Amazon.com Complaint - Merchants Beware- Selling on Amazon
The Merchant program that Amazon.com offers is absolutely deplorable and shockingly unprofessional. It has turned out to be a nightmare for our small business. We wonder how they have been able to get away with their mistreatment of merchants for so long. There is no support or protection for merchants at all and you are left defenseless against Amazon, as well as scam artists who make a living off of purchasing items and claiming they "never received" them to get refunded.
Amazon has a very lax and customer-friendly refund policy. I am all for customers who legitametely did not receive something they purchased or are unhappy getting refunded, being that I have been a consumer myself numerous times myself. Amazon, however, refunds customer even in situations when the merchant can substantiate that the claim is untrue. We recently had a situation where a customer was refunded for an item that they initially claimed they never received, and tracking confirmed that the item was "delivered", and the customer recanted their story. We urged them to inform Amazon that they received their package so the claim could be dismissed. We also forwarded the A to Z Guarantee department and the Seller Guarantee department (because it was affecting our sales statistics) a copy of an email from the customer stating that the item was received and asked what we should do. We did this repeatedly five times. There was no response. We then tried to get the situation resolved by contacting the only help by phone that they have available, the tech suppport department. We were told by them that they couldn't assist us with any areas other than technical issues. We attempted to get a number from them to contact the Seller Performance and A to Z Guarantee department. The customer service rep's response was that they could only be contacted through email and they did not even have a number to contact them. So essentially, we had to wait for someone that was not responding to us and that we had no contact number for, to contact us at their convenience about money that was rightfully owed to us. Finally, we were contacted by the Seller Guarantee department SEVEN DAYS LATER, stating that the claim was dismissed and we would be credited for the refund!!
The next day later, we finally received a response from Seller Performance as well, which was not what we expected. The email said that our account was suspended, all of our listings removed, and any disbursements to us withheld. It did not mention how or when we would get paid the money they owed us and instead referred us to another department, the Payments department, which also has no contact number. The email also was very vague as to why our account had been suspended.
This mysteriously followed an email sent to us two days before from the Merchant Approval department after being notified that our account was under review. The email did not state the reason why we were under review and actually said that the review was a common practice. They also said they needed tracking information for all items we had already shipped so they could confirm that they had been mailed out and encouraged us to submit "a plan for improving your selling performance" if review was due to poor performance. We gladly complied and gave them tracking information. We were unaware why we were under review but submitted a plan for performance improvement just to be safe. In the letter that included the outline for seller improvement, we stated that we strongly believed we had been targeted because of the A to Z claim filed against us that was reversed and that we tried to contact them numerous times so that they could prevent the claim from affecting our seller performance. The response from them was suspension of our account.
They also implied that a factor in suspending our account was order cancellation (we cancelled three orders and notified customers in advance). We pointed out to them that we had not cancelled one order since four days before they sent us the first and only notification that order cancellations could affect seller performance. Otherwise we had no negative feedback, late shipments, or other warnings from Amazon.
The outcome of all of this is that we only sold on Amazon for a month and had the worst selling experience with them out of all selling platforms. We are out of around $400 and are considering legal action so we can recover the money owed to us by Amazon. We will share our story will as many merchants as we can to make sure that they are educated about the dangers of selling on Amazon. We will also never encourage anyone to sell nor buy on Amazon again!!