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New Amazon Policies You Need to Know in 2021

Even new Amazon sellers understand the importance of strictly following Amazon’s policies. The last thing you want to do as a seller is violate one of Amazon’s policies. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get your seller account suspended or revoked for good! So, how can you keep track of the current policies, and where should you check for new changes or updates? 

 

The good news is that with careful attention, an Amazon seller can stay up to date on the latest rules and regulations for sellers. If you are constantly vigilant,  you can track when updates and changes occur — changes to policy will generally be posted in Seller Central and will push to email. But, in case you missed those updates, here are the latest, most up-to-date Amazon policies you need to know as an Amazon seller. 

Amazon Policy Changes as of November 1st, 2021

As an Amazon seller, you need to keep track of policy changes and updates regularly. Policy violations undoubtedly lead to account suspensions. While you can typically reverse your Amazon seller account suspension with a third-party service like Appeal Wizards, your best bet is to avoid account suspension altogether. 

 

As one of the most valued providers of Amazon appeals services, we pride ourselves on keeping our clients updated on the latest policy changes. As of November 1st, 2021, here’s what you need to know! 

Changes for Fashion Items

As of October 26th, 2021, all seller-fulfilled offers on fashion items will feature a free return message. This means that you will no longer be able to deduct the return shipping fee on fashion items. The changes are listed under the “Apparel, Shoes, Jewelry, and Watches in the US” categories. 

 

This change comes in response to the Amazon requirement that selling partners have return policies that are at least as favorable as the Amazon return policies. Fashion items are now required to follow Amazon’s “Free Returns on Fashion Items” policy. If you are an Amazon selling partner who sells fashion items, you are now required to offer free returns. 

What Does This Change Mean for Sellers? 

When a customer processes a return through the online return center, any fashion item returns that fall within the scope of Amazon’s return policy will be automatically authorized. Your customers will receive a tracked, prepaid return label that will be issued through buy shipping services on your behalf. As a seller, Amazon will charge your account for the cost of the shipping label. The charge will be initiated once your customer ships the product return. 

 

You will no longer be able to deduct the return shipping fee for prepaid labels. However, you will benefit from Amazon-negotiated rates with integrated carriers within the buy shipping services. Your rates will be calculated based on the size and weight of the returned item. 

If you do not have a return address in the United States, you can choose one of the following options through your Seller Central account:

 

  • You can provide prepaid return shipping labels for your international return address.

  • You can issue return-less refunds.

 

For more information on Amazon’s free returns on fashion items policy, get all the details here

New Program Policy

Effective September 1st, 2021, Amazon has added a new program policy called the “A-to-Z Claims Process.” This policy protects you as a seller because it helps quickly and effectively resolve open claims when a defective product causes property damage or personal injury. The new program policy helps sellers avoid costly litigation and will not expand their existing financial exposure for product liability. 

 

With Amazon’s new A-to-Z claims process policy, you do not waive any right or defense to any claim by participating. Suppose Amazon resolves a specific lawsuit with one of your customers. In that case, you and your insurer have the right to disagree and contest the decision. For more information on this new program policy, you can view all terms and conditions here

What Does This Change Mean for Sellers? 

If one of your products is defective and causes property damage or personal injury to your customers, Amazon will attempt to resolve the claim on your behalf. However, they will only offer to pay medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage. They will not offer to pay:

 

  • Non-economic damages

  • Business losses

  • Consequential and incidental damages

  • Attorney fees

  • Punitive damages

  • Other losses through the A-to-Z Claims Process

 

As an Amazon Seller, this change does not expose your business to any additional liability. However, effective September 1st, 2021, you will be required to carry commercial liability insurance with limits of at least $1 million once you reach $10,000 in gross proceeds in a month. You must also name Amazon as an additional insured on your policy. 

 

Make sure you upload proof of insurance to your Business Insurance page. If you carry adequate insurance and have your documentation uploaded as required, Amazon will not ask you to reimburse any claims they can resolve with your customers for settlement under $1,000. Learn more about insurance requirements here to make sure you meet the basic policy requirements. 

 

Note: Property damage and personal injury claims do not impact your order defect rate. However, if Amazon believes your product is unsafe, they have the right to remove your products if you don’t provide adequate proof of the safety of your product in question. 

Amazon Policy Changes You May Have Missed

If you’re new to selling with the largest eCommerce powerhouse on the market, here are some policy changes you may have missed in 2021. Unfortunately, many Amazon sellers don’t fully understand the importance of following policy updates until they face account suspension. The longer Amazon changes are in effect, the more it cracks down on seller compliance. 

 

Here’s a refresher on some changes made earlier this year! 

Changes to Program Policies

In case you missed it, effective May 18th, 2021, Amazon made the following fee-related program policy page changes:

  • “FBA features, services, fees, and resources,” which will also be renamed to “FBA features, services, and fees”;

  • “FBA fulfillment fees for Amazon.com orders,” which will also be renamed to “FBA fulfillment fee”;

  • “FBA removal order fees”;

  • “FBA long-term storage fees,” which will also be renamed to “Long-term storage fees”;

  • “Inventory storage fees,” which will also be renamed to “Monthly inventory storage fees”;

  • “Returns processing fee”; 

  • “Selling on Amazon Fee Schedule”

 

Amazon will also add new program policy pages dedicated to the following:

  • FBA disposal order fee

  • Lithium batteries fee

  • Special handling fee

What Does This Change Mean for Sellers? 

This change simply updates the United States program policy pages to improve clarity. There are no changes to the rates currently charged in any of these updates. 

 

However, earlier this year, Amazon also added the Unsuitable Inventory Investigations Policy. This new policy will require any seller under suspicion of selling counterfeit products or illegal goods to provide additional information regarding the affected FBA inventory. If Amazon reaches out asking for more information on this matter, you should react as quickly as possible. Contact an Amazon appeals professional to help navigate these changes and avoid account suspension if you are under suspicion. 

Update to FBA Inventory Reimbursement Policy

Effective June 17th, 2021, Amazon extended the reimbursement claim window for customer returns from 45 to 60 days. You’ll see more information on the FBA inventory reimbursement policy on your customer return claims page here. Effective on the same day of this year, Amazon also updated their FBA customer returns policy page to include a link to these updates. 

What Does This Change Mean for Sellers? 

Sellers will now be required to add 15 days to the claims process for customer reimbursements. 

Update to FBA Inventory Reimbursement Policy

Since February 3 of this year, reimbursements for all FBA sellers determined based on sales will incorporate all sales over the past 18 months rather than the previous 90-day window.

What Does This Change Mean for Sellers? 

This change allows Amazon to gather more data to help calculate accurate reimbursement values. 

Need Help Navigating Amazon’s Latest Policy Changes? 

If all these policy changes seem overwhelming, you’re not alone. Countless Amazon sellers come to Appeal Wizards for assistance in understanding new policy changes and help to overturn an unexpected suspension due to policy violations. Whether you want to be proactive with your compliance or you received a suspension notice, we’re here to help! Contact a dedicated Appeal Wizards team member to take the stress and uncertainty out of policy changes and Amazon suspensions! 

For valuable and proactive information on preventing Amazon seller suspensions, learn more here

 

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