Taxes & Law

Amazon shortens return period to statutory minimum duration

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

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For a long time, the return period at Amazon was considered to be fixed: the right to return products purchased on the online platform was valid for at least 30 days. This is now changing. Due to rising costs and the current inflation problem, the online giant has already introduced two new measures to cut costs. After Amazon already uses AI technologiesto minimize returns of fashion items, the return period for other product groups is now also to be extended. reduced in order to save costs. We have summarized the most important information for you.

The most important things at a glance:

The initial situation

Consumers particularly appreciate free return options from suppliers. This creates trust and offers buyers the convenience of returning items if they are not satisfied with them.

But online retailers are faced with a dilemma: every returned item costs sellers between five and ten euros, according to a study by the Retail Research Institute EHI emerges. The biggest cost factor is the inspection of the returned items and the associated quality control. Returns of electronic items are particularly problematic for many online retailers, as they are no longer allowed to resell these goods as A goods.

What's more, frequent returns also have a negative impact on the environment and the climate. So complains the Federal Environment Agency negative effects due to additional transportation routes and, if necessary, the forced destruction of returned goods that can no longer be used.

On average, the Return rates in Germany between six and ten percent, and as much as 26 to 50 percent for fashion products. A total of 14% of all online retailers offer a waiver of return costs.

The changes in detail

The new 14-day return period will take effect from April 25. It always begins on the delivery date of the respective product. The affected product groups include electronics, cameras, office supplies and video games. However, Amazon devices and renewed products as well as all other product groups are exempt from the new regulation. The 30-day return period still applies there as usual.

The right of return and Return date should be clearly highlighted and marked under each product price so that there is no misunderstanding regarding the deadline.

Online retailers breathe a sigh of relief

With Amazon's adjustment to the legal minimum return period in Germany, the online giant is now also offering some freedom for sellers on the platform: online retailers who use Amazon as a marketplace are now free to offer their own return periods. These may not fall below the statutory minimum period of 14 days, but can be adjusted upwards as desired. Amazon is thus solving an important Point of contentionbecause all retailers were obliged to offer a 30-day return period in advance.