FBA "Unable to deliver" return

I’m at the end of year 2 on Amazon and maybe I’m just lucky, but I’m seeing a new reason for FBA returns: Unable to deliver.

There are three of these returns over the past 30 days (2 on the same day and none in the 20 months prior), all different customers in different states, but it’s the same product in each, quantity of 1. So I doubt it’s a competitor as they’d likely order multiples.

I assume this means it’s a bad address, but the way it’s worded implies it could be something more, like the bridge over the customer’s moat was damaged.

Anyway, what chaps my a** is that Amazon is deducting a fee for the return. Unless that’s refunded later – and I don’t think any of them have been yet – how in the world is that my responsibility? I never even see an address.

I have a feeling I’m about to experience an avalanche of “welcome to Amazon” replies but I guess I want to confirm (1) that Amazon taking a piece of my hide on these returns is normal, and (2) that the reason is simply ‘undeliverable’ in Amazon-speak.

There should be battle ribbons or something like AA coins for 3P sellers.

A non-FBAer piping in to say there’s no way that it’s legal for Amazon to charge a Seller for an “undeliverable” FBA order, right? :sweat_smile: Right, guys?!

Any 3P logistics company would charge you if the package gets returned to sender. FBA’s no different in that aspect.

Of course, verifying addresses is Amazon’s responsibility which for whatever reason they have a hard time doing properly in 2023.

This also hits FBM sellers, since they have to pay for shipping + the carrier’s return to sender fee if the address is bad.

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Undeliverable goes back and back to stock unless it’s an international order, in which case, it’s reimbursed.

Refused delivery goes back to stock.

INR’s get reimbursed.

We get at least 100 of these types of returns (all 3 combined) per month. I watch them progress through the system when I have time. Never found an issue so I look less and less.

Amazon does a good job in regard to these in our experience.

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I sell FBM too, and while I might hope Amazon verified the address but at least I can see it and have the opportunity to verify.

I’ve never worked with any fulfillment service other than Amazon, but since they provide the address, handle the money, and ship the product without my involvement, I would expect them to filter out bad addresses prior to shipment.

I don’t know anything about 3P logistics companies, but wouldn’t their client supply the order to them?

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I should have also mentioned that it takes A LONG TIME for these things to settle out. I’m talking 45-60 days…

Just be aware of that if this is something you were hoping to get back in stock to sell anytime soon or paid back for if lost.

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You do have the opportunity to verify, but you can’t cancel the order without getting a ding for it. So you can either ship it and let it bounce back or you cancel it if you can afford the metrics to do so (and even then it still reflects negatively)

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I don’t mind the wait at all, I just wanted to understand the process. And maybe rant a little about the concept of being penalized for something that is hidden, i.e. whining.

Thank you for the clarification!

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It all works out in the end (NORMALLY). There are always exceptions.

We sell in a category where returns are not allowed (Food and Safety Issue). It’s nice that Amazon is finally showing why consumables are no longer returnable on the listing itself.

No returns allowed but somehow we got 1400 returns in the last 12 months. Most of the INR’s are unhappy customers that want their money back so they lie. We are working with SAS to add something to our account when a buyer goes to return something that they are directed to our website and to contact us. I was surprised that this would be an option (offered by our SAS manager).

Our goal is to satisfy our (well their) buyers. Happy to refund them to make them happy and keep them from writing negative reviews that complain about the product not being returnable. Well, Yea, it’s not. Talk to Amazon about that. The only site that I am aware of that blocks returns for supplements and other categories.

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Will there be a way to customize that for people without SAS?

I would like it so if someone clicks return it auto refunds them and blocks them from talking to Amazon customer service about it. (So they can’t say any keywords that result in action being taken against my listing)

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Sadly, it’s pay to play for now.

This is what it looks like We are not this company. Not the knockoff of Balance of Nature… This was the example I was sent by my SAS manager. I don’t like the verbiage so she is seeing if it can be customized to make it relevant to the product / brand. The support link is the contact page of their website. The phone # is their phone #. This can only be seen if the buyer goes to open a return.

