By: Nick Gambino
Amazon has added a new feature to help customers make more informed decisions on purchases. The new tag added to some product pages tells you that the product has been frequently returned by people who’ve bought it. This doesn’t mean the product is bad but it does add a layer of intel and when coupled with user reviews can give one an idea as to its possible quality.
“We’re currently showing return rate information on some product detail pages to help our customers make more informed purchase decisions,” Betsy Harden, an Amazon rep, told The Information who first reported on the frequently returned feature.
The retail giant saw a huge spike in returns during the pandemic and those numbers are still running pretty high.
While Amazon has always been a grab bag of good and bad, it’s hard to not feel it’s become oversaturated with cringingly bad products. With misleading photos and product descriptions as well as fake user reviews these shoddy products range from poor quality to straight-up scams.
From what I can tell Amazon doesn’t have a quick shut-them-down response rate to the scams. A family member bought me a Christmas gift last year that turned out to be a total con job. It was a knock-off copy of Mel Brooks’s autobiography that had a few pages of poorly copied instructions from some random product manual. Weeks after this fake book was purchased the product listing was still up on Amazon despite countless one-star reviews stating it was a scam.
At least with the new feature this product would be tagged as “frequently returned” making purchasers stop and reconsider, giving them time to scroll to the bottom of the page and see the scathing reviews.
Amazon added another feature recently that tells you how many units of that product were purchased. This should give you an idea of the popularity of the product and can give you an additional metric that you can use to determine if it’s a good purchase or not. How many reviews exist compared to the number of units sold? If it’s frequently returned is it offset by the fact that it’s been sold a ton?
The frequently returned tag has already started showing up on some product pages, so look for it the next time you’re perusing Amazon.