Amazon is changing up its billing process, enabling a feature it calls "Charge When Ship," in an effort to improve customer satisfaction on the site.
While in the past, buyers' credit cards were charged when they placed an order, Amazon says it will now wait to bill buyers until their orders are in the mail.
By the end of summer, all third-party sellers will have to use the Charge When Ship feature, but sellers can opt in now by logging into their seller accounts, where they'll get details about the program. Eventually, Amazon will activate the feature in the accounts of all third-party sellers. Merchants will be notified by e-mail a week before accounts are transitioned, Amazon notes.
"Charge When Ship follows the current industry standard for processing buyer payments, and will also help keep buyers informed about the status of their deliveries," Amazon reports. "All new orders [sellers] receive must be processed using Charge When Ship."
After signing up, sellers must use their "Confirm Shipment" buttons in their accounts to receive payments for items, and they must ship goods within two days of confirming an order. Failing to do so may result in a temporary suspension, Amazon warns. Orders that are not confirmed within 30 days will be cancelled without charging customers.
"We won't charge the customer, and you won't have to issue a refund," according to Amazon.
Sellers can also cancel orders themselves if they decide not to ship.
Amazon will take care of notifying buyers that their items are on the way. And the marketplace will send sellers e-mails if they have unshipped products.
Changing to this process will help both buyers and sellers, Amazon asserts. "Buyers contact sellers less often if they know when and how an order was shipped and they especially appreciate tracking information," Amazon states in its FAQs. "Informed buyers are happier buyers; happier buyers leave better feedback."
For more information on this new policy, please click here.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.