A piece in the American press has confirmed what we’ve really known for some time: if a buyer makes too many returns on Amazon, they will in what seems to be relatively rare occasions, suspend a buyer. The piece in the Wall Street Journal (for which you’ll need a subscription to to read) reports not just on the practice but various complaints from buyers who have been inconvenienced by the practice.
For instance, in one incident a customer had their shopping account suspended but still had a considerable chunk of voucher credit associated with it that was essentially rendered invalid.
But crucially Amazon has made a comment on what it does and why. As was reported in the WSJ piece:
We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time. We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers.
– Amazon spokesperson
There is still plenty that we still don’t know. The exact criteria and situations that Amazon will ban under are unknown, for instance. How many many returns over what time does it deem as unacceptable? Or are the criteria more nuanced than that? One speculation is that Amazon is particularly suspicious of returns made where the reason given is different from the majority of other similar returns. And it would also be interesting to know the number of suspensions they make overall. We’d suspect it’s a relatively small number but there’s no information there.
From a merchant perspective though, it’s quite easy to be supportive of this policy and approach because you’ll be no stranger to problem buyers. And Amazon has visibility of the whole constituency of shoppers so is well placed to make accurate judgments. Are you in favour of Amazon’s actions?