A stay-at-home mother named Alicia Balster tried to return a shirt she purchased on Amazon when the seller asked her to send a picture proving it was too small. The mom of two told Today that she purchased a crewneck t-shirt going for approximately four to eight dollars, but since she had just given birth in late January it turned out to be the wrong size. Normally, the process of returning items to Amazon is pretty straightforward and customers don’t have to prove why they no longer want the item. And even in cases when a seller is making a return difficult, Amazon often steps in to support the customer.
When she sent the third-party seller, Meyerllbama, a refund request she received a surprising response. The message read: ‘Sorry for the problems, could you take some pictures for us to confirm? We can resend a larger one to you for free or refund you 20% for compensation and you don’t need to return it to us ok?’
A press release from Amazon announced that ‘20,000 small and medium-sized businesses worldwide surpassed $1M in sales on Amazon in 2017’ and that ‘half the items purchased on Amazon come from small and medium-sized businesses.’ While Amazon happily protects their buyers through their A-to-Z guarantee which allows them to return almost anything they purchase, buying from a third-party seller doesn’t always offer the same guarantees. And in this case, Meyerllbama is one such third-party seller.
Alicia, an Amazon Prime member who has purchased over 16 items of clothing this year alone, still says she has never experienced a response like that. ‘It was a little small on me. It’s a sore subject,’ she told Today. ‘They wanted me to send them a picture. I’m not sending a perfect stranger a picture of me in a shirt that’s too small. No, thank you!’
While Amazon guarantees all returns, because Alicia purchased the shirt from a third-party seller she was not entitled to the same policy. However, in spite of the conditions stipulated in the seller’s troubling response, she still decided to email Amazon’s customer service support team.
Alicia quickly got a reply and the response she was looking for. The messages from Amazon read: ‘I’ve sent an email to the seller, you will receive an email from the seller within 1-2 business days. Amazon is always here to back you up and if the seller didn’t help or respond, please let us know and we’ll file an A-Z claim. This is to make sure that the seller will be reported and a full refund will be issued.’
As reported by Today, it was in last August when Amazon reported that ‘all sellers are now required to have a return policy equivalent or better than Amazon’s own return policies. They may require stating a reason for returning, but never require sending photos.’ Alicia says she’s happy with how quickly Amazon handled her request. ‘Amazon is wonderful, I’ll just be more vigilant about who I’m ordering from,’ said the mother of two.