Amazon AZ Claims: guide & best practices

If you ever had to deal with an Amazon A-to-Z Claims, you may already know what's on the table. Amazon AZ Claims can hurt your Amazon Seller accounts' performance big time and, in the worst case scenario, lead to a full account suspension.

In this guide, I'll guide you all along the Amazon AZ claims world: from understanding the A-to-Z Guarantee, identifying causes and risk factors, to learning how to respond effectively should a claim arise against your seller account. More importantly, I'll share best practices for preventing these claims based in my own experiencie as an Amazon FBM Seller because, as you may know, AZ Claims could only affect Amazon Marketplace Sellers using their own fulfillment, aka MFN (Merchant Fulfilled Network) or FBM (Fulfillment By Merchant) but are now extensive also to Amazon FBA.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to cancel your Amazon Seller Account, understanding the A-to-Z Claims process is also crucial.

So, as usual, go go go and join me into the (creepy and scary) world of Amazon AZ claims!

What are Amazon A to Z Guarantee Claims and How to Address Them as A Seller

What is Amazon鈥檚 A-to-z Guarantee?

Amazon's A-to-Z Guarantee isn't just a buyer's safety net, but also a Seller's challenge that tests your dedication to quality service, your commitment to on-time delivery, and above all, your ability to provide an exceptional customer experience. That usually means that Amazon's customer is always right and you need to “bend the knee” and reimburse the orders if there's any problem. AZ Guarantee is, essentially, Amazon's promise to its customers that they are shopping in a safe and secure environment.

It assures them of 3 fundamental things:

  1. if the item doesn't arrive on time or if the product received deviates significantly from what was described on the website, they can get their money back, no questions asked
  2. guarantee also covers situations where sellers fail to adhere to their stated return policies
  3. or when buyers have returned items but haven't been reimbursed

The A-to-Z Guarantee is Amazon's way of fostering trust so that customers feel like part of the Amazon community. However, for sellers, this means walking a tightrope between ensuring customer satisfaction and avoiding potential A-to-Z Claims which could negatively impact their business (meaning: sacrifice your margin).

Having understood what Amazon's A-to-Z Guarantee is about, it's time for the risk factors. Go go go!

amazon az claims management

Causes and risk factors for A-to-Z Claims

Understanding the factors that lead to customer dissatisfaction and complaints is complex, but with careful attention to details such as late deliveries, damaged items, or poor communication, you're less likely to hit a dead end and get your account suspended.

A seller's reputation is at risk when customers feel their expectations are not met. This may occur if an item arrives later than promised or in a condition that does not match the description provided on Amazon.

Damage during shipping is another common cause of dissatisfaction. Ensuring products are properly packaged for transit is a must. Also significant is the need for clear communication between buyer and seller especially if there's any delay in delivery.

Neglecting to respond super fast to buyer inquiries or failing to provide satisfactory solutions could push your customers towards filing an A-to-Z Claim. Remember, we're all part of this community where respect and understanding pave the way for successful transactions.

Let's go for the next point: what happens when a claim is opened against you as a seller.

amazon account health az claims

Opening an A-to-Z Claim: how does the A-to-z Claim process work?

When a buyer's complain on an order isn't fixed within 48 hours, they're entitled to open an A-to-Z Claim against the seller. This step provides them with Amazon's protection and assurance that their concerns won't be ignored. It's important to know that opening such a claim is often seen as the last resort for buyers who feel their issues haven't been adequately addressed by the seller. So it's a kind of a “bang a fist on the table” from the buyer and a warning that the situation is getting serious.

Here are some key points to note when a buyer opens an A-to-Z Claim:

  • The buyer must provide details about why they're unhappy with their purchase or the service received.
  • Amazon requires proof that the buyer attempted to resolve the issue with the seller before opening a claim.

Once opened, Amazon sends an email notification to the seller informing them of this development.

amazon az claims Reason for return

As Amazon Marketplace Sellers, it's essential to remember that each claim represents an opportunity for improvement. They're valuable feedback and should be used as stepping stones towards delivering better services. But they also represent a threat to your accounts' health and performace.

Now that you know how claims are opened, let's go for how Sellers can respond effectively and efficiently to these A-to-Z Claims.

Responding to an A-to-Z Claim

Just when you thought your day couldn't get any more worse (yes, this is my first Monday after 5 weeks off on holidays), an email drops into your inbox: a buyer has opened an A-to-Z Claim against you. It's a nerve-racking moment for sure, but remember that we're all in this together and every successful Amazon seller has faced this at some point. I have lots of times, especially when I used to resell products using my own carrier and almost every order was delivered later. My solution? The easiest one, reduce my margins but adopt Amazon FBA.

