This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

Best Practices for Customer Returns

Returns are an essential and normal part of the buying experience, and when handled well, they can delight customers and encourage them to become repeat customers. However, when returns are not handled to the customers’ expectations, they can have a significant impact on the customers’ trust in you as a seller on Amazon .

Below are some best practices for managing return requests. Following these steps can help improve the customer experience, improve your feedback, and reduce your A-to-z claims.

Authorise all eligible returns as quickly as you can

While some customers are willing to take a partial refund to keep the product, or to work with you on troubleshooting, many simply want to do a return. If you suggest options for the customer without first authorising the return, they may see this as unexpected friction.

Provide prepaid labels

If you’re able to provide customers with pre-paid labels, we highly encourage it. This creates a better customer experience and helps you better track the return.

Establish your return policy

Make sure your return policy is at least as good as Amazon’s in every category.

Use the correct close codes

  • Only use Duplicate Request when you’ve already approved or closed another request for the same item.
  • Only indicate that you’ve refunded the customer if you have.
  • If you resolved the customer’s issue without authorising the return or without processing a refund, choose the appropriate close code such as Replacement without return or Solved technical issue.
Note: Using the wrong close code could affect your Return Dissatisfaction Rate and send the wrong information to the customer.

Use the correct return timeframe

Make sure you count the return window from the date of the item’s arrival, not the date of the order or shipment. If you don’t use tracking, the return window starts on the expected delivery date.

Respond to return requests promptly

You must respond to a return request within 48 hours from the time the customer requests a return. We highly recommend that you not only respond to the customer inquiry, but also approve or close the request in the Manage Returns page of Seller Central.

Set up automatic authorisation of returns

One way to get ahead of the Return Dissatisfaction Rate metric is to auto authorise returns. To do so, go to Manage Returns in Seller Central , click the Edit Return Settings link. On the Returns Settings page, you will be able to choose options for how you want to automate your return authorisations. Automated returns are the fastest way to provide the customer immediate resolution. You can always follow up with the customer if they have specific questions about the return.

Notify customers of refunds

When refunding the customer, make sure to notify them through the Buyer-Seller Messaging service. If the customers don’t know that their orders have been refunded, they may feel like their requests are being ignored, even though you’ve already resolved their issue.

Make the return easy for the customer

When orders arrive damaged or defective, the customer wants to be sure they can get a refund or a replacement. Do everything you can to make it as painless for them as possible. It is not their job to file claims with the carrier or deal with the hassles of shipping. Provide a pre-paid label, send a replacement, or issue a refund as soon as the original is sent back.

Don’t make customers jump through hoops

For some customers, taking and uploading pictures is not easy. This does not disqualify them from receiving the same returns service as everyone else. We understand that seeing the picture of the item being returned can sometimes help you, but remember that our customers shop online because it’s fast and easy. The more friction they have to deal with, the more dissatisfied they will be.

Know the process

  • Authorising a return does not automatically provide a pre-paid return label for the buyer unless you have signed up to use pre-paid labels.
  • If you don’t provide a pre-paid return label an unpaid label with just your return shipping address will be emailed to the customer, upon authorisation.
  • The pre-paid or unpaid label will only be available to the customer through email, not through their Amazon account.
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