Updated: Bad Actors Book Multiple Inbound Amazon Delivery Dates to Create Scarcity
Update 12/02/2022: The struggle to secure appointments at FBA continues! 🚨
In a LinkedIn post, Ephraim Ausch, Chief Logistics Officer at Tactical Logistic Solutions, shared that Amazon is routing a lot of FBA shipments to a new fulfillment center (FC) called QXY9 instead of LAX 9. Worse, still no delivery dates are available for the remainder of December, thanks to the scalpers! 🤦♀️
Ausch has already called on Amazon to stop the people that are selling delivery dates for large sums of money.
🤝 The Amazon seller community can also help out by sending over any proof of the alleged scalping incident to Jeffrey Cohen, Tech Evangelist for Amazon. On Ausch’s thread, Cohen personally called out for evidence that can be forwarded to Amazon during their investigation. The scammers are reportedly bundling these appointments with their trucking services or offering them “a la carte” to desperate sellers.
If you have any proof of these incidents, please reach out to Cohen to help with this matter.
We’re hoping for a quick resolution to this ongoing issue to help ensure that sellers who fight fair and square will have a successful holiday season. 💪
A LinkedIn Post from Brandon Young, CEO of Data Drive & Seller Systems, reveals that full truckload delivery dates to fulfillment centers in Southern California and other locations are booked up until the end of December because bad actors have found a way to rig the system. 🤦♀️
Malicious Concerted Action Against Competitors
When we reached out for more details, Young told us he’s “seen through WeChat messages in Chinese seller groups that some are booking the appointments with the intent of creating scarcity and hurting competitors. They warned others to get appointments early to avoid also being hurt.”
This anticompetitive behavior puts many sellers at great risk of missing the holiday selling period. Top sellers from China and Hong Kong make up 63% of all third-party (3P) sellers on Amazon, while their Western counterparts only take up around 37% of the entire 3P marketplace.
If a large number of Chinese sellers are in on the scheme, they could easily cause significant disruption to their competitors’ logistic operations, especially American sellers who make up 34.8% of Amazon 3P marketplace and have reportedly been gaining market share since November 2020.
Interestingly, California has the most number of sellers in the US, according to Ecomcrew. It is also one of the largest Amazon distribution hubs as west coast ports are most highly trafficked for Chinese shipments due to proximity. For these reasons, bad actors may have specifically targeted the Bear Flag state to ensure widespread disruption. 🤔
The US economy showing signs of slowing down might be one of the key factors driving this ferocious competition among sellers. During a downturn, consumers set stricter priorities (essentials over non-essentials) and reduce their spending.
These challenges have caused some sellers to take drastic action. Sellers who aren’t keeping up with these economic shifts are facing declining margins, forcing some to lower their prices to attract more customers, while others resort to abusive practices to reduce competition, which could then lead to higher prices.
However, rather than fighting for their market share fairly, some Chinese sellers are actively working to hurt their competitors, although some are not strangers to such extreme methods. In 2021, Amazon banned thousands of Chinese stores on its platform for review fraud, counterfeit products, sabotaging competitors’ listings, among other Terms of Service (TOS) violations.
Truckers Extorting Sellers to Generate More Money
Young also shared in his statement that some trucking companies are booking multiple free delivery appointments “with the intent of selling them back to desperate sellers.”
The malicious truckers allegedly bundle the appointments with their delivery offers, while others just sell them as a stand-alone service for outrageous prices ranging from $500 to $2,000. 🤦♀️
Amazon recommends sellers to get their holiday inventory checked in by December 1st to avoid delays. With a few days left before the deadline, sellers who haven’t secured any appointment yet due to the artificial scarcity created by these bad actors may find themselves either:
- Giving in to one of these extortionists
- Or, shipping small parcels at 5x to 10x the cost of truckload deliveries
Not only will this add more stress on sellers (and their third-party logistics providers), but also take a huge bite out of their profits.
In a comment to Young’s LinkedIn scoop, Ephraim Ausch, Chief Logistics Officer at Tactical Logistic Solutions, expressed frustration over the issue and shared, “Some locations are booked up till end of December! I know someone that paid $2,000 yesterday for LAX9 appointment… This has to be resolved by Amazon!”
Hope for Resolution
Currently, Young is gathering more information about the sellers and truckers hijacking Amazon’s delivery appointment system. Industry experts in his post’s comment section also recommend naming and reporting these bad actors so that Amazon can remove their appointments and ban them on the marketplace.
The manner in which they’re able to game the system, whether by using some technology or buying intel from an Amazon employee, remains unclear. An internal investigation by Amazon will definitely help shed some light on the matter. 💡
Jeffrey Cohen, Amazon Tech Evangelist for the eComm giant, works with sellers and looks to help to bridge the gap between Amazon and industry influencers, brands, and third party integrators, has already asked Young to email him all of the pertinent details so that he can share them internally for investigation.
“I know that Amazon has been reaching out and trying to work with me on it as well,” Young told SoStocked.
“They acknowledge things need to change to ensure all sellers have the ability to send goods in a timely fashion,” he added.
His post and the fast action within the community have helped to sound the alarms to make Amazon aware of this issue.
Our hopes are that it can be resolved very quickly and that the loophole be closed so that the holiday season will be successful for the many thousands of sellers who play by the rules.
Note: This is a developing story. We will give updates on the situation as we learn more from our sources.
Related: How to Ship to Amazon FBA (And Speed Up Check-In Times, 3PL Logistics Backup for Amazon, 14 Mistakes Sellers Make When Shipping to Amazon FBA, Amazon Closing Shipping Loopholes May Wreak Chaos for Some Sellers