How to Manage Customer Damaged FBA Returns?

As an Amazon seller using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), customer damaged FBA returns can significantly impact your bottom line. 

Understanding the process for handling these returns and the associated reimbursements is crucial to maximizing your success on the platform. 

Gaining insight on the knowledge and strategies you need to effectively manage customer damaged goods from Amazon, mitigate potential losses, and ensure the long-term profitability of your Amazon business is an essential step. 

What are Customer Damaged FBA Returns?

Customer Amazon damaged item refund refers to products shipped through Amazon’s fulfillment network that are returned by the customer in a condition no longer considered “new”. 

This could include opened packaging, missing parts, minor wear and tear, or even significant damage. 

It’s important to be able to distinguish this from defective items, which are products that malfunction or fail to meet their intended purpose. 

How Does Amazon Classify FBA Returns

When a customer initiates an Amazon FBA return through Amazon, the product is shipped back to a fulfillment center. There, Amazon warehouse personnel inspect the returned item and categorize it based on its condition. 


If the item is deemed to be in “new” or “like new” condition, it will be placed back into your inventory for resale. 

This is the ideal outcome, as you can recoup your full investment and potentially make a profit.

Customer Damaged

Products that are opened but still function, or have minor damaged Amazon package (such as scuffed packaging or a missing manual), may fall under this category. 

These items are generally considered unsellable on Amazon as “new” because they no longer meet Amazon’s strict condition guidelines for new products. 

However, you may be able to resell them on other platforms, such as your own website or a discount marketplace, at a reduced price. 


Products that are malfunctioning or not as described are categorized as defective. 

Amazon may reimburse you for these items depending on your specific seller agreement. In some cases, Amazon may require you to provide proof of the defect, such as photos or manufacturer documentation. 

Disposed Of

Severely damaged items or those deemed a safety hazard will be disposed of by Amazon. 

While this is not ideal, it is important to understand that Amazon will not store inventory for you. You will not be reimbursed for disposed-of items. 

Customer Return Reasons

Customers may return items for various reasons, some of which may lead to returning damaged goods to Amazon.

The customer simply no longer wants the product. If the item is unopened or undamaged, you’ll typically receive a full return. However, if the packaging is opened or there’s a minor Amazon damaged product due to the customer’s handling, it might be classified as customer damaged. 

The customer may have received the wrong product. In this case, Amazon will typically handle the return and send the correct item at no cost to you. However, if the customer accidentally damages the incorrect item they receive, it could be classified as customer damage. 

The customer may claim the item arrived damaged. While Amazon may reimburse you for demonstrably defective products, they will not for customer-reported damage unless they determine it was their fault.

Pros of Amazon FBA Returns

Despite the challenges of customer damaged FBA return, there are significant advantages to using Amazon FBA: 


FBA handles storage, fulfillment, and customer service for returns, freeing  you to focus on other aspects of your business, such as product sourcing, marketing, and business development. This allows you to scale your business more efficiently and frees up valuable time and resources. 

Customer Satisfaction

A streamlined and hassle-free return process can significantly enhance customer satisfaction. When customers know they can easily return unwanted or damaged items, they are more likely to purchase from you again in the future and recommend your products to others. 

Positive customer reviews can also boost your product ranking in search results and attract new customers. 

Reduced Costs

Amazon’s economies of scale often lead to lower fulfillment costs compared to handling returns yourself. 

This can be especially beneficial for sellers who lack the storage space, personnel, or infrastructure to manage returns in-house. 

Additionally, FBA can help you streamline your fulfillment process and reduce fulfillment errors, which can further reduce your overall costs. 

Cons Of Amazon FBA Returns

There are also drawbacks to consider with FBA returns, particularly regarding customer damaged items: 

Financial Loss

Customer damaged items are often unsellable on Amazon, this leads to selling the damaged items on other platforms at a discounted price, but this reduces your profit margin. 

Severely damaged goods from Amazon may not be sellable at all and will need to be disposed of, resulting in a complete loss. 

Amazon generally does not reimburse sellers for customer damaged returns. This means you bear the financial burden of the return and may not recoup any of your initial investment. 

Inventory Management Challenges

When you receive customer damaged returns, you’ll need to sort through them, inspect their condition, and decide how to handle each item. 

This can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. 

If you choose to resell customer damaged items yourself, you’ll need to determine appropriate pricing, update listings on secondary platforms, and manage the entire sales process. This adds complexity to your overall inventory management.

Reputational Risks

If a customer receives a damaged item, they may leave a negative review, which can hurt your seller reputation and deter future sales. 

How to Handle Amazon Returns as a Seller?

Here are some proactive strategies you can implement to minimize the impact of Amazon damaged item return

Invest in High-Quality Packaging 

Using sturdy, appropriate packaging materials for your products can help prevent damage during shipping. 

Consider factors like product weight, size, and fragility when choosing packaging materials. 

Optimize Product Descriptions and Images

Provide clear, detailed, and accurate product descriptions that include dimensions, materials, and functionality. 

High-quality product images from multiple angles can also help set customer expectations and minimize confusion that might lead to accidental damage. 

Clear Return Instructions

Provide clear and concise return instructions to customers. This can help ensure they package the item correctly for return and minimize the risk of damage during the return journey. 

Consider Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)

For products with a higher risk of customer damage, consider fulfilling them yourself through Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) instead of FBA. This gives you more control over packaging and handling, potentially reducing damage rates. 

The Amazon FBA Returns and Refunds Process

The specific Amazon seller refund policy for customer damaged FBA returns can vary depending on the customer’s reason for return and the condition of the returned item. 

1. The Customer Initiates Return

The customer submits a return request through their Amazon account. They will need to specify a reason for the return, which could be anything from “change of mind”to “incorrect item received” or “damaged item”. 

It’s important to understand that the customer’s stated reason for return may not always reflect the actual condition of the item upon arrival at the fulfillment center. 

2. Return Shipment

Amazon approves the return request and provides the customer with a prepaid return shipping label. The customer securely packages the item following any specific return instructions provided by Amazon or yourself. 

The customer ships the product back to a designated Amazon fulfillment center using the provided label. 

3. Amazon Inspection

Upon arrival at the fulfillment center, trained Amazon personnel inspect the returned item meticulously. 

The inspection focuses on the item’s condition, whether the original packaging is intact or damaged and  if the item itself is undamaged, opened but complete, or has any functional issues. 

Whether any missing parts or accessories are present (if applicable). 

4. Communication and Decision

Amazon will notify you of the return visa email or Seller Central. This notification will include the customer’s reason for return (as stated by the customer) and the condition of the returned item based on their inspection (e.g., sellable, customer damaged, etc.). 

5. Refunds and Reimbursement

The customer typically receives their refund within a few days of Amazon processing the return. The refund amount will depend on the reason for return and the condition of the item upon arrival. 

For customer damaged items, as mentioned earlier, you won’t receive a refund from Amazon unless you can demonstrate the damage was their fault.