For Amazon Japan Sellers – How to Handle Amazon Returns? Avoid Negative Ratings

How to Handle Amazon Returns

Selling on Amazon Japan sometimes leads to product returns.
Users have various reasons to return items.

Even if a return is due to a user’s personal reasons, sellers must address it properly.

Simply put, Amazon operates on a “customer-first” principle. Improper handling can lead to receiving negative ratings from users.

Negative ratings can impact a seller’s sales. Many users rely on reviews when making purchases.

Hence, knowing how to handle returns on Amazon Japan is essential for every seller!

In this article, we first introduce the “main reasons users return products.”
Understanding these reasons allows for better preventive measures.

Next, we will simplify the “Amazon Japan Return Policy,” which is Amazon’s rules for returns and refunds.

Later in the article, we explain the “return request to refund process” and finally provide insights on the “Amazon Japan Marketplace Guarantee.”

Sellers on Amazon Japan, please take this as a reference!

Table of Contents

Reasons for Amazon Japan Returns: The 14 Categories

When buyers choose to “return” on Amazon Japan, they select from the 14 reasons listed below.

First, there are 8 “refund reasons” that can be challenging for sellers to control:

  1. Ordered by mistake
  2. Found a cheaper product outside of Amazon
  3. No longer needed due to circumstances
  4. Don’t remember placing the order
  5. Not compatible with owned items
  6. Poor performance or quality
  7. Did not arrive by the expected delivery date
  8. Damaged or scratched during delivery

Even if the order was mistakenly placed by the buyer or if there’s a delivery issue, it’s mostly out of the seller’s control. However, returns based on these reasons still typically result in refunds.

On the other hand, sellers can potentially prevent the following 6 reasons:

  1. Item wasn’t packaged securely
  2. Missing accessories or bonuses
  3. Received a different product than ordered
  4. Product arrived damaged or scratched
  5. Description on the site was different
  6. Extra unwanted items were included in the order

As evident from the “14 return reasons,” Amazon Japan prioritizes its users. It bears repeating that even if the reason is personal, the return and refund processes are seamless.

Therefore, casual attitudes like “a small scratch should be okay” or “I can’t be bothered to package it properly” are unacceptable. Even slight dissatisfaction can lead to a return risk.

There are tens of millions of Amazon users just in Japan. This provides numerous opportunities for sellers.

However, be aware of Amazon’s customer-first policy and act accordingly

Prevention is Key!

If a product is “returned,” it generally indicates dissatisfaction on the user’s part (excluding cases related to personal reasons of the user).

Therefore, it’s essential for sellers to acknowledge this reality and focus on “improvement.” Improving can be a pathway to boost sales.

However, be aware that among buyers, some might be malicious. They might return a product that has no damages or raise unjustified complaints. Addressing these situations can be time-consuming and mentally draining, presenting multiple disadvantages.

Hence, it’s crucial to take preventive measures where possible, like taking photos of products before shipping. This can serve as evidence should there be any disputes.

What is Amazon Japan's Return Policy?

Here, I will introduce Amazon’s rules regarding returns and refunds, known as the “return policy.”

However, as detailing everything might become lengthy, I’ll focus on the particularly crucial aspects. A vital point for both sellers and buyers is as follows:

“Please complete the return request and dispatch the item within 30 days of its arrival. Please note, for products sold by sellers and shipped by Amazon.co.jp, exchanges are not accepted.” (Source: Amazon Official Website)

This means that buyers have the right to return items within 30 days of receiving them. However, products shipped by Amazon cannot be exchanged.

Next, an important note for sellers:

“To provide consistent service to buyers, sellers must offer a return policy equivalent to or better than Amazon’s return policy.” (Source: Amazon Official Website)

In essence, while sellers primarily adhere to Amazon’s return and refund rules, they can also set their unique return and exchange policies. However, these policies should be at least as generous as Amazon’s – anything less is unacceptable.

For instance, Amazon’s policy states that “sellers must refund, even for returns due to buyers’ personal reasons.” Thus, a seller-established rule like “no refunds for returns based on buyers’ personal reasons” would be invalid.

In conclusion, it’s paramount for sellers to abide by Amazon’s rules.

Reasons for a Full Refund?

As previously mentioned, the standard action for “returns” on Amazon is a “refund.” However, the refund amount can vary depending on the reason for the return. If the return falls under the following two categories, it qualifies for a full refund:

  1. Returned due to personal reasons, but the item is “unused and unopened.”
  2. Returns or exchanges due to issues or defects.

Even if the item is returned for personal reasons but is unused and unopened, a full refund is granted. However, there will be no refunds for “shipping fees, gift wrapping, or handling charges.”

On the other hand, in the event of a defect or issue, the refund would also cover associated costs like shipping fees.

Is a refund issued even if the item is opened?

Yes, even if the buyer returns an item due to personal reasons after opening it, a refund is still issued. However, the refunded amount in such cases is “50%.”

