A report from The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon uses AI to decide if it makes economic sense to cover the cost of a free return.
Normally if you’ve been given a faulty or unwanted item from Amazon, you will be asked to return it before you receive a refund or replacement. However, Amazon is now often telling shoppers who are unhappy with their products not to return them but they will still be refunded.
Amazon refunds without returning item
A report from The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to decide if it makes economic sense to cover the cost of a free return to get the item back to its warehouse, sort it, fix it or sell it again cheaper. If the item is cheap, then that scenario is unlikely. Therefore it will save the $1.57 trillion company money by leaving it with you and issuing a refund or sending a replacement.
It is not solely Amazon who have decided to do this. Other shopping giants, such as Walmart, also use AI to decide whether it’s cost-effective to give faulty items to disgruntled customers for free.
Amazon and Walmart were experimenting with this pre-pandemic, however, the significant increase in online retail caused by the Covid crisis has increased its occurrence.
For more expensive purchases, Amazon sells refurbished and unwanted items at a discount. These Warehouse Deals have their own section on the website. That said, these items are damaged or second-hand so there is a reason why the price is so cheap.
Amazon states: “Amazon Warehouse offers great deals on quality used, pre-owned, or open-box products. With all the benefits of Amazon fulfilment, customer service, and returns rights, we provide discounts on used items for customer favourites: such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, home & kitchen appliances, and thousands more. For each used product we sell, we thoroughly test the condition of the item and provide detailed descriptions to make it easier for you to make a decision.”