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What is an FBA Seller to do with Return items and Removal orders? Check them, of course!

With the season of giving behind us, it is time to figure out what to do during the season of returning. Many e-commerce sellers, and in particular those who practice drop shipping or are primarily fulfilling orders through Amazon’s fulfillment services, aren’t always in the position to handle the products that come back.

It is important, therefore, to have a plan because nobody wants to have an extra carton of crock pot liners sitting in their office for months while you determine how best to unload the extra inventory you believed had already been sold.

So what are your options?

Use a third party company to help manage the removals

Utilizing a third party solutions company, like Tradeport, guarantees the highest sales value for your inventory by providing a comprehensive e-commerce returns management solution. The types of services offered can substantially assist e-commerce sellers in asset recovery. Many Amazon sellers have an excess inventory with no solution for returns and damaged products that are difficult to reconcile.

Amazon FBA removal automation is a significant tool to have as a seller. In the coming months, long term FBA storage fees will be higher. It may be profitable for your company to remove items from FBA. 

According to Amazon, inventory can be removed from a fulfillment center by submitting a removal order. Amazon states that sellers have several options when opting to remove inventory (i.e., utilizing spreadsheets to submit bulk order removals, or removing inventory by managing “unsellable” and slow-moving inventory). Each of these options can be a headache, and during peak season, disable the seller from keeping up with removals.

During the holiday season and peak removal periods, processing can take 30 days or more! Utilizing an outsourced company to automate removals can alleviate any stress for the seller leading up to these periods of saturated removals. Currently, return removal fees are at $0.50 for a standard product ($0.60 for an oversized product), and disposal removal fees are at $0.15 for a standard product ($0.30 for an oversized product).

The detailed manifest with overages and shortages reported from a company like Tradeport can make a seller’s life substantially easier. Along with having automated sorting of low value or wholesale items. A third-party solution company can help the seller work more efficiently with an automated process and assist in minimizing any profit loss.

Check your returns yourself

Why Check?

Amazon will typically utilize the description that the customer provided in order to grade the product’s sellability. Amazon does not necessarily inspect your returned product during the return process. Therefore, a customer can say the product is not working, even if it is. Amazon does not check for that.

Amazon listens to the seller’s description. They determine whether the product is fulfillable or unfulfillable based on how the customer graded your products. Take action if your inventory is deemed unfulfillable and reconcile these returns yourself.

After a return request is submitted by a customer, Amazon then takes the return cost from your upcoming payment and will provide the customer with the shipping label to return the item to the appropriate fulfillment center. Customers have up to 45 days, or sometimes even more if it’s peak season, to return an item to Amazon. Amazon should automatically reimburse you if the customer ultimately does not send back the product, therefore, you may lose money if you reimburse the customer yourself and they do not return the item. Allowing the customer 45 days to return the item means as an FBA seller, you are out the return cost, awaiting a product to be returned that may or may not be fulfillable.

What do I Check For?

Check to make sure the reason listed correlates with the inventory in your hands.

Your Returns Report describes the reason for return. Amazon provides these terms to describe the issue: Sellable, Customer Damaged, Carrier Damaged, Defective, and Damaged.

Sellable items will return to your inventory. If you are worried the item is not sellable, you can open up a removal order to inspect the product yourself.

Products deemed unfulfillable may in all actuality be fulfillable. Sometimes, when Amazon deems inventory “unsellable”, a seller may just choose to dispose of the inventory without inspecting it further. Ensuring that an item could actually be in condition to sell can save you from profit loss in the long run. If your inventory is unfulfillable, you should remove it from your facility, reinspect it, and then send the fulfillable inventory back to Amazon.

Customer damaged can sometimes mean that a customer never actually opened an item; therefore, the seller should open up a removal order.  Carrier damaged can often result in seller reimbursement, as long as it was clear the incident was a carrier issue. Defective products may often reflect as unsellable, and the FBA customer is refunded. Because the reason for the return isn’t always correct, and Amazon doesn’t inspect the product upon its return, you could be disposing of sellable inventory. Open up a removal order to check for these issues as well as the product may actually be sellable.

Lastly, the seller can be misidentified as the source of the damage. Always investigate a return item that is said to be Seller Damaged. Amazon may be reliable for damaging it in the facility or an FBA worker not packing it well.  If you find that Amazon is responsible, then you would be eligible for reimbursement for the product. Always review the issues associated with customer returned products and ask Amazon to reimburse you.