If you’re an online seller that uses Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), then you likely know the incredible benefits that the service provides. With FBA, Amazon acts as your virtual storekeeper, inventory manager, and cashier. For a small commission fee, they take orders on your behalf, interact with your customers, and handle all of your payments, shipments, and returns. It’s an amazing value.
But even with the automated wonders of FBA, the fact that there are millions of shipped and returned items flowing through warehouses every day means costly processing mistakes are inevitable. And being hundreds of miles removed from the process, many sellers may not realize that they could be leaving money on the table in the form of forgotten reimbursement funds.
That’s why even if you use a service like FBA, it’s important to your bottom line to stay on top of your own daily processes like sales, returns, and restocking. To help you with that, let’s talk about some common places where you may find forgotten reimbursement money that may be owed to you.
Common reimbursement mistakes
A glitch that occurs all too frequently happens when products are returned after the due date. Amazon’s policy is that if a customer contacts them wanting to return a product, they refund the money instantly and give the customer up to 45 days to return the item. If the item is not returned on time, Amazon’s policy is to charge the customer for the product and turn the money over to the seller.
In some cases though, buyers who don’t meet the deadline are mistakenly not charged, leaving the seller a reimbursement check short. For high-volume sellers, these missed reimbursements can really add up if the mistakes go undetected.
Other scenarios that often create missing money situations include:
- unpaid restocking fees for orders returned after 30 days
- orders debited to sellers that were never actually returned
- items damaged by the inbound shipper
- overcharges on weight or dimension fees
- items lost in Amazon’s warehouse
- chargebacks not refunded
- and mistaken debits from customer accounts.
So what should Amazon sellers do?
Stay involved with your sales process, even if it’s mostly automated through FBA. Be diligent about checking your shipment history on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis depending on the volume of items you ship. Try and reconcile your reports with Amazon’s as much as possible to find the money you’re rightfully owed.
If the work gets to be too much, know that there are refund management software programs that are available that can automatically search for these discrepancies and file cases with Amazon on your behalf.
Whatever you decide, you owe it to yourself – and your bottom line – to know all the places where you may be missing money on the table. So stay sharp and don’t take your hands off the wheel.
This article comes from our magazine “E-Commerce Solutions – Insights for Online Sellers.” Download now to read lots more best practices on selling online!
Looking for more resources for your online business? Check out our Facebook group. Join our community of online sellers where you can share tips, keep up with eCommerce trends and help your business do more.