Amazon Can't Do Math and/or Can't Read English

A funny story to brighten your day. Insert your own Three Stooges sound effects after each line below…

I sent Amazon 3 cartons of the single SKU I sell on Amazon. Each carton contains 48 units and weighs 32 lbs.

All three cartons were delivered and accepted, but only 96 of the 144 units were received, so they lost a carton in the receiving FC.

BUT - they can’t read a packing slip… 3 cartons * 32 lbs each equals 96 lbs on the packing list, and they apparently ignore the “48 units” listed for each carton, and see only the weight column, which by coincidence, has a total WEIGHT of 96 lbs (3 * 32).

So, they claim that my “documentation does not match”, as they have someone reviewing these things who cannot read English.

So, I can’t send them 3 cartons any more, as “96 lbs” is mistaken for “96 units”, when there are actually 144 units. Or maybe the packing list / BOL for Amazon needs to not show the weights (like any other packing list would have to show) just to avoid this scenario.

These people are insane - they’ve refunded part of 5 shipments so far this year, they lose about 1/3 what I send, and now they have someone who can’t read or add doing the reviews.

While I am impressed at Amazon’s very progressive policy on hiring the handicapped, I think that they might do better if they put the MENTALLY handicapped employees in positions that did not require reading comprehension and basic math skills.

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Unless I’m mistaken, it’s not part of amazon’s receiving process to read packslips. This is why all inbound cartons to FBA must have the carton content labels.

I’m going to speculate your mismatch is being caused somewhere else in this process.


I think your right.

Hot warehouses = Mistakes


Oh, I KNOW that they don’t read packing slips at the FCs - I’m talking about the process of “investigating” the lost inventory, where they demand a packing slip (if you are a manufacturer).

THIS is when they cannot read or do math - in the process of reimbursing the seller for stuff they clearly got, but somehow lost.


I would more suspect the can’t read English, they just see numbers and assume. Not cool

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Do they require weights on the packslips you submit? If not, I’d just leave it off.

Yes, the actual solution may be to create a “special” packing slip just for Amazon, and do so AFTER the “send to Amazon” process where they tell you to send one case to this FC here, and another to that FC over there, and yet another to the 3rd FC far away.

But this is a REAL COMPANY with COMPETENT PEOPLE, so, we generate packing lists, Bills of Lading, Pro-Forma Invoices, etc to send pallets of product internationally, and weight matters on a BOL/Packing list. Amazon does not want anything more than the UPS label and the FC label on the box, and we put duplicates of each inside each box, as self-adhesive labels can sometimes self-adhere to the conveyor belts at the UPS sorting centers, but Amazon does NOT WANT a packing list, until it is time to get anaal-retentive about how many hoops the seller has to jump through to get reimbursed for stuff that gets lost in FC transfer or FC “acceptance” scanning and binning.

This is a problem that could be better resolved in person with a smile an a tire iron, but I will show great restraint, and leave the tire iron in the Volvo.


I know you want to send them your real packing slip, but just make one special one for Amazon that leaves off the weight.

I have a real company with competent people (me), and we make our own products to sell on Amazon. My packing slips are tailored to Amazon specs. They don’t include the weight of each product, though they do include the weight of the shipping box. I put them in each box we send, but their purpose is more for making claims for lost goods.

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Alternatively, you can also try suggesting Amazon send their inventory reconciliation team here…

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Yes, the packing list at issue contained “only the weight of each box”. That is what they confused with the item count.

I think it wise to put the weight of each carton when shipping loose cartons, as that way, the weight on the packing list matches the UPS weight as they weigh boxes transiting the sorting centers (where boxes take 6-foot drops between conveyor belts, if you’ve never visited one before).

This way, the consistent weights are one factor that can be used to convince Amazon that each carton contains the same number of units, and their lost goods certainly did arrive in the carton at the FC.


We have sent hundreds of shipments to FBA and never once included a packing slip.

Everything Amazon needs to know is on the barcode they generate and we apply to LTL and SPD shipments.

Further, counting is done on a belt scanner, not by a person. Every single solitary unit is scanned to be counted. If you send a pallet of 250 cases of 24 units each, every one of those cases will be opened and every single unit will go on a belt to be scanned / counted.

It really is asinine that it’s done that way but Amazon doesn’t trust its sellers (and rightfully so in most cases), so this is the process.

I got all the gory details of the process from my SAS manager who in a past life managed one of these facilities for Amazon.

Not sure how you go from managing a DC to being a SAS manager but he’s a good guy so who cares.

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In this specific case, it seems clear that one entire carton was somehow set aside or misdirected to another FC, or whatever.

But in other cases, the entire contents of a carton must not have made it onto the scanner, or the scanner failed to read the barcode through the bag they make us put each product in (a bottle of liquid). But it is not clear if units are scanned on the belt scanner, and then lost in “FC transfer” or not, but it seems strange to me that “received” is not the INITIAL scan at the first FC, but instead, the final scan at the recpient FC. This seems unfair to the seller, as confusion and losses of single units or oddball numbers of units are clearly a result of what happened to a unit AFTER it was taken out of its case (mine have 48 units each).

