September 19, 2019

Amazon sellers should take precautions to protect themselves from the penalties of overweight boxes

By: Lesley Hensell

Amazon FBA must have its scales out of balance. Over the last few weeks, a growing number of Amazon sellers are receiving warnings for sending allegedly overweight boxes to the FBA fulfillment center.

The rules are clear. Amazon has several requirements for boxes sent via small parcel delivery:

  • Units must be prepped according to Amazon’s packaging and prep requirements
  • Boxes must have both an FBA shipment label and carrier label
  • FBA boxes must not weigh more than 50 pounds each, unless they contain a single oversize item that weighs more than 50 pounds
  • Boxes must not exceed 25 inches on any side
  • Boxes must be packed properly, so they arrive at the fulfillment center intact

anvil imageThe sticking point lately revolves around the 50-pound weight limit. In some cases, Amazon is marking inbound shipments for breaking the overweight boxes rule – even if the weight is as low as 44 pounds.

Therefore, this begs the question – how can sellers protect themselves?

There are a few steps that you can take, to avoid penalties for overweight boxes:

  1. Take pictures. After you print and apply the stickers to the outside of the box, snap a photo. The picture should include both the number on the scale and the weight on the carrier’s sticker, as well as the tracking number.
  2. Get a receipt. If you drop off your boxes at a UPS location, they most likely weigh each carton. Get the shipping receipt and keep it on file. It includes the weight of the box, and it can be tied directly to the box via tracking information.

Certainly these precautions may be overkill for the average seller, or for any shipping boxes that weigh less than 40 pounds. However, they become more important if an account already has a warning. In conclusion, cover your behind. Nobody wants inbound shipping privileges suspended as we head into Q4.

For other Q4 warnings look at back at this popular blog, Q4 Headaches: the wrong way to drop ship.

Riverbend Consulting navigates online retail. Get your Amazon account reinstated, sell with confidence, and increase your bottom line. Contact us.

Lesley Hensell is Partner at Riverbend Consulting, she offers practical know-how to improve retail performance. Lesley’s experience with Amazon compliance gets accounts back up fast.