Navigating through the intricacies of Amazon’s chargeback system can indeed be daunting. Despite being the eCommerce behemoth, accounting for a quarter of the US’s online market, Amazon’s chargeback procedures can be complex and vary based on whether you employ Amazon Seller or Amazon Pay.
Understanding Amazon Seller and Amazon Pay
Before delving into the nitty-gritty, it’s imperative to differentiate between Amazon Seller and Amazon Pay. Amazon Seller allows merchants to open a digital storefront within Amazon’s ecosystem. The entire purchase process unfolds within Amazon’s sphere, and upon product shipment, the merchant receives a cheque encompassing their earnings.
On the other hand, merchants hosting their individual eCommerce websites can integrate Amazon Pay, functioning much like PayPal, and allowing customers to transact using their Amazon account, bypassing the need to input card details on the merchant’s site.
Decoding Amazon Chargebacks
Amazon chargebacks, akin to other chargebacks, occur when a customer lodges a claim with their credit card issuer for a specific transaction, attributable to multiple causes such as fraud, friendly fraud, or merchant errors. However, the chargeback procedures differ for Amazon Seller and Amazon Pay, as delineated below.
1. Amazon Seller Chargebacks: If a chargeback occurs via Amazon Seller, Amazon, being the merchant of record, is the primary contact for the chargeback. They subsequently reach out to you to decide the course of action—accepting the chargeback and refunding or contesting the chargeback through Amazon.
2. Amazon Pay Chargebacks: Here, Amazon plays a mediator role, and the chargeback is classified into either “Unauthorized Transaction” (fraudulent payments) or “Service-Based” (product-related issues).
Amazon Chargeback Types
|Amazon Seller||Amazon Pay|
|Amazon is the primary contact.||Amazon serves as the intermediary.|
|Direct merchant contact for actions.||Chargeback is categorized.|
Responding to Chargebacks
A key factor in managing chargebacks, irrespective of Amazon Seller or Amazon Pay, is immediate response. With Amazon Seller, you get chargeback notifications via email or the seller portal, with a seven-day window to reply. Failure to respond leads Amazon to accept the chargeback and process a refund. The same applies to Amazon Pay, albeit with an extended response window of 11 days.
Resisting Amazon Chargebacks
Chargebacks initiated unfairly can be contested. In this process, you present your argument to an Amazon representative, who then liaises with the credit card company. Once all proof is furnished, the credit card company investigates and attributes responsibility, a process that may span up to 90 days.
Contesting chargebacks can be resource-intensive, so focus your efforts on disputing unjust chargebacks. Nevertheless, do not forego the process entirely, as a high chargeback rate could inflate your payment processing rates or worse, result in merchant account termination.
Upon receiving a chargeback alert, you might opt for an immediate refund, forfeiting the sale and taking chargeback responsibility. Post notifying Amazon, they refund the buyer and debit the amount from your account or linked bank account.
Chargeback Responsibility Determination
When a chargeback notice arrives, Amazon contacts you for further details. Once collated, the information is sent to the credit card company, which decides who is at fault for the chargeback, not Amazon.
Leveraging Amazon Seller Protection with Amazon Pay
Amazon Seller Protection can shield your business from costs incurred due to Amazon Pay chargebacks. Under certain conditions, it safeguards merchants from chargeback fees arising from events beyond their control.
Qualifying for Amazon Seller Fraud Protection
If you wish to qualify for Amazon Seller Fraud Protection following a chargeback, you must provide:
- The order ID number
- Proof of delivery
- The product description
- Your business’s terms and conditions
Amazon’s Chargeback Coverage
Amazon Seller Protection safeguards you against fees from chargebacks stemming primarily from fraudulent transactions. If you utilize Amazon Pay and qualify for Amazon Seller Protection, you’re covered solely for fraudulent payments linked to physical products.
However, it’s crucial to note that Amazon Seller Protection does not extend to cover chargebacks initiated for reasons unrelated to fraud. In such instances, it falls upon the merchant to provide suitable evidence to validate the transaction.
Fighting Unprotected Chargebacks
Here’s how to contest a chargeback not covered by Amazon:
- Respond to Amazon by the specified deadline.
- Collect documentation proving the legitimacy of the sale.
- Write a rebuttal letter explaining your standpoint.
- Adhere to the deadline for document submission.
Upon receiving the information, Amazon forwards it to the credit card network, and you await their decision. If you lack the necessary information to validate the sale, refunding the customer might be a preferable choice to disputing the chargeback.
Steps to Contest a Chargeback
|1||Respond to Amazon|
|2||Gather necessary documentation|
|3||Compose a rebuttal letter|
|4||Submit documents within the deadline|
Cost Implications of Amazon Chargebacks
Chargebacks can be a financial burden for Amazon sellers. Losing a dispute not only deprives you of a sale but also incurs chargeback fees that Amazon expects you to bear, including:
– $20 fee to dispute a chargeback
– 25% fee on violating items
– $10 fee for cancellations or incorrect shipping methods
– $10 fee for fulfilling an order with a different delivery method
– 10% of the cost fee for every undelivered order
Amazon Chargeback Fees
|Violating item fee||25% of cost|
|Cancellation/Incorrect shipping method fee||$10|
|Alternate delivery method fee||$10|
|Undelivered order fee||10% of cost|
Though Amazon may cover referral fees from the initial purchase, the penalty fees can accumulate swiftly. Therefore, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with Amazon’s guidelines to ensure compliance.
Preparing for Future Chargebacks
Averting the frustration of losing a sale and being liable for more than the sale’s worth involves being proactive:
- Retain shipping and tracking details.
- Maintain all customer communication records.
- Photograph goods or custom goods before shipping.
- Retain fraud prevention reports from when the order was placed.
- Set aside funds to cover chargeback expenses.
- Seek chargeback protection from a merchant services provider.
Preventing Amazon Chargebacks
Prevention is the best line of defence against chargebacks. Amazon recommends:
- Not changing the shipping address. If customers request an address change, advise them to cancel the order and reorder with the correct address.
- Instituting a fair refund policy.
- Ensuring prompt and professional communication with customers.
- Swiftly rectifying any merchant errors.
Acquainting yourself with Amazon’s guidelines and meticulous record-keeping can enhance your odds of winning a chargeback dispute. While the process can be cumbersome and expensive, adopting the right practices can counteract these setbacks.
Receiving an Amazon chargeback can be stressful, but understanding how they work can ease this burden. The process varies based on whether you use Amazon Seller or Amazon Pay. In most cases, you can either accept the chargeback and issue a refund, or dispute it. You must respond promptly to a chargeback notification to avoid it being accepted automatically. Amazon also offers Seller Fraud Protection to guard against chargeback fees. But remember, prevention is the best way to avoid chargebacks. Establish a fair refund policy, communicate professionally, and keep detailed records. Investing in chargeback protection management can also help streamline the process.