plan your business strategies around that concept. Especially during high volume sales seasons like the holidays.
The following is a fairly common scenario:
Customer: Hello. I purchased a shirt from you but when I received it, I noticed that it was dirty. Is it possible to get a refund on this order?
Seller: Absolutely. Your satisfaction is important to me. Please send the shirt back and I will offer a full refund.
Customer: Not only is this shirt dirty, it appears to be counterfeit. I am definitely requesting a full refund.
Seller: I can certainly prove the legitimacy of the product if you’d like. However, if you are unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, please do send it back and I will offer a full refund.
Performance Notification in seller’s account: Your listing has been suspended due to customer complaints. Amazon does not tolerate counterfeit items, your account is now under review.
Now you’ll have to undergo the appeal or account review process. And you’re risking suspension. Encountering a suspension or account review at this time of year is extremely detrimental to Amazon sellers. Before they know it, they’ve missed out on all of those holiday sales. This is obviously a worse case scenario, but it’s one we’ve seen time and time again.
Because Amazon is a customer driven and focused company, it’s no surprise that they offer little to no tolerance for counterfeit claims made by their customers. They shut down listings and accounts first and ask questions later, if at all. Often times, this review or appeal process can take several weeks or months. A huge loss of precious time and sales for the seller. You can’t avoid these situations completely but you can plan for them and react accordingly should this type of situation arise.
Most Amazon sellers would likely admit that offering those customers a refund immediately and in full, even when they feel the complaint isn’t warranted, is far better than risking a listing or account suspension. Ultimately, it’s about the long game, not one individual transaction. So, as a seller, your best bet is to defer to the age old idiom ‘the customer is always right’. Even when they aren’t. Will the principle really matter if you’re ability to sell on Amazon is paused, or worse, stopped altogether?
Can I prevent these claims?
The only way to truly prevent these counterfeit claims is to only sell Private Label items. But that model may not work for all sellers. If that’s the case for you, just make sure you keep these scenarios in mind so that you can resolve them promptly and effectively when they arise. Remember, the goal isn’t to teach your customer a lesson, it’s to move on to the next sale and customer that will be satisfied as quickly as you can. Even if that means taking a bit of a loss. When a customer returns an item, you always have the option to cancel the order. Just keep in mind that Amazon limits cancellations to a metric of 2.5%.
So don’t forget, the customer is always right, even when they aren’t. And it’s almost never worth the risk to fight back against these claims. Simply refund the money to your customer and offer courteous and professional communication around the exchange. Resolve it immediately and then move on. If you are selling items that get frequent complaints, stop listing them. Even if they sell a good amount, it’s not worth the risk of these complaints adding up to a suspension of some kind.
But if you do get suspended, let us know, we’re always standing by to help get Amazon sellers back on course.
Kate is an avid reader/writer, world traveler, dog lover, lead singer in a band, and Amazon extraordinaire. She loves long walks in pretty much any setting and helping Amazon sellers grow and succeed.
Seth is a news junkie and jack of all trades. He brings a great energy to the SellerEngine Services team and is always on the lookout to learn something new.