Monday

Common Questions about FBA; Q&A

Here is a quick list of common questions we get about "Fulfillment by Amazon":


Can sellers get negative feedback from FBA orders/warehouse mistakes?
Yes

Are FBA sellers still covered by A-Z protection?
No

Can a seller be reprimanded or suspended for negative feedback from FBA orders? Yes

Can a seller be reprimanded or suspended or customer complaints about FBA-fulfilled orders?
Yes

Will FBA work with my 3rd party listing/repricing software?

No - FBA does not work with Seller Engine, Art of Books, Alibris, and most others.

Can I reprice my FBA items?
Yes - we had started working on a tutorial for this, but FBA has changed the layout of seller central too many times.

Are there hidden fees not explained in the FBA Rate Card/Fee Chart?

Yes - In addition to the fees on the official fee chart (Order Handling Fee, Pick & Pack Fee, and Weight Handling Fee) there are several hidden (also called passive) fees. Here are a few:

  • VCF (variable closing fee, $1.35 per order)
  • Restocking Fee (5%, when items are rturned)
  • Storage Fee ($0.45 - $0.65 per foot)
  • Oversize fees (you pay an extra $3.00 per item)
  • Stickering Fee (pay directly to the FBA staff, or buy your own stickers, $0.03 per item)
  • Weight error Fees (A common error in the Amazon database. i.e., If you are selling a mass market book, and it is classified as 4 pounds instead of 4 ounces, you will pay an additional $1.60 per item)
  • Non-Amazon sale Fees (if you sell an item outside Amazon, additional fees range from $1.40 -$3.00 more per item)
  • Priority & International Fees (between $7.40 and $17.00)
  • Be aware that these will be deducted out of your account, sometimes entered as a "miscellaneous adjustment". As sellers get used to the system & adjust to the new (and ever-changing) fees, some sellers have experienced more fees than income, with a net-zero or net-negative earnings their first month.

  • Where can I get more information about FBA fees?

    Click here for a nuts & bolts example of one seller's fees (an apples-to-apples comparison, before & after FBA)

    And, click here for a list of 12 "passive" fees not explained up-front in the FBA fee chart.

    Where can I learn more about how weight fees are charged?
    Click here for an analysis of how Amazon determines the fees for the weight &/or dimensions of your item

    What happens if a customer cancels or returns an order?
    FBA deducts the amount from your account. They will not notify the seller.

    Do sellers have any control over refunds?
    No

    What happens to inventory that doesn't sell?
    You either pay for indefinite storage, or you pay to have it returned to you

    Does FBA ever damage inventory?
    Yes

    If a customer returns an item, does FBA relist it for me?
    No - you must manually relist the item. You will, however, pay for storage fees in the meantime.

    Will FBA notify me that items have been returned &/or refunded?
    No - you must review your inventory & transactions periodically. Returns will be noted as "miscellaneous deduction" - no reason will be indicated, no records are kept of customer service issues.

    If the item is returned due to condition (either FBA damaged the item, a customer opened/damaged the item, or it was damaged in transit), will it be relisted?
    No - you must (1) pay to have it discarded, or, (2) pay to have it shipped back to you, so you can inspect it and make a decision about it's sale-ability, or, (3) you will pay storage fees for that item indefinitely.

    Does FBA ever send the wrong item?
    Yes, occasionally there are mix-ups in the FBA warehouse

    What happens if FBA damages an item and the customer complains?
    FBA deducts the amount from your account, and you risk getting negative feedback

    Is there a phone number for the FBA warehouse?
    No, the only way to contact FBA is by generating a support ticket. In most cases, you will receive an answer within 24 hours. If it is a difficult question, or a technical issue, it may take up to 3 weeks to receive an answer.

    Will FBA handle ALL customer service for the orders they fulfill?
    No - only if the customer knows to contact Amazon. Customers will often continue to contact the seller about the status of their order.

    Can the seller issue a refund to an FBA customer who complains?
    No - this functionality is disabled for sellers.

    What if a customer refuses to call FBA - can the seller submit a support ticket?
    No. We have heard several stories where customers feel they are getting the "runaround" by being asked to call or email somebody else. If the customer refuses to call the Amazon customer support, there is nothing the seller can do - and you risk receiving negative feedback.

    Does FBA provide tracking numbers for orders?
    No

    Does FBA pack orders well?

    Sometimes - we've received reports both ways, and it seems to depend on the warehouse. One buyer reported purchasing 15 items from an FBA seller, and they were thrown into a large box without any padding, packing, or peanuts of any kind.

    Do FBA orders come in Amazon boxes?
    Yes. FBA announced they may soon work on ways for sellers to specify whether they want orders shipped in FBA boxes or blank boxes.

    How long does it take to send items in to the FBA warehouse?
    Plan to spend at least 30-60 minutes preparing your shipment online. You must create a special sku for each item, convert each item from Merchant-fulfilled to Amazon-fulfilled, you must set the quantity (again), then confirm your shipment, prepare/print item labels, prepare/print packing slip, prepare/print shipping labels, chose a carrier, and mark your box as shipped.

    Then, you must sticker/label each item (some items require multiple stickers), and pack them up. When FBA checks in your inventory, if they do not agree with the condition of the item (i.e., they feel it is "good" and you marked it as "very good" or "like-new") then your item will be marked as un-fulfillable, and will not be listed for sale on Amazon.com.

    What kind of stickers are required for FBA?
    FBA requires that all bar codes are covered with a unique FBA bar code. These are standard Avery stickers (roughly $0.03-$0.05 per sticker, if you can find a generic brand). Some items require up to 3-4 stickers - every bar code on the product must be covered.

    Do customers ever complain about the stickers?
    Yes - especially if they purchase the item as a gift. We suggest paying extra for the "easy-peel" stickers, to cut down on negative feedback.

    Is Seller Central easy to use?

    There is no fair way to answer this. It is under constant revision.

    Will FBA increase my sales?
    In the last FBA survey, 40% of sellers reported the same or increased sales under FBA; 35% reported no change; and 25% reported a decrease in sales.

    In the same survey, 85% of FBA sellers reported an increase in Amazon fees, and 90% reported that their net income per item had decreased. 60% of sellers reported that participating in the FBA program consumed more time than fulfilling items themselves, and 40% reported that it saved time.

    70% of sellers reported an increase in negative feedback and/or refunds under the FBA program.

    Does FBA ship internationally?
    Yes and No - there is an international program FBA sellers can subscribe to. However, this program is only available in 7 countries (for example, FBA sellers cannot sell to Canada).

    10 comments:

    ben said...

    WTF????

    this is the ONLY place i've seen these FAQs answered honestly (if its all true).

    i sell books on Amazon. really, sellers forfet their rights to A-Z protection when they sign up for fba?

    i did check out the amazon fba discussion board, and a lot of this info is consistant w/ the complaints there. but still, wtf is up with all of this?

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