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A-Z Claim Guide Thread

Helpful Guide Threads 12 replies 375 views
Kika Angelic Posted February 4, 2020 | Edited 6 months ago

As everyone knows, I really like sharing my experience and knowledge with selling on the Amazon platform gained after years of successfully trading here since high school (across all international Amazon marketplaces) and this guide thread should help all sellers who struggle with representing their case properly in cases when the buyer decides to open an A-Z claim.

Unfortunately, all my original threads were maliciously deleted from the Amazon forums and as I did not have the text saved anywhere, I have now prepared a new thread to repost the content (with the help of Google cache which preserved parts of the original deleted thread) and this one is updated to reflect all recent changes of Amazon policies.

So I hope you like it and if you need any help, feel free to comment and I will get back to you.


A-Z claim guide

The most important factor when determining how to respond to an A-Z claim is the claim title. There are 2 main types:

- “Package did not arrive”

- “Different to what I ordered”

There also used to be an option of opening a claim with no title at all or a claim type “Order Returned”, but since I haven’t seen them for a few months, I am assuming that Amazon is no longer allowing them and their use has been discontinued.

Buyers on Amazon have exactly 90 days past the latest day of the Estimated Delivery Date range of their order to open an A-Z claim, however the Customer Service can submit one on their behalf until after 6 months past delivery

You should know, that buyers (or Amazon Customer Support) are often selecting the incorrect claim title and mentioning a completely different issue in the claim comments, therefore making it difficult to submit a proper response.

Also, buyers are able to appeal the claim decision and update their story anytime. For example by claiming that the item arrived damaged after losing a “Package did not arrive” claim or by stating that the goods were never received when being asked by Amazon to return them in order to get their money back.

For this reason, my claim representations almost always address the second claim type as well, to ensure that Amazon will not simply refund the buyer after the story gets changed.

They are written in a very clear, polite language so that overseas Amazon reps will understand them. There are no accusations or insults towards Amazon or buyers. I am simply standing my ground. This 100% works, without any need to submit proof pictures, videos, contact the Seller Support or report the buyers.

Do I always have the option to respond to all A-Z claims which the buyers submit?

Unfortunately, while in the past sellers had the option to represent their case within 72 hours whenever a claim was submitted (in cases of non-receipt claims as long as the tracking information was entered at the time of dispatch), this is no longer the case.

As many of you know, Amazon has recently changed the way how A-Z Guarantee Claims are being processed on their site.

They are now in most cases getting automatically granted with an instant full refund issued to the buyer.

Once this happens, all the seller can do is submit an appeal after clicking on the “Appeal claim” button. The appeal attempt is only one and the outcome is usually having Amazon cover the previously debited amount out of their own funds or simply having it rejected.

The updated policy wording says that:

”If we determine that additional information is required before we make a claim decision, we will contact you via email, and you must respond within three calendar days.”

So basically, you will only be contacted prior to the final decision being made if Amazon determines that additional information is needed.

From what I have seen by now, non-receipt claims are getting automatically granted in cases where the seller did not use a shipping carrier integrated with Amazon, which would enable the investigators to easily verify the tracking status of a package, or if the integrated carrier’s tracking results don’t indicate that the package was successfully delivered to the buyer’s shipping address.

”Package did not arrive” A-Z claims

While in the past, sellers used to be able to win these claims or at least have them funded by Amazon with just tracking, Amazon has recently gotten a lot stricter and is in many cases of non-receipt requesting sellers to provide a proof of delivery with the buyer’s signature.

So even if you respond properly, the claim might bounce back as requiring a response and end up being granted and Seller Funded.

The only guaranteed way how to win them is having a tracking link showing delivery + pdf file with the buyer’s signature. A tracking link showing delivery with a signature of the addressee will be often sufficient, unless the buyer appeals.

