Lost Inventory

amazon missing inventory

Where Did My Missing Inventory Go?

Sending inventory to multiple warehouses created my first missing inventory issue at Amazon. But not my last. In fact, 3 of the five boxes I sent ended with Amazon admitting they were lost and reimbursing me.

It was probably only a matter of time as most people I’ve talked to have had something go missing at one point or another but I think the new warehouse processing system has created more incidences that usual. For me, it was 3/5th of what I sent them (or about $1800 in retail value of the merchandise) that went missing at the Henderson NV, Richmond, VA and Somerset NJ warehouses. 

6+ Weeks Missing Inventory

I recently redisigned my package and increased the size of the offering (while keeping the price stable). My intent is to funnel the profits from a new package layout into marketing a product that bucks the inflations/shrinkflation trend in the marketplace. I felt it would help me stand out and would be a good longo-term investment in my brand. 

But in doing so I ran out of product at Amazon. 

My first shipment in the new package arrived in Henderson NV on March 15 and it triggered as “delivered” and then “receiving” and then nothing. No movement, no changes until they closed the shipment with 0 items received on April 24, 2024. Amazon just recorded it as zero and hoped I didn’t notice. That is how they handle all their mistakes: gaslight you that you sent them an empty box and force you to prove you didn’t. 

The two other shipments  also showed as delivered but no further action. But Amazon didn’t let me open a ticket on those until May 4th. However, they did respond quickly once the tickets were finally allowed to be opened and on May 7th they admitted they could not find them and reimbursed me.

How Much Are Reimbursements?

You don’t get back the retail value of your items. Instead they pay you the amount you would have earned minus their normal fees. With the caviat they reserve the right to take that money back if they eventually find your inventory and place it back into stock. That’s fair. 

Disputing The Claim

But to get to that payment you will have to jump through a couple hoops. Before they will even investigate the lost items you will be required to open a claim and send them a packing slip and proof it was delivered to the warehouse. Never mind they acknowlege in their system the box arrived, they will make you prove it before even starting to look for your shipment. 

I will admit I had gotten a little lazy and was not storing all the UPS receipts in a folder (as I do now) but at least I was not throwing them away. Without that receipt you will never be able to reclaim your missing inventory. Luckily I had the paperwork needed and was able to pull it together and pass it on.

They will also require a signed packing slip (from manufacturers) or a invoice from your vendor (for those that are reselling). Once that is submitted with your dispute you will begin the hardest part: waiting for Amazon to respond. 

I opened my first claim on April 24. Today is May 7th and in the meanwhile I had to send Amazon more inventory or I would have run out of stock before getting this resolved. That was a huge leap of faith because they were asking me to send the next shipments to one of the same warehouses that had lost the first one. 


Insult To Injury

While I’m waiting, sales march on and I need to send replacement inventory to Amazon. Where do they want me to send 90% of the inventory I plan to mail? You guessed it, to the the warehouse they lost the first shipment at.

I was really torn on this decision and waited a couple days to consider my options (and see if they would give me a different warehouse to send to). Luckly, when I finally pulled the trigger and sent my next shipment they did not ask me to send to Henderson NV this time. 

It’s important to note here: you do not get to choose which warehouses the new system sends your product to. If you want to avoid sending to Henderson NV (like I did) you only have a couple choices. 1) you could send your shipment in fewer boxes and choose to send to a different region to avoid that warehouse. But that will incur a placement fee on the shipment which is usually a profit killer. Or 2) you can go through the shipment form daily and hope the computer gives you a different warehouse to ship to. 

I got lucky and after 3 days of trying to send a shipment, it gave me western warehouses that were not Henderson NV (and I sent to enough locations to avoid the fee). 

Warehouse Placement Fees

Those placement fees are profit killers. You will be chasing fees that change BY THE DAY and sometimes by the hour trying to get the best shipping rate. I’ve had the same shipment cost different amounts in the morning and the afternoon. In fact, I’ve been tracking shipment costs daily for the last 6 weeks and can find no pattern that benefits the seller. It’s like a slot machine that randomly pays out and you just have to take the wins when you find them. I’ve had placement fees vary between zero and 85 cents per unit with it falling between 29 and 39 cents per unit the majority of the time. 


The Evolving Amazon Game

My second shipment was sent on April 17 and today is May 7th. The entire shipment is safely in “receiving” with nothing lost and only 1 unit miscounted (sent 40 they say they got 39). This is still slightly longer turnaround than before the change but at least more accurate. My missing shipments could clearly be growing pains from the new system. 

I am being forced into holding twice the inventory I would normally hold for two reasons. 1) they require minimum inventory levels to avoid more fees and 2) they are just not processing as quickly as they used to so I find that while I sent them over 400 units this month, they only show about 50 as being available for FBA and the rest are being transferred or processed in some way.

The game continues to evolve.  

If you haven’t read my book yet, please consider buying a copy here to learn more about what it took to make a profit as an Amazon seller. 

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