Updated: Sep 23, 2020
Amazon is warning ecommerce shippers using Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) that late shipments to an FBA facility on the part of their carrier could result in suspension of their FBA shipping privileges, even if the shippers themselves aren’t responsible for the delays.
The new policy went into effect on Aug. 25, and was announced in Amazon Seller Central last week.
“We are continuously working to make FBA products available to customers faster,” Amazon said in making the announcement. “When carriers miss delivery appointments at our fulfillment centers, processing time for all FBA shipments can increase.”
“The company said undefined “consistent failure” to meet delivery appointments could result in an FBA suspension. “If your carrier is unable to make the FBA shipment delivery appointment, we request that you notify us at least 24 hours in advance.”
A number of shippers complained there was no way to meet that requirement as the shipment information isn’t communicated to them by their carriers.
“Carriers do not notify us of upcoming appointments or missed appointments,” said one seller in the comments section of the announcement. “Tracking doesn’t even update for days most of the time. I’m very confused.”
“Why is the 3rd party seller always at fault and subject to penalty? Especially since we have NO CONTROL over what a carrier does or doesn’t do?” asked another seller. “It takes FOREVER to get FBA inventory into active fulfillable status and we the 3rd party sellers are to blame for a 3rd party carrier who we have no control over? Come on Amazon, get real here!”
A third seller suggested Amazon consider penalizing late-delivering carriers instead of sellers, especially as one late delivery can domino into subsequent ones who arrived on time.
“I agree that this policy needs to be rethought and should be suspended until Amazon finds a better way to deal with the carriers,” the seller said. “Especially during Q4, the situation becomes even worse where Amazon cancels and reschedules the delivery date or time by days or even weeks. Amazon should be compensating the seller for all such delays outside of the seller’s control.”
Many sellers have had a tough go of it on FBA over the course of the pandemic. Early on, orders were largely restricted to those selling items deemed essential. Then in July, Amazon announced stricter limits on quantities of products stored by 3P sellers in FBA facilities, across categories, in order to preserve space ahead of the coming holiday crush.
Amazon said the moves were necessary to deal with unprecedented order volumes triggered by COVID-19 and the related ecommerce surge, and the impact on capacity in its fulfillment centers, even as new facilities are opening up weekly across the country.