Here are some example situations with my response templates:

Buyer claiming non-receipt and seller has the signature proof of delivery

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). Please close this claim since the order was already delivered. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt and seller has just tracking

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date). Please close this claim since the order was already delivered. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt and the shipment was delayed in transit

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing the status of the shipment). According to the order’s tracking information, the package is currently still in transit to the buyer, due to postal delays caused by (enter what is appropriate - bad weather, postal strikes, etc.). The order will be delivered to the buyer in a few days.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt and the package is awaiting collection at the post office

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing the shipment’s status). According to the order’s tracking information, the delivery was attempted to the correct address on (date). After repeated unsuccessful delivery attempts, the package was left at the buyer’s local post office (name/address). The buyer can collect his package anytime. In case that the package gets refused or returned back to the sender, I will issue a full refund as soon as I receive it back. Please close this claim since the package is awaiting collection at the buyer’s post office and I am unable to refund without receiving it back. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt after selecting Expedited/Premium Delivery at checkout without noticing the extra cost and then refusing/not collecting the package, hoping to get a full refund

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing the status of the shipment). According to the order’s tracking information, the delivery was attempted to the correct address on (date), however the addressee refused the package. Since the package was returned, I refunded the buyer the full product price + Standard shipping cost of (xx + xx). The buyer selected Expedited/Premium Delivery at checkout, which is an extra service priced at (xx) and won’t be refunded. According to the Amazon’s marketplace returns policy and the law, sellers are only required to refund the cost corresponding to the lowest shipping option offered when items are returned. Here is the Amazon marketplace returns policy which says: “Sellers are only required to refund standard postage charges corresponding to the least expensive type of delivery offered by them.” “Sellers aren’t required to refund the cost of gift-wrapping, delivery or other services provided to you in connection with your purchase.” Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201819160 . Please close the claim since I have already refunded the buyer according to the Amazon Marketplace Returns Policy and there has been no error on my part, as the buyer refused the delivery of the package. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt and seller shipped a replacement

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing the status of the shipment). According to the order’s tracking information, the package (was lost/ delivered / returned back to sender, etc…). The buyer contacted me on (date) and stated that she didn’t receive her order. I immediately responded to the buyer and promised to send her a new package as a replacement. So I shipped a new package as a replacement with tracking number (xxxx) by carrier (carrier name), which [will be delivered to the buyer after weekend/ was already delivered on (date)]. I did not receive any response to my messages. I think that the buyer opted out of the Amazon messaging. The Amazon customer service opened an A-Z claim, despite I already shipped a replacement and mentioned it in a message. Please contact the buyer and tell her that the replacement was already (shipped/delivered) and that the tracking number is (xxxx), it can be tracked on this link: (tracking link showing status of the shipment) and ask her to cancel the claim. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming the receipt of an empty box - “Package did not arrive” claim title"

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items, which I shipped were in the correct quantity and exactly as described in the listing. The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). The tracking information doesn’t show any damage or loss of contents during transit. If the buyer isn’t satisfied with his order, it is possible to return it for a refund. Please close this claim since the order was already delivered. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt after refusing the delivery and demanding a full refund while the package is still in transit

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing the shipment’s status). According to the order’s tracking information, the delivery was attempted to the correct address on (date). However the addressee refused the package and it is now awaiting collection from the carrier/ on it’s way back to the sender. (The buyer can collect his package anytime/ arrange another delivery attempt.) In case that the package gets returned back to the sender, I will issue a full refund as soon as I receive it back. Please close this claim since the package is awaiting collection by the buyer after being refused/ delivery was attempted to the correct address but the buyer refused the package and I am unable to refund without receiving it back. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming that only a part of order was received after ordering multiple items

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items, which I shipped were in the correct quantity and exactly as described in the listing. The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). The tracking information doesn’t show any damage or loss of contents during transit. If the buyer isn’t satisfied with his order, it is possible to return it for a refund. Please close this claim since the order was already delivered. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming that items were not as described - “Package did not arrive” claim title"

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items, which I shipped were exactly as described in the listing. The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). The tracking information doesn’t show any damage during transit. If the buyer isn’t satisfied with his order, it is possible to return it for a refund. Please close this claim since the order was already delivered. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt after refusing a package, which was then lost in transit