Cases that are typically considered as “opened” include:

  1. The product tag has been removed.
  2. The plastic wrap has been opened.
  3. The wire for securing cables or similar items has been detached. Additionally, if the product has been intentionally damaged, or if there are visible signs of use, these also fall under the “opened” category. Sellers should remember that even for opened items, a refund is required.

It might sound harsh, but it’s not uncommon to face seemingly unreasonable returns. To reduce the rate of returns, proper measures and interactions with the buyer are essential. These measures include ensuring the product’s performance matches its description, secure packaging, and using appropriate language with the buyer.

The “Amazon Return Policy” introduced so far can be referred to in detail using the following link. If you’re a seller on Amazon, it would be wise to familiarize yourself with it.

Return & Exchange Conditions (Amazon Official Site)

Amazon Japan Return Request to Refund Process

Below, we outline the process on Amazon from initiating a “return” to receiving a “refund.”

  1. Buyer Sends Return Request

    The return process starts with the buyer taking action. By sending a “return request,” the buyer expresses their intention to return an item.

  2. Seller Reviews the Return Request

    Sellers receive an email regarding the return request. Within the email, there will be a link that directs to address the return request.

    At this stage, it’s essential for sellers to review the buyer’s “reason for return.” The refund amount might differ based on this reason.

  3. Seller Approves or Declines

    After assessing the return reason, sellers can either “approve” or “decline” the return request. An approval leads to a refund process, while a decline means the request is denied.

    If the seller thinks the reason provided isn’t valid for a return, they may choose to decline.

  4. Buyer Receives the Outcome

    Whether the seller “approves” or “declines” the request, the buyer will be notified of the decision.

  5. If Approved, Return and Refund Follow

    If the seller approves the return request, the buyer should return the item. Once received, the seller processes the refund.

    Sellers should manage refunds through Amazon’s “Return Management.” Remember, always follow the “return” then “refund” sequence to avoid potential issues.

By promptly addressing the return request, sellers ensure a smooth process. However, disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties might arise.

In situations where a seller might not provide a refund, Amazon’s “Marketplace Guarantee” protects the buyer.

Buyers are Protected with Amazon Japan's Marketplace Guarantee!

Amazon Japan offers a program called the “Amazon Marketplace Guarantee,” primarily designed to protect buyers.

Why does such a program exist? Because Amazon Japan doesn’t typically intervene between sellers and buyers in return and refund matters. Essentially, the involved parties should usually resolve the issues on their own.

However, there are situations where a buyer cannot resolve an issue alone, such as:

  • Unable to contact the seller
  • The seller refuses to accept a return

In such cases, without any help, the buyer might feel helpless. This is where the “Amazon Marketplace Guarantee” steps in.

Through the Amazon Marketplace Guarantee, buyers can claim to Amazon Japan, stating issues like “the seller isn’t cooperating” or “I haven’t received a full refund.”

If Amazon Japan validates the buyer’s claim, the product amount (refund portion) is deducted from the seller’s account. Thus, even if a seller adamantly decides, “I won’t refund!”, the final decision rests with Amazon.

What Can Sellers Do Against the Amazon Marketplace Guarantee?

It seems somewhat unfair if the seller’s side of the story is entirely ignored. Perhaps there’s some fault on the buyer’s end as well.

Even if a decision is made on the Amazon Marketplace stating, “the seller must pay the product’s cost,” the seller can request a “reconsideration.”

Available within 30 days after the decision, Amazon might ask for additional information or evidence. This can include “communication records,” “shipping receipts,” etc.

However, Amazon operates on a “customer-first” principle. This means that the buyer, as a user, is prioritized. As a result, cases where the seller’s arguments are recognized are scarce.

How Can One Avoid Using the Amazon Marketplace Guarantee?

Typically, there’s no need to resort to the Amazon Marketplace Guarantee. If a buyer sends a “return request” and the seller “approves” it, all is well.

Of course, if a seller doesn’t agree with a return, declining it is vital. Yet, remember that declining also means spending time managing the issue.

Considering the time-versus-benefit ratio is crucial in such decisions.

Summary

How was that? Today, we delved into how to handle returns on Amazon Japan.

Since Amazon Japan is “customer-first”, it provides a relatively straightforward return process. Naturally, no seller wants returns, but it’s vital to know how to manage them if they do occur.

Being unprepared can lead to increased dissatisfaction among buyers. This discontent can potentially result in negative reviews.

Furthermore, with the “Amazon Marketplace Guarantee” in place, buyers are extensively protected. While it’s disappointing to deal with returns, handling them appropriately is crucial.

Always strive for genuine interactions, adhering to Amazon’s guidelines.

And if you’re still unsure or anxious about handling returns, don’t hesitate to reach out to NEGOCIOZ!

With our proven track record and experience, we’ll assist in enhancing your sales.

Please consult with us at NEGOCIOZ by clicking the button below!

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If you have concerns or require assistance with your Amazon Japan operations, don't hesitate to reach out to us at NEGOCIOZ. We're here to support and guide you every step of the way. Click here to get in touch now!

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