The Ultimate Guide to FBA Seller Reimbursements
Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software – With over 300 million active users worldwide and growing, eCommerce is pretty much synonymous with Amazon today. We’re talking about $280.5 billion dollars’ worth of net sales here — and that’s just for the year 2019 alone!
But as an Amazon seller yourself, you’re more than aware of the steep cost of getting a slice of that eCommerce pie. Between storage, shipping, referral, and countless other fees, the bill for FBA services is like a worm that loves nothing but the taste of your profit margins.
Before we get carried away, however, let’s turn our attention to the real opportunity here.
You’re paying Amazon a lot of money in fees for all the services they’re providing you. That much is clear. But what you may not know is that NOT each of those dollars is justified.
Here’s why. Just like any other business, the folks at Amazon make mistakes from time to time. Yes, they have systems in place to catch those mistakes, and they do catch and correct them a lot of times.
But despite all those systems and good-intentions, things still slip through the cracks sometimes. And every time that happens, you lose money that could have given you an edge over your competition.
That’s right! Even a trillion-dollar company can make mistakes and shortchange sellers like yourself. And trust us, this happens way more often than you think.
The good news is that you can make Amazon pay you back for all those extra charges and losses — if you know the right way to do it — which is exactly what this guide will teach you.
So if getting thousands of dollars’ worth of fees back and improving your profit margins sounds good, keep on reading to learn how.
Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software: How Amazon Shortchanges Sellers
Amazon handles billions of packages every year, so things are bound to go wrong sometimes. A worker may damage your items. A shipping fee will mysteriously double. Sometimes people get refunds without even returning anything.
As we mentioned earlier, Amazon does a decent job of returning your money automatically in most instances.
Based on our own experience and that of other industry experts, however, there are two types of errors where sellers get shortchanged the most often.
1. Lost/Missing Units
You’re certain you sent 100 units of inventory, but Amazon is showing up 80 only.
Turns out you’ve fallen victim to inbound shipment errors, which are more common than most sellers think. In fact, we’ve found that inbound shipments account for roughly 60% of all reimbursement claims.
This can happen due to many reasons. For instance, the partnered courier service might mishandle your shipment and deliver the wrong number of units to Amazon. Even if it reaches Amazon’s warehouse successfully, someone might misplace it or forget to check it in your account.
But even if Amazon gets your shipment and logs everything correctly, you might still end up with missing units later down the line.
To understand why, you need to know how Amazon handles your inventory. There are different bins in a warehouse assigned to different sellers. That means there’s a bin or even multiple bins with your name, and this is where all your shipments go.
Your units are then handled by pickers, who take them out of the bin for processing. And this is the part where things go wrong. A common scenario is someone picking your unit but then returning it to another seller’s bin. Such a slight error, but this can literally take months or even longer to get sorted out.
If you’re selling a decent number of units, you’re most certainly losing a good chunk of your inventory to these inbound shipment and inventory errors.
2. Overcharged FBA Fees
Many sellers think that the dimensions they enter in their product listings are the ones Amazon uses to calculate FBA fees. But that’s not how it works.
What actually happens is that Amazon puts your packages through a Cubiscan to automatically measure the dimensions of your product. Your FBA fees are then calculated based on those figures.
Now, that sounds all good and fair until you realize they charge you based on the sizing category your product falls under, not the true dimensions.
So if your package has a bit of a bulge, even something like a fraction of an inch, that can push it into a higher sizing category with a double-digit increase in fees. And it gets worse as they sometimes base the pricing on similar but still different products.
For businesses with razor-sharp margins, these overcharges can be the difference between making a profit and filing for bankruptcy. So when we say pushing back on these overcharges can make or break your business, we really mean it.
Getting Reimbursements from Amazon – Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software
Now that you know how Amazon messes up sometimes and the two biggest leaks in your profits, it’s time to get practical and see how to get back all the money that’s rightfully yours.
On paper, getting reimbursements is as simple as finding discrepancies, initiating cases in Seller Central, and then backing your claims with proof. But in practice, each of those steps is more complicated than it appears.
As with anything complicated, different sellers take different approaches when it comes to Amazon reimbursements. Hence why there are three different processes for it:
- Manual Process: Either the seller or someone on their team handles each step of the reimbursement process for every single transaction in their account.
- Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software Process: The reimbursement process still stays in-house, but it is greatly simplified by leveraging technology.
- Agency Service Process: Every step of the process is outsourced to a third party so the seller doesn’t have to deal with anything.
Now, from that quick introduction, any one of those three processes may have jumped to you as the ideal option. Some of you are probably already thinking of hiring an agency. Others might be itching to Google the best Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software for reimbursements.
But the truth is, each of those processes has its own advantages and drawbacks. There’s no one solution that fits all here.
