Importing for Amazon: FBA Restrictions and Regulations
There are certain restrictions and regulations sellers must abide by if they wish to utilize Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) services. Before listing products on Amazon using FBA, sellers must know what is fit for the fulfillment process.
Before importing goods into the U.S. to sell on Amazon, make sure that you are familiar with the product restrictions, inventory requirements, return policies, reimbursement policies, and shipping requirements laid out by Amazon for sellers wishing to use FBA.
Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) Product Restrictions
There are requirements for labeling, packaging, and shipping that must be met before inventory can be shipped to Amazon. Specific requirements include:
- FBA barcode requirements
- Packaging/prep requirements
- Box content information requirements
- Sellers must correctly provide box content information and have proper 2D barcodes.
- Labeling Requirements
- Shipping/routing requirements
- Product title requirements
For more information on each of these, look through the Amazon Seller Central page discussing inventory requirements.
Customer Returns for Orders Placed on Amazon
With FBA, Amazon processes customer returns. Amazon’s return policies determine how FBA customer returns are handled and what is eligible for reimbursement. Amazon offers refunds, returns, reimbursements, and replacements on FBA orders dependent on the products and circumstances. To ensure a pleasant customer experience, Amazon may accept returns beyond the usual timeframe.
Sellers handle customer returns and reimbursements if they are using the Multi-Channel Fulfillment Program (MCF). Sellers using MCF store their inventory in Amazon fulfillment centers, and when items sell on Amazon or another e-commerce site, Amazon packs and ships the order.
FBA Lost and Damaged Inventory Reimbursement Policy
Full or partial reimbursement can be issued for inventory lost or damaged when it is under Amazon’s control. If inventory is lost or damaged by a carrier in an Amazon fulfillment center, or during delivery to a customer, Amazon may:
- Replace the item with one that has the same FNSKU
- Reimburse the estimated proceeds of the sale of that same item
Amazon considers these factors when determining reimbursement amount:
- Sales history
- The average FBA selling price on Amazon
- The sales history of the specific Amazon Standard Identification Numbers
If Amazon does not have enough information to calculate the reimbursement amount for an item, they assign a value based on similar items. If sellers request a re-evaluation of the reimbursement, Amazon will want additional information from them, such as a receipt or an invoice. The reimbursement amount for an item can’t exceed $5,000. For items valued at more than $5,000, Amazon recommends purchasing third-party insurance.
Amazon fulfillment centers have requirements for the shipments they receive. Some of these essential requirements include using the correct pallet size and using a type of truck able to deliver to a fulfillment center.
The Truckload delivery to Amazon help page provides important information for preparing shipments to Amazon. Following these guidelines will help avoid delays in getting inventory to the fulfillment center.
Sellers need to have shipments palletized before they arrive at the fulfillment center whenever possible. Amazon will accept floor-loaded shipments if requested in advance when shipments are set up, but additional charges usually apply if floor-loaded shipments require immense handling.
Shipments must comply with Amazon’s inbound shipment policies. Sellers are responsible for removing shipments from the fulfillment center if Amazon refuses to accept them. Sellers who wish to have FBA inventory returned to them must fill out a “Create Removal Order” form and supply a return address in the country of import. Amazon will not return inventory stored in a fulfillment center to an address outside of the original import country and don’t support pick-up options for sellers at fulfillment centers.
Sellers with shipments less than a half pallet of loose cartons weighing less than 15 kilograms each should consider using a courier. Sellers who choose to use couriers should verify that the courier can clear the goods through customs with the commercial invoice provided.
Sellers must know that failure to comply with FBA requirements will likely result in the refusal, return or disposal of inventory, blocking of future shipments, charges for preparation or noncompliance, deactivation of your selling account, or additional fines.