Have you ever checked your sales in the Amazon Seller App and seen an order with a zero dollar amount? You might be asking yourself, “Why does it look like Amazon just gave someone my stuff for FREE?”
These are replacement orders. There was a problem and the customer needed another of the same item – maybe it was lost, defective, or they received the wrong item. Whatever the problem was, they really didn’t want a refund. They just wanted what they ordered, and you had another in stock. Instead of forcing them to accept a refund, Amazon shipped them a second unit from your inventory at no cost, and they will be required to return the one they received – if they actually received it.
How often does this happen? It probably depends on your inventory and your business model, but we have 10-15 of these orders each month.
These situations can be a bit confusing. Because there was no refund, the original order will look perfectly normal in the Manage Orders interface. If the customer actually returns the first item they received, it won’t appear in Orders: Manage FBA Returns. No reimbursement will be linked to the original order or the replacement order. It looks for the all the world like you are just out of luck. It looks like someone just got a BOGO on your dime.
But if you go to Seller Central: Reports: Fulfillment and choose Replacements (low on the left) you can see all these orders. For each one, you’ll see the original order and the replacement order. You’ll also see a code that tells you why they received a free replacement.
Now if you grab those original Order IDs and check them in the FBA Customer Returns report (just above the Replacements report), you’ll see that most or all of the items were returned to your inventory by conscientious customers. If you find any where the item wasn’t returned by the customer, your Reimbursements report should show a reimbursement for the original Order ID.
Bottom line: Don’t panic when you see those “free” orders. While they do indicate a return – not our favorite occurrence – they don’t mean Amazon is giving out free shopping sprees.