To pick the perfect process for your specific business needs (the one you won’t regret in 6 months from now), we recommend considering how each option stacks up in terms of time investment, cost, performance, and safety.
So let’s pit the three processes against each other across each of those areas and see what makes the most sense for your business:
1. Time Investment
With the manual process, either you or someone on your team will have to manually sift through all the transactions in your Seller Central to find any discrepancies. And that’s just the beginning, as you’ll have to gather proof, write messages, and then file a perfect case to stand a chance at winning.
As you can imagine, that takes a ton of time and effort. More so if you’re handling a serious volume of inventory every month.
Using the Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software process makes things far more manageable. You still need to file the cases, but the right software can handle the heavy lifting for you and save you a ton of time in the process. It’s not a completely hands-off process, but it’s pretty close.
And then there’s the agency service process. If there’s one area where agencies shine the brightest, then it has to be the savings in time. With this process, you don’t have to worry about any of the details as the agency takes care of every single aspect for you — from step one to the last.
The bottom line is that if time is important to you, then DIY is certainly not the best option. Both software and agency services can help you save countless hours over time.
2. Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software Cost
The biggest appeal of the manual process is the price tag. If you do everything yourself, then you get all of the reimbursements without spending a dime. But that’s not to say that it’s without a cost. In fact, there’s a steep cost involved here: your time.
Every hour you spend crunching the numbers takes away from other, far more important areas of your business. Now, you could outsource it to a VA, but that would require a lot of specialized training and even then you’ll have to pay the VA by the hour — all before you get a single cent back from Amazon.
The cost of the Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software process depends on the software of your choice. Some companies charge an upfront yearly fee to let you use their product. We’ve seen prices as high as several hundred dollars per month with zero guarantees for success.
Where things get interesting, however, are experienced companies that let you use their software for zero upfront costs. The only price you pay is a commission on successful reimbursements.
That’s right! You only pay a percentage commission on the money you win back with their product. So the only way the developers get paid is if they can get you an extra paycheck from Amazon.
The same is true with the agency service process as many agencies operate on a commission-based pricing structure. The percentage typically hovers around the 25% range.
The bottom line is that both the software and the agency process are a lot more cost effective than doing it manually.
Performance is perhaps the most important factor as it doesn’t matter how affordable or hands-off a process is if you’re not winning any reimbursement claims.
The manual process is hands down the worst performer in this category. Whether you DIY your way through it or hand everything off to a VA, the truth is that neither of you has the knowledge or the experience to file a strong and compelling case — one that actually gets Amazon to pay you.
The Software process is the opposite. While you’re still handling the reimbursement process yourself, the key difference is that an application can enforce a proven process to help you win the highest number of claims.
The agency service process is also a lot more accurate than the manual option. Reputable agencies are run by experienced professionals who’ve been in the game for a long time and know what they’re doing.
In short, the best way to win cases is to stop trying to do it manually. But when comparing the performance of software versus agency services, there’s a big factor that tips the scales in favor of one over the other — as you’re about to see in the next section.
Incorrect reimbursement claims, or “premature” as the official policy document calls them, can get your account in trouble. Consequences range from delayed support to investigations and even account actions.
So for the final comparison, let’s look at the risk profiles for each of the three processes.
Let’s start with the obvious. The manual process carries the highest risk for two reasons: lack of experience and huge margin for human error. And that’s without factoring in the fact that most sellers and VAs don’t understand the reimbursement policies well-enough, to begin with.
The agency service process fares better in this regard, but not by far. Most reputable agencies are founded by experienced individuals who know Amazon reimbursement policies from A to Z.
But the thing is, the founders don’t handle the reimbursements themselves. The actual grunt work is typically performed by VAs whose knowledge of Amazon’s policies is limited to whatever SOPs the founders hand them.
What makes things worse is their preference for zero client involvement. While that saves time and effort for the seller, it also hurts account performance and safety profile. Without your involvement, the agency has no way of backing reimbursement claims with proof since they don’t have any. Only the seller would have these necessary pieces of documentation.
The Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software process is the opposite here as it requires seller involvement to operate. The best software will have you store all your documents in a strategic database that lets you present proof instantly and win the maximum cases.
But that’s not to say that software is without risk either. Some companies use methods that can get your account in trouble. For instance, Amazon has made it mandatory for a human to submit each reimbursement claim. But some software companies continue to automate this process. Avoiding them is important for the safety of your business.
As long as you choose the right software solution and follow the guidelines, however, your account will be safe. We can’t say the same for DIY or agency services.
Trying to claim reimbursements manually is hands-down the worst way to go about it. It is time-consuming, headache-inducing, and anything but free.
