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FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: May 16, 2010 05:24PM
Original post: [forums.macresource.com]

For some reason, it took awhile, but the buyer eventually filed a claim and I received notification of it on the 11th from Amazon:
Quote
Amazon
Greetings from Amazon.com.

We have received a claim under the A-to-z Guarantee program for the order ???-??????-?????? because the buyer received a damaged item. The buyer's comments were "I purchased 5 items from seller and I received 4. I received a refund for the item I did not receive. I purchased items advertized as new. The items arrived without UPC codes. I must receive the UPC codes for a cannon rebate. ".

Please note that you have seven (7) days to respond to this e-mail. Failure to respond with all requested information below may result in a debit to your Amazon Payments account.

If you accept or want to defend this claim, the easiest and quickest way to refund or represent yourself is to use A-Z-Guarantee on-line forms. By doing so you will ensure faster resolution to the buyer and yourself. Do not reply to this email if you use the on-line forms.

If a partial refund has been given we do require a response to the claim notification explaining the reason a full refund was not provided, failure to do so may result in a debit to your Amazon Payments account.

So I defended the claim the same day:
Quote
Carnos Jax
Mr. X purchased 5 Brand Y Model ????? printers from me. As I did not have 5, I contacted Mr. X and asked whether he would like to cancel the order or just receive 4 (reference my message to him). He emailed me back and said 4 would be fine. As a good will gesture, after refunding the 5th printer, I upgraded his shipping to Expedited, resulting in him receiving them in only 2 days (you may verify this by looking up tracking number ???????????????).

Upon receiving the 4 printers, Mr. X informed me they were missing the UPC's. Therefore he asked that I pay for the return shipping on the items, and that he would like a full refund (including the shipping) on what he paid.

In regard to the damage, no where in Mr. X's emails to me did he indicate the boxes (or the items inside) were physically damaged. In fact he says the boxes are still unopened (please feel free to verify this yourself by looking at our email exchanges).

Please note the warranty is not affected by the lack of a UPC, as Brand Y only requires the serial number of the product and the original bill of sale (most customers throw away the box with the UPC attached).

I informed Mr. X that I explicitly state "Not eligible for rebates or promotions (UPC removed)." My listing description was very brief and concise so as to remove any ambiguity.

Never the less, I informed Mr. X that I would accept a return for all 4 printers, but he would have to pay for return shipping and I would only refund him the item cost minus shipping.

As evidenced in his various emails, Mr. X said that he failed to notice my mention (in the Comments section of my listing) of the product not being eligible for rebates/promotions and of the UPC being removed.

When I listed my item, I made careful note of Amazon's definition of "New" as it pertained to the Electronics category. The definition does not specifically say that the UPC has to be included. I contrasted this definition with the definition of "New" in other categories like Software & Computer Games, which explicitly states (several times in fact) that the UPC has to be included. Couple this with the fact that the vast majority of sellers in the non-Featured section of the Amazon Marketplace selling the Brand Y Model ???? also lists their items as being "New" but with the "UPC Removed", I felt as a matter of policy that Amazon found this practice (listing an item as new with UPC removed) to be acceptable. Therefore I listed mine in the same manner.

In summary, the customer failed to read my description in which I described the item as not being eligible for rebates/promotions and having the UPC removed. However I was willing to accept a return, provided he pay for the return shipping. And furthermore, I felt I should only refund him the actual item cost (not the original shipping charges to him) once I received the items back, since the error was on his part.

Amazon responds:
Quote
Amazon
Hello from Amazon.com.

Thank you for writing to us at Amazon.com regarding order ???-??????-??????.

Because you listed an item in a different condition than the one advertised on the detail page, the item was materially different than described, and the buyer is automatically eligible for the A-to-z Guarantee whether they return the item or not.

Per our Policies for listing Amazon Marketplace items, sellers must accurately describe the product's condition. It is not sufficient to list differences from the stated condition in the comments. In this case, this item was listed as "New". As we state in our condition guidelines, this condition means:

"New: Just like it sounds. A brand-new, unused, unopened product in its original packaging and with all original packaging materials included. The original manufacturer's warranty, if any, should still apply, with details of the warranty included in the conditions comments."

In this case we will allow you the opportunity to assist your buyer with a return of the item before a refund is provided. Please send an e-mail to the buyer's e-mail address, ???????????????@marketplace.amazon.com, with return information and cc seller-guarantee@amazon.com on your message. Be sure to include the order number in the subject line of your email.

To resolve this issue as quickly as possible, please provide this information to the buyer within the next 3 business days or you may be held responsible for the full amount of this claim.

If you'd like to view our Policies, Glossary and FAQs, please visit:

[www.amazon.com]

Thank you for choosing Amazon.com.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: May 16, 2010 05:25PM
So, incredibly, Amazon does not back up their sellers.

More incredibly, they have the audacity to knowingly overlook the the whole UPC business in the Electronics category by omitting the mention of it in their definition for "New" and tolerate listings whose comments state UPC removed.

Obviously they don't want to 'hurt' their resale market. But I smell the grounds for some kind of class lawsuit. Of course, it may not be worth my while.

