Categories Retail, Technology

Think before returning items to Amazon, you may avoid a lifetime ban

One of the proclaimed policies of Amazon (AMZN) is to “be patient” with customers. Now, shoppers who so far enjoyed the retail giant’s liberal ways are in for some disappointment. For many, the facility to return goods without any restriction is something that makes shopping with Amazon exciting. Sadly, it is not going to be the same anymore, even for Prime members.

In a move that many believe is unbecoming of a global entity like Amazon, the company blocked several premium accounts since last week for ‘abusing’ its online shopping policies. Unable to make their regular purchases, some customers vented their outrage on the social media.

What makes it annoying is that accounts are reportedly knocked off from Amazon’s e-commerce website without specifying any reason. It is learned the company is targeting people who have made it a habit to return items frequently and those who violate the rules.

Amazon blocked several premium accounts since last week for ‘abusing’ its online shopping policies

Meanwhile, a statement from Amazon said it is freezing the accounts of shoppers who take the facility for granted and return too many items. In cases where the degree of ‘abuse’ is moderate, the company issues warnings to the respective members.  Some have been asked to explain the reason for returning several items they purchased online in short intervals. What leaves most customers confused is the fact that they are unable to figure out ‘how many’ items are ‘too many.’

Allowing customers to return items if they don’t like them is a widely used marketing strategy by leading retailers, especially e-commerce companies, and Amazon customers have been enjoying a free run in that regard.

The crackdown triggered speculations, and many believe it is part of a larger plan to streamline Amazon’s online platform with focus on tightening the loose policies and taking greater control over customer accounts. Going by the company’s track record of customer service and its global aspirations with long-term goals, the last thing it would ever do is to alienate customers.

Or, is it that Amazon thinks it has too many Prime members now? Last month, the company hiked its Prime membership fees by 20% to $119 per year, soon after reporting first-quarter earnings that more than doubled from last year. The impressive results triggered a rally and the stock hit a record high.

If Amazon is experimenting with customer accounts without proper planning, it is definitely doing a favor to rivals like Costco (COST) and Walmart (WMT).

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