What is Amazon chargebacks? Amazon chargebacks are payment reversals by the cardholder’s bank for transactions made on Amazon. Customers can dispute a charge on their credit card when they have issues with the transaction. Amazon offers payment protection with Buyers Dispute Program and A-to-Z guarantees but they don’t protect all dispute types. Supplimenting those native dispute mitigation systems with automated chargeback recovery helps you is a surer way to fend off scammers.
With a revenue of $513.983 billion in 2022 alone, Amazon is the most preferred eCommerce platform for many online vendors. The eCommerce behemoth is home to over 2 million third-party online retailers.
And the team is constantly switching gears in digital commerce innovation with fantastic software solutions, international presence, and customer service to reduce barriers to eCommerce entry further and capture more market share.
Unfortunately, as Amazon scales, so do inherent eCommerce risks, such as chargebacks and payment fraud. And with every customer-disputed order comes:
- transaction reversal,
- chargeback fees,
- sales cannibalization,
- overhead costs,
- and tainted business reputation.
That could also result in loss of payment collection rights in extreme cases.
Although the team has designed crucial fraud mitigation instruments to protect sellers from meritless chargebacks and fraud, online shoplifters still find ways to beat the system.
Keep reading for crucial insights into Amazon chargebacks and tips for preventing chargebacks on Amazon effectively.
What Are Amazon Chargebacks?
Amazon chargebacks are payment reversals by the cardholder’s bank for transactions made on Amazon. Like other eCommerce platforms like Shopify, customers can dispute a charge on their credit card when they have issues with the transaction.
Selling on Amazon means that when consumers make payments on purchases, the money goes directly to Amazon. And not the vendor. Amazon is the first point of contact when a cardholder initiates a chargeback request. They will deduct the transaction amount from the seller's account balance with a chargeback fee of $20.
The seller may also be subject to additional penalties or account suspension if chargeback rates are excessive.
These chargebacks, also called “charge disputes" or reversals, may occur due to one or more reasons, as noted below:
- Stolen credit card or used without the cardholder's authorization.
- The buyer is not satisfied with the product or service.
- The cardholder doesn’t recognize transactions billed on their statement.
- Items received weren't as described, faulty, or damaged.
Amazon Pay and Chargebacks
Amazon Pay is Amazon's native payment processor.
Amazon Pay merchant service handles everything about your merchant account and Seller Central, like checkouts, bank transfers, and sales. Amazon Pay also mediates all Amazon payment protections, including chargeback programs, buyer disputes, and A-to-Z guarantees (more on those in the subsequent section).
And when cardholders initiate disputes, Amazon Pay is the vehicle through which chargeback alerts and dispute communications get to merchants.
To encourage merchants and increase market adoption, Amazon Pay provides payment protections with zero chargeback fees and chargeback liability, in line with Amazon Pay policy.
Yet, Amazon's payment protection policies only cover unauthorized transaction chargebacks, such as fraudulent purchases. The program does not cover service-related chargebacks, and it also does not cover disputes regarding Amazon customer agreements shortcomings. Those include order description misrepresentation, order shipping issues, damaged goods, and incorrect billing.
Amazon’s service terms allow the company to represent merchants fighting service-related chargebacks. But there’s a caveat. If merchants dispute service chargebacks through Amazon Pay and the customer’s bank rules in favor of the cardholder, Amazon will debit the merchant with all fees.
Generally, sellers can dispute chargebacks if they believe the chargeback has no merit. But due to the technicalities of chargeback disputes, merchants rarely win. Hence, Amazon established specific chargeback protection instruments for merchants to resolve payment disputes mutually with buyers.
Amazon Seller Protection Against Chargeback Claims
Below are three crucial tools that Amazon uses to help merchants and buyers mediate disputes.
- Amazon Pay Buyers Dispute Program.
Under this Amazon Pay buyers dispute program, Amazon requires buyers to contact them for dispute remediation whenever they have transaction issues -- helping them minimize issuer-based chargebacks. Amazon mediates all decisions. However, they allow merchants to resolve disputes directly with buyers, like offering refunds or replacements.
- A-to-Z Guarantees.
Amazon designed the A-to-Z payment protection policy to gain cardholder trust in third-party vendors using Amazon and its services. Customers get a full refund for eligible transaction disputes if they engage the merchant for a reasonable solution. And it limits chargebacks relating to product or service satisfaction, clerical errors, or buyer’s remorse.
- Amazon Chargeback Support.
Under this program, Amazon helps merchants dispute meritless chargebacks on transactions made with Amazon Pay. However, sellers still bear the burden of evidence collection and a chargeback fee of $20. Amazon only takes care of the representment process.
The distinction between the first two programs and traditional chargeback is that the cardholder contacts Amazon Pay for dispute mediation or to make a claim under the Buyer's Dispute or A-to-Z Guarantee. But under conventional chargebacks, the cardholder disputes the charge to their bank or card issuer. And Amazon does not decide the case outcome.
What Must I Do When a Buyer Files a Chargeback?
Before we answer that question, let’s first take a stab at the question:
How do I know when a buyer has filed a chargeback?
