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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

Prepaid returns for seller fulfilled orders

Amazon Prepaid Return Label (APRL) feature is enabled for all selling partners with a default return address in the UK. This means that all customer initiated returns requested via the Online Return Centre (ORC) that fall within the scope of the Amazon Return policy will be automatically authorized and will have a tracked prepaid return label issued via Buy Shipping services, provided that there is coverage by any of the third-party shipping service providers that support returns through Buy Shipping services. Currently, Hermes and Royal Mail are the integrated third-party carriers that support APRL returns within UK. Using Buy Shipping services through APRL, you agree to the service providers’ terms and conditions, in addition to Amazon’s Buy Shipping Services terms and conditions.

The carrier rates for customer returns are pre-negotiated for this service by Amazon and are available on Shipping costs for seller fulfilled returns. We only send return requests that are outside of Amazon’s policy or exempt from this requirement for manual review.

Note: You are required to issue a refund within two business days of receipt of a return. If you do not take action regarding the refund, Amazon might refund the customer on your behalf and charge the amount to your seller account.

Review the relevant sections to familiarize yourself with the specific details of prepaid returns.

Table 1. Prepaid return details
Item Policy or requirements
Maintain account requirements Keep your Amazon Seller account details up to date, including your VAT information:
  1. Keep your UK default return address updated for your account. You can either configure a rule or specify SKUs for which you want different return addresses. When ARPL is enabled in your selling account, we will use this default address for all prepaid returns purchased with Buy Shipping Services. To update the return address, go to Settings > Account info, and refer to Seller Account Information page. Go to Shipping and Returns Information, click Return Address, click the button under Default Return Address.
  2. Maintain and update accurate weight and size information for products you sell. We calculate return shipping costs based on this information. Amazon will charge your seller account for the cost of the return shipping once the buyer-shipped product is received by the carrier and is identified by the first scan. Costs for return shipments are detailed on Shipping costs for seller-fulfilled returns.
  3. To add a message for the buyer for customer faulted returns, go to Settings > Return settings > select General settings > enter a message in Your return instructions. Explain the reason for deducting return shipping fees from the refund and click Save settings.
The return process You receive an email notification each time a customer requests a return and receives a prepaid return shipping label through Amazon’s Online Return Centre. For more details on all returns, refer to Manage returns.
Multiple return addresses You can configure multiple return addresses for each store where you offer listings. You can either configure a rule or specify SKUs for which you want different return addresses. For details, visit Multiple return addresses.
Returnless refunds You can offer returnless refunds, where it makes better economic sense to offer a refund without receiving the item (for example, low ASP items). If a buyer requests a return that is eligible for a returnless refund, they will receive a full refund as soon as they submit their return request. There is no action required from you to complete the request. You can find all these return requests in Manage Returns. You no longer have to process refunds for these returns manually. To find out more, refer to Returnless refunds.
Return shipping A prepaid return label will only be issued if there is coverage by the third-party Buy Shipping Services integrated carrier. Currently, Royal Mail or Hermes provides return shipping for seller fulfilled orders through Buy Shipping Services. For details, refer to Prepaid return shipping carriers and Shipping costs for seller-fulfilled returns.
Important: We will charge your account for the return label cost only when the buyer returns the package to the carrier and when it is scanned.
Refunds and cost of shipping For handling refunds and cost of shipping, refer to Refunding shipping cost.
Reports for prepaid returns All prepaid returns are recorded in your Settlement and Payments report and the Returns report.
  • Settlement and Payments report: Each return shipping charge will be displayed in your Settlement and Payments reports, as shipping services purchased through Amazon. These charges will be separate from the order charges.
  • Return report: You will receive an email notification each time a customer requests a return and receives a prepaid shipping label. Additionally, you can download a report of all return requests you have received, including the status of each return, using Return Reports in Seller Central. Email and the report will include the Order ID, Tracking ID, Reason code, Shipping cost, Date requested, RMA and comments.
Ineligible items Prepaid return shipping labels are not always provided for auto-authorised returns. For details, visit Ineligible items for prepaid returns.
Customer returns exemptions Several categories and subcategories are automatically exempt from prepaid returns. You are not required to request exemptions for these categories.

The following programs and categories are automatically exempt from prepaid returns:

  • Handmade
  • Amazon custom
  • Sexual wellness
  • Certified Preowned Watches
  • Professional medical supplies and Professional dental supplies
  • Non-physical items (for example, warranties, digital software or digital vouchers)
  • Items that are non-returnable by law and dangerous goods (hazardous goods) in any given product category
  • Heavy and bulky items in any given product category
    Note: Product exemption is based on the information you provide to Amazon when listing your product. Please ensure that your product information is accurate and complete at all times, in particular information on dangerous goods (see for example Hazardous and Dangerous Items).
  • Grocery and Wine
  • Video, Video Games, Software and DVD
  • Flowers and Bouquets, and Fresh cut flowers
  • Hygenic items from the product categories Baby, Beauty, Health and Personal care, Personal care appliances
    Note: A response is required within 24 hours for all pending return requests. Refer to Process Return Requests on how to manually review and process such requests
    .

