Updated Approach To Customer Damaged Returns

Back in January I made a post talking about how to get reimbursed for items that buyers bought, used and returned damaged. Over the past couple months Amazon has really been cracking down on reimbursing for items that were damaged by customers. I have been getting a lot of “boilerplate” responses similar to the one quoted below.


“I strongly believe that all the units you send to our fulfillment center are perfectly fine. However, the unit disposition will be based on the return reason of the customer. And only our Customer Service team has the detailed information about the reasons for returns and refunds of the buyer. Information provided in the “FBA Customer Returns” report is what we can utilized of.

As you may know that in accordance with Amazon policy, sellers are requested to accept the return in the disposition which the buyer has returned the item in. Please be informed that Amazon does not take responsibility for the returned items that come in “customer damaged” or “defective” disposition.

A returned unit is considered unsellable when either of the following is true:

• It is not in the same condition as previously listed
• Product is defective, damaged, opened, lacking required labeling, prohibited by our policies, or is otherwise deemed unsuitable by Amazon, including units which may pose a health or safety risk to our associates or the next customer who purchases it (this may include, but is not restricted to consumables, personal care products and products with expiration dates).

In this case I request you to understand that amazon takes responsibility in all the cases/disposition/return reasons except the two given below:
• Customer damaged
• Defective

Disposition covered by amazon, (some of them are)
○ Damaged
○ Missing parts
○ Missed estimated delivery date
○ Carrier damaged
○ Carrier missorted

I understand your next question would be why we accept customer damaged and defective returns. We believe that making exceptions in instances like these are a small sacrifice keeping in mind the future. One of the most attractive selling points of our business is our returns policy and as returns are a general part of business, we believe that making exceptions in these instances is a crucial element in promoting growth for you and us in partnership.”

While I understand the reasoning behind Amazon’s liberal return policy as part of their quest to be the “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company” it is very frustrating to be responsible for refunding people who are obviously taking advantage of Amazon’s policies to “rent” things like running shoes.

When getting pushback from seller support quoting the terms that we agreed to as a Seller I’ve had some limited success quoting the terms that the BUYER agreed to and is supposed to be held to and arguing that if Amazon makes an “exception” that Amazon should be financially responsible for allowing a customer to return a damaged item.

Below is a copy of the message that I’ve been using to follow-up when my reimbursement requests are denied. I’m still not having the super high success rate of around 90% that I was getting before they got stricter but it is working about a third of the time for me so it’s still worth giving it a try.


Thank you for your response to my recent inquiry. Given the fact that the item was returned in damaged/no longer new condition the customer should have been charged a MINIMUM of a 50% restocking fee in accordance with Amazon’s return policies from which I quote below.

“Partial Refunds or Restocking Fees
If You Return:
Items that are damaged, missing parts, not in the original condition, or have obvious signs of use for reasons not due to an Amazon.com error.

You’ll Receive:
Up to 50% of the item’s price”
Source: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201819300

Given the fact that the item in question was returned in a condition that, per Amazon’s terms should have incurred at least a 50% restocking fee I request that you initiate reimbursement to my account for 50% of the sales price of the item in question.

Kind Regards,

Matt Colvin

Give this a try and let me know if it works for you!

Oh, and Go Ship Some Stuff!

About the author

Matt Colvin


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  • […] Amazon seems to be cracking down on reimbursing people for “customer damaged” items – over the past couple months my success rate has gone from around 95% to about 10%. I’ve been having better success recently by following up on denials with a second letter which is detailed in this post. […]

  • I happened to have one reimbursement case that is the same situation as what you have mentioned above. I tried it with your message, Amazon did reimburse me after I sent this message. Although not as much as what it supposed to be, but it’s better than none at all. Thank you Matt for the post!

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