The great thing about agency services and software solutions is that the most reputable ones only charge you a commission on what they win back for you. So as far as upfront costs are concerned, both have none.
But that brings up another question: Should you go for a software or an agency?
Unfortunately, choosing between a software solution and an agency service isn’t easy.
Agencies can get you up and running in no time without requiring any input moving forward. They can help you win more cases than you’ll ever win on your own. But as we explained earlier, the VAs handling your account may be inexperienced and cannot open certain case types that require seller involvement.
Additionally, Amazon support reps are making it more and more difficult to win claims. More often than not sellers are receiving lengthy/intimidating responses to the claims. Responding to Amazon is the key in taking the case to the next step and achieving that reimbursement. The challenge here is training virtual assistants to understand & respond to 100’s of different types of Amazon responses. Without this intense proper training or a process to manage opened cases these claims are expiring and left behind.
Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software, on the other hand, makes things better by helping you back your claims with proof while taking human-error out of the equation. It’s also infinitely faster than doing things manually. But despite all that, you’ll still have to invest some time into finding your way around the interface and performing the regular reimbursement actions.
Besides the time investment, there’s also the matter of safety as some software companies break Amazon’s rules by submitting claims automatically and so on. Everyone claims their software is safe, but it’s not like you can dig into the code and confirm for yourself.
Like we said, choosing between software and agencies is tough because both have obvious drawbacks that are hard to ignore.
We know because this is exactly the dilemma we faced when our own Amazon store blew up. We didn’t have the time or the expertise to handle reimbursements in house. But we also didn’t want to place the future of our entire business in the hands of some random agency or software company either.
That’s what lead us to the creation of Seller Locker. Our customers love to call it the perfect mix of software and service because that’s exactly what it is — and a whole lot more.
The Seller Locker Difference within Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software
To understand what makes our system better, let’s do a quick rundown of how it works. You start by signing up for an account, then you link your Amazon account and schedule an audit. That’s all the initial setup.
Once your account is fully set up, our system automatically scans through all the transactions in your account to find opportunities for reimbursements. This process is repeated regularly to monitor all your future transactions as well.
As soon as an opportunity is discovered, our system notifies you and puts it in the dashboard for you to take action on. And by action, we mean just clicking the “Submit” button on the claims form in Seller Central.
Our system takes care of everything else. That includes opening the right form, selecting the right options, adding a concise and compelling message written by our copywriters specializing in FBA, and attaching any relevant documents of proof. The only thing you’ll do is hit the submit buttons on a schedule of your own choosing.
With a basic understanding of our system out of the way, let’s now look at the key differentiators our customers ditch the competition for:
1. Perfect Mix of Automation and Manual Action within Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software
Most software solutions fall into one of two categories. They either highlight reimbursement opportunities but leave everything else for you to do manually. Or they automatically submit claims for all transactions.
Both of those are bad for business. The first type leaves like 80% of the work for you to do by hand. Whereas the second type will get your account in trouble as Amazon doesn’t allow using bots to submit claims.
Our system is different because we automate everything for you except for that quick final step of submitting the form. Think of it like a clicker game where you get real money for every click.
If even that sounds like a lot of work, then you’re going to love our recent addition of VAs in the process. Now you can have one of our trusted assistants do the clicking for you. The best part? This is available to all our customers free of cost.
So where you had to choose between the speed and efficiency of software versus the comfort of a hands-off agency, our solution offers the best of both.
2. Best Practices Baked in the System for Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software
The problem with most software is that they’re only as good as the users using them. If you don’t know the ins and outs of Amazon’s policies, you’ll likely take an action that might hurt your account. But not with Seller Locker!
We know you don’t have the time to master the ins and outs of reimbursement policies. So we built the best practices right into the architecture of our software. It doesn’t matter if you’ve handled 1,000s of reimbursements claims or none — our system will enforce the best choices by default.
For example, keeping proof for all your inventory is the key to winning cases. So we built this into our system by adding a feature to automatically sort and store the documents of proof for you.
All you have to do is every time you send inventory to Amazon, take a photo of the invoice or the bill of lading, and send it to your dedicated phone number or email address. We give one to all our customers.
When the time comes for opening a case, our system automatically grabs the relevant documents and attaches them to your claims. We can even integrate with small parcel shipment companies and automatically pull proof from there as well.
Agencies are notoriously bad at this as they take pride in zero client involvement, which means they absolutely can’t back their reimbursement claims with proof — since they have none.
3. Industry Leading Reputation
A major problem with software solutions and agency services is that you don’t know what’s happening under the hood. For instance, you never know how your data is being handled internally or if they’re violating any FBA reimbursement policies.
