Amazon bans chronic returners
Amazon.com is known for its generous return policy. Customers expect that Amazon will make the wrong purchase right — every time. But according to a Wall Street Journal report, even Amazon has its limits. The e-tailer is banning customers it believes are taking advantage of its largesse.
The Journal reported on the experience of a 20-year-old from Israel who received notice that he had been banned by Amazon even as he held a $450 gift card from the site. The reason given was that the customer, Nir Nissim, had violated the conditions of Amazon’s use agreement.
In the end, Mr. Nissim was able to have his ban overturned, something that Amazon says it encourages its customers to do if they believe the company is in error.
“We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time,” an Amazon spokesman told the Journal. “We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers.”
Amazon is not the only retailer that has sought to dissuade consumers from engaging in excessive return activity, particularly of the fraudulent kind. According to the National Retail Federation, 11 percent of sales are returned and 11 percent of those are fraudulent.
Earlier this year, L.L.Bean rolled back its lifetime guarantee on the products it sells to one-year.
“A small, but growing number of customers has been interpreting our guarantee well beyond its original intent,” wrote Shawn Gorman, L.L.Bean’s executive chairman, on the company’s Facebook page. “Some view it as a lifetime product replacement program, expecting refunds for heavily worn products used over many years. Others seek refunds for products that have been purchased through third parties, such as at yard sales.”
While Amazon appears to handle its bans in-house, many retailers, including Best Buy, Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret and others, are working with third-party vendors to identify customers who abuse their return policies. Here too, customers have been issued bans with some mistakes being made.
- Banned From Amazon: The Shoppers Who Make Too Many Returns – The Wall Street Journal
- Will return bans burn retailers that impose them? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How important is Amazon’s liberal return policy to its sales success? Do bans placed by retailers on customers have a significant effect on fraudulent returns? Do press reports about bans have a dampening effect on consumer purchasing activity?