We need a modern day Robin Hood to save us from Jeff Bezos.

Amazon shipped 5 billion packages worldwide in 2017.   Overcharging in fees, due to errors in Amazon’s FBA methods of intake may be putting an additional 500 million dollars in Bezos’ pocket each year.   Here’s why.

As a brand seller on Amazon I have uncovered fees incorrectly being increased without notice due to an error that was either done by an intake fulfillment center employee who can’t measure properly, or by unauthorized contributions to listings.

Just imagine if 10% of the 5 billion packages shipped in 2017 where erroneously overcharged in FBA and listing fees.  That’s $500 million dollars of Amazon Seller’s money that they make incredibly difficult to get back.

I liken this tactic to  “Money Back Guarantees” that intentionally make it difficult to get a refund.  We’ve all seen them.  It all sounds great until you try to get your money back and it’s impossible to reach customer service for a return authorization number and address to return the goods.   As a Registered Brand on Amazon we are suppose to be able to control our listings, but that is far from what I experience for the past 4 years.  And when an error is discovered, well Amazon makes it as difficult as possible to recoup those lost fees.

One of the companies I own is EGPRO, LLC.  We have a design patent in 5 countries and do not give authorization for any company to distribute our product, not even Amazon Catalog (retail division).   In order to purchase our items you can shop at our website  or purchase on Amazon.com.  Since 2014 we have paid over $800,000 in fees to Amazon.  (This does not include sponsored terms on the ad platform.)  This doesn’t bother me when the fees are fair and correct.

But, here’s what happens.

Today, Sunday, the day before Labor Day Weekend 2018 I wanted to adjust the price (this is the only thing I can adjust without permission) and I find that once again, one of our listings is being incorrectly charged fees to the tune of $3.00 over.  As you can see by the ad, I drive traffic to Amazon as I know this is where consumer will shop – but my Labor Day campaign in now in the “toilet” because I can not afford to put it on sale due to the error in the fees.

As I pulled up my inventory management tool on Seller Central, I notice my best seller (White) as having a sudden increase in fees to $14.24, where as the other SKUS are $10.44 and $10.82.  As you can see they are the same except for color, thus the fees should be exactly the same, but they never are.easyGopro Go time just got easier Brand.jpg

 

EGPRO, LLC has had Brand Registry for 3.5 years.  As a small business and patent owner with a registered trademark, we are able to request Brand Registry so that we can (so Amazon says) “control” our brand on Amazon.  There are certain benefits that come with this for sure – but we have had nothing but problems with our listings having erroneous  “contributions by others”  which is code for  “Amazon Retail Division is controlling your listings, not you”.

In fact, since July 2018 I have had 2 cases open for incorrect category listings and control by Amazon, only to receive every 2 days an email stating:   “We’re working on it”.  In other words, once I report the measurements as being incorrect it will take weeks to fix, and meanwhile they continue to over charge and will refund only if we submit a list of all the orders that we were overcharged.  Instead of taking the responsibility for the error they put it back on to us.

If this is happening to us, it is happening to hundreds, if not millions of sellers worldwide.  Isn’t it time we banned together and found our Robin Hood to take back what is rightfully ours from Jeff Bezos, the riches man in the world? 

Happy Labor Day!

September 18, 2018

Amazon has since adjusted the fees to be nearly correct, but my listings are still being controlled by “other contributions”.   This seems like a never ending problem so perhaps I’ll just give it rest.  Amazon has not given me a remedy to be reimbursed for the $3.00 a unit sold with the incorrect fees, yet.  Can you imagine how much money Jeff Bezos makes if he just takes .10 cents of each item shipped each day because the fees are applied incorrectly?  Thanks a lot of lunch money Mr. Bezos, perhaps you should put our “fees” into a charity called “Amazon Sellers Foundation”.  Just say’n.

 

 

How can you know what you didn’t know you knew?

True story.

Circa 1995.   The day had finally arrived for me to meet with the Queen of all Media, Katie Williams, Owner of the super powerhouse  media agency  of the 90’s Williams Television Time in Santa Monica, CA. (Katie is this week’s guest on The C Spot).   Unfortunately, and how things seemed to always go at that time in my life; I had to meet with a total stranger.

At least I knew Katie so I was more comfortable pitching my billion dollar idea to her than to a total stranger but as I  contemplated the worse case scenario in my head I heard myself  blurt out; “Imagine a single guy; let’s say an attorney, sitting at his desk in Century City frazzled because he can’t find the time to go shopping for new clothes.   He knows exactly what size; color, style, and brand of shirt he wants but he works 12 hours a day.  Then imagine this;  he turns to his computer and logs onto a website; let’s say The GAP, and right there from his desk he orders the shirt he wants and 3 more; and a pair of pants.  A few days later they’re at his door.  It’s like a catalog on your computer.”  I stop for a moment and think to myself about the infrastructure it would take… ” I know there’s inherent problems like; order processing, warehousing, inventory and fulfillment; but we’ll figure that part out.”

She just stared at me.   “That’s it. That’s why you wanted to meet with Katie?”  Enough said.

I can still see her face in complete an utter puzzlement.  I can’t imagine she ever told Katie because she had no idea what I was talking about.  And ya know what?  I never did either.

The DOT COM bubble burst and the “world-wide web” became taboo for a few years; except for Amazon.  Amazon grew and grew; and grew some more; albeit with serious warehousing, inventory, fulfillment and order processing challenges; but they eventually figured it out.

Here’s what haunts me.   What if Katie had taken that meeting?  Would things have been different?  You know visionary to visionary?

That brings me to my headline.  In 1994 I had an IT manager; who spoke with a very heavy Romanian accent; one day he said,  “Mrs. Cooper do you see that guy, he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know so pay attention because he’s very dangerous.”   It took me a little while to decipher what he meant, but over the past 17 years when I look back at that day in Santa Monica it’s crystal clear that I knew what I knew but I didn’t know that I knew it.   Is that dangerous?

Live on Thursday, October 4, 2012

Interview with Katie Williams of President of Ideal Living – IdealLiving.com 

Honoree of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award – Electronic Retailing

www.LATalkRadio.com – CH 2 – 12PST

Wendi Cooper is the Host of The C Spot

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