Amazon’s new refunds policy will ‘crush’ small businesses, outraged sellers say

Amazon sellers are up in arms over a new returns policy that will make it easier for consumers to send back items at the merchant’s expense.

Marketplace sellers who ship products from their home, garage or warehouse — rather than using Amazon’s facilities — were told this week by email that starting Oct. 2, items they sell will be “automatically authorized” for return.

That means a buyer will no longer need to contact the seller before sending an item back, and the merchant won’t have the opportunity to communicate with the customer. If a consumer is returning an electronic device because it’s difficult to use, for example, the seller won’t be able to offer help before being forced to pay a refund.

“Customers will be able to print a prepaid return shipping label via the Online Return Center instantly,” the email said.

Additionally, Amazon said that it’s introducing “returnless refunds,” a feature that the company said is “highly requested by sellers.” The change enables sellers to offer a refund without taking back an item that may be expensive to ship and hard to resell.