Amazon is famous for its dedication to customer satisfaction. They back it up with a guarantee - the A to Z Guarantee - that protects customers and makes it super easy for customers to get a refund when there’s any problem with their order.
The guarantee covers issues related to the timely delivery of items and the condition of products when delivered. If there’s a problem, the customer can claim, and Amazon swiftly rules whether the claim is covered.
The A to Z Guarantee exists to aid customer satisfaction, and it works - nearly half of all Amazon shoppers give this easy returns process as one of the main reasons they shop with Amazon.
This post will give you all the information you need to know about the A to Z Guarantee. What kind of criteria there is for a customer to make a claim, and what you need to know as a seller about the A to Z Guarantee.
What is the A to Z Guarantee?
The A to Z Guarantee is the process for customers to request a refund when buying products sold and shipped by third-party sellers. If the customer is not happy with the delivery of their item, or the item itself, they can claim under the A to Z Guarantee.
Amazon guarantees the customer’s money back if the case fits the A to Z Guarantee criteria.
The criteria for which a customer can make a claim include:
- When an item hasn’t arrived within three days of the latest estimated delivery date
- An item hasn’t arrived, but the order tracking says it has been delivered
- The item wasn’t as expected
- The item was damaged, defective, different from what was advertised, or the customer changed their mind
- The customer returned the item as per their agreement with the seller. But the seller did not provide the agreed-upon reimbursement after receiving the item
- The seller is not accepting the return of the item by their advertised return policy
- The customer believes they were charged an amount greater than the amount authorized for the purchase
Customers can also make an A to Z claim when a seller has told them they would receive a refund, but it has not been given, in which case Amazon will take it into their own hands.
When Can Customers Make an A to Z Claim?
A to Z claims have to be made within 90 days of the estimated delivery date. Customers may also be asked to message the seller about the issue first and wait 48 hours for a response. If no response or the issue is not solved, they can then make a claim.
Claims can’t be made if the customer has already filed a chargeback with their bank or payment provider.
It’s also worth noting the A to Z Guarantee doesn’t cover digital items, services, stored value instruments, or Spot Buys.
As long as these rules are met and the case falls under one of the criteria above, customers can make an A to Z claim. Amazon will decide whether the refund will be granted.
What Happens When a Customer Makes an A to Z Claim
If the customer has reached out to the seller and did not have their problem resolved, they can request a refund through the A to Z Guarantee.
To do so, the customer should follow these steps:
- Go to Your Orders.
- Locate the order.
- Select Problem with the order.
- Select the problem from the list.
- Select Request refund.
- Enter comments in the text box.
- Select Submit.
Once a claim is submitted, Amazon will send an email to the seller with all the claim details and request a response. The seller can then provide their side of the story and any accompanying evidence or accept the claim.
The investigation process from Amazon may take up to a week. At this time, the customer will be informed whether their request has been granted.
If the seller does not respond within this time, the claim will be automatically granted (assuming the claim meets the A to Z Guarantee).
What The Seller Has to Do
Once the seller is informed of the refund request, they have five business days to respond and provide additional information. However, replying immediately is better, as it will show you in a better light with Amazon and give more time to process any information you provide.
Within this time, the seller can issue a refund by themselves if the case is legitimate. Otherwise, give Amazon anything that will support your cases, such as receipts, order tracking info, copies of earlier communication with the buyer, or anything else relevant to the case.
If the claim is granted, Amazon will deduct any costs from your Seller Central account.
The seller can appeal the claim within 30 calendar days. If your appeal is successful, the amount from the claim will be credited back to your account.
See more on sellers’ responsibilities and recommended actions on Amazon’s official A to Z seller guidelines.
Why It’s Important for Sellers to Limit A to Z Claims
An A to Z Guarantee refund is an indication that a customer has had a poor shopping experience. That’s not good for you, and it’s not good for Amazon.
Each time you get an A to Z claim, it affects your Order Defect Rate (ODR). This is a metric of how many issues there were with orders from you within the last 60 days.
