But wait - there IS a better way!
At this point, the only way to dispute chargebacks and deductions on-time and successfully, is to automate processing and use similar robotic technology that retailers like Amazon use to create the chargebacks in the first place. It is 100% possible to take your company's SOP and automate the document matching and uploading, the algorithm calculations and data entry required to dispute chargebacks.
Using cloud robotic automation to process deductions and chargebacks quickly and automatically is a unique solution. But it is possible to fight technology with technology and win, as was the case for a large book distributor faced with continued profit loss as a result of Amazon deductions and chargebacks:
Book Distributor Amazon Case Study
In about 90 days, a book distributor implemented robotic processing and brought their chargebacks to ZERO. They found themselves current on Amazon chargebacks for the first time EVER, and the cost was minimal compared to traditional manual processing. Truly, this is the only possible way to win with retailer chargeback and deduction disputes, at any kind of volume.The Challenge with Amazon Chargebacks and Deductions.
To no one’s great surprise, Amazon is the top retail outlet for book distributors. And Amazon was posing increasing problems for a large book distributor by rapidly eating into their already razor thin margins with deductions and chargebacks. The key complaints were:
- Amazon was charging back some amount on nearly a third of the invoices submitted.
- These chargebacks were frequently only pennies on the dollar, but in total amounted to
substantial hits to margin.
- The high volume of the book distributor’s transactions created thousands of chargebacks every
- Amazon required specific matched paperwork be submitted in order to dispute the chargebacks.
- The paperwork needed was not readily available to attach to transactions on Amazon’s portal.
- Amazon’s chargeback portal was not simple to use. At all.
- Every single chargeback disputed could take between 5 minutes to 15 minutes to submit.
- The book distributor was not able to process the Amazon chargebacks fast enough to fall within
the allowed dispute window.
- Seasonality, after the holidays, made chargeback processing insurmountable as the volumes
Manual Chargeback Performed by a Trained Analyst
An analysis showed what it took to process chargebacks and deductions manually at this book distributor and we found that even a very motivated and trained resource needed on average between 5 to 8 minutes to organize a claim and 5 to 7 minutes to dispute a claim in the Amazon portal. That’s a total of 10 minutes to 15 minutes per claim. The cost per manually processed claim can be easily calculated.
The Solution: Chargebacks Resolved!
A unique solution: Cloud Robotic Automation to process Amazon chargebacks and deductions quickly and automatically. In about 90 days, the book distributor implemented robotic processing and brought their chargebacks to zero. They found themselves current on Amazon chargebacks for the first time EVER. The cost was minimal compared to the manpower costs and mental fatigue surrounding the in-house manual processing of Amazon chargebacks and deductions. Prior to the implementation of cloud robotic automation, all they did was firefight. Now they have time to work with downstream departments like Logistics and Warehouse to discuss and streamline processes and they are strategizing with Order Management to get a handle on real pricing and back order issues. Savings: Cloud robotic automation proved to be a “must” for our book distributor, in order to keep up with and get ahead of the Amazon portal. The cost savings in time and resources made cloud robotic automation a no brainer.
But Amazon isn't the only big retailer causing suppliers and distributors deduction headaches.
Walmart: A Real Problem
Walmart is constantly deducting money from vendor invoices, and for suppliers or distributors this could equate to thousands of deductions a month. The list of reasons why, also known as deduction codes, consists of nearly 100 possible infractions, all of which conclusively reduce your bottom line. When the volume of these deductions is high and they constantly stream in, most distributors simply don’t have the resources and time required to file a claim against every charge. It’s an overwhelming mess that can cost thousands of dollars a month. We looked at two different distributors, each with the same problem: thousands of Walmart deduction claims.
Distributor 1: Video Game Distributor
A direct distributor of video game consoles, accessories, games, and more, this distributor provides retailers nearly every type of product related to the video game world. With Walmart in particular, things had gotten out of hand on the deduction front, with the distributor processing up to 1,500 deductions monthly. The volume was so high, it required one full-time employee and two interns dedicated to working solely on Walmart deduction claims to get the job done. To add further stress, Walmart policy states if a deduction is outstanding for two years, they will no longer accept the claim. The distributor had fallen so behind, they were filing deductions with just days to spare. Time management was a major challenge as any issues that may arise with documentation or otherwise, would result in losing the chance of recovering the funds.
Our video game distributor was behind an entire 2 years behind in Walmart deduction processing, was able to implement automated processing in just 2 weeks, and completely catch up on their deduction backlog. Today, they continue to process up to 1,500 deductions a month, all automatically.
Distributor 2: Apparel Distributor
As the producer and distributor of 100+ top sleepwear and loungewear brands, this distributor knows a thing or two about retailer deductions. Walmart was particularly burdensome. To more easily deal with Walmart’s volume of deductions, a quarterly settlement arrangement was set up between our Distributor and Walmart. The distributor manually completed a spreadsheet with the thousands of open claims, sent it to Walmart, and waited several months for them to review and respond with a proposed settlement amount. This approach worked decently for awhile, until the settlements being offered begin to come in unacceptably low. This left the distributor no choice but to dispute every claim individually. With around 3,000 claims needing to be disputed every quarter, and each claim taking 8 to 15 minutes to complete, there simply was not the man power to even attempt disputing manually.