Saturday, November 11, 2017

AMAZON MAY BE MORE MESSED UP THAN THE GOVBER

After four years selling used records on Amazon and earning a 4.9 out of 5.0 star rating, I just closed my account.  In all honesty, my account was actually suspended for falling below Amazon's on-time delivery metric.  

I wanted to keep the account open since Amazon was an expensive platform to sell on, but provided a steady stream of sales to US customer.  Unfortunately my efforts to submit a remediation plan went nowhere and after two weeks of continual frustration, I just reached the point where it was not worth my time or effort to pursue it any longer,  

With that background I thought I'd highlight just how screwed up Amazon's seller support process is.

Submitting a remediation plan seemed like a pretty easy task.  Within an hour of getting my notice of suspension I'd forwarded a list of actions to get my account back up to par.

*******************************************************************************
1.). Yesterday (October 29th) my only outstanding order was shipped. 
2.). Yesterday (October 29th)  I updated my inventory listing to eliminate items that are no longer available.  

3.). In the future I will make use of the “vacation” account close down feature prior to embarking on business and personal travel. Combined all of these actions should result in a marked improvement to on-time deliveries. 
Greetings from Amazon Seller Support.

**************************************************************

Unfortunately Amazon did't like the plan.  After I called seller support I got the following email telling me how to submit a remediation plan.

Hi Scott,this is xxxx, the associate whom you've spoken with. Thank you for contacting us.
Here is my sample POA for Late Shipment Rate. You may get some ideas here or paraphrase and add additional information as well. Please send it to seller-performance@amazon.com


Plan of Action
Dear Amazon Seller Performance,
Thank you for allowing us to appeal the suspension of our selling privileges. We are aware about our Late Shipment Rate metric which is above the maximum target of 4% and I want to apologize for our poor Late Shipment Rate performance.
-The issues that caused the complaints:
Orders were not shipped on the stated handling time as I was "REASON OF LATE SHIPMENT" which cause unforeseen delays on shipping the orders. These issues were due to poor oversight by management and inefficient procedures.
To eliminate future problems, we will improve our current standards regarding:
• Order fulfillment practices. Our standard procedure is to check each orders handling time and make sure to ship it on time or on it's Delivery Date to
ensure there are no more late deliveries.
• We will also review the feedbacks from the customers about our Shipment Processes.
• Have a designated staff member to monitor orders and comply with Amazon's polices and the performance requirements.
• Take care to more closely monitor my performance to make sure I meet Amazon's selling standards and to read through the Amazon Item Availibity Guidelines to make sure we are properly handling our inventory.
• Keep the items that we list in stock
• Extend our lead time to ensure you can deliver within the timeframe
• Put account on vacation settings if we are unavailable to ship
• Hire more staff if necessary to manage shipping volume
• We will be implementing a policy to verify at the end of each day that the data was uploaded correctly and that all items that were shipped and to verify
this shows this on Amazon.com. We will again check this each morning to re-verify that the correct items were marked as shipped with the correct tracking
numbers.
• We will be checking our Amazon Seller Dashboard each day to look to make sure that we are in line with Amazon.com policies.
• Will also notify our customers if there will be delay on the shipping.
Please let us know if you require any further information.
Once again, we apologize for our lack of oversight and look forward to your consideration.

At first I thought the email had to be a joke. Their template was simultaneously, bizarre, appalling, insulting, and pathetic.  If a high schooler submitted something like this as an assignment, you'd fail them.  The template just reeks with "big brother" attitude, but I swallowed my pride and submitted another remediation package:

*****************************************************

I have a small business selling used records on Amazon under the name BadCatRecords.  My account was justifiably suspended at the end of October for poor delivery times.
When the account was suspended I contacted Amazon's customer seller group.  They provided me with a template for requesting my account be reactivated.  I filled the template out and returned it, but have been told it does not provide sufficient information for Amazon to make a decision on reactivating my account.  


The main drivers for the slow delivery times stem from three factors.  I've listed them and the corrective actions I have implemented and will continue to put in place.


FACTOR 1: I spend quite a bit of time on business travel. 
REMEDIATION PLAN: When on travel it is impossible to process, or ship orders.  To avoid this issue in the future I have familiarized myself with the Amazon "vacation" feature and will shut my catalog down several days prior to embarking on business travel.
FACTOR 2: In several cases I had difficulty locating items in my inventory. 
REMEDIATION PLAN: I sell used records and they are typically shelved by artist name and album title.  In several cases items were not where they should have been, requiring added time to locate them in the stacks.  I've gone through the inventory refiling inventory to make sure items are filed in the correct locations.  I will now shelve new additions on a weekly basis.
FACTOR 3: There have been instances where items listed on my inventory were simply not available. 
REMEDIATION: To avoid this scenario I have culled through my inventory twice, deleting all items that are no longer available.  I will also undertake a weekly inventory review and update.

Combined these actions should result in significant improvements to on-time deliveries, bringing BadCatRecords back to the 96% target rate.
Thanks for your time
Scott Blackerby
doing business as BadCatRecords

***********************************************************************

My remediation package resulted in the following email:

We received your information, but your plan is not complete. Our review of your account found the following problems. 
Your late shipment rate is higher than the goal of less than 4%. Explain how you will prevent late shipments in the future. 
To sell on Amazon.com, please reply to this message with your plan to address these issues. Once we receive your plan, we will review it and decide whether you may sell on Amazon.com again. 
For help creating your plan, search for "Appeal the Removal of Selling Privileges" in Seller Central Help. 
Have questions? We can help right away. Contact us (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/cu/contact-us/performance). 
We look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely, 
Seller Performance Team 
Amazon.com 
https://www.amazon.com 



I sent several more emails asking for some information on what was required for a successful remediation package.  Each time Amazon barfed out an emails, each saying the same thing:

We received your information, but your plan is not complete. Our review of your account found the following problems. 
Your late shipment rate is higher than the goal of less than 4%. Explain how you will prevent late shipments in the future. 
To sell on Amazon.com, please reply to this message with your plan to address these issues. Once we receive your plan, we will review it and decide whether you may sell on Amazon.com again. 
For help creating your plan, search for "Appeal the Removal of Selling Privileges" in Seller Central Help. 
Have questions? We can help right away. Contact us (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/cu/contact-us/performance). 
We look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely, 
Seller Performance Team 
Amazon.com 
https://www.amazon.com 


So, after two weeks and a couple of hours of effort, I've given up.  I apparently could have submitted a remediation plan that said I'd paiint my house red, dance naked in the street, and pay Amazon to let me sell records and I would have gotten the same canned email.   

What a screwed up process.

Goodbye Amazon.  Great place to buy stuff, but if you're a seller, you are going to get screwed in one way, or another.  At least I'm getting out before sellers start losing money to buyers who simply decide they don;t want to pay for an item.   LOL


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