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1st Time Seller : Possible Buyer Fraud. Advice?

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First time trying to sell a product on Amazon, hoping for advice.

We sold a Nest thermostat that we purchased months ago but never opened. The situation in which we were going to use the product fell through, so the item sat on our shelf for months until we decided to sell it. The item was unopened, still sealed in it's factory plastic.

We put it on Amazon to sell and almost immediately we got a buyer. We shipped it out the next day and the buyer received the item a few days later. This was a number of weeks ago.

Today I get a message from the buyer that the "product was not sealed and was missing parts and information". Myself and my partner, who shipped the device, know this to be absolutely to be not true.

I'm engaging in emails with the buyer to try and work this out, but I'm curious what our recourse is if this person tries to escalate this. Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you,


Buyers can report an issue for return of a product within 30 days of receipt of the product to the seller. This is the minimum time allowed by Amazon to accept returns for any reason. Buyers have 90 days to file a claim and/or leave negative feedback.

I hope you made note of the serial number of the device which is located on the package. Sometimes you get a buyer trying to swap out a defective unit for yours and return it. Making sure your buyer knows that the serial numbers need to match with your records before a refund is issued usually will stop a potential fraudulent return.

When we still products with serial numbers/manufacturer codes, we write this on the packing slip and when a reported issue is made we make it clear that the returned items serial number must match our records for a full refund to be made. Since we have started this process a few years ago we have not had a swapped item returned.

At this point, you will need to offer a refund upon its return and pay for its return shipping costs or determine a solution that meets with the buyers satisfaction.

Should the buyer file a claim with Amazon it will be their word vs. yours and Amazon has a tendency to side with their customer in these situations. The buyer is saying it was not new (opened) and missing parts. You will not be able to prove otherwise to Amazon's satisfaction. If a claim is filed and Amazon sides with the buyer, they will not have to return the item as Amazon will refund the buyer from your funds.

Personally, I would send a pre-paid return label and ask them to send it back for a full refund. Usually with a claim is filed after this has been done, Amazon may tell the buyer to use the provided label to return the item for a refund and not just find for the buyer and close the claim.

Thanks... that's all super helpful.

Did you sell it as new? If so, you might have just given away the product for free. Most items like that come with a manufacturer's warranty and usually those warranties are not transferable (or, if they are, they warranty started when you bought it so it wouldn't have as much time remaining on it as it would if it were actually new). There are more than a few buyers who are smart enough (and lack enough morals) to go after new sellers who do this. They know that if they open an A to Z claim against the seller, that they will almost automatically win.


Thanks for the info. Much appreciated.

Just to add to the good information you have already received.

I don't go back and forth with emails. I decide on my course of action (within Amazon guidelines) - send a message to the buyer and call it done. When I send directions on how to return the item, I include instructions on how to ship the item - in a well-padded box using USPS Parcel shipping - for example. I also include a sentence like the following -

When I receive the item, check it for condition, and verify it is the item I sent, I will issue a full refund for your purchase.

This tells the buyer you are sure of your product and if they are just fishing for a quick refund, you may never hear from them again. I Do Not issue a refund without receiving the return first. My only exceptions are cases where I can tell I made the mistake and it's not worth having the item back.

Finally, once you have issued the return authorization and sent instructions - Move On. It's one of the best pieces of advice I ever received on these boards. You have more important things to do than worry about a return that may or may not happen.