Think twice before selling on Amazon.

AmazonUnhappyLast month I sold an item on Amazon for almost £500 and ended up losing both the item and the payment for it.  I was an Amazon seller (after a number of bad experiences such as this one I no longer am). This post will look at what I did and the circumstances that led to me being out of pocket by so much on a single transaction.  While there is more detail (see below), essentially I had a customer claim for a non delivery that was subsequently shown/proved to have been delivered.  (Amazon refunded the customer while I was in the midst of dealing with the issue with the courier). 

And so my plan is to identify if I have a worthwhile claim for the small claims court and if so, who I should claim against ?

1. The Recipient

I now have proof that the package was delivered the day after it was sent (although the tracking information from Parcel2Go did not show this).  The recipient is still claiming that they did not receive it – though the tracking now shows the date and time (with signature) of the delivery.

2. Parcel2Go.

I sent the package using Parcel2Go, which describes itself as “The Parcel Delivery Comparison Website” .  They consolidate the tracking information from all their couriers and present a uniform tracking view on their web site.  On this occasion the delivery event was not captured, although subsequently found to have been logged by their courier – I believe this was the event that sparked off this issue in the first place . UPDATE: It appears that there was an error in the Parcel2Go system that caused it not to pick up the InPost tracking information.

3. InPost / UK Mail / DHL

UK Mail is a subsidiary of DHL and my chosen courier on the Parce2Go web site. They actually delivered the package and their own tracking reflected the delivery date, time and signature of the recipient the day after it was sent.  As I write this the process for InPost providing their tracking information to Parcel2Go is not known to me.  As a consequence at this stage I don’t know if they are to blame for Parcel2Go not showing the delivery event on their web site. UPDATE: As it appears that the issue was down to Parcel2Go’s system so I don’t think that UK Mail can be held responsible.

4. Myself.

The recipient contacted Amazon during our ongoing dialog and asked for a refund.  Amazon then contacted me with the following message:

Within three (3) days, please issue a full refund to the buyer or respond to the claim. You can issue a refund, view, and respond to claims on the “A-to-z Guarantee Claims” page in the “Performance” section of Seller Central  

I responded directly  to the buyer within 3 days, but I used Amazon messaging instead of the A-to-Z claims page.  (In my defence this email was received on January first when I was not at my best.  Additionally there were no follow up mails before Amazon debited my account and refunded the recipient – I had anticipated being in charge of doing this myself as had been the case with previous issues when customers had returned goods to me.)

5. Amazon.

In my opinion Amazon showed an inflexibility within their system that is at odds with the real world.  For instance when the recipient contacted them for a refund the very least they should have done is read the messages that had taken place between myself and the recipient to that date.  It would have been obvious to anyone who did this that not only had this dispute only been going for a short time (under a week) but also that it was ongoing.  In addition they showed complete inflexibility when it was shown that the item had indeed been delivered and have compounded my frustration by not answering my emails regarding this issue.

So there are the candidates – I will be seeking advice as to who I should be claiming against in the small claims court although in my view I personally feel most aggrieved by Amazon who’s process I believe is unfair and inflexible to small sellers such as myself. 

 

What follows is a broad summary of events – each line is backed up by documentation (emails or chat records) which I would be happy to make available should you be reading this and able to offer me any advice (from a legal standpoint) as to whom I should be pursuing and the approach I should be take?

Amazon Issue

Finally I hope that in addition to assisting me in identifying whom I should be pursuing in the small claims court I hope that it will also serve as a warning to anyone becoming a small seller on Amazon to think hard beforehand and ensure that they are fully aware of Amazon processes (which it would appear are very rigid).

Has anyone had similar experiences selling on EBAY?

NB If you think you can help me please leave a comment or contact me via email: rd3d2[at]hotmail.co.uk. 

Thanks.

Amazon CASE ID: 1724695572


UPDATE: 19/01/2016

Thanks for all the feedback on this.  The comments below and on the Amazon Seller Forums suggest that I should be writing to the recipient and giving them 14 days before I pursue a claim through the small claims court.

(I will endeavour to update this post with progress made in case anyone is interested in the outcome)


UPDATE 01/02/2017

I sent this letter (feel free to reuse) and got an answer back saying that the recipient is happy to settle.  ironically they contacted Amazon but got know answer (as did I) so we settled using PayPal.

14 day letter

5 thoughts on “Think twice before selling on Amazon.

  1. While I sympathise with you over the way the customer behaved, unfortunately I really don’t think you can blame Amazon.

    They very clearly stated: “Within three (3) days, please issue a full refund to the buyer or respond to the claim. You can issue a refund, view, and respond to claims on the “A-to-z Guarantee Claims” page in the “Performance” section of Seller Central ”

    By your own admission you did not do that, so of course you lost the case. That is entirely your own doing.

    You course of action now is to persue the customer through the small claims court, providing you can prove without doubt the customer has received the item. Can you prove they actually received it, i.e. it wasn’t the courier who signed, it wasn’t a neighbour, it wasn’t another household member? Personally I’d send the customer a letter before action, outlining you are going to take them to court if they do not return the goods or pay for them. Even if you take them to court and win it doesn’t mean you’ll actually get any money out of them. If they refuse to pay that then takes another case and/or bailiffs and a long drawn out process.

    I wish you look.

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