Problematic seller on Amazon: what's my next step?
June 12, 2014 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Bought an item on Amazon. Seller sent me different model than what I bought. Took effort, but finally convinced seller they should pay for return shipping. I shipped it. Seller claims item was not in box I shipped. Now what?

Short story: bought an ergonomic keyboard on Amazon to replace one I have. I was careful to pick the right model. Seller was not Amazon itself but one of the sellers you get when you click "Add to cart". Received keyboard, but it was the wrong model. Contacted seller. Seller said manufacturer no longer makes the model I wanted, this was the new model, and they don't have the older model. I requested that they let me do a return and that they pay return shipping because they sent me something I did not order. Initially they refused, saying that they shipped what I bought and I was responsible for return shipping (per their seller policy.) It took several very polite messages on my part, including one where I uploaded a PDF of the product page showing the model number and them as the seller, to convince them that they did, in fact, send me something that I had not ordered. Took a week to get the (physical) return shipping label. I packaged everything back in the box they sent, and sent it back to them. After waiting several weeks to make sure they had time to receive it, I was still not credited back the return. Finally contacted them yesterday. Their reply today: "We did receive a return but, no keyboard was in the box."

I sent off a short reply just now to say that yes, I put the keyboard in the box (why would I do anything else, after all this effort?), and asking if there was any sign of damage to the box (because I have no idea what happened – I shipped back what they shipped to me).

But I think we can predict what their reply will be. So my question is: what is the best action for me now? The item was bought for work, with a work credit card (not my own money), so I really want the seller to refund the purchase price. If it wasn't for that, I would simply leave negative seller feedback and chalk it all up to a mistake. I have to escalate this, but how? I've never had I've never had so much trouble with a seller on Amazon and am at a loss for what my options are.
posted by StrawberryPie to Work & Money (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Talk to Amazon customer service. They are often very helpful. I'm not sure whether/what they will do for you, but it is a good next step at any rate.
posted by brainmouse at 11:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [6 favorites]

The box had to have a weight, right? Do you have a receipt showing the weight? Because an empty box will weigh a lot less than a full one. Call Amazon, let them know. They'll most likely sledgehammer the seller.
posted by Slinga at 11:18 AM on June 12, 2014 [20 favorites]

I'd call your credit card company and see if they can reverse the charges. Especially if it's a corporate card - they want to keep their corporate cardholders happy. I manage the corporate AmExes for my company and I know American Express would fix this in a second if I called with a similar circumstance.
posted by something something at 11:20 AM on June 12, 2014 [5 favorites]

Definitely go through Amazon customer service at this point. You should be able to file a claim right from your "My Orders" screen. At this point, I'm willing to bet these are delay tactics to try to get you outside the claim window.
posted by Aleyn at 11:21 AM on June 12, 2014 [9 favorites]

nthing Amazon customer support. I had an issue with toner (for my work) I bought from a reseller (they sent the wrong type) and support was very helpful. Amazon ended up refunding me the amount.
posted by pibeandres at 11:30 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd call your credit card company and see if they can reverse the charges
A credit card company is going to want to know what steps you have gone through with the vendor to get this fixed (in this case, Amazon, not the seller). Go as far as you can with Amazon directly before going to your card company.

I had a similar thing with a seller that sent me the wrong book (right title, wrong author!) and Amazon was helpful in getting me a refund. They were not helpful in removing the listing, though, and I did not have any return shipping shenanigans from the seller.
posted by soelo at 12:00 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

contact Amazon customer service.

you are covered by their A-to-Z guarantee.

You can file a claim when all of the following applies:

You have contacted the third-party seller through Your Account.
You have waited two business days for a response.
Your request meets one of our A-to-z Guarantee conditions below.
- The third-party seller failed to deliver the item by 3 days past the maximum estimated delivery date or 30 days from the order date, whichever is sooner.
- The item you received was damaged, defective, or materially different from the item represented on the product detail page.
- The third-party seller agreed that they'd refund you, and they either haven't refunded you at all or the refund is in the wrong amount.
Note: If you refuse the package and the return does not have tracking information, your claim may not be covered.

How to file A-to-Z claim

what? no, i don't shop amazon a lot lot lot. not at all....
posted by sio42 at 12:27 PM on June 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

Speaking as an Amazon seller, Amazon is VERY buyer-friendly. File an A-to-Z guarantee as outlined above. I've been on the opposite end of this as a seller with problematic/dishonest buyers, and Amazon always, always came down on the side of the buyer, regardless of proof/facts/etc. Since you're not only the buyer but also actually in the right here, you should have no problem getting your refund. Amazon holds funds before transferring them to the seller, so Amazon will issue the refund after you file the A-to-Z guarantee claim. The seller will never even have your money (and likely never has had it, as it takes weeks for funds to be transferred).
posted by pecanpies at 1:28 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another Amazon seller here, and I agree with pecanpies. This is the sort of shenanigans the A to Z is for. Don't hesitate to push it to be made whole.

If you were my customer (in addition to it have never gotten to this point :), I would have immediately contacted you if I had gotten an empty box, just to let you know about it, and I would have still refunded you in full. This is a bad seller, and you should not feel bad about making him feel bad.

I hope this doesn't turn you off buying from third-party sellers. Some of us are lovely.
posted by thebrokedown at 3:23 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Amazon has great customer service. As a company they are pro-buyer (most Amazon sellers live in fear of a negative review or customer service issue, as Amazon takes it really seriously).
posted by radioamy at 3:38 PM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

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