So, any loss that is not a multiple of 48 had to happen AFTER than initial belt-scan at the first FC. Yet, I am asked to jump through hoops to overcome the automatic and senseless “counted and confirmed” claim, which is clearly 100% pure unadulterated horsepucky.

[Use of antique terms is intended to defeat the auto-sensor, which seems to only block current english swear words…

So… Scheiße! Was ist denn hier quatsch?! ]


This right here is likely the problem. That barcode needs to be on the outside of the bag.

There’s a pretty good chance that the shipment has been sidelined until they can file the report and issue you a “SHIPMENT PROBLEM” violation. At that point, they will be stickered by Amazon, you will be charged 55 cents a unit, and the inventory will be received.

We deal with this crap ALL THE TIME because Amazon says our labels are too glossy. They are not. We even went so far as to throw out 50K labels we had printed, have our label printer create a custom plate to exclude that area of the barcode from the CPG standard UV coating and we still get hit now and then with these shipment problems.

Amazon switched to visual belt scanners in Nov of 2021. Since then, we have been dealing with this frequently. We win most disputes but not all. Even had to have a “COACHING” call with them where their US based coach agreed with us.

At this point, we have shipped in a few hundred thousand units to FBA. If they have lost a total of 200, I would be surprised.

You’re not going to like this but most of the time this is user error by the seller. Our experience with FBA (other than the BS shipment problems) has been one of the few things that actually goes well.


If you’re repeatedly having this problem with 3 carton shipments, you may want to consider the variables you can change on your end to make your shipments more Amazon/dummy-proof.

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You may be right, but the barcode is on the label of the bottle, and we figured that the bag was an issue, and recently moved to saran-wrap, rather than a bag. We have scanners too, so we can test at various angles and distances, and saran wrap is much more transmissive and far less reflective than the usual bags.

But when they lose an entire carton of 48 units, that carton never got opened, and never got anywhere near a belt or a scanner, so I can’t blame the scanner.

You may be missing my point or perhaps I wasn’t clear. These new scanners that Amazon is now using during the receiving process SUCK!

Anything that has the slightest sheen (like a label finish or plastic), cause them to fail from time to time.

Whoever made the decision to choose this technology should be gently pushed off a mountain top.

When we dispute our issues with the belt scanners, FBA will send us a picture and say it’s too reflective.

The picture of the barcode scans - LOL! So how could the actual label not scan. We test our labels with 6 different scanners as does our printer.

It’s a game and you need to learn how to play it. Amazon is ridiculous.

I’ll give you an unrelated example of this.

We just spent $15K to have videos produced for our listings / PPC video advertising. This is for 6 products.

Submitted all 6, 1 was rejected for medical claims. Funny part, the voiceover / script are identical.

Funnier part - the listing videos are 60 seconds - the video ads are cuts of the 60 second are 30 seconds, and the part that might be considered a claim (a good nights rest from a brand you can trust) is in both the 30 and the 60. The video ad for that product was approved with that verbiage along with 11 other versions of varying lengths.

My ultimate point here is stop trying to make sense of the things that go on at Amazon. It’s idiotic nonsense. There’s no logic at all. You just have to play the game on these things until you win.

What will we do about our video rejection? - Delete the submission, change the file name slightly, re-submit ,and I bet you dollars to donuts it will be approved as is.

It’s all stupid!


Check your inventory ledgers, I often get hit with “inaccurate quantity” that just happens to be a full box that goes missing after arriving at a hub and being transferred to another FC. I see them pop up after getting my slap on the wrist from Amazon.

As for the scanners I agree with ASV they suck! We all pay the price for Amazon trying to go fully automatic while cutting corners.


This may be true under most circumstances, but it’s not working for you in this instance, so you may have to shift strategy so as not to confuse them.


:rofl: :sweat_smile: :joy:

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Of course it is - but the “rules” here are much like those found in a video game - arbitrary, and with limited means of complying, and lots of frustration. But one does not expect the video game to reflect reality, so why expect Amazon to do so?

Amazon is something we choose to do. Don’t waste a breath on complaining that they are not the real world, as they have been able to make their own “law” at every turn, from usurping the entire concept of ‘trademark law’ for their own advantage, to bending the concept of “employment” to the point that they have normalized the concept of waking up in the morning and looking to see if you even HAVE A JOB today. Yes, come the revolution a LOT of folks will go up against the wall, but for now, take heart that the billionaires are building their own guillotines at their own expense, be they “spaceships” or “submarines”. They could make the world better with all that money, but it is enough that they are suffering from self-inflicted fatal errors in statistically significant numbers. At some point, regulation and the rule of law will prevail, but the customer will be protected first, the seller much, much later.

So, to quote Clint Eastwood “Do you feel lucky, punk? Do ya?”

Cause if ya don’t, the eBay and Shopify and Etsy doors are down the hall and to the right, and may be much less stressful ways to spend one’s day.

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