PSA: Hobbyist Resellers Should Avoid Selling Big Ticket Items

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I have been reselling now for a little over a year.  In that time I had never had a return until a few weeks ago. The return process was not a big pain in the ass but it did make me thankful that I never had a return on the larger ticket items I used to focus on.

For the last couple of months I have been selling a product that I’ve been pretty happy with.  My ROI is around 30% and the individual cost per product is about $46.  I have been buying 20 at a time and I usually sell out within 7 days of the product listing.  I am not going to disclose what the product is since it is a clearance item and I feel pretty darn lucky that it has not run out yet.

Recently, however, I had two items returned.  I wanted to talk about the process because I think it highlights why, if you are a small time reseller like me, you should avoid reselling big ticket items.

First: Notice of Refund

I got an email from Amazon informing me that a customer was refunded their purchase price and $128 dollars was deducted from my account.  This was not too big of a deal since I had just sold out of this product and had $1300 in my account.

However, I noticed in the email it said nothing about the return process itself so I made an inquiry and here is the gist the response:

Therefore I would like to inform you that whenever a refund is issued to the buyer, a 45 days return window is provided to the buyer in which they can ship the product back to our fulfillment center. When the product is returned to FC units upon investigation returned to your inventory if sell-able and if the buyer fail to return the product then after 45 days you will be reimbursed automatically.”

After receiving this email, I thought thank god I did not get a return on the $1,000 iPads I was selling.  I play around with $1,000 to $2,000 in inventory.  My habit is to not buy more product until I have received payment from Amazon for products already sold.  A potential 45+ day wait for a refund would have sucked big time.

Second: The Refund Process

Turns out with this particular return I did not have to wait 45 days.  For whatever reason (Amazon never said why) they initiated a reimbursement to me on this product about a week later.  The one problem was they reimbursed me $116 or to put another way $12 less than what they took out of my account.

I emailed Amazon to ask for an adjustment. The process was sort of a pain in the ass but that was my fault.  They would send me an email and I would respond to the email, instead of logging in to my account to respond.  I guess you can’t respond directly to the email you get.

Anyway, they asked for an invoice (my purchase receipt) to process my claim.  I provided the receipt and they promptly refunded me an additional $12 to bring it back in line with what was deducted from me.

Again, however, the reimbursement process also made me question the wisdom of big ticket items.  While most of my iPad purchases, for example, came from Staples I did occasionally buy from eBay.  Given the issues around reselling Apple products, I wonder if Amazon would have so easily accepted a receipt from a non-authorized seller of Apple products?

Conclusion

I am still learning the reselling game and I feel like this was another bullet point to add to the list of reasons why I am wiser to move away from big ticket items and focus on lower priced and higher ROI items.

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