Online shopping is a large part of retail these days, with a NPR/Marist Poll revealing that more than two-thirds of Americans had given into online shopping as of 2018. Still, it can be hard to judge an item before you actually see it in person, which is why the ability to return items is such a necessary feature. But you may want to ease up on your returns if you want to keep shopping online: It turns out, you could actually get banned from Amazon for returning items too often. According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon will ban shoppers from using their site for returning too many items—sometimes without even telling the customer why they're being banned. And for more things that could get you in hot water, You Could Get Sued By Amazon for Doing This Online.
Amazon reportedly banned one man in 2018 after just five returns.
The WSJ talked to one consumer, Nir Nissim, who said he had been banned in March 2018 for violating the company's rules. Nissim received an email that stated he could not "open a new account or use another account to place orders" on Amazon.
According to his report, Nissim contacted the retailer for several weeks before being told by a customer service representative that his account had been closed because of his return activity. He says he had returned just one item earlier in 2018 and four items in 2017. After protesting his ban, he was eventually told by an Amazon employee that his account had been reinstated. And for more on returns, discover The New Way You Can Instantly Get Your Money Back After a Return.
Another user was banned after she "reported an unusual number of problems."
Shira Golan told the WSJ that she spends thousands of dollars on Amazon each year, buying an assortment of products from clothes and shoes to groceries and toiletries. And while she had asked for refunds on some clothing and shoe orders for either damaged or wrong items, she said she "didn't think it was so significant," especially considering how much she has bought from the company.
However, in May 2018 her account was shut down without explanation. And when she received a response on May 10, she was told her account was terminated permanently because she "reported an unusual number of problems" with her orders. "I didn't get any warning. If I knew this would happen, I wouldn't buy clothes and shoes on Amazon," Golan told the WSJ. And for another important word of caution, If You Bought This From Amazon, Stop Using It Immediately.
Amazon doesn't include anything about bans in their return policy.
Amazon says nothing about customers retuning too many items in their return policy. All they say is that "Amazon.com and most sellers on Amazon.com offer returns for items within 30 days of receipt of shipment." However, in the company's conditions, it does say that Amazon "reserves the right to refuse service [and] terminate accounts" at its own "sole discretion." And for insight into the popular company, This Is How Many Amazon Reviews May Be Fake, New Research Shows.
And an Amazon spokesman said bans only happen on "rare occasions."
Speaking to the WSJ, an Amazon spokesman said that the company will take action during "rare occasions" in which users abuse the platform. But if anyone thinks they have been mistakenly banned, the spokesman said Amazon encourages them to contact the company.
"We want everyone to be able to use Amazon, but there are rare occasions where someone abuses our service over an extended period of time," the spokesman said. "We never take these decisions lightly, but with over 300 million customers around the world, we take action when appropriate to protect the experience for all our customers." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
But former Amazon managers say you can get banned for several things.
According to the WSJ, former Amazon managers said the company terminates accounts for a variety of behaviors. This includes "requesting too many refunds, sending back the wrong items or violating other rules, such as receiving compensation for writing reviews." Chris McCabe, a former policy enforcement investigator at Amazon and now a consultant at EcommerceChris LLC, said the company usually bans accounts that are "creating a lot of headaches for Amazon." And for ways to be a better shopper, learn The One Shopping Habit That's Making You Spend More Money, Study Says.