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Usually Amazon is eager to refund 3P sellers’ money.

I have no idea why they’re not offering that option for this kind of thing.

Maybe you could bring that up with your SAS manager, they’ll probably get a promotion for a suggestion to allow 3P sellers to opt in to giving returnless refunds at the seller’s expense. I would say this should be limited to 1 refund per customer though.

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I’ve suggested it since this started with multiple Amazon people.

I’ll give Amazon some credit for trying to at least educate buyers (if they even look, which most don’t).

This is how it looks now. Before, it said “Eligible for Refund or Replacement”. Very confusing, and probably intentionally so.

I do believe that one day Amazon will make this right somehow for everyone. Returnless refunds on an Opt In basis would be ideal. Yea, that has buyer fraud written all over it but the occasional RR is better than frequent negative reviews for no reason, other than not having the ability to do what every other site allows.

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Yeah, it does give people an easy freebie if they’re dishonest, but buyer fraud is one of those things that gets a lot of attention and is angering, but when it comes down to the numbers it doesn’t have a big impact (unless you’re selling expensive items, then it can be a real issue).

Would rather just give the fraudsters a freebie without them needing to lie and potentially feed the bots keywords to act on. (And of course, if anyone’s legitimately unhappy they just get a refund without feeling the need to retaliate in some other way)

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For those manufacturers/distributors doing direct to consumer sales on Amazon the small percentage of returns for some product is insignificant.

Depending on the product, the overall cost is is near nothing. Our automotive return rate is ~3% of which less than 10% of that is actually unsellable.
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For many, it’s a no brainer considering the cost of dealers, distribution, logistics, etc. needed to operate at a lower tier where sellers are dealers then going to the end customers.

Heck paying someone to evaluate the return probably costs more for some of this stuff.

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That’s exactly the reason why retailers offer returnless refunds for cheaper items. If the COGS of the item is < $10 it costs more to pay for return shipping + evaluate and restock the item than to let the customer keep it / toss it.

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I guess it depends on what you mean to “charge”. In their minds, they attempted to delivery the goods to the customer, they should get paid for it.

There in lies the issue. Was delivery actually attempted? If yes, then certainly they should be able to charge for their service as it was provided to me. If their system rejected the address pre-shipping, they could charge for pick, pack fees as they may have done so, but certainly shouldn’t be charging me for shipping when they never actually shipped anything.

Beyond that, with Amazon delivery service, who knows if they actually attempted to deliver to the customer? I’ve had orders sent to my house that Amazon delivery said was undeliverable. No idea what the issue was, they delivered everything else to me. Too many leaves on the sidewalk?

There is no accountability in FBA with many things, this being one. I find it less painful to thank them for the spanking and politely ask for another than to fight with them (we all know how that goes) on every charge. I just figure a percentage as a cost of using FBA (for all the unjust charges of FBA) and adjust my selling price accordingly.

Good Luck,

TJB

Some of these could be related to driver theft as well (eg. take item out of box, mark as undeliverable and send the empty box back). Or if the box is straight up stolen, I have no idea how FBA marks it.

Apparently Amazon offers a gig job to be their FBA delivery driver, so that doesn’t exactly attract the highest quality, screened people.

In this case, someone signed up, went to the warehouse to get a shipment, and just took it home

Could also be incompetence / laziness by these part time workers as well. They could be marking something as undeliverable because your driveway’s too long.

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That’s exactly what I mean about lack of accountability. I had an MCF order going to a customer that Amazon split into 3 different shipments all delivered with Amazon delivery. 2 of the packages got delivered, 1 package was rejected as undeliverable despite “attempted delivery” of all 3 on the same day. So how did 2 of the packages get delivered just fine but a third couldn’t be delivered to the same address on the same day?

I cut off the use of Amazon delivery with MCF after this incident and severely limited my use of MCF as a whole.

TJB

The only accountability there is, as with all amazon employees, is when the bot decides to fire them because their problem rate is too high.