You can request exemptions from prepaid return labels only for SKUs that fall under the following categories:

  • HIGH_PRICE: High-valued items where the price exceeds GBP100 that need special shipping (for example, items that require special shipping insurance)

The exempted SKU will be validated against the ASIN price and item condition across Amazon and the exemption reason code HIGH_PRICE (where item price is greater than GBP100) to ensure it is rightly used. In addition, only active SKUs will be eligible for exemptions from prepaid return labels.

Effective September 02, 2021, exemptions due to the below reason codes will not be supported:

  • REQUIRES_SPECIAL_SHIPPING: If the item can’t be shipped with a standard shipping label (e.g. dangerous goods) offered by 3P carriers integrated in the Amazon Prepaid Returns Label feature.
  • TOO_LARGE_HEAVY: Heavy and bulky items where the shipping weight of the item exceeds carrier agreed weight and dimension guidelines, as these items will be automatically exempt.
  • RETURNLESS REFUND: You can still continue to use this feature through the Returnless Refunds option available under Settings >Return Settings > Returnless Refund

Additional exemptions include, items returned where there is no carrier coverage, such as out of country.

For details, refer to Request exemption from prepaid returns for Seller-fulfilled orders.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if the return is lost or damaged in transit?

The seller will be responsible for filing a claim directly with the carrier if a return is lost or damaged in transit. If this happens, process a full refund to the customer and file a claim directly with the carrier to receive a reimbursement.

Where does the shipping weight used to calculate the price of return shipping come from?

The shipping weight used to calculate the price of return shipping is the listed weight displayed on the Product Detail page. However, if you have purchased a label through Amazon’s Buy Shipping services for fulfilling your orders, we will use that weight instead.

Why can I not change or upload my own prepaid return label?

Through the enrolment of your account into Amazon Prepaid Return label, all customer initiated returns requested via Online Return Centre (ORC) that fall within the scope of the Amazon return policy are automatically authorized, and a prepaid return label is issued to the buyer on your behalf through Buy Shipping services. You can include your own tracked prepaid return label in the outbound shipment, which the customer can choose to use. The customer can also choose to purchase an unpaid label any time.

Who pays the label and who is ultimately responsible to cover the return shipping cost?

With APRL, the return label will be issued through Buy Shipping services on your behalf, and the applicable rate will be deducted from your selling account when the shipping service provider scans the return parcel. The cost of return shipping is sometimes the seller’s responsibility and at times the buyer’s responsibility. You must determine whether you or the buyer bears the cost of the return shipping based on the reason for the return. To view the full list of return reasons, refer to Return Reason codes for Prepaid Returns.

Some examples when the return cost is the buyer’s responsibility are:

  • when an item is returned due to better price available elsewhere,
  • if the buyer accidentally ordered the item,
  • if they no longer needed or wanted the item.

If the return reason is the buyer’s responsibility, how can I deduct the cost of the return shipping label from the amount refunded to the buyer?

If the return reason is determined as the buyer’s responsibility, then the cost of the return label can be deducted from the value refunded to the buyer when you process the refund. To earn customer trust, we recommend that you inform the buyer of this deduction and clearly state the reason for taking that action. If the return reason is determined as the seller’s responsibility, then the cost of the return shipping is also your responsibility. This process remains unchanged.

What items are exempted from APRL?

All items that fall outside the scope of the Amazon Return policy are exempted from APRL and will be sent to you for manual review and return authorisation. Such products include Handmade, Amazon custom, Sexual wellness, Certified preowned watches, Business, industrial and scientific supplies (Professional medical and dental supplies), Dangerous /Hazmat goods (containing hazardous material), non-physical items (for example, warranties, digital software, or digital coupons), items that are non-returnable by law, Heavy/bulky items that exceed carrier agreed weight and dimension guidelines. Additional exemptions include items returned where there is no carrier coverage, such as out of country.

You can also request specific exemptions from APRL for high valued items (price exceeds GBP100) that require special shipping and insurance, non-physical items (warranties, digital software or digital coupons) and items that are classified as non-returnable by law. You can also review exclusions listed under Our Voluntary Returns Policy. A buyer’s statutory right remains unaffected by this policy change.

What should I do if the customer cannot print the return label?

You can consider the following options:

  • The buyer can return the product on their own. Visit Return reason codes for prepaid returns for seller-fulfilled orders to understand the return reason. If you are accountable for the return, you must add the cost of return shipping to the refund.
  • The customer can go to an internet café, public library, or local print shop to print the return label.

What if I want to un-enrol from the Prepaid Return Label program?

All prepaid return label sellers who would like to un-enrol from the programme need to contact Selling Partner Support. Once unenrolled, the change will reflect in the seller account in 14 days.

Should I pay for international returns?

If you do not have a UK return address, you either:

  • provide buyers with a merchant pre-paid return label, where you are responsible for the return shipping cost. This cannot be deducted from the buyer’s refund or
  • offer a refund without requesting a return for the package. To reduce manual effort, you can automate Returnless Refunds or
  • provide buyers with a DE return address. If you want to provide a DE return address but are located outside the DE, an international returns provider on the Solution Provider Network can help.

What are the return rates charged with APRL?

Currently, Hermes and Royal Mail are the only integrated third-party carriers that support returns within the UK. They offer competitive rates for a tracked shipping option, which protects you and the buyer against items lost in transit. Refer to Shipping costs for seller fulfilled returns for more details.

For additional questions, contact Selling Partner Support.

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