With Seller Locker, you don’t have to worry about any of that as our system is audited and approved by Amazon itself. On top of that, we have over 4,000 sellers who trust our system with their accounts, including many Top 100 Amazon Sellers.
4. Highest Rate of Successful Reimbursement Claims
We handle literally billions of dollars’ worth of transactions across the accounts of our more than 4,000 users — every single year. In fact, the recent figure is $10 billion.
This has allowed us to accurately estimate how much money Amazon owes on an account, how to write the messages for the best response, how many cases to open at once, when to push for more, and so on.
Each of those optimizations can make a significant increase in your reimbursements. Put them all together, let our system back your claims with proof, and you’re sure to get more reimbursements than any software or agency could ever get you.
But that’s not the end of it. As our founder Joseph Abitbol says, “following up is half the battle”.
It’s not uncommon to have 5 or even more back and forths with Amazon before they rule in your favor. But an agency can never do this as it’s physically impossible to handle tens of thousands of follow-ups manually. And we don’t know of any software that can handle this effectively.
That’s why we built a follow-up system into Seller Locker that’s powered by artificial intelligence. Our system can automatically read Amazon’s response, prepare the appropriate next message, fill everything out for you, and then let you submit a solid response in one click.
The result? Our users have made more follow-ups than we can count ever since we implemented this new system without any major increase in time investment.
But more importantly, we’ve seen a 35% increase in total successful reimbursements on average — and that’s on top of the already industry-leading success rate of our system.
So when we say Seller Locker can help you get the maximum amount of money back from Amazon, we really mean it.
Seller Locker in the Real World provide Amazon Fee Reimbursement Software
We get it. Specs and theories are all fine and dandy, but you want to see our system in action and the real-world results it has generated for other businesses like yours.
With over 4,000+ sellers using our system, we have more inspiring case studies to share than you could read in a sitting.
So let’s look at two specific case studies that show what fixing the two common leakages we identified at the start of this guide can do for your business:
1. Outdoor Equipped
Amazon losing your items is not a question of if, but when. Few people know this better than Daniel Hayes, the CFO of Outdoor Equipped.
As a Top 120 Amazon Seller, losing a small percentage of product pallets still meant a big figure of lost revenue for Outdoor Equipped.
So the team started working with another provider to solve their reimbursement troubles. Unfortunately, that effort didn’t prove fruitful as the team was left just as confused and helpless as before.
As David later told us, they weren’t recouping lost revenue because they didn’t have any visibility into what was going on.
A quick demo of Seller Locker’s dashboard is all it took to turn things around. Suddenly the team had absolute clarity into the statuses of cases, lost inventory, and profit killing fees.
The results have been stunning, to say the least. Within just 10 months of using Seller Locker, Outdoor Equipped has recovered $108,000 in lost revenue. But that’s not all.
Today Outdoor Equipped gets an extra $12,000 in monthly revenue thanks to all the leaks our system has patched for them.
2. HouseHold Brands
Hitting record holiday sales for your company deserves a victory dance, right? Well, not for Rich Edelman.
As the E-commerce Manager at HouseHold Brands, Rich’s celebrations were cut short when the financial team hit him with some bad news: their profits were down by 15%.
Turns out, Amazon increased the FBA fees on many of their hottest sellers. A 15% drop in profit margins, all because of miscalculations on Amazon’s part. And they never got any notification for these fee increases.
Rich started digging right away and soon discovered the world of reimbursements. From there, it didn’t take long before the team was spending 20+ hours a week challenging Amazon on all the overcharges. And that too after limiting their focus to their top sellers only.
As Rich told us later, they even considered hiring a full-time employee to handle their reimbursements. But the plan changed after he met our team and signed up for a free account.
By leveraging all the tools and protocols of our system, Rich increased the profit margins for HouseHold Brands by 12% — an additional $200k to their bottom line in 10 months only.
Half of that figure came from reduced FBA fees. The rest was recovered from all the other opportunities our system uncovered automatically.
The best part? All of this was achieved with just 10 minutes a week of using Seller Locker. Compare that to hiring a full-time employee for just the FBA fee overcharges only.
Ready to Get Your Money Back?
You’ve seen how Seller Locker helps businesses get the biggest paybacks from Amazon with proven systems, effortless interactions, and minimal time investment.
Now it’s time for you to put this into action for your own business.
Depending on the size and volume of the transactions in your account, you could get enough back to finance your business during these tough times or even blaze past your competition with a bigger marketing budget.
Because here’s the thing. You’re not just going to get cashback on all your past transactions (which is big on its own). But you’ll also get a significant boost in your profit margins for all future transactions — a huge competitive advantage on a marketplace like Amazon.
So if you’re ready to experience the Seller Locker difference in your own business, sign up for a free account and schedule your zero-obligation audit today.