Does Amazon check the serial number of returns? (Everything is known!)
There are a lot of questions about Amazon returns, which makes sense because there are a lot of rules and policies involved.
One of the issues has to do with the serial numbers of products returned by Amazon and the process behind them.
Does Amazon check the serial number of returns?
Yes, after you purchase an item, Amazon claims that the seller scans the serial number and barcode so that if you return the item, Amazon can verify that it is the same item when scanned.
This might seem like a lot, but considering some people go through the trouble of buying new items and returning old ones to get their money back, it makes sense for them to check them out.
This is the short answer, if you want the long answer by reading the rest of this post, go ahead and you might learn something new…
Does Amazon track the serial number of an item?
No, Amazon doesn’t track serial numbers, at least not all. Fulfillment center employees will receive and deliver products by scanning barcodes, after which sellers are responsible for everything related to their serial numbers, including tracking of course.
However, there is something called virtual tracking.
What is virtual tracking?
What virtual tracking does is enable Amazon to place orders with the same product from different sellers, so they process customer orders in a more efficient way and deliver from fulfillment centers that are closer to the person who purchased the product.
According to Amazon:
Virtual Tracking Tracks the origin of eligible products throughout the fulfillment process. Identical items from different sellers are not physically stored together in a fulfillment center.
What if someone returns an item with a different serial number?
This can be a serious problem for buyers and it is recommended that if this happens to you by accident, try to be as cooperative and honest as possible to avoid any further investigation.
That’s because many scams work this way, and Amazon is now fully aware of it.
What happens is that the seller, whether it’s a third-party seller or Amazon itself, immediately rejects the refund request and informs the buyer that the serial number is not the same as the item purchased.
Has Amazon ever refused returns?
Amazon technically has to accept any return as long as the product is eligible to issue a return, which means that in some cases Amazon may not accept a return or take action if a customer has made too many returns.
Which items cannot be returned?
Here’s a list of items that can’t be returned no matter how much you want to return:
- Devices such as laptops, desktops, and Kindles (one month after delivery)
- Some health and hygiene products and items with damage protection seals, however, these items may be eligible for a refund without the need to return.
- Custom, modified or handcrafted products (some exceptions may apply if the product is damaged or faulty)
- Digital music available from the Amazon Digital Music Store
- Flowers and plants cannot be returned, but refunds are available if there is a valid reason.
- Amazon Gift Card
- Prepaid game cards with codes to purchase content on video game platforms like Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo.
- prepaid calling card
- Products without serial numbers or universal product codes
- Any type of digital purchase, such as software and game downloads.
- Theme Park Tickets
- Videos purchased from the Amazon Video Store
- Groceries and alcohol (replacements or refunds are available if food spoils or if there are any issues with shipping)
- Hazardous materials such as flammable liquids or gases
- This may seem strange to some, but another “product” that cannot be returned is live insects
What if a customer asks for too many returns?
It’s an interesting question, and it’s unlikely to happen for the average Amazon customer, but it’s probably something that pops into our minds when considering a third or fourth return.
Well, there was a case back in 2018 where a customer had her account closed by Amazon due to “too many” returns in a 12-month period.
If you are interested in the full story, click here
An Amazon spokesperson said:
We want everyone to use Amazon, but there are rare cases where someone abuses our service for a prolonged period of time
The customers involved have requested returns seven times in a 12-month period, so it doesn’t take that much for Amazon to take action.
We never make these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers worldwide, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience of all of our customers
Returns must be a last resort, but if you do find yourself having to return multiple items, keep these tips in mind:
- Track any emails and get in touch with Amazon, as clear communication channels will maintain a secure customer-seller relationship.
- Try to keep your return rate under 10% (if you rarely use Amazon, it’s probably okay to have more).
- Always give clear reasons and evidence to support the need for a return.
- Don’t buy anything casually, and be sure to double-check your purchases before making a decision.
Want to learn more about Amazon? Check out the related post to find out where Amazon returns go and whether Kohl’s accepts Amazon returns.
Amazon must check the serial number of any returned item to verify it is eligible for a refund, and if they don’t match, they will deny the refund and ask the customer for details on why the numbers don’t match.
Both customers and sellers need to keep track of their product serial numbers to avoid any issues with their purchases, that’s the whole reason they exist