After ITV News found that Amazon in the UK was destroying brand new returned stock rather than re-selling it, the company has announced changes in how it deals with returned and unsold products. In a statement, the Amazon says that it is launching two programs for businesses that use the retail giant’s infrastructure. These programs: FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) Grade and Resell, as well as FBA Liquidations, will enable third party sellers to list returned stock on their product pages.
With the former, when a product is returned to Amazon, the company will evaluate its condition and then re-list it as as used product. Amazon added that sellers can set the price based on the grades Amazon hands out, and can control much of the process themselves. FBA Liquidations, meanwhile, lets sellers ship returned or overstocked product to wholesalers straight from Amazon’s logistics depots. They can connect with Amazon’s bulk resale partners and try to, in the words of the company's corporate parlance, “recover a portion of their inventory cost.”
The announcement comes shortly after the controversial report from ITV News, which claimed that truckloads of brand new products were marked for destruction. One anonymous tipster told reporters at the time that the process did not spare even premium products like MacBook units and, despite what’s going on right now, sealed COVID face masks. As The Hill explained, the consequences of that report have raised hackles in the UK, with Labour MPs demanding an explanation for the evidence presented. At the time, Amazon said that “no items are sent to landfill,” but as a last resort, some are sent to “energy recovery.”
Libby Johnson McKee, director of Amazon Returns, ReCommerce and Sustainability, said that the new initiatives are one example of how Amazon is trying to "ensure that products sold on Amazon […] go to good use and don't become waste.” McKee added that the policies will help reduce costs and help companies who use Amazon's fulfillment platform will be able to grow their businesses. FBA Grade and Resell is available in the UK now, with other European nations coming online across next year. FBA Liquidations, meanwhile, is available in the US and other European nations, but is coming to the UK in August.