And the answer is that Amazon Pay will send you an email via the Amazon Pay account email you provided when they receive a dispute notice from the customer’s bank or issuer. Ideally, you should receive another alert through Instant Payment Notifications (IPNs) in Seller Central if you’ve linked your email address to your Amazon Pay Account.
That said, let’s look at what you can do when a cardholder files a chargeback against you on Amazon.
First, you should know that merchants have 11 days from the chargeback day one to either accept or refute the dispute.
Second, the chargeback holds if a merchant defaults to respond within the stated time frame.
If you decide to respond to the dispute after reviewing the order details and any relevant customer communications you received, follow the steps below to accept or reject an Amazon chargeback.
How to Respond to Amazon Chargeback
As intimated above, you can accept or reject the claim when a buyer files an Amazon chargeback. Here’s how:
1. Dispute the Chargeback.
You must compile all relevant evidence establishing the order's legitimacy to dispute the chargeback. And send that documentation to the email from Amazon Pay.
Specific pieces of information you need to challenge a chargeback include:
- Product or service description
- Evidence of order delivery
- Shipment date
- Photos of the item
- A copy of your refund and return policies
- Details of any order changes, refunds, or cancellation
- Order Tracking number, when applicable
- Proof of digital asset usages, such as system logs or timestamps of software download
- Shipping address
- Details on whether you sell physical or digital merchandise
- Relevant customer communication, such as order confirmation email or Social Media message confirming satisfaction with the order.
Ensure that your documentation is relevant to the case, as Amazon forwards all data received from you to the customer’s bank or credit card company.
2. Accept the chargeback.
Suppose you determined that the cardholder’s claim is legitimate and wish not to dispute the chargeback. In that case, you should let Amazon Pay know that you agree for them to debit your merchant account.
As noted earlier, Amazon takes failure to respond to the chargeback notification within 11 calendar days as acceptance by default. They will debit your account for the transaction with the chargeback fee.
Keep in mind that chargebacks have a detrimental impact on a merchant’s business sustainability beyond the transaction in focus. You should only accept the dispute when you know the customer has a valid case.
Get Full Chargeback Protection With Dispute Automation
Amazon has established proactive chargeback mitigation processes to help eCommerce merchants prevent disputes. From in-house complaint resolution and transaction guarantees to chargeback protection programs, the team has taken more steps than many to help sanitize the payment ecosystem.
But that’s not enough.
Online shoplifters still penetrate the system, as Amazon does not guarantee 100% chargeback protection. More so, unlike automated dispute management that takes care of evidence gathering, merchants STILL have to gather evidence even if they have Amazon protection.
Equally crucial to note is that while merchants can get chargeback protection with Amazon Pay for fraud-related cases, most other dispute sources do not receive coverage.
The effects? A significant friendly fraud loophole!
And when scammers try to beat the system with friendly fraud, merchants bear the brunt of wasted time, money, and staff time in evidence gathering and other aspects of the dispute mediation rabbit hole.
Yet, chargeback automation offers a reliable dispute mitigation system to ensure you’re not leaving anything to chance. Instead of relying solely on Amazon seller protections, which don’t meet you, you can use Chargeflow’s automated chargeback solution to preempt chargeback losses.
Chargeflow is the world’s first fully automated dispute solution explicitly designed for eCommerce merchants by eCommerce merchants. With a 2-step integration, the setup is seamless and risk-free. And our success-based pricing means you only pay when you win cases. Or it’s free.
How long do I have to respond to a chargeback?
Amazon gives merchants 11 calendar days from the chargeback day one to respond to a chargeback to ensure they could meet bank or issuer deadlines. They state the specific time limit or reply-by date available in the original chargeback notification email.
Do I pay to dispute an Amazon chargeback?
Amazon assesses a Chargeback Dispute fee of $20 per chargeback. While evidence gathering still remains the liability of the merchant, Amazon Pay will build, present, and maintain your representment with the card issuer or bank. If you have provided requisite information and the chargeback is covered by their Payment Protection Policy, you will not incur a Disputed Chargeback fee and Amazon Pay will forfeit. But if your compelling evidence falls short or the transaction isn’t covered by their policy, they will assess the Disputed Chargeback fee, irrespective of the dispute outcome.
What happens if I don't respond within 11 calendar days?
Failure to respond within 11 calendar days means the chargeback will stand and the merchant debited the chargeback amount with accompanying fees.
Are Amazon chargebacks the same as Amazon Pay A-to-Z Guarantee?
No. Amazon chargebacks and Amazon Pay A-to-Z Guarantee are not the same thing. An Amazon chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a bill on their account, and the credit or debit card issuer initiates a reversal of the payment. Amazon Pay A-to-Z Guarantee, on the other hand, is a dispute remediation program that provides protection for customers who use Amazon Pay to make purchases on third-party websites. If a customer experiences a problem with an order, such as not receiving the item or receiving an item that is significantly different from its description, they can file a claim through the A-to-Z Guarantee to seek a remediation through Amazon. While chargebacks and the A-to-z Guarantee are both related to resolving payment disputes, they are not the same thing and have different processes and requirements.