How to handle this?

We just received an email from a customer for an FBM order placed in April for supplements that had at least 2 years until the expiration date.

I am sensing a scammer:
"Finally opened these and they what appeared to be black and moldy.
Threw them away and very disgusted. "

How would you deal with this? My initial thought was to say no response was needed, but I am afraid that I would end up getting whomped somehow by Amazon. Should I reply? If so, what should I say to them to cover my ■■■ and NOT give them any concession?

I would simply reply with the facts of the order:

“Order number was placed on date. Product was inspected on date, with an expiration date of date. Order was shipped on date using carrier. Order was delivered on date.”

And just leave it at that.

They didn’t ask for anything, so don’t offer anything, except facts.

You have no control over how that product has been stored or treated since it has been in the Buyer’s possession, for 6+ months.

…unless there’s some sort of warranty?


If it’s not a return request, I would do No Response needed. Looks like they are just ranting.

In general, if I don’t think a response will help the situation (and this goes for FBA orders as well on the rare occasions they use the contact seller button), I hit no response needed.

By responding you’re sending the customer a reminder about the issue.

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The subject of the contact was “Topic: Return/Refund/Replace” so I think he wants a refund or replacement.

[quote=“papy, post:2, topic:2649”]
“Order number was placed on date. Product was inspected on date, with an expiration date of date. Order was shipped on date using carrier. Order was delivered on date.”[/quote]

Unfortunately, I don’t know the actual expiration date of the product. We sell through our stock pretty quickly, and I know that there is a long expiration date for the stock that we receive from the manufacturer.

I don’t think a response will help either and would love to hit no response needed. I think he wants to fight LOL, but as he is asking for a refund or replacement, I think (?) I need to respond?

I am thinking of doing a version of what Papy suggested above and quote Amazon’s return policy. Other than leaving a review for the product, I don’t think there is a way he could do anything that would affect our metrics is there? Can he file an A to Z after all this time?

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We wouldn’t refund as it is after the normal Amazon refund policy time period.

If anything other than hitting no response, we would ask the customer to return the product so you could send it to the manufacturer for the manufacturer to determine the cause of the product turning black and/or the cause of the product molding… Once you receive the product back, you could send a replacement

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Thanks for that suggestion @Lost_My_Marbles. He won’t send it back as he said he threw it away but at least I am making an effort to respond to him.

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I get messages like this every so often. It is worth noting that I do not sell anything edible.

The items I sell often have a warranty of 1-3 years. When buyers complain about the quality of their purchase, I need to respond to process warranties on behalf of the manufacturer. If your items have a warranty or quality guarantee, I would respond even though the buyer says they threw the items away. My responses are generally a variation of:

The warranty on this item is for 1 year. The item you purchased is still under warranty and can be returned to us for a replacement or refund. You can send this item back to us at… at which point we will issue a replacement or refund, per your request.
We are unable to process any warranty claims without a return.
We apologize for the inconvenience, etc.

I send this message even when the buyer says they threw out of the item or has not asked for a refund or replacement partly to cover myself in case the buyer starts something with Amazon or initiates a chargeback, and partly to make them feel stupid for throwing stuff out and still expecting the world to bend over backwards for them.

If your items are not under any kind of warranty and are only subject to the standard Amazon return window, you can ignore them if you want to since it is past the date for a negative feedback or AtoZ claim. You may still be subject to a chargeback claim.

I think not answering is better than this response. The buyer isn’t questioning the shipping or delivery of the order and “I shipped it when I said I would so leave me alone” (I’m paraphrasing :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:) is more likely to antagonize them at this point then serve any constructive purpose, considering the mildly confrontation tone of their original message and their dissatisfaction with the product itself.

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Every Seller has to decide what risk they’re willing to take.

Personally, my decision to reply is for the purpose of preventing Amazon’s inevitable wrong-headed demand to know why I didn’t reply and as documentation for if I have to open an abuse case against the Buyer–but at the same time, I don’t want to give the Buyer any opening, so I would stick with these facts only for this one reply. Any follow up from the Buyer would be NRN.

However, my decision would be different if

and then I would do what @Lost_My_Marbles and @maintak have suggested about returning the product or providing information for sending the product directly to the manufacturer.


You MUST start tracking batch lots, and note the start date and stopping date of shipments of EACH LOT NUMBER, let alone expiration date. This way, if you know the ship date, you can look up the batch number and the expiration date for what was shipped from the paperwork that comes with each pallet, and without worrying about records for each order. What we used to do with lab reagents was to make sure that the first carton of reagent from a new shipment would not be opened until the last bottle of the last shipment was consumed. The new carton being opened would be logged (as we tracked down to the carton level - SCIENCE!), and thus a simple spiral notebook was all it took to track all the reagents.

You can do the same.

And my 2 cents - ask them for a photo of the “moldy” items. eBay does this quite well, one MUST include a photo to get any return request started. The request for a photo allows one to avoid the return postage charge when the customer is honestly reporting yeeecchhy mold on his all-natural, no-preservatives, herbal viagra.

When the customer is a grifter, it shuts down the attempt, unless he is a photoshop wizard or otherwise willing to do some “special effects”.

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Just to be clear, Amazon prohibits requiring photographs for refunds/returns/replacements, but to my knowledge they do not prohibit simply asking for photographs for “investigation” or documentation purposes.

Of course, @JustMe123’s Buyer already said they discarded the product…

…but perhaps they took pictures before doing so.


That’s a liar right there. No one (almost?) throws something away and then, afterwards, asks for a refund.


Well, I sent a short, sweet reply apologizing and telling him to return the product to us for investigation. I told him once we received the product back that we would either reship a replacement order or issue a refund to him. No reply from him and no product so far. Thanks for all the suggestions.