Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Nov 9 2017 17:13:51

Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon changed the way it calculates claims against sellers, called the Order Defect Rate (ODR), putting seller accounts in jeopardy just as they are gearing up for the holiday shopping season.

Sellers say Amazon has retroactively started counting A to Z claims that were decided in seller's favor and started counting A to Z claims that had been withdrawn by the buyer. "Some people's ODR rates have doubled or tripled overnight," a reader told us. 

There's been no announcement by Amazon, they say. "It appears they sneakily changed their policy page, too.....it's not looking to be a technical issue," the reader told us.

You can read more on this thread on the Amazon discussion boards - and there are many more, with sellers speculating on whether it's a policy change or a glitch. Amazon has yet to respond to our inquiry about the change.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 9 20:31:18 2017

Mine is .05% defects today but I have not had an A to Z in months so I guess if it doubled I won't lose any sleep over it but in Dec/Jan they will start complaining about non  receipt for Christmas etc.. so I can see where this can be an issue if non seller faulted is going on metrics.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Nov 9 20:52:09 2017

This is so eBayesque.

Remember a couple of years ago when ANY RETURN, even buyer's remorse returns, were counted against an eBay seller? And if your defect rate was over 2 percent, you lost your Top-Rated Seller status and 20% discount??

Many sellers either left due to attrition, or just were finally fed up with becoming micro-managed and punished due to no fault of their own. And eBay still cut half the discounts later on (which did help their last revenue report a bit).

Face it, folks- Amazon does not need small sellers. More and more categories are gated daily, so only those who can purchase at wholesale with invoices as proof can list and sell there. This removed a great deal of ''Mom & Pop'' sellers (such as myself) from the game.

Now, guess you cannot have any A-Z claims at all, or your metrics take a big hit. Of course, if they are too low, your account will be suspended as well. And good luck being reinstated if you do little to no volume. Leave the Amazon sandbox and take your shovel and pail with you!!

So, yes, Amazon is and will continue to thrive without ''noise'' (to borrow an eBay Donahoe term) sellers. And, if you are lucky enough to be successful, don't worry- price fixing is coming soon. Wal-Mart has done it for years, and the River is next.

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Thu Nov 9 21:04:41 2017

IMO, the principal purpose of Amafia gating IS price fixing.

Just as Facebook and Twitter are media companies now rather than tech companies, Ebafia and Amafia are over managed marketplaces rather venues. Some of their policies are, IMO, illegal which has been discussed at length here over the years.

These corporations are abusive and becoming more so by the day. The opportunities for a competent competitor with reasonable fairly applied policies are glaringly obvious.

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 10 07:57:47 2017

Amazon is slowly but surely pushing out small sellers.

While continuing to entrap the unsuspecting with the "Have One to Sell? Sell on Amazon" button.

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by: futervest This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Nov 10 09:42:40 2017

Did they not learn when eBay changed theres. Also this will be a nightmare for the people selling threw dropshippers. because they NEVER see their product. and drop shippers will intentionaly shipp broken to save disposal cost.  That's why ALL my merchandise is in MY building and I ship personally.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 10 09:56:07 2017

@ Ming the Merciless & ignatz

The above pretty well sum up the entire situation. Except I don't think of Amazon as ever really being a venue -- but certainly much looser with their 3rd party sellers than today.

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

by: dander This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 10 16:38:02 2017

Why people sell through Amazon when Amazon competes against you is beyond me.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 10 22:12:53 2017

@ dander

One of the keys of success on Amazon is to source and sell what Amazon does not have or sell. There are literally thousands of items that Amazon itself does not bother with, but are wanted by some or many if one is lucky and smart and quick on their feet (lol).  

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Nov 11 07:50:03 2017

Amazon hides alot of pitfalls in their TOS that constantly changes without notice.  The worst one I ran into was the signature confirmation requirement, without which they will rule against you in any A2Z claim.  A venue that passes along a mere $4 shipping expects you to pay even more out of pocket for that plus insurance.  Makes you wonder what you actually get for their 20% commission.

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 11 12:20:45 2017

@ RKTOYS
I certainly agree about the TOS, especially the very detailed minute stuff. But, if you don't read it very closely and not understand then you really will put yourself at risk of things bad happening to you.

The shipping rebate is miserly, for sure. Professional sellers can raise the shipping but really need to be very careful with that as Amazon has trained their customers very carefully to expect no to low shipping costs.

This change to Oder Defect Rate is very disastrous for many. If it stands it will push more of us smaller 3rd party sellers out, probably to eBay's benefit. It could be an error, but probably not, more likely a test to see if they can make it permanent.  

So, what does one get for the commission?  Customers? Yes and No. Orders? Yes.

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Nov 11 14:54:45 2017

I read the TOS when I signed up.  I don't know when the signature confirmation requirement was added.  At least eBay notifies you about the spring/fall updates.

Miserly?  $4 was miserly a decade ago.  It's full-blown Ebenezer "are there no prisons?  are there no workhouses?" Scrooge in 2017.

Professional sellers have to pay a subscription fee to have any control over shipping.  If you forgo that monthly rent and build a buffer into your price, that subjects you to additional Amazon taxes on the sales end.  I don't recommend selling on Amazon unless your inventory "fell off a truck" and even then you're better off almost anywhere else.

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This user has validated their user name. by: FEEbay

Sun Nov 12 08:55:00 2017

Amazon is tough, to be sure. But at the end of the day, Amazon has the traffic, and Ebay does not. If you have small, higher margin items, that 57 other sellers aren't selling on there (Or Amazon for that matter), and use FBA, it can be a winner for anyone. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning, and running an order report only to see that Amazon shipped 25 items for you while you slept! However, doing merchant fulfilled, or Seller Fulfilled Prime on Amazon is a recipe for a suspension....that's the hard truth.

