Buyer complaints on Amazon? Try this approach…

By Sharon Fussell, September 8, 2016

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I recently read an article on the Amazon seller forum regarding a complaint by a buyer.

The buyer was apparently extremely cross their purchase was supposed to be postage free… but when they received the product with the invoice they realised they had paid for postage and thus felt ‘cheated’.

The buyer was convinced the product was advertised as ‘free postage’. Now this could be the case: Amazon often advertise products with free postage if it is over a certain amount or for Prime customers.

The seller in question is a merchant seller and did not offer free postage. The postage price was clearly stated and this would’ve been obvious on the screen before the buyer made the purchase.

In this instance the buyer was clearly deluded in believing they had purchased an item with free postage. The seller was not at fault after all – they had not claimed one thing and done another.

I have to say I can see why the Amazon free postage claim is off-putting. It doesn’t always make clear it only applies if you purchase from Amazon and not third party merchant sellers.

The seller was extremely concerned this buyer would leave negative feedback and felt they should reimburse the postage to appease the customer.

Now I am all in favour of good customer service. I will very often refund the whole purchase price of an item and tell the buyer to keep the item if I have made an error.

However, if the buyer is at fault I am very unlikely to do this.

Of course, in consumer law the buyer can return most orders within 14 days to receive a refund. But the issue here is one where the buyer thinks the purchase they made is different to the nature of the transaction, and who is at fault for this.

I often receive irate emails from buyers when they receive an item that is not in the condition they believe they paid for. For example, they will claim they purchase a book in new condition and received a used copy.

After checking their order and realising they did in fact order a used copy, I refer the buyer back to their order and confirm that they did, in fact, order a used copy and not a new copy – and this is clearly stated on their order.

If they prefer to have a new copy, they are asked to return the used copy – which they pay to return – and I give a product refund.

The error is theirs and that is clear. I have received adverse feedback where a buyer states they were sent a used copy of a book they bought as a new copy. I have been able to demonstrate this was not the case and Amazon removed the feedback.

Bearing in mind the case study above, here’s my recommended approach:

1) I would ask the customer to view their order in their account that confirms they ordered a product that included a postage cost.

2) I would advise the customer if they were unhappy to return the product, I would give a product refund.

3) If they left adverse feedback I would ask Amazon directly to remove it.

Good luck!

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