As you run your Amazon business, you might have encountered the confusing process of canceling Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shipments. This is made all the more challenging when juggling multiple business operations simultaneously.
Despite these difficulties, FBA shipments remain popular – owing to their significant cost advantage. Data released by Amazon shows that these shipments cost 70% less than other premium shipments and 30% less than standard shipping options.
That’s why many sellers utilize this shipment method. Cancellations will be inevitable, though – they will be truly massive headaches for online sellers.
In this blog, we’ll guide you through all the right steps to cancel an FBA shipment so you no longer have to deal with all the issues that come with it.
Key Takeaways from this Post
TL;DR Summary: Canceling an FBA Shipment
Let’s have a quick rundown of what we’ll discuss in this step-by-step guide:
- Canceling an FBA shipment only takes 8 steps.
- 6 scenarios that prevent you from canceling a shipment.
- Cancel shipments before closure to ensure a successful Amazon seller order cancellation.
- The processing time of FBA shipment cancellations is often quick.
- Avoid exceeding a 2.5% cancellation rate.
- Communicate with buyers regarding cancellations.
- Prevent frequent cancellations.
How to Cancel an FBA Shipment
Here are the 8 simple steps you need to take to cancel an FBA shipment:
1. Log in to Amazon Seller Central
To cancel an FBA shipment successfully, begin by signing in to your Amazon Seller Central account. This is where you handle all aspects of your Amazon business, including canceling FBA shipments.
2. Navigate to the 'Manage FBA Shipments' Section
After logging in, hover your cursor over the drop-down section of ‘Inventory,’ you should find the ‘Manage FBA Shipments’ section here. This section allows you to oversee all your FBA shipments in one place.
3. Locate the Shipment You Want to Cancel
Okay, now you should see a summary of all your FBA shipments. Before proceeding with the next steps, you must know what shipment you want to cancel.
4. Select the Shipment
Click on the targeted shipment and ensure that this is the shipment you’re looking to void.
5. Click 'Work on Shipment'
Once you’ve selected the FBA shipment, you’ll find a ‘Work on Shipment’ option. You can modify other shipping details by clicking this, including canceling the FBA shipment.
6. Choose the 'Cancel Shipment' Option
At the bottom of the workflow page, you should find the ‘Cancel Shipment’ option. Once you click this, you initiate the cancellation process.
7. Confirm Cancellation
Before you finalize your cancellation, review everything. Ask yourself if this is the shipment you intended to cancel. You must follow this step to prevent accidental cancellations.
8. Check for a Confirmation Email from Amazon
Voila! We’ve now reached the final step – checking if you received a confirmation email from Amazon. Be sure that you check the email associated with your Amazon seller account.
6 Times When You Can't Cancel an FBA Shipment
See? Canceling an FBA shipment isn’t all that difficult. However, there are some instances where canceling one isn’t possible. Here are 6 reasons why:
1. When the Shipment has Closed Shipments
Amazon considers shipments closed when they have reached their final destination. To check if your shipment has been closed, check your shipping queue and check if the status says ‘Closed.’ Once the shipping process is completed, you technically cannot cancel it as Amazon considers this finalized.
2. When the Shipment is Already in Transit
Canceling an FBA shipment becomes impractical when the shipment is already en route. If a customer wishes to cancel an Amazon order from a seller, and the shipment is already in transit, you must inform them that the cancellation is no longer feasible.
Instead, the customer should accept and return the shipment for a complete refund.
3. When the Shipment is in FC Transfer
Canceling an FBA shipment when it is transferred between Amazon fulfillment centers will not be feasible. The main reason why these shipments can’t be canceled in this case is that relocation complications can arise when disrupting the distribution process across fulfillment centers.
4. When the Shipment has Active Inventory
An active inventory means a product sold under your Amazon account is still available for purchase.
If a shipment contains products that are actively listed for sale, then allowing these shipments to be canceled can result in unfulfilled customer orders. This goes against what Amazon stands for – creating a seamless shopping experience for all users in its vast marketplace.