If your ODR gets too high, you may be served with warnings, suspensions, or account termination. Amazon expects an ODR of under 1%, which means you don’t need many A to Z claims to get in trouble.
Outside of the damage to your account health metrics, it should be obvious that you would want to limit refunds and customer satisfaction issues. Each refund comes at a cost to you and may result in unsellable inventory. In comparison, the human cost is one unhappy customer who likely won’t shop from you again.
How Sellers Can Avoid or Limit A to Z Claims
Limiting A to Z claims is vital for success as an Amazon seller. It’s also much more effective than relying on responding to claims after the fact, as Amazon is most commonly going to rule in favor of the buyer.
Here are some things you can do to keep your A to Z Guarantee claims to a minimum.
Make sure your listing is accurate
The biggest cause of A to Z claims and customer issues are simple misunderstandings. The customer reads the product description and looks at the images, but then the product that shows up is different from what was expected.
Try to avoid these problems by checking product listings and ensuring all information is correct and 100% accurate. Try to include as much detail as possible, so you reduce the chance for a misunderstanding to happen.
Use an inspection company for new shipments
Issues with a product’s condition can be news to you too, as a seller. Your manufacturer may have supplied a poor quality or damaged product or made a mistake with the shipment.
Avoid this by getting an inspection company to regularly check your stock to ensure the quality of products you sell. If a manufacturer is consistently giving you problems, shift to a new one.
Don’t give unrealistic delivery estimates
Quoting shorter delivery times will help increase conversions, but if you can’t live up to those estimates, they will hurt you in the long run.
Only give delivery estimates you know you (or your fulfillment company) can live up to. Like the previous point, if your fulfillment company can’t consistently deliver products in a timely manner, take your business to a new one.
Respond to emails quickly
Quick response to emails is essential for both customer satisfaction and to be in good standing with Amazon. A customer may grow disgruntled if it takes you a long time to respond to questions about their order, resulting in them filing a refund request.
In the case of A to Z claims, the clock is ticking from several points, after which you may have a hard time having a claim reversed. If you don’t respond to a buyer’s initial message within 48 hours or don’t respond to Amazon’s message in time, for example.
Solve issues with customers before a claim is made
The majority of claims can be solved in the initial 48 hours before an official claim is actually filed.
Amazon encourages customers to reach out to the seller with any issues they have before going ahead and filing an official claim. Most of the time, you can solve the problem here, and avoid taking an A to Z claim on your record.
Solving the issue may involve refunding the customer or providing a freebie to say sorry for the late delivery. Whatever it is, do your best to make the customer happy before they’re forced to reach out to Amazon.
Can Customers Use The A to Z Guarantee to Scam Sellers?
The unfortunate truth is, some dishonest buyers use Amazon’s dedication to customer service to scam the system (and legitimate sellers).
If a claim sounds suspicious, you can provide evidence to Amazon and hope they rule in your favor. Your chances of winning are greatly improved the more evidence you have, so make sure you can easily pull together receipts, tracking info, and more that may support your case.
You should not call out a customer directly as a scammer, though. Always be polite and professional with your customers, and if you believe something is wrong, provide your evidence to Amazon and let it do the talking.
However, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that a customer is trying to scam you if you see an A to Z claim. The large majority are legitimate problems. The problem could be a misunderstanding, it could be something that’s not necessarily your fault (such as an issue from your fulfillment company or manufacturer).
Misunderstandings or other issues are still legitimate issues for your customer, so professionally handle these, and don’t automatically assume it’s a scam.
The Amazon A to Z Guarantee is one of the biggest reasons people love to shop on Amazon. Not only can they get a great range of products, delivered fast and easy, but it’s also simple for customers to get any problems solved.
As a seller, it’s of great importance to limit your A to Z claims. Each claim means an unhappy customer, and it’s one step closer to issues like account suspensions or termination. Avoid A to Z claims by selling high-quality merchandise, delivering orders safely and on time, and providing the absolute best customer experience you can.