How difficult would it be for them to include the UPC condition in their definition?
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: May 16, 2010 05:28PM
Funny thing is, I think if this were an eBay dispute, I'd win. I suspect I could even win in small claims court.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Doc
Date: May 16, 2010 05:29PM
"A brand-new, unused, unopened product in its original packaging..."

I would read that to mean that the original packaging is entirely present, including UPC code(s).
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: May 16, 2010 05:38PM
Agreed Doc, I would too. But when you look at the definition of "New" in other categories like Software & Computer Games (per [www.amazon.com] ):

"New: Just like it sounds. Brand-new, unused, unopened software or computer game in perfect condition in its original packaging and with all original packaging materials included. New software and computer games should include the original UPC."

Why make (and I realize this is a question more directed at Amazon) this distinction here and not in Electronics?

Couple this with the fact that for the last several years they've tolerated the practice of resellers in the non-Featured section of their Marketplace of stating "UPC removed" in the Comments section, and I drew the conclusion that it was okay for me to do this. I never really gave it a second thought (like do I need to further confirm with Amazon). If it's against their policy, then why do they allow such listings to persist?



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2010 05:41PM by Carnos Jax.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Doc
Date: May 16, 2010 06:07PM
Your point about disclosing the condition of the packaging is lost in your original message because you took several paragraphs to get to it.

I'd send them another message. It would go something like this:

Quote

Your statement that "the item was materially different than described" is incorrect.

My product description *explicitly* stated that the UPC codes were removed from the packaging. The items are otherwise in "new" condition. My product description was in no way misleading. It complied in every possible way with Amazon's published guidelines.

The purchaser is claiming a defect on the basis of the missing UPC codes. He was forewarned that there were no UPC codes on the packaging before he made his purchase.

I did not violate your guidelines and my description was sufficient.

I have made every reasonable attempt to satisfy this customer, including providing expedited shipping that he did not pay for and offering his money back for a return of the merchandise.

I should not be penalized with the additional shipping costs just because this customer chose to ignore the clearly-stated product-description.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2010 06:08PM by Doc.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: May 16, 2010 06:14PM
I see two things here:

New software and computer games should include the original UPC.

A specific mention of two categories, no mention of hardware.


New software and computer games should include the original UPC.

Should seems more like advice; must would seem more appropriate and accurate:

New software and computer games must include the original UPC.

Applying that admonishment to all categories would eliminate ambiguity and the tacit approval of "New, no UPC listings".




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: May 16, 2010 06:23PM
I like Doc's version, but I'd make one small change from:

I should not be penalized with the additional shipping costs just because this customer chose to ignore the clearly-stated product-description.

to:

I should not be penalized with the additional shipping costs just because this customer did not carefully read the clearly-stated product-description.

I couldn't know that he saw and chose to ignore the description.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: ScottG
Date: May 16, 2010 06:30PM
I would also assume that new meant with UPC, but probably would not (as a customer) have read Amazon's definition of "new". However, if the description (which I would read) said that the UPC has been removed, I would assume that the item did not have a UPC. Seems clear enough to me....

cheers

scott
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: MarkD
Date: May 16, 2010 06:39PM
For future use, can you simploy say that they are in excellent condition or something other than "new."?

In addition to having your other disclaimers. Please keep us posted.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: May 16, 2010 06:39PM
Quote
Doc
Your point about disclosing the condition of the packaging is lost in your original message because you took several paragraphs to get to it.

I'd send them another message. It would go something like this:

Quote

Your statement that "the item was materially different than described" is incorrect.

My product description *explicitly* stated that the UPC codes were removed from the packaging. The items are otherwise in "new" condition. My product description was in no way misleading. It complied in every possible way with Amazon's published guidelines.

The purchaser is claiming a defect on the basis of the missing UPC codes. He was forewarned that there were no UPC codes on the packaging before he made his purchase.

I did not violate your guidelines and my description was sufficient.

I have made every reasonable attempt to satisfy this customer, including providing expedited shipping that he did not pay for and offering his money back for a return of the merchandise.

I should not be penalized with the additional shipping costs just because this customer chose to ignore the clearly-stated product-description.

Wow, that might be a tactical error on my part. I was planning on replying (though I already did as they requested and sent the buyer prepaid shipping labels) pointing out the inconsistencies in their definition. I will probably send an initial reply pointing out what you suggested (or at least begin it with that).
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Carnos Jax
Date: May 16, 2010 06:42PM
Thank you all for your thoughts, if any have more (both negative or positive to my case...please don't hesitate to share as I appreciate all criticism...I'm not above thinking in the end that I may actually be wrong).

Will keep everyone posted.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Janit
Date: May 16, 2010 07:03PM
Quote
Carnos Jax
Thank you all for your thoughts, if any have more (both negative or positive to my case...please don't hesitate to share as I appreciate all criticism...I'm not above thinking in the end that I may actually be wrong).

Will keep everyone posted.

Since you haven't issued a refund yet, perhaps you will still have the possibility of refunding the purchase price but NOT the original shipping charge once the printers are returned.