Let's say you received an AZ Claim. Well, firstly, don't panic or feel alone in this. Your community of sellers understands what it feels like to face these claims (well, at least, I do). Focus on gathering evidence to support your case such as tracking information or correspondence with the customer. Respond quick, ideally within 48 hours (super ideally, right away) to Amazon's requests for additional information during their investigation process.

amazon seller central message center

Being proactive in addressing the issue also shows that you care about your customers' satisfaction and can pay off in avoiding further complaints or negative reviews. Be thorough and detailed in your response, this is not the time for half measures!

Remember that if things go South, you always have the option to appeal within 30 days after Amazon makes its decision. By maintaining composure and taking appropriate actions, you can navigate through this challenge effectively.

My professional advice? Sometimes it is better to agree with the client than to have a serious “strike” in the Performance of your account. That is, if the customer is not satisfied, give them the money back. Even better, let them keep the product and you pay them back as well. Have you lost $200? Yes. But, in the short / medium / long term, the impact that accumulating claims from A to Z on your account can have is worth more than $200.

How much money will you lose if a customer sees that your seller feedback is bad before buying from you?
How much money will you lose if your account is closed for 1 day?
And for 1 week?
Looking to sell your Amazon business? What's the cost of some AZ Claims showing up during the due dilligence? It can blow up the whole operation, that's for sure.

You understand what I mean, right?

Well, after managing the claim successfully, it's time to take steps towards preventing future claims.

Preventing A-to-Z Claims

So, you've handled your first A-to-Z Claim and it's made you realize the importance of proactively preventing these situations. But, how can you keep those claims at bay? Let's figure out.

Smooth communications

One of the key ways to avoid A-to-Z Claims is by ensuring a smooth buyer-seller communication channel. This means responding promptly to enquiries from buyers within 48 hours, resolving any issues they might have, and maintaining a polite and professional tone throughout. Some of the clients I work with have more people on their customer service department than in other departments, even than on the warehouse. Why? Because they know the importance of dealing with the clients, especially when they're dealing with Amazon clients.

I don't know if you've read Zappos CEO's book “Delivering Happiness”. He explains that for Zappos customer service is key. So much so that the CEO himself picked up the phone for customers in the contact center to attend to their complaints and problems to learn about how to improve the company. And this book is from 2010, imagine how important it is now.
It is no coincidence that Amazon acquired Zappos back in 2009.

zappos book

Accurate listings

Well, back to business. Next up on how to prevent AZ Claims is having accurate product listings and images:

  • Provide as much detail about the product as possible
  • Use clear, high-quality images that accurately represent the item
  • Ensure descriptions match what the buyer will receive
  • Include information about shipping times so buyers know when to expect their purchase

Besides this, timely shipping is crucial. Sellers should ship products on time and notify customers of any delays.

Avoiding A-to-Z Claims involves proactive efforts in maintaining top-notch customer service standards. It requires patience and dedication but pays off in creating a trusted seller profile which contributes to long-term success on Amazon.

Final Thoughts on Amazon A-to-Z Claims

Amazon's A-to-Z claims can seriously hurt your account, that's why, with the right knowledge and dedication to customer service, you can prevent them so you can “sleep well” every night.

Remember, your seller reputation is only as strong as the quality of your goods and services. Respond quick, keep your listings accurate and, remember, it's better to lose $200 than to lose your account.

I hope that, with the practices I've just discussed and shown, you'll have the keys to keep those AZ Claims in line 馃檪

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About the author

Avatar of Jordi Ordonez
Jordi Ordonez
Amazon and ecommerce Consultant at JordiobDotCom | Website

I work as an independent eCommerce and Amazon consultant.

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Estrella Damm, Intersport, Bella Aurora, Lladr贸, Textura Interiors, Nice Things Palomas, Casta帽er, Due-Home and many other clients.

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I teach and have been a speaker at: Meet Magento, Prestashop, Prestashop Day, SEMRush, Cambra de Comer莽 Barcelona, 鈥嬧婥linicSEO, Ecommbeers, Ecommbrunch, Ecommercetour.com, Ecommfest, EOI, ESIC-ICEMD, Foxize, Generalitat de Catalunya, Inesdi, Quondos and The Valley.

In addition, I have done in-company trainings for brands such as Orange and Adidas.

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Finally, I collaborate writing articles for Helium 10, Carbon 6, Shopify, SEMRush, Prestashop麓s official blog, Brainsins, La Vanguardia, eCommerce-news.es, Marketing4ecommerce and other blogs and media.

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