Amazon will soon start paying customers up to $1,000 if a defective item sold through its site by a third-party merchant causes property damage or personal injury.
Amazon hopes that working directly through its own personnel for small claims will make the process less stressful and more efficient.
“Customers can contact Amazon Customer Service, and we will notify the seller and help them address the claim,” Amazon explained. “If a seller does not respond to a claim, Amazon will step in to directly address the immediate customer concern, bear the cost ourselves, and separately pursue the seller.”
The e-commerce giant said that the move to settle smaller claims by itself “will save time, money, and effort for both customers and sellers.”
Amazon’s new approach to claims will launch in the U.S. at the start of next month, with other countries to follow.
The new policy will come into effect on September 1, 2021, and is designed to give shoppers on the online marketplace greater confidence when placing orders with third-party sellers.
In a message about the move posted on Tuesday, August 10, Amazon said that it will pay customers directly for claims under $1,000, noting that these account for 80% of all such cases.
The commission, however, said it believes Amazon should be held responsible for goods sold by third-party merchants on its site.
Amazon has maintained that it is merely the platform that connects buyers and sellers for such sales, while the Consumer Product Safety Commission is seeking to have Amazon classified as a distributor under the Consumer Product Safety Act. If it is successful, such a distinction would increase Amazon’s responsibility for product safety and recalls.
The new policy that goes into effect September 1 will see Amazon “facilitate resolution of property damage and personal injury claims between the customer, the seller, and their insurance provider”, the company said in its statement.
After a customer reaches out via Amazon customer service, Amazon will check the validity of the claim, notify the seller and help that company address the issue. If the seller does not respond, “Amazon will step in to directly address the immediate customer concern, bear the cost ourselves, and separately pursue the seller”, the company said.
“By standing behind customers and the products in our store, regardless of who sells them, Amazon is going far beyond our legal obligations and what any other marketplace service provider is doing today to protect customers,” the company added.
As part of Tuesday’s announcement, Amazon also said it is creating the Amazon Insurance Accelerator, which would offer liability insurance to qualified sellers at “competitive rates”.