It seems like you should still make the case suggested by Doc so as to elicit a clear policy statement regarding UPC codes on electronics, and perhaps even a reversal of the original decision.

Consider that you may need to work your way up the food chain to talk to the people who are responsible for setting policy rather than to the service people who are responsible for interpreting it. These fine legalistic points of category distinction may be more that the lower echelons can wrap their heads around.

Amazon has also misled you by tolerating "without UPC" listings in the electronics category and now dinging you for listing this way. Amazon derives major business from sellers who are recycling new merchandise they've already claimed rebates on. If Amazon were to be honest about it, they could simply create a new condition category called "New without UPC".

Good luck with it.

PS Is there any way to look into the history of the buyer? This all makes me wonder whether he really WAS aware of the lack of UPC code and was trying to defraud YOU. Most people who do the rebate thing know that you need to buy from an authorized reseller, and not just "someone on Amazon/eBay."



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2010 07:25PM by Janit.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: May 16, 2010 07:14PM
For future use, can you simploy say that they are in excellent condition or something other than "new."?

My first thought would be "That's code for Used but in excellent condition." And since it's not actually a Used product, value would be affected.

It sounds like it's Amazon's policy to accept seller listings with "New, no UPC" as long as a buyer doesn't complain.

So to convey the concept, it sounds like sellers have to be very creative with condition comments:

Condition: like NEW (is that even an option)

Comments: Amazon maintains that an item with the UPC removed is not NEW so I can't describe it as such. I will say that the box is unopened, factory sealed so the contents are in the exact same condition as the same item with the UPC intact would be. Amazon would allow that item to be listed as NEW even though the only difference between it and my item is mine lacks a UPC.


Amazon should create a category- NEW, no UPC, and describe it as factory sealed, original packaging, with the one and only one exception of a removed UPC or something similar.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men except
by believing all possible evil of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: space-time
Date: May 16, 2010 07:39PM
just curious, how much was shipping back and forth for these 4 printers?
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: DavidS
Date: May 16, 2010 07:57PM
These kind of B.S. claims piss me off. Whenever I buy something, I read and reread the auction listing to make sure I understand everything. If I'm not sure of something, I send an email to ask before bidding/buying.

With eBay, I've found that the buyers in auctions do not have to fully read the listing. If the item was as described, but not as they assumed, they can file a claim and win any dispute. At least, that's my experience with eBay and PayPal.

I have never listed with Amazon Marketplace, but am thinking that I won't bother in the future if they treat their sellers the same way.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: space-time
Date: May 16, 2010 10:29PM
one could sell a printer with UPC intact, and the buyer could cut it off and claim they received the printer without UPC. Who can prove whether the printer was shipped WITH or WITHOUT UPC?

So assume for one second the seller (Carnos Jax) were claimed the UPC was intact. Then the buyer would immediately point out that the description of the item indicated the UPC was removed. So then it becomes obvious they did not read the description and thus made a fool of themselves.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2010 10:29PM by space-time.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Janit
Date: May 16, 2010 11:08PM
Quote
space-time
one could sell a printer with UPC intact, and the buyer could cut it off and claim they received the printer without UPC. Who can prove whether the printer was shipped WITH or WITHOUT UPC?

So assume for one second the seller (Carnos Jax) were claimed the UPC was intact. Then the buyer would immediately point out that the description of the item indicated the UPC was removed. So then it becomes obvious they did not read the description and thus made a fool of themselves.

Sounds like an episode out of CSI UPC.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: rgG
Date: May 17, 2010 07:44AM
The only thing I could add is that on any future sale of a unit without the UPC you should send an email stating that you want the buyer to acknowledge that he/she understands that the UPC has been removed and that you will not ship the goods until you have a return email from the buyer stating that he/she understands and accepts this condition. That way, if he/she later decided to contest the sale, you would have this as evidence that they knew what they were buying and had agreed to accept it without the UPC.

Sorry this happened to you. It seems to be clearly a case of the buyer not taking time to read the description of the product carefully.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: Plumbking
Date: May 17, 2010 01:43PM
As an eBay seller I agree with you 100%.

But....

Did you remove the UPC and get the rebates?
Did the source you got them from get the rebates?
Could the buyer even get 4 rebates if the UPC was intact? (usually 1 per household)

I think somebody got over on the rebate company for which I am glad. I would pay for shipping back, refund, and sell them again on Amazon.

Sorry for your frustration. It sucks dealing with the public.
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Re: FU: to my situation with Amazon and those printers i sold without the UPC
Posted by: volcs0
Date: May 17, 2010 04:35PM
My experience with Amazon as a seller is that they side with the buyer almost all of the time. You can dispute all you want, but you may just continue to get these "form emails." In addition, they have a very low threshold for suspending selling privileges. These are the reasons that make shopping at Amazon so great as a consumer, but it can make things challenging as a seller. I've had several cases so far, where I know the buyer is scamming me, and it is just not worth the hassle (and the risk of suspension) to fight it. I do think you are right on this one, but I do not think you will "win."
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