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Amazon at last offer support to merchants impacted by Coronavirus

By Chris Dawson March 26, 2020 - 10:21 am

We’re starting to see some support to merchants impacted by the Coronavirus emergency from Amazon.

Amazon’s initial response to the Coronavirus appear to have been firstly locking down on price gouging for essential supplies, then to suspend incoming FBA shipments for all products other than those in a few essential categories, and then to extend out delivery times by a month for an ever increasing number of products. It’s worth noting that Amazon generally only pay merchants after products are delivered, so even if they are sold funds won’t be forthcoming until April at the earliest if your products have been quarantined. None of this helped merchants maintain their income.

“We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and carriers. Although customers can continue to purchase online, these purchases could be subject to restrictions and, depending on your carrier, your shipments could be slowed down. Note that we may temporarily increase the standard transit time and thereby extend the delivery promise. This will affect only the delivery promises that customers see on the Amazon website and not the handling time in your Seller Central account.”
– Amazon

Amazon support to merchants

We are now starting to see some Amazon support to merchants start coming through. Long Term Storage fees are to be waived and payments on Amazon loans paused.

Long term storage fees

“To ensure the capacity to receive, restock, and ship high-priority products like household staples and medical supplies, we have temporarily paused removal operations in some of our fulfilment centres.
 
You can continue to create removal orders, but there will be delays in completing the requests. Similarly, auto-removals will be delayed.
 
As a result, we are waiving the April 15 long-term storage fees for inventory stored in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, and the Czech Republic.”

– Amazon

Amazon Lending

“Effective March 26 through April 30, 2020, we will be pausing repayments on your outstanding loan with Amazon Lending. Your loan will not accrue interest during this period. Loan repayments will restart on May 1, 2020. Your next loan statement will be on the same day of the month as you have now. You will have the same number of remaining payments once repayment resumes.

Please note, it will take time to