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing the shipment’s status). According to the order’s tracking information, the delivery was attempted to the correct address on (date), however the addressee then refused the package and it got lost on it’s way back to the sender. Amazon’s policy states that refusing a package isn’t a way how to return the item and in a case like this, the buyer would not be covered by the A-Z guarantee. Here is the text of the policy: “If a package doesn’t arrive and you don’t use a trackable method to return or if you refuse the shipment as a method of return, we may not be able to cover you under the A-to-z Guarantee.” Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201819160 . Please close this claim since the package got lost after buyer refused the delivery. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming that the order arrived late - “Package did not arrive” claim title"

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). If the buyer no longer needs his order, it is possible to return it for a refund. Please close this claim since the order was already delivered. Thank you.”

*Applies to Amazon USA only:

Buyer claiming non-receipt and the shipping was purchased from Amazon

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and if applicable signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date). The shipping was purchased from Amazon and according to the Amazon’s policy regarding Buy Shipping Services, Amazon will cover any non-receipt claims regarding shipments sent using their service. Here is the Amazon’s Buy Shipping Policy addressing A-Z claims: “If you purchase Amazon’s Buy Shipping and ship on time, you are protected against claims where a customer reports problems with delivery. Amazon will cover the cost of these claims and they will not affect your Order Defect Rate.” Link to the policy: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/help.html/?itemID=G200202220. Please close this claim since the order was already delivered and the shipping was bought from Amazon. Thank you.”

Buyer claiming non-receipt after refusing a package shipped using Amazon’s Buy Shipping Services, which was then lost in transit

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing the shipment’s status). According to the order’s tracking information, the delivery was attempted to the correct address on (date), however the addressee then refused the package and it got lost on it’s way back to the sender. The shipping was purchased from Amazon and according to the Amazon’s policy regarding Buy Shipping Services, Amazon will cover any non-receipt claims regarding shipments sent using their service. Here is the Amazon’s Buy Shipping Policy addressing A-Z claims: “If you purchase Amazon’s Buy Shipping and ship on time, you are protected against claims where a customer reports problems with delivery. Amazon will cover the cost of these claims and they will not affect your Order Defect Rate.” Link to the policy: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/help.html/?itemID=G200202220&ref* =ag_G200202220 *Also, Amazon’s policy states that refusing a package isn’t a way to return the item and in a case like this, the buyer would not be covered by the A-Z guarantee. Here is the text of the policy: “If a package doesn’t arrive and you don’t use a trackable method to return or if you refuse the shipment as a method of return, we may not be able to cover you under the A-to-z Guarantee.” Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=15015721 . Please close this claim without debiting my account, since the shipping was purchased from Amazon and the package got lost after buyer refused the delivery. Thank you.”

What to do when the A-Z guarantee responds back, asking for additional information?

If Amazon doesn’t find your proof of delivery to be sufficient, which is usually the case when you only have a tracking number, they will repond back with an e-mail.

At this point, you are very likely to lose if you don’t have a signature proof of delivery. You can still try responding with just the tracking number or telling them that the order was low value and this is the reason why you don’t have the signature. In some cases it will work, but these are becoming rare.

Responding to Amazon’s e-mails with a request for additional information can be tricky as they are often not accepting incoming communication.

In such case, you will need to respond through the A-Z claim form and include any attachments in a form of a link to an online image hosting site.

My preferred option is opening a case with the Seller Support under “A-to-z Guarantee claim issues” and presenting all additional information here, along with any attachments. Don’t forget to enter the order ID and request to have your submissions forwarded as an addition to the claim representation.

”Different to what I ordered” A-Z claims

These claims are very easy to win, regardless if the items were shipped tracked or not. However, the outcome is very dependent on the way, how a seller handles his return requests.

All return requests should be processed (either denied or accepted) within no more than 48 hours. Eligible returns (requested within the Amazon’s 30days mandatory return period or 90 days if the order was placed between 1.November and 31.January) need to be authorised, regardless of the category. Out of policy return requests can be denied.

A failure to do so will result in any “Different to what I ordered” claim being automatically granted with a full refund:

”Respond to return requests from the Online Return Center within 48 hours. Failure to do so may result in an A-to-z Guarantee claim and an immediate debit to your account.”

