Amazon: Bad FBA Sellers Facing Unplanned Prep Service Fees

    If you have recently gotten a little lazy about how you ship your items to Amazon’s warehouses, you might want to listen up. Amazon announced this week that it is about to start slapping the wrists of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sellers who don’t follow the shipping rules, by imposing a fee for labeling, taping, and bagging infractions

This new fee, which Amazon is calling an “Unplanned Services” fee, goes into effect on May 21, 2013. An email sent to Amazon’s sellers explained it as “a new option for when you are unable to prep or package your products yourself, and do not choose a planned service such as the FBA Label Service.” Unplanned services “may include activities we perform such as labeling, bagging, poly bagging, and taping in order to make products ready for safe and efficient storage and delivery.”  In other words — “ship your packages to us the way you are supposed to or we are going to charge you to fix it.”

Although some sellers already opt (pay a fee) to have Amazon correctly label their items for them, wayward sellers who improperly label or ship their items will soon see as much as a. $0.40 fee for each incorrect unit. As of April 2nd, Amazon started to “help” sellers adjust to this by displaying the unplanned Labeling services that are performed on your behalf in your Seller Account along with a preview of the fees you will have to pay.

Although this fee is clearly targeted at Amazon sellers who don’t like to follow the rules, it could get a bit pricey for new sellers who haven’t quite learned the proper ropes yet. To help with this, Amazon has posted instructions and videos on their Packaging and Prep Requirements page that explain exactly what it is that Amazon wants and what they expect packages to look like.    

While I don’t think that most sellers have to worry about this, it could clearly eat into your profits if you label or bag a large number of units incorrectly. If you have any doubts about what to do, it is probably a good idea to review the videos and read over the requirements before the May 21st deadline.

About our Guest Blogger

This guest post was contributed by Kat Simpson. Kat is a trusted eCommerce author, speaker, educator, and entrepreneur. Kat Simpson has been a successful eCommerce merchant for over 10 years; is an eBay Education Specialist and Gold Level PowerSeller, as well as a successful Amazon merchant. Currently Kat is the hosts the popular weekly eCommerce Podcast That Kat Radio

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