The issue with Ebay is that they keep trying to copy Amazon's model.... The problem is that:
1.) The folks at Ebay are not very competent (see Brian Burke..for example...)
2.) Ebay does not fulfill orders, they are JUST A VENUE

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Nov 12 11:59:21 2017

Anyone who wants to sell $5 cell phone covers dropped shipped from Alibaba.

Yeah, I don't want to buy that garbage, much less sell it.

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 13 09:54:50 2017

Amazon gets major TAX BREAKS to open Fulfillment Centers in YOUR State.
That means YOU pay MORE of the TAX burden.
YOU pay so THEY can put you out of business.
YOUR Governor does this.
Amazon will get THEIR Corporate TAXES... CUT to 20% of NET profit.
YOU may lose the DEDUCTION for medical expenses, your property taxes.
Jeff Bezo's Heirs will soon INHERIT billions w/ NO estate tax.
YOUR Congress is doing this.
WELCOME to the 2-tier society...
Worker bees slaving for the top 5%.
If you don't vote, or, voted for the rich who DO this to you...
you have only yourself to blame.
CONGRESS and a President CAN enact LAWS...
LAWS that give BIG TAX BREAKS... to REAL small businesses...
SELLERS who make UNDER $100,000.
Not Corps that make over a million.
CONGRESS can TAX cheap Chinese imports & Corps. who mfgr OVER seas.
CONGRESS can reign in Corporate greed...
instead... they FEED it... and you SEE it in THESE policies.


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by: cellular-seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 13 10:34:42 2017

What is truly insidious is that these A to z claim are routinely filed by outsourced customer service agents rather that assist the customer. In the last few years customers would readily admit that they had not filed the claim.  Customers would assist the seller by withdrawing the claim to mitigate the impact to the ODR.  To retroactively re-classify these withdrawn claims is moving the goal line in the middle of the game and to do so without any communication with their sellers is shameful, and unethical.

Perminate Link for Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate   Amazon Sellers Panic over Change to Order Defect Rate

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 13 14:43:18 2017

@ cellular-seller

''to do so without any communication with their sellers is shameful, and unethical

Yep! True and I agree.  There has been more of this kind of stuff in the last year, maybe a bit more, than I've been able to remember happening  since I started on Amazon 10-12 years ago.

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by: WhatsUp2656 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 13 14:51:02 2017

I was hit by one a few weeks ago with rude/wrong feedback (bad buyer), but regardless impossible and told me not to contact her again. The buyer damaged my product. Each time I would ask for assistance, I was told to contact buyer. I nearly lost my account over ONE bad sale because I am a small seller. Time was ticking and each day my ODR was getting worse and had one of those caution signs. I finally did, but knew I would have to be somewhat aggressive because this person wanted blood. I had already given her a 100% refund prior. My ODR finally did drop back down. I’ve read on some of the forums that it is a glitch and they are working towards a resolution, but plenty more that it is true. Ebay is starting to make them look bad.

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by: onlinecommerce1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 13 16:53:03 2017

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=374344&ts
tart=0

This
is the thread where you guys should be posting if you are having an issue as apparently a mod said they are now looking into it.

This is very bad PR for Amazon at this time of year. They legitimately treat their 3P sellers like crap in several different ways. Please tell me when you ever went to the Ebay discussion boards at any point over the last 15 years and saw 75% of posts EVERY DAY being about suspensions, listing take downs, bots, bad seller support reps.....I mean WTF?

Some of you then bitch about Ebay, when was Ebay ever this bad?

You complain about VERO? When did Ebay ever suspend you or take down a listing under VERO because of a word they scanned in one of your emails?

Seller performance? Imagine if Ebay's overseas reps had the ability to open claims?

Get your account suspended? No problem.....maybe you will get a reply back within 1-2 months from a non-English speaking rep in seller performance (who, oh, can't be contacted by phone and selectively answers emails).

PATHETIC. Ebay NEVER treated their 3P sellers like this.....and if they were close, they stopped YEARS ago. Say what you want about Ebay.....but the last year to year and a half Ebay has made HUGE strides in customer service and seller FAIR policies. Policies should not be seller or buyer friendly....they should simply be FAIR for both. Amazon has NEVER been fair to 3P sellers and it shocks me a company like this has grown but has gotten worse regarding 3P customer service when 3P sellers are making up more and more of Amazon's growth.

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by: onlinecommerce1 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 13 17:02:17 2017

Someone should go on there and post a link to the AB article on that thread.....I do not think anyone there knows this has gotten bigger attention. Amazon caves to stuff like this (bad PR)....as they should.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Nov 14 08:03:57 2017

Scamazon grows because Americans shop on price and price alone.  They will put up with anything to save a nickel.  Counterfeits, damages, slow shipping, unintelligible foreign employees that don't know what they're doing and put your Americans out of work, you name it.

I was at a show recently where I was one of about three dealers carrying a particular Japanese import TransFormer.  Perfect condition box, lowest price on the floor, and cheaper than anywhere online...except Amazon.  Live sales used to have some leeway, due to seeing exactly what you were buying and not having to wait for shipping.  Not anymore.  This customer was hung up over $5 on a $150 item.  He was willing to receive a knockoff in who knows what condition after rattling around an unpadded box for upwards of a week while super saver shipping dragged its feet.  To save 2%.  Frankly, those people deserve Amazon.  The problem is that they're forcing that nightmare on _all_ of us.

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