The most common mistake, which inexperienced sellers make is demanding the buyers to supply proof pictures or explain why are they are asking for a return. Some sellers will dispute the return reason selected by the buyer and call the Seller Support, expecting assurances that they are within their rights to refuse the request. This is often followed by an A-Z claim with a full refund to the buyer.

Also, once a return is authorised, there is no room for any negotiations with the buyer. They are within their rights to return the items.

Once items are returned, the seller should carefully inspect the merchandise and in case that it arrived back in a different condition than sent, it is possible to withold a reasonable deduction out of the refund to cover the loss of value as a result of it or refuse to refund at all (items which are not suitable for returns due to health protection or hygienic reasons if unsealed after delivery) and ask the buyer to supply a pre-paid return label instead, in case that he wants his non-returnable items back.

A very important thing is also knowing how to handle returns for orders placed on different Amazon marketplaces.

The seller is always required to either provide a local return address, pre-paid return label (to have the items returned to his own country) or refund the buyer in full, without requesting the merchandise to be returned.

Here are some example situations with my response templates (click on each link to expose the claim representation):

Buyer claiming that items were not as described, without ever contacting the seller

“Hello, the order was delivered to the buyer on (date) according to the order’s tracking number (xxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The item which I shipped was exactly as described in the listing. The buyer never contacted me to say, that there is anything wrong with the item. According to the Amazon policy, it is possible to return the order for a refund within 30days past delivery. I will issue a refund as soon as I receive the item back.”

After you respond with this, Amazon will e-mail you and ask you to e-mail the buyer with CC to A-Z guarantee and provide return instructions (just the return address is enough, no pre-paid return label is necessary). Then the claim will get denied.


Buyer claiming that items were not as described after requesting a return, without returning the items or providing a tracking number as proof of shipping anything back

“Hello, the order was delivered to the buyer on (date) according to the order’s tracking number (xxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The item which I shipped was exactly as described in the listing. A return was requested on (date) and authorised immediately, however nothing was returned and no return tracking information provided. I will issue a refund as soon as I receive the item back. Thank you.”


Buyer claiming that items were not as described after the returns period has already expired

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items were exactly as described in the listing. According to the order’s tracking information, the order was delivered on (date). The buyer never contacted me to say that anything is wrong with the items and didn’t request a return within the Amazon’s 30days return policy. A return request was opened on (date), which was denied for being “out of policy” as it was opened (xx) days after delivery. Please close the claim since this order is no longer eligible to be returned. Thank you.”


Buyer claiming that the shipping cost/price was too high and requesting a partial refund without a return

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items were exactly as described in the listing. According to the order’s tracking information, the order was delivered on (date). The buyer never contacted me to say that anything is wrong with the items, but complained that the shipping cost/price is too high. The cost was displayed at checkout and the buyer agreed to it by placing the order. If the buyer isn’t satisfied with his order, it is possible to return it for a refund within 30 days past delivery. I will refund the buyer as soon as the items are returned. Thank you.”

After you respond with this, Amazon will e-mail you and ask you to e-mail the buyer with CC to A-Z guarantee and provide return instructions (just the return address is enough, no pre-paid return label is necessary). Then the claim will get denied.


Buyer claiming that items were not as described and demanding a full refund/ free item without a return

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items were exactly as described in the listing. According to the order’s tracking information, the order was delivered on (date). The buyer contacted me to say that he is not satisfied with his order and demanded (xxxxx) without a return. According to the Amazon policy, it is possible to return the order for a refund within 30 days past delivery. I will refund the buyer as soon as the items are returned. Thank you.”

After you respond with this, Amazon will e-mail you and ask you to e-mail the buyer with CC to A-Z guarantee and provide return instructions (just the return address is enough, no pre-paid return label is necessary). Then the claim will get denied.


