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Return request after 30 days

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I started selling books on Amazon in early May, 2015. I am a very small seller. On May 26, an $80.00 text book, in near perfect condition, was ordered, and shipped. Today, August 15, I received a return request for this book. The message simply stated "No longer wanted/needed".
I sent an email to the customer, inquiring about the delay in requesting a return.
Since this was a text book, my cynical self feels this was needed for school, and now the buyer is done with it.
I need some guidance and advice, on how to deal with this.
Thanks for any help. View the reply Buena Park Library Volunteer Guild selected as correct

Most Likely you are correct. It happens to us at the end of semesters. Amazon allows for a 30 day window after the item is received, to request a return. This sale exceeds the time limit.

Amazon is the online walmart,you have to accept returns and eat the 80 (otherwise the buyer will find some dumb-ss way of lying and getting amazon to make you accept the return)and yes amazon still makes money off you,I think everybody should just let amazon sell on there own.in less than 6 months they would be out of business

Edited by: AmazonSells on Aug 15, 2015 3:33 PM

Edited by: AmazonSells on Aug 15, 2015 3:36 PM

Thank you for your reply. I've shipped many textbooks, but this is a first. Really irritating for someone to do this.

Thank you for your reply. Another question please. This book was in as near perfect condition as it would be if purchased from the printers. What do I do if it comes back damaged? Can I give a partial refund, or will Amazon tweak me for that?

The main question is whether your account can handle negative feedback or an A to Z claim. If so, simply deny the return request, citing Amazon's 30 day return policy, and hope for the best. If your account can't handle either, then it gets a bit more complicated.

You have to try to get a feel for the buyer. There are many, many honest buyers out there and yours is likely among them. They simply finished using the book for the summer semester or whatever and are now hoping you'll take it back and refund them. If you get a reasonable buyer, you can usually safely deny the return request. You can even suggest that they either resell the book themselves on Amazon or take it to the campus bookstore and sell it there (this really only works as long as the book exactly matched the catalog page and wasn't a counterfeit, teacher's/instructor's edition or an international edition). In my experience, most buyers simply accept this and you never hear from them again.

Be aware, however, that if the buyer is unhappy they can leave you negative feedback or file an A to Z claim. Win or lose, the A to Z claim will be a hit to your metrics. You're possibly a little better of with negative feedback as there is a chance you can have it removed depending on what the buyer writes.

To answer your other question, Amazon allows for a restocking fee in certain cases... Up to 20% of the item's price in most circumstances and up to 50% of the item's price if it's returned in different condition. However, the restocking fee comes with the same risks as denying the return... Negative feedback or an A to Z claim.

You have to figure out what's best for your business.


This frequently happens to me regarding textbook sales.

Students will try to return a book once they have completed the course.

I inform them they had 30 days from when they received the textbook to be eligible for a return.

They usually stop asking after receiving my refund policy.

David, Thank you for your very informative response. Customers are certainly king here. So even though Amazon's policy is a 20% restocking fee, and up to 50% if the book is damaged, Amazon will STILL zing your account if the customer doesn't like it, even though you are following Amazon's policy? Would it be acceptable to send the buyer an email, explaining the restocking fee, and the possibility of a lesser refund if the book is damaged?
Thank you so much for your help, I am really new at this, and don't want to mess up.

Thanks for the tip. I will do that on my future textbook sales.

The biggest problem comes in when the buyer decides to change their reason for return... Usually from No longer needed to Not as described. It's sort of a toss up as to what Amazon will do if the buyer opens a claim like that. In many cases it's winnable (or at the very least Amazon will not take the money from you but rather will pay the buyer to go away from our mutual seller fees), but your account still takes the hit to the metrics. Since it's within 90 days of delivery, it's actually fairly easy for the buyer to open a claim.

And yes, you can do everything right/by the books and the buyer is still free to open up a claim or leave you negative feedback.

Amazon encourages you to communicate the possibility of a restocking fee when you contact the buyer to authorize the return (you should also let the buyer know how to package the book for the return, possibly suggest what mail class they should use, by what date the return needs to be mailed/received, etc.). A good line to use is that you will refund "in accordance with Amazon policy" as that gives you some wiggle room without coming right out and saying you're going to withhold a restocking fee. Also keep in mind that if you do less than a full refund, Amazon will keep most of their fees so you'll net less than you keep.

Personally, if it was me, I would deny the return citing Amazon's return policy of 30 days. I'd be nice, respectful and even a bit empathetic, but I would be firm. Too many buyers have been "trained" by Amazon sellers that doing stuff like this is okay (because of the sheer number of sellers who will accept the return and the more than a couple of sellers who will simply refund and allow the buyer to keep the book). However, I'm fairly certain that my account could withstand the hit of a claim or negative feedback.

Best of luck to you,

Is your business based in Buena Park, Ca?

I thank you so very much for your advice. If my business was bigger, and I had been around for a long time, I would refuse the return. But as it is now, I just don't feel confident about taking a chance on my business getting a hit. My rating right now is 100, and I have several 5 star ratings, and I want to keep it that way. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but I'm going to just have to suck it up, and return the book. I will send the buyer an email, as you suggested, and elude to the Amazon return policies.
Your good advice has helped me make my decision, and I thank you so much for that.


Yes, it is. (About 1/4 mile from Knott's Berry Farm)

I think you are making a mistake by accepting the return of the textbook that the buyer has used for 3 months.

According to the return/refund guidelines from Amazon, you have every right to deny the return.

Of course, it's your call.

Wanted to let you know. I decided to make one last stab, and sent a very diplomatic and polite message to the buyer. I reminded him the 30 day return window was long past, and since it was a textbook, which was shipped in almost perfect condition, I was concerned about re-selling it.
He replied back, and apologized, saying he hit return because he thought he had rented it, then realized he had bought it.
Hmmm....anyway, I am relieved this ended well, and again, thank you so very much for your time, and excellent advice. It is much appreciated.