Walmart: Stop supporting customers' fraud
Walmart: Stop supporting customers' fraud
Last year Walmart opened their gates to third-party sellers like me. I was excited to start selling with Walmart – the marketplace is growing and has great potential. But there are couple major issues hurting all sellers: Walmart is allowing customers to commit fraud, and sellers like me are paying for it.
Note that most of Walmart's 3rd party sellers are small US based businesses that are still recovering from a global pandemic, we work on slim margins and that fraud is hurting us.
We demand to get the SAME SELLER PROTECTION that all other marketplaces online like Amazon, eBay, Poshmark, StockX and more are providing to their 3rd party sellers.
Issue #1 Summary: Walmart customers are claiming that they didn't receive their product DESPITE the fact that packages were shipped with tracking number using national known and reliable carriers such as UPS, USPS and Fedex.
Issue #2 Summary: Walmart allows customer to knowingly LIE about the return reason
to avoid paying the return postage when the return reason is due to them.
Issue #1 details:
On Walmart's new marketplace, customers have the option to claim that they didn't get the product DESPITE the fact that the carrier and tracking number show that it was successfully delivered. Walmart classifies this as "Lost After Delivery."
At this point (Up until March) Walmart issues a full refund to the customer with no questions asked, a refund that comes out of the sellers' account – which means we do not get paid for the item that we've already sent so we are losing money on the product cost, the shipping cost and other expenses we have.
According to their Sellers Terms of Service which they not constantly following:
"If the order was delivered and NOT signed for (for example, left on the front porch), you will have to determine whether the item is a high-risk fraud item.
If the item is priced is under $250 dollars, please refund the order. One-time only."
"One-time only"??? Once per customer's order maybe.
This is unacceptable from multiple reasons:
Sure, packages can be lost/stolen after a successful delivery but this should NOT be part of the seller responsibility. This is part of the marketplace liability. Amazon, eBay, Poshmark, Etsy, Facebook marketplace - neither of them has a practice like this. They protect both the sellers and the customers – which is how it should be. .
Customers are clearly abusing it, I have more than a few cases from first-hand where carriers HANDED products to the customer or where customers SIGNED the packages with THEIR NAMES and then claimed "they didn't get it". Yes, if we have a signature confirmation then Walmart will reimburse the seller back but this is costly especially for small value orders.
It's unclear why would those fraudulent customers get a refund to begin with when CLEARLY they are lying? Needless to say that mail fraud is a serious felony.
Walmart is not requiring customer to file a police report and we are not aware of any steps taken against those fraudulent customers.
Without any counter-actions those people will keep doing that.
Note that most of Walmart's 3rd party sellers are small business that work on slim margins and that fraud is hurting us. A lot of sellers are performing risk analysis on each order according to addresses and claims history and need to gamble with signature requirement or not.
Update 1: On March 2021 after we had a petition signed by 15,000 people and kept complaining about it to Walmart customer/seller service, they started covering the LAD claims themselves, same as Amazon and other marketplaces but without updating the TOS.
Update 2: On May 2021 sellers received an email saying:
"In response to an industry-wide increase in refund requests for shipments lost after delivery (LAD), we’ve been closely evaluating refund claims in the past few months. Based on our learnings, we’re taking the necessary steps to protect sellers against unauthorized claims where possible and as of next month, we will require customers to wait 2 days after the estimated delivery date (EDD) before submitting a claim.
You may notice charges for legitimate refund claims from customers who have reported they have not received their order after the shipment was marked delivered. As a reminder, sellers are responsible for customer resolutions and refunds regarding packages lost in transit, damaged in transit, lost after delivery (LAD), or delivered to the incorrect address. "
Well, here we go again, Lost after Delivery is NOT the seller's fault, it never is.
Customer are welcome to reach out to carriers OR file disputes with their financial institutes, this will filter 99% of the fraud.
And delivered to incorrect address is a valid claim ONLY when the delivered address is NOT the one on the order. If a customer ordered something to address A while he lives in address B and it was delivered to address A, how is it the seller's fault?!
Issue #2 details:
On any online marketplace, customers have the option to return the product they purchased within 30 days due to many different reasons that can be divided into two groups:
Seller's fault: wrong item sent, item is defective or damaged or not as described and item arrived late.
Buyer's remorse: item doesn't fit (for clothing/shoes), buyer change of mind or if the buyer claims a cheaper price found elsewhere.
The main difference between those 2 is who pays the return postage back to the seller.
It is well known that customers abuse that return reason in order to avoid paying the return postage. In all other online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and more a seller is entitled to dispute that return reason and by providing evidence that the return reason chosen was false, the marketplace takes responsibility on it and reimburse the seller on the return postage.
Note that this is just the return postage reimbursement and not the inbound shipping from the seller to the buyer, which losing that cost on every return is indeed part of doing business.
Just recently Walmart decided to DENY all the reimbursements requests even if the buyer knowingly used a wrong return reason. By doing that Walmart proactively support buyers' fraud and return policy abuse on the 3rd party sellers' expense.
Walmart must STOP taking this money from sellers ,same as any other online marketplace. We are still recovering from this pandemic, and we are counting on these sales to support ourselves and our families. Sign to tell Walmart to change this policy now.
Thank you and happy selling!