Buyer requesting a refund of the Expedited/Premium Delivery charge after returning his order and getting only a partial refund of product price + Standard Delivery

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items were exactly as described in the listing. The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery). According to the order’s tracking information, the order was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). The buyer requested a return on (date), which was authorised. As soon as the order was returned, I refunded the buyer the full product price + Standard shipping cost of (xx + xx). The buyer selected Expedited/Premium Delivery at checkout, which is an extra service priced at (xx) and it won’t be refunded. According to the Amazon’s marketplace returns policy and the law, sellers are only required to refund the cost corresponding to the lowest shipping option offered when items are returned. Here is the Amazon marketplace returns policy which says: “Sellers are only required to refund standard postage charges corresponding to the least expensive type of delivery offered by them.” “Sellers aren’t required to refund the cost of gift-wrapping, delivery or other services provided to you in connection with your purchase.” Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_left_v4_sib?ie=UTF8&nodeId=201819160 . Please close the claim since I have already refunded the buyer according to the Amazon Marketplace Returns Policy. Thank you.”


Buyer demanding the remaining order cost to be reimbursed after only getting a partial refund due to returning items in a materially different condition than sent

“Hello, the order was delivered to the buyer on (date) according to the order’s tracking number (xxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The items which I shipped were exactly as described in the listing. A return was requested on (date) and authorised immediately. The return was received on (date) and immediately processed with a refund of (amount). A partial refund was isssued to cover the cost of loss of value, since the items were returned without the original packaging and heavily used, in unsellable condition. Please close this claim since the return was already processed with a refund issued according to the Amazon Marketplace Returns Policy. Thank you.”


What to do when the A-Z guarantee responds back, asking for additional information?

If the buyer never opened a return request and an A-Z claim is the first time you hear from them or he simply discarded the item and is refusing to do a return, Amazon will e-mail you with a message (in English/German/French/Spanish or Italian, depending on the marketplace).

After this e-mail, you will have exactly 3 days to respond back.

As already mentioned, responding to Amazon’s e-mails with a request for additional information can be tricky as these are often not accepting incoming communication.

In such case, you will need to respond through the A-Z claim form or my preferred option is opening a case with the Seller Support under “A-to-z Guarantee claim issues” and presenting all additional information here, along with any attachments. Don’t forget to enter the order ID and request to have your submissions forwarded as an addition to the claim representation.

Once you respond, the claim will be closed. The same claim will get re-opened as soon as the buyer responds to A-Z guarantee with the return tracking information.

When this happens, you will receive an e-mail.

At this point, to prevent Amazon issuing a full refund to the buyer, you will need to keep responding to the claim every 3 days to say, that you haven’t received the goods yet and that you will refund as soon as you do.

If you eventually receive the merchandise back, process the return with a refund and also respond to the claim with an update to let them know about your refunding decision (for example why you decided to deduct the cost of loss of value out of the refund).

After this, the claim will get either denied, Funded by Amazon or the seller. In some cases, Amazon will dispute your refunding decision and ask you to issue a further concession. This is the time when you will need to stand your ground and keep argumenting, depending on your specific situation in order to win.

Appealing incorrectly closed A-Z claims

The updated Amazon help pages state that:

”If a claim is granted to the customer and the amount is debited from your account, you have 30 calendar days to submit an appeal if you disagree with our decision and have new information for our investigation.”

So you can appeal any incorrectly closed claims through the A-Z claim interface using the “Appeal” button, by opening a case with the Seller Support or if nothing works, by e-mailing [email protected] or [email protected]

But make sure that your message is brief, easy to read, written in short paragraphs and includes all necessary information and attachments.

Here is an example A-Z claim appeal addressing a situation in which an automated refund was issued to the buyer without giving the seller any option to respond:

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). Please reverse this incorrectly closed claim since the order was already delivered to the buyer and I had no option to represent my case. Thank you.”

Here is an example A-Z claim appeal addressing a situation in which the seller lost the claim after representing his case:

“Hello, the order was shipped on (date) with tracking number (xxxxxx) by carrier (carrier name). The shipment can be tracked on this link: (link to online tracking showing delivery and signature). According to the order’s tracking information, the package was delivered to the correct address on (date) and signed by (name). Please reverse this incorrectly closed claim since the order was already delivered to the buyer. Thank you.”


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