Delays in appealing suspensions can result in losing FBA inventory – permanently
By: Lesley Hensell
Amazon suspended your ASIN – or worse, your seller account. What’s worse than not being able to sell your Amazon inventory?
If you don’t act fast enough, Amazon will destroy it.
At Riverbend Consulting, we receive panicked calls from sellers with aging suspensions. These sellers may have ignored the suspension notice. Or, they may have failed in their appeals.
What brings on the distress? Amazon sent them a notice that their FBA will be destroyed.
The mechanics of suspension at FBA
If a seller fulfills their own orders, a suspension still matters. The seller most likely should appeal, depending on suspension type and other variables.
On the positive side, there is not inventory tied up at the fulfillment center (FC).
But the stakes are higher when a seller relies on FBA.
When a suspension occurs, inventory at the Amazon warehouse goes on a timer. Amazon designates units at the FC as “unfulfillable.”
They remain in unfulfillable status until one of these things happens:
- The seller wins their appeal, pushing the Amazon inventory into fulfillable status.
- The seller places a removal order for their inventory, choosing to recall or destroy it.
- Amazon “destroys” the inventory.
Inventory hits “at risk” status
When inventory reaches 60 days of “unfulfillable” status, Amazon can destroy it.
The reasons for this are obvious-Amazon cannot be a warehouse for millions of units of inventory that are no longer eligible for sale.
This is frustrating for sellers in the throes of the appeals process. In the midst of the back-and-forth with Seller Performance, nothing ratchets up the stress like a threat to throw away your stuff.
It’s a bit of a mystery how and why Amazon sets its 60-day timer.
In reality, the time from suspension to Amazon inventory destruction seems much closer to 90 or 120 days. Regardless, the deadline that sellers should focus on is the one supplied in the warning email from Amazon.
Amazon sends the warning email 30 days before destroying your Amazon inventory. A reminder comes five days prior to inventory destruction.
The big caveat
Amazon is completely unreliable when it comes to the 30-day warning. Amazon shocks more than a few sellers by destroying their inventory at the 28-day mark, or sooner. It’s difficult to receive compensation for this error. Companies like Riverbend Consulting can help, with executive escalations and other methods. Sadly, results can take months.
It’s much safer to remove inventory when the five-day notice arrives.
Sellers object to this. It’s expensive to remove inventory – especially in large quantities. Plus, Amazon FBA does not treat removal orders with care. Rather, they see removal order inventory as “garbage,” and they pack it accordingly.
The best advice? Appeal immediately. If your account or ASIN is taken down, do not hesitate. Give yourself the best chance of winning reinstatement before Amazon sends the dreaded destruction notice.
The dirty FBA secret
On a side note, sellers often ask what really happens to their “destroyed” inventory. Does it actually go to the landfill?
Amazon stands to profit big when sellers fail to remove their inventory timely. Amazon may:
- Take possession of the inventory and list it for sale on the Amazon Warehouse Deals account.
- Sell the inventory in liquidation lots and keep the proceeds for itself.
- Destroy the inventory if there is no market for it.
Do you have FBA inventory at risk for destruction? Call a member of our team today. 877-289-1017 Don’t wait.
Lesley is co-founder and co-owner of Riverbend Consulting, where she oversees the firm’s client services team. She has personally helped hundreds of third-party sellers get their accounts and ASINs back up and running. Lesley leverages two decades as a small business consultant to advise clients on profitability and operational performance. She has been an Amazon seller for almost a decade, thanks to her boys (18 and 12) who do most of the heavy lifting.