How to Automate Reconciling Lost Refunds and Damaged Inventory

*Check out the Amazon Seller Tools & Services MASTER LIST here.

In the event a customer decides to return an item they have purchased, Amazon will notify the seller via e-mail and funds from that sale are taken from the seller’s account and held by Amazon awaiting the customer’s return of the product.

Typically when customer decides to return an item, Amazon gives them about 45 days to do so. If a customer fails to return the product, Amazon will usually return any withheld funds back to the seller – but not always.

Sometimes those funds being held by Amazon awaiting the customer to return their product are overlooked and not returned to the seller.

At this point, the responsibility falls on the seller to find these discrepancies and submit a request for the reimbursement, but unfortunately reconciling what has or hasn’t been returned against what has or hasn’t be reimbursed can be a tedious and difficult process.

The same goes for inventory damaged at Amazon warehouses. If you’re an Amazon seller relying on the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service, your products are stored with millions of other products from all around the world. If products are damaged, going through the reconciliation and reimbursement process can be overwhelming.

amazon-seller-returns“If someone in the warehouse damages your inventory – it almost always gets noted, but a lot of time the seller doesn’t get reimbursed for it,” Jacob Heinz, a current Amazon seller and Owner at AMZSuite said.

AMZSuite helps sellers to maximize their profits by offering an automated service to reconcile lost refunds and damaged inventory, remove negative feedback, and request reimbursements.

We spoke with Jacob to discuss what his experience as an Amazon seller has taught him about the reimbursement process and why he decided to create the AMZSuite platform to help other sellers.

Q. What are some of the biggest challenges for Amazon Seller returns?

A. “First, a lot of sellers don’t even know that they are missing money. We were selling online for years and it never even dawned on us that Amazon might be wrong. Initially, (as sellers) we saw Amazon’s Platform as bullet proof.

But one day, I came across an article on how to reconcile your account for lost refunds and damaged inventory and that’s what opened my eyes to these oversights.

Once sellers realize those discrepancies exist, it can still be very tedious to constantly keep your account reconciled and work with Amazon Seller Support to get those reimbursements. It takes away from the time sellers or account managers should be spending driving sales.”

Q. So, how much money are businesses missing out on when it comes to Amazon seller returns / reimbursements?

A. “It varies a lot depending on the category you are selling in but overall our platform recovers 3-4% of your sales volume on a monthly basis. To give you an idea, as Amazon sellers, we average around $60,000 a month in sales on Amazon and we receive a little over $2,000 lost refunds and damaged inventory reimbursements each and every month.”

Below is an example of an actual AMZSuite Account Dashboard:

amazon seller returns

Q. You also offer a service to automate the removal of Negative Seller Feedback, can you tell us more about that?

A. “Yes, just so we are clear, there are two different kinds of feedback on Amazon – product and seller. We have automated the process of removing negative seller feedback.

With seller feedback, if you are using FBA, Amazon takes responsibility for the consumer experience. As such, Amazon will remove negative seller feedback that pertains to anything related to the fulfillment process but you have to request it.

Neutral and Negative Feedback is not only detrimental to your Amazon Seller account health, it is also a big factor to winning the Buy Box.

The process of removing negative seller feedback isn’t necessarily hard, but having an automated service in place will simplify the process and frees up your time to focus on your business.

Most Amazon Sellers request removal of negative seller feedback once a week or every couple of weeks. But the problem is that feedback is hurting your account during the time period.

What our system does is check for new feedback every 6 hours, so you don’t have that negative feedback piling up on your account for long periods of time.”

Q. Which Amazon sellers should be monitoring their refunds and reimbursements?

A. “Everyone should be reconciling their accounts and keeping an eye on their reimbursements but if you’re currently selling under $10,000 a month, it’s relatively easy to handle refunds on your own, but once you start reaching $25,000 per month or above – then you’re talking about a lot of transaction and it makes sense to automate those processes.”

Q. Any tips for Amazon sellers that want to go at it on their own?

A. “Try to keep requests into small reimbursement amounts for the first tier agents to handle, so you can get your refund faster
Also, try not to open more than a few cases at a time.

If you start opening 5, 6, or 7 cases for damage inventory, Amazon will bundle all those cases together and elevate it to a second tier support agent. Now it’s going to take you a week (or longer) to get a response.”

About the AuthorTara graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Journalism / Business. Her passion for creative publishing and quality reporting landed her work opportunities at several companies in Massachusetts, New York and California. She is a leading voice behind CPC Strategy’s Blog. See all posts by this author here.