5. When the Shipment has Compliance or Policy Issues
Let’s say you’re shipping a mobile phone – a fragile device that must be subjected to Amazon’s packaging regulations to ensure safe transportation. These shipments are required to be bubble-wrapped for protection.
Plus, they must meet specific requirements, such as passing Amazon’s self-certified 3-foot drop test. If you don’t meet a requirement, your non-compliance is flagged, and you cannot proceed with the shipping process.
Canceling your shipment will not be possible until you resolve the issue. The affected shipment can pose a risk to the fulfillment process, leading to more complications down the line.
6. When there are Pending Reimbursement Claims on the Shipment
There’s a chance that a shipment has a pending reimbursement claim. Should this be your situation, know that canceling the shipment will be impossible as it can interfere with the resolution of a claim.
Hence, you must resolve any pending claims before canceling. If you ignore them, you might encounter financial discrepancies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions on canceling FBA shipments:
Can any FBA Shipment be canceled at any time?
While you can cancel FBA shipments in some scenarios, you cannot cancel them at any time. These shipments must be canceled before they close. Refer to the six reasons above for other instances preventing you from canceling an FBA shipment.
Will I incur any fees for canceling an FBA Shipment?
Here's some good news – canceling an FBA shipment won't incur additional fees or changes. No charges apply if the cancellation occurs before the commencement of the shipment.
However, for canceled orders, Amazon sellers are required to issue refunds. Buyers have 30 minutes to cancel their orders. Once this time has elapsed, you must contact the buyer to inform them that their order has been shipped out. These orders can’t be canceled.
The shipment will be canceled if an order is received in excellent condition. The buyer gets a refund depending on their mode of payment.
Amazon’s refund policy states that the refund process takes about 3-5 business days for buyers who paid using their credit cards and up to 30 days for those who used prepaid credit cards.
How long does it take for a cancellation to process?
Most of the time, the cancellation process only takes a few minutes for Amazon businesses. Always check your account for updates, as cancellation times can occasionally vary.
What happens to my inventory after a shipment is canceled?
The answer to that question depends on when a shipment is canceled, and the only correct answer is to cancel it before dispatching.
The inventory is still yours if a shipment has been canceled before shipping. Once an order is marked as closed or in transit, it can no longer be canceled.
In that case, the ownership of the product is transferred to the customer. To reclaim your inventory, the product must undergo the returning process, which they must initiate.
Can I reinstate a canceled shipment?
A canceled shipment cannot be reinstated. If this occurs, the seller must inform the buyer of an error in the shipment cancellation. If the buyer still shows interest in your product, request them to place their order again.
What should I do if I can't cancel the shipment?
If you can’t cancel the shipment, let the customer know. If, let's say, a cancellation request has been issued, then the buyer can return the product and request a refund.
Additionally, be prepared to handle the accounting aspects of returns and refunds by updating your records promptly. That way, you maintain the integrity of your business transactions.
Are there any specific scenarios where I can't cancel a shipment?
Yes. These scenarios include shipments with closed shipments, shipments that are closed, in transit, or FC transfer. If a shipment also has active inventory, a compliance issue, or a pending reimbursement claim, then canceling will not be an option.
How does canceling a shipment affect my seller performance metrics?
Frequent shipment cancellations are never a good look for an eCommerce business. If we’re talking numbers, aim for a shipment cancellation rate of 2.5% or below, according to Amazon’s policy.
Amazon monitors this particular metric. You risk suspending or deactivating your seller account if you exceed this value.
Orders are sometimes canceled due to mismanaged inventory, unprecedented spikes in demand, or inaccurate listings. If you find yourself inching closer toward the 2.5% cancellation rate, there are several ways to manage it:
- Communicate with the buyer regarding cancellations and explain why. Request them to cancel the shipment.
- Follow the standard cancellation process. Amazon now requires sellers to provide a reason for canceling to prevent abuse. This allows Amazon to take action promptly.
- Cancel orders when necessary and avoid doing so repeatedly.
Canceling multiple Amazon FBA shipments can lead to a topsy-turvy experience, especially when one is unaware of all the intricacies surrounding cancellation policies. Now that you know how to cancel shipments easily, you can maintain a stellar Amazon seller performance.
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