You quite often read posts by authors complaining about Amazon’s Kindle ebook refund policy.
Yes, it seems a little unfair that readers can buy an ebook, read it, then return it for a full refund.
But how long do readers have to claim a refund? If you have read a few articles on this topic, you will see that some say seven days, and others say fourteen.
So who’s right?
Amazon’s Kindle ebook return policy is either 7 or 14 days
It all depends on where an Amazon customer purchased a Kindle ebook.
I was prompted to check the difference after reading an article about the refund policy ruining authors’ careers.
The article stated that a customer could receive a full refund within 14 days of purchase.
I had always believed that it was 7 days, so I checked Amazon.com. Yes, I was right.
So why did the article say 14? That’s when I discovered the difference between markets.
I can’t say that I know the laws of every country regarding consumer products.
But from my research, it would appear that ebook buyers in Europe have 14 days to claim a Kindle ebook refund.
However, in other markets such as the United States, Canada, and Australia, it is 7 days.
But just when I was sure, I came across this article from Techradar, a site that usually provides accurate information. It said that a buyer has 14 days.
But when I read it again, it didn’t mention which Amazon store it was referring to. So perhaps it was written by a UK writer.
Kindle ebook refund terms by country
To save you checking, I took the time to go to the main Amazon stores to confirm the Kindle ebook refund terms.
I’ll start with the US and UK, the two biggest Amazon stores.
Next up are Canada and France.
Lastly, Australia and Germany
Now you can see why there is some confusion about the Kindle ebook refund terms.
Should you worry about refunds?
Only Amazon would know how many readers go to the trouble of claiming a refund for an ebook.
But I would be very surprised if was a regular occurrence.
However, I have read posts by many self-publishing authors complaining about the ease of a refund.
But in almost every country in the world, consumers have the right to a refund for the products they buy.
As an ebook is a consumer product, then these laws apply.
But if you notice in the images I posted above; Amazon states that a refund applies to an accidental order.
Also, if you read Amazon’s terms regarding refunds, it states: If you have a high rate of return requests in your account history, the self-service refund option might be blocked.
Some authors say that a week or 14 days is too generous, and people can read a book during this time and then return it.
But quite honestly, Amazon is in the business of selling things and making money. I really don’t believe it is trying to rob authors of their royalty.
Most authors happily run free ebook campaigns to promote their books. So an occasional refund isn’t going to matter that much.
But if an ebook suffers from a lot of returns, I would venture to say that it could be a sign of a quality issue.
The Audible refund policy is a different issue
While I don’t think that the Kindle ebook refund terms are much of a concern, it’s a different story with Audible.
There have been lots and lots of complaints about the more than generous Audible return and refund offer.
If you were unaware of it, your eyes are not wrong. Audible allows customers to return an audiobook for a refund for up to 365 days.
The policy has remained unchanged for some years now, and I have never understood why this is so or what the reasoning is behind the offer.
But I know that many authors believe it to be grossly unfair.
You can only control what you can control
If you are concerned about refunds for books, ebooks, or audiobooks, there is not much you can do.
Yes, you can complain about it to Amazon or write about it on your blog. But nothing will change.
Amazon is simply too big to worry about a few complaints.
On top of that, there are consumer rights and legal aspects to consider.
For example, under UK law, all online sales must offer a 14-day refund, and a customer does not need to provide a reason.
While it’s worth knowing that your potential book buyers have different refund rights in certain countries, it’s not going to make a big difference.
All you can do is look after all the aspects of self-publishing that you can manage and control.
Investing your time and energy in book promotion and marketing will always help, as will writing your next book.
Yes, if you sell a lot of copies of your book or ebook, you are bound to get a few returns.
But refunds are a condition of selling any product, so all you can do is accept that it will happen occasionally.