This is What Amazon’s FBA Inventory Reimbursement Policy Really Says!
There is no question that using “Fulfillment by Amazon” offers you significant advantages as a seller. But you should always keep your eyes open, as not everything runs smoothly in the multi-stage and complex FBA processes. For example, an item you send to Amazon via Inbound Shipment can be damaged or even lost within the online giant’s sphere of influence. This can occur at a logistics center or during the transportation service operated by or on behalf of Amazon.
The relevant policy states that Amazon will replace such items with a new item of the same FNSKU or reimburse the seller based on the price. At first glance, this sounds simple. Nevertheless, a product is considered eligible only if certain criteria are met. For example, it is generally assumed that their seller account is in regular status at the time of the refund request, meaning that the account has not been suspended or restricted. In addition, the following points must be met:
- The item is registered for “Fulfillment by Amazon” at the time when the damage or loss occurs.
- The item meets all product requirements and restrictions as well as the “Fulfillment by Amazon” inventory guidelines.
- The delivery schedule, which was created as part of the Inbound Shipment, accurately identifies items and their quantities.
- The item is not pending disposal and was not disposed of at your request.
- The item was not disposed of because Amazon exercised its right to dispose of it, for example, in the case of returned units that pose a safety or health risk.
- The item is not defective and has not been damaged by a customer.
You may initiate your own refund if Amazon has not yet compensated you for the lost or damaged item, but all requirements have been met in accordance with Amazon’s policies.
Manual Application for Reimbursement of Lost or Damaged Items
A number of things must be taken into account when filing a claim, depending on the fulfillment step in which the loss or damage to the item occurred. Often, however, the manual analysis and filing of a claim is hardly economically feasible. In the following, we will therefore not only discuss the four possible cases and their special features, but also explain how an automated workflow can be set up.
Shipment to Amazon
If your item was lost or damaged during delivery to Amazon via Inbound Shipment, the shipping workflow (“Summary” page > “Reconcile tab”) usually displays the note “Eligible for investigation”. In that case, you can submit a refund request for the shipment in question. This must be done no later than six months from the date the shipment was received at an Amazon logistics center or an Amazon-operated third-party location for a refund to even be considered.
Before you submit the claim for reimbursement, certain information must be verified and confirmed, if necessary. To do so, first familiarize yourself with the details of “Reconcile your shipment”, if you have not already done so. Also, confirm that the contents of the shipment and the information on your delivery schedule match. Finally, based on your “Reimbursements report”, make sure no reimbursement has yet been received for the affected item. This last step also applies to subsequent cases.
After checking, are you still convinced that the item is eligible for reimbursement? If yes, you are ready to start the claim process. To do so, you need to use the “Reconcile” tab for lost units and the “Get support” page in Seller Central for damaged units. In both cases, Amazon requires at least the following information and documentation:
- Amazon shipping number (found in your “Shipping Queue”);
- Proof of ownership for inventory (such as an invoice from a supplier) showing the date of purchase, quantity, and product names matching the lost or damaged items;
- Proof of delivery for partial or full truck loads: a record showing the number of cartons in the shipment and the total weight when picked up by the transportation service;
- Proof of delivery for package shipments: an active tracking number that can be confirmed by the transportation service for each package shipped.
Now Amazon will decide whether the item is eligible for a refund or not. It is essential to note that for the case “Shipment to Amazon“, according to the guidelines, only one request per shipment can be made and all other requests will be rejected.
Fulfillment Center Operations
You may notice in your “Inventory Adjustments report” that your goods were lost or damaged at an Amazon logistics center or a third-party location operated by the online giant. In that case, you can file a refund claim even up to 18 months after the day the loss or damage was reported.
Again, you should follow up on the issue closely. Review your “Inventory Adjustments report” and then confirm the date and correction code for the loss or damage of the item in question. Based on the information in the “Inventory with Fulfillment by Amazon”, make sure that the item was not recovered and/or picked up in a sellable or damaged condition. In that case, make sure the damage did not occur within Amazon’s control (e.g.: the item was already defective).
Now, look at the respective refund status in “Fulfillment Center Operations” or on the “Get support” page in Seller Central. Submit a request if necessary. For damaged items, enter the so-called Transaction Item ID (TRID) in the corresponding Amazon tool. For lost products, enter the FNSKU. Both can be found in the “Inventory Adjustments report.” Amazon might ask for additional information, such as the date or location of the damage or loss.
Customer Returns for FBA Products
It may also happen that items from a customer order are lost or damaged and Amazon grants a refund or replacement delivery to the customer on your behalf. In this case, you can also submit a corresponding claim, no earlier than 45 days and no later than 18 months after the refund or replacement delivery to the customer by Amazon.
Did you notice in “Manage FBA returns report” that Amazon has issued a refund or replacement? Then check your “FBA customer returns report” to see if the item in question has been restocked. If not, a refund request can be submitted. To do this, use the appropriate tool under “FBA customer returns” or on the “Get support” page in Seller Central.
The fourth scenario involves a loss or damage that occurs at Amazon or a transportation service partner on the way to your address for returns.
In the case of loss, you can submit a refund request no earlier than 14 days after the last notified movement of the return shipment. In case of damage, the claim can be submitted immediately after the shipment acceptance. For both types of request, a period of 18 months applies from the day on which Amazon removed the item from the shipping network.
In addition, it may happen in the context of the removals that you do not agree with Amazon’s classification of your item as “defective or damaged by the customer”. In this case, the deadline expires 30 days after delivery of the removal order to the return adress. Since this case is also assigned to Amazon’s guidelines from the “Removals” category, you can proceed as follows when submitting your request.
First of all, the date as well as the status of your return orders and shipping information should be checked in the “Removal Order Detail report” and “Removal Shipment Detail report” respectively. The following information is mandatory for the application:
- Removal order number.
- Shipment number and active tracking number or proof of delivery.
- ASINs/FNSKUs and the corresponding quantities.
- LPN number (if available).
- Pictures of the items in question.
- Pictures of the item packaging.
- Pictures of the shipping carton.
- Only for objections to Amazon’s classification of an item: Explanation of why you disagree.
Also in this scenario, you can use the appropriate Amazon tool to check the refund status and submit a claim if necessary. For more information on these Amazon policies, click here: Removals.
Automated Search for Lost or Damaged Products
Once you reach a certain volume of orders and a certain number of items, you can quickly reach the limits of your capacities. After all, it is hardly economically feasible to control and reconcile vast amounts of information. An automated search for discrepancies with the help of our SellerLogic Lost & Found tool can solve this problem.
If your item has been damaged or lost at any of the described stages of the fulfillment process, SellerLogic Lost & Found uncovers these cases, up to 18 months retrospectively. For this purpose, the tool analyzes and consolidates all relevant information from the FBA reports for a case opening authorized according to Amazon guidelines.
At the end of the process, you will receive a structured and detailed explanation of identified claims. This allows you to understand the issue and even see the likely refund amount before submitting the case to Amazon via Seller Central. SellerLogic Lost & Found also provides appropriate text for claims and subsequent communication with Amazon, further reducing your time commitment. And if any difficulties or ambiguities arise after the case has been opened with Amazon, SellerLogic’s support team will help you resolve them.
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