If you buy an item that ships from Amazon, the refund experience is amazing, here in the United States. Better than anything I've ever experienced anywhere else. Here's 3 such stories, followed by a simple tip to simplify your shipping and return experiences.
Let's start with my recently returned router, left over from my recent tale of 3 routers. I don't plan to make a habit of returning stuff, and notice that even the notorious-for-return-abuse Costco has had to alter their policies. So keeping RMAs simple gives Amazon yet another a leg-up over the local retailer. Last Fri Nov 8th, I asked for the refund on Amazon.com, and quicklly laser printed the label. Knowing I was heading out that evening anyway, I went with the option to drop the package off at my local UPS store. I got there right at 5:58pm, just as the UPS truck was arriving for its daily 6pm pickup. That same evening, at 9:50pm, I got the refund processing heads-up email, so apparently Amazon was monitoring for the UPS scan-in of the item that they had approved for RMA. Wow!
From: Amazon.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, November 08, 2013 9:50 PM
To: Paul A. Braren
Subject: Refund on order 108-(SNIP)
Hello, We're writing to let you know we processed your refund of $193.68 for your Order 108-(SNIP)
This refund is for the following item(s): Item: Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Dual Band WiFi Gigabit Router (R7000-100PAS) Quantity: 1 ASIN: B00F0DD0I6 Reason for refund: Customer return Here's the breakdown of your refund for this item: Item Refund: $199.99 Shipping Refund: $3.99 Return Shipping Fee Refund Deduction: ($10.30)
We'll apply your refund to the following payment method(s): (SNIP) Credit Card [expiring on (SNIP)]: $193.68 We've processed a refund for the above order in the amount of $193.68. The refund should appear on your account in 2-3 days if issued to a credit card. Refunds issued to a bank account typically take 7-10 days to reflect on the account balance.
Have questions about our refund policy? Visit our Help section for more information: http://www.amazon.com/refunds We look forward to seeing you again soon.
We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company http://www.amazon.com
Note: this e-mail was sent from a notification-only e-mail address that cannot accept incoming e-mail. Please do not reply to this message.
Here's the crazy part. I didn't have to wait 2-3 days at all. That very same night, my credit card showed the $193.68 credit. Wow, that's a simple, fast, no hassle return, with no need to talk to humans at any point during the entire process. Great way to exceed expectations, and earn customer loyalty.
I have another story was about a large multi-function laser printer, where I had made an honest mistake in the model I had chosen on Thu Feb 14 2013, arriving Fri Feb 15. As soon as I saw the feature list on the box, I knew I had made a mistake. Totally my fault, felt quite guilty about it, and more than a little worried about how I'd return the heavy box. That same afternoon, I logged into Amazon.com, asking for an exchange, which generated this instruction:
We've scheduled a UPS pickup for your return. (You don’t need to contact UPS). Please securely pack the items to be returned. Within the next 2-5 business days a UPS driver will attempt to pick up your return. The UPS driver will bring a prepaid label for your package.
Amazingly, they called that day, to arrange for picking up the 40 pound printer from me, at my home, ringing my doorbell, with the pre-addressed label in hand. Here's the kicker. That was on Saturday! Yes, the very day after my RMA request. Wow! The order for my replacement unit was then automatically processed Sun Feb 16th. This correct printer arrived Tue Feb 18th. A lot faster than I was expecting this to all be resolved. Credit for the returned unit also happened on Tue Feb 18th. So they processed the refund without even waiting for the returned printer's arrival back at Amazon on Th Feb 20th.
If you have also become a fan of faster Amazon shipping that Amazon Prime offers, you'll be excited to hear they're working on ways to get your stuff delivered on Sundays too, teaming up with the US Postal Service. Read more here. This is a stark contrast to Fedex, which doesn't even do residential deliveries on Monday.
Well, my experiences with refunds on purchases made on Amazon is not good if the item does not actually ship from Amazon. That simple. For Amazon Prime members, It's easier to spot items that are directly from Amazon by clicking the little Prime button seen pictured at right.