Online Buyer Protection is Too Strong.
Let me give you a little background to this article. I am an Amazon and eBay seller, but I mainly sell on Amazon.
Buyer Protection is so strong for online sales it actually can make many businesses (especially small ones) suffer.
When buying on Amazon.com you are protected by three layers of protection.
1) The fear of a seller receiving negative feedback
2) Amazon’s in-house protection called “A-to-Z claims”
3) Your credit card company issuing a chargeback
With these three layers, it is virtually impossible to have a bad transaction on Amazon. For those who do not already know Amazon has three types ways to Buy items.
1) From Amazon.com themselves
2) From Amazon.com Retailers (Small to Large Businesses that use Amazon as a platform to sell)
3) Individuals that sell
Lets say you buy an iPad on Amazon.com for $350 used from John Doe. John doe has 100 feedback and only 1 neutral and 1 negative feedback (98% positive). You receive the iPad and something is wrong with it. You have 14 days to automatically get your money back (you will be required to return the item) through Amazon.com’s “A-to-Z Guarantee”. You contact the seller and tell them you want a refund – they tell you that they will not refund your $350. Too bad for John Doe the seller. You as the buyer win any and all claims against the seller. You have 14 days (or longer) of receipt of the item to get back your money in virtually any situation. This situation is very unlikely though because negative feedback is a mark of death at Amazon.
If you as a seller receive negative feedback your funds can become locked (normally for long periods of time) and your account goes on probation or is completely banned for life. It doesn’t take much to get in trouble either, many sellers on forums claim they have 99+% feedback on 1000’s of sales but one string of a couple negative feedback resulted in a lifetime ban. Amazon is heavily criticized by sellers for always taking the buyers position on a sales, but for amazon there is no incentive for them not to side with the buyer.
If Amazon sides with the buyer and take the money back from the seller, they make the customer happy and the seller angry. The seller being angry has no effect on Amazon. There is always another person ready to sell, so banning a few people and possibly allowing fraud or theft of the seller’s items does not phase Amazon. You as a seller might have a legitimate case against the buyer, but Amazon would have to hear your case and see your evidence to make a logical ruling, which costs man hours that they do not want to spend. It’s cheaper and better for Amazon to side with the buyer, so they are going to in virtually all situations.
The unlikely event happens, Amazon sides with the seller. You as the buyer are out of luck, aren’t you? Nope. Call your credit card company and make a chargeback. If you are with a major credit card company (Especially AMEX) you have a very good chance (I would guess about 98% chance) of getting your money back. Some credit card companies don’t even ask many questions.
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