As you know, I’ve been selling print-on-demand products for years and often delivering them via Amazon FBA.
Everything has been going great. That said, I recently lost money because of late deliveries, lost items, and … well, you’ll find out soon.
Has this ever happened to you? If so, then this article is for you!
At the beginning of the year, I ordered over 1,200 coffee mugs from AliExpress and delivered them to the Amazon Warehouse.
I placed an order for lots of coffee mugs because I had some winning ones that I knew would sell well in April.
There are so many ‘weird holidays’ in April. (Hint, hint!)
Usually, I just send the product info to my supplier and let them make and ship the products to the Amazon Warehouse for me.
But at that time, my friend, who managed my FBA products for me, told me she’d found another supplier who sold these coffee mugs at a much cheaper cost – like, 30-40% lower than the price our current supplier was charging.
I thought about it, and decided to try the new supplier.
I sent the designs, product barcodes, and shipping labels to this supplier and paid them to produce the goods. Then I waited for them to ship my products.
A few weeks passed, and they sent me photos of the coffee mugs and said they were ready to ship. I was very happy with that – until I saw the photos.
They hadn’t made my products yet. The coffee mugs they printed weren’t mine, but some mugs that my friend was selling.
The supplier had misunderstood our instructions. They thought my friend and I had sent the same files, so they used my friend’s designs to print my coffee mugs, too.
I couldn’t do anything but wait for them to correct my coffee mugs.
My problems didn’t end there.
Chinese New Year was in the first week of February.
And my supplier didn’t work during the Chinese holiday…so I had to wait until they got back.
If you didn’t know, Chinese New Year is celebrated for 16 days.
I had to wait for another two weeks to get my mugs made and shipped.
I was pretty sure that they wouldn’t send my products before April.
And I couldn’t do anything about it because I’d already paid them.
My products arrived at the Amazon Warehouse in the last week of April.
Unfortunately, the best sales period for my top-selling coffee mugs had passed.
I lost my chance to make tons of sales.
Thankfully, Amazon FBA didn’t charge me for the late delivery, but I still lost my chance to make big money.
If I’d sold all of those 1,200 mugs, I could have made over $10,000 in profit.
It was just an honest mistake by my supplier. But it’s important to be careful before we start using any suppliers.
Please learn from this example. Always use your trusted suppliers! It’s better not to risk what already works for you.
A few weeks later, when my friend and I were planning to place orders for Mother’s Day products, we were back with our old suppliers.
It was the middle of March, and we weren’t sure whether the products would be shipped before Mother’s Day.
Usually, this supplier takes about a month and a half to make and ship products to the Amazon Warehouse.
I didn’t want to lose my chance to take advantage of a big sales day, like I did with the previous orders.
Also, these mugs contained the words “Happy Mother’s Day”.
If they didn’t arrive at the Amazon Warehouse in time, they wouldn’t sell at other times of the year. And I’d need to pay expensive storage fees to Amazon.
I decided to pay for expedited shipping.
My production and shipping costs for these Mother’s Day mugs increased by 100%.
I was totally fine with that – that is, if they arrived at Amazon on time.
These Mother’s Day coffee mugs would be sent by air and arrive at Amazon before mid-April. I wouldn’t lose out this time.
My other mugs would be sent by sea. These were evergreen coffee mugs that can sell at any time of the year, so there was no hurry to get them to Amazon.
My supplier needed a few days to finish making tons of coffee mugs for me. I was happy with the process and sure they would reach the warehouse on time.
But then the unimaginable happened…
It was the middle of the April. The mugs that had been shipped by air should have arrived at Amazon.
But only 1 of 26 boxes made it there.
The other boxes were stuck somewhere. My supplier told me that FedEx had said the boxes were on the way and sent me this news:
A gunman with an assault rifle had gone on a rampage at a FedEx facility near the Indianapolis airport!
How was that even possible? And with my packages there?
One shipment also showed “Barcode label unreadable and replaced”. 😂
Ironically, the packages that had been shipped by sea had already arrived.
Why did I have to pay extra fees for expedited shipping if the products that shipped by sea arrived there faster?
Another week passed. The tracking wasn’t still updated.
My supplier said they would follow up with FedEx for me.
I prayed that the packages had been lost because if they arrived at the Amazon Warehouse, Amazon would still need a few days to process them.
They might not be ready to sell before Mother’s Day.
And I would have to pay the storage fees.
As of today, the packages have still not arrived at the Amazon Warehouse.
At least I won’t have to pay storage fees for items that can’t be sold after Mother’s Day.
My supplier agreed to refund me if we couldn’t find the lost items, but I still didn’t make any money from Mother’s Day.
Why did this happen? Why do you have bad luck when you least expect it?
This year wasn’t a memorable Mother’s Day for me. Or, it was memorable – but for the wrong reasons! 😂
My bad luck didn’t end there.
Last week, I placed another FBA order for Father’s Day and Q3.
I used the same supplier and sent the products by sea (which is a lot cheaper than air).
Everything went smoothly – until I realized that I’d sent the payment to the wrong vendor!
I normally send payments to my supplier via PayPal.
On that day, I just typed my vendor’s name when I sent the money.
Another name which I thought was from my contact list popped up. It was a Chinese name, so I thought it was the person I wanted.
I didn’t double check it. I just clicked Send.
A few hours later, I realized that I’d sent $2,551.88 to the wrong vendor.
I tried to contact the vendor on AliExpress (luckily, he has a contact page there) and asked him to issue a refund.
So, I opened a case in PayPal. I didn’t know which category to choose, so I chose “Unauthorized Payment”.
PayPal sent me an email that this wasn’t an Unauthorized Payment, so my case was closed. I couldn’t open the case again.
Here was the message from PayPal:
“PayPal has reviewed the case and found that there is insufficient information to conclude whether or not this transaction was unauthorized. As a result, we have closed this ticket. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by our decision on your behalf.”
WTF! Screwed again?? I was getting mad!
Why does PayPal always side with sellers?
Anyway, I sent another email to PayPal. The support desk called me back and reopened my case. They chose a new reason for the ticket: “Didn’t Receive a Product”.
I need to wait for the response from the vendor (he definitely won’t respond) and PayPal will issue a refund for me.
Hopefully, I’ll get my money back.
I knows, I know. This wasn’t bad luck. It was my fault. I should have checked the vendor’s info more carefully before sending the payment.
These are two bad-luck stories and one mistake are three of my many misadventures with Amazon FBA.
They can be a drag, but I learn a lot from these lessons.
It was good to see how the shipping process for my Amazon FBA products works.
When it comes to late deliveries, you should be aware of risks like lost or damaged boxes during the transportation process.
The supplier will refund me for the lost goods, but I’ll have to wait until they do.
Basically, this whole mess could have been avoided if I’d checked whether there was enough time for shipping.
But sometimes bad luck can teach you lessons!
Anyway, these three accidents don’t really make me feel discouraged or anything like that.
After all, no one has perfect outcomes every single time. Everyone makes mistakes.
Another thing is for sure: when the next big shopping season is on the horizon, I’ll try my best not to make the same mistakes!