Getting refunds from Amazon as an Amazon Seller can be painful to say the least. Even if you figure out what reports you need and put together a process to handle their manipulation, you can be left feeling out of pocket. Is the reward worth the time you invested? Is this really something you want to spend your time managing and keeping up with? Talk about boring!
So here are your options. Depending on business size, you may choose a different approach. Fundamentally it’s about ROI and keeping Amazon honest. With margins always being squeezed these reimbursements are definitely contributing to your bottom line.
Reasons For Getting Reimbursements Out Of Amazon
This is a pretty comprehensive list of reasons for getting your cash back from Amazon.
- Returns: The number of received orders and return reimbursements match up.
- Damages: Items were damaged by the inbound shipper.
- Return Policy: Orders returned after the 30 day deadline. Also make sure that Amazon has refunded your 20% restocking fee (per Amazon’s policy) or the full amount.
- Overage Fees: Overcharged for weight or dimensional or Amazon commission fees.
- Overages: Customer is refunded more than what they were initially charged.
- Replacements: When an item is replaced the original isn’t returned.
- Missing Inventory: Missing inventory (inventory that is debited but never returned after 45 days).
- Damaged Inventory: Even Amazon makes mistakes. We track items lost or damaged by the Amazon warehouse to ensure you are properly compensated for lost stock.
That’s a lot of checks, a lot of reports, and highly likely a LOT of cases to raise with Amazon. But also a LOT of cash that you’re saying goodbye to over the course of a year.
Option 1: Semi-automation
I’m not even going to suggest fully manual, so we go straight to a tool assisted approach.
Refund Genie by Helium10 is one of the most popular and utilised tools on the market. Potentially because it essentially comes as a freebie.
The limitation here though is that it actually only addresses items 7 and 8 from our list of reasons for reimbursements.
So beyond that you’ll need to run fee checks, reconciliation of returns and reimbursements etc.
If you’re looking for tools to assist you, look no further than toolsforfba.com
Be warned, this website is pure spreadsheet porn!
Of course this overall approach demands a lot of manual intervention, report downloads etc. This is something you could write SOPs for and get a VA to do, but that does feel like a lot of effort. Don’t forget, you need to write AND maintain SOPs. It’s not “set and forget”
Option 2: Full Automation
Fully automating all of these tasks whilst not creating or managing any SOPs sounds like a dream.
Let’s face it – reporting on clerical and billing errors made by Amazon isn’t a sexy topic, and it doesn’t feel like it’s a business growth activity. At the end of the day, it’s dealing with a lot of negativity.
So full automation allows you to free your mind from the negativity, and potentially only periodically step into the fray.
There are a few tools and services out there. The one that we’re currently looking at is Refunds Manager.
Basically it handles everything and captures reimbursements for all reasons in the above list of 1-8 items.
It’s More Than Just Reimbursements
Amazon are well known for:
- Switching product categories, resulting in incorrect commission or referral charges.
- Incorrectly stating the dimensions of a product, resulting in incorrect Fulfilment fees
These can be massively frustrating items, when you notice them! But it’s so easy for these things to go un-noticed.
Detection is the first step to recovering the situation.
Time will tell if these services can in fact detect these 2 issues in real time, allowing them to be addressed quickly, minimising the impact on your business.
Whatever you do, whichever option you choose, don’t leave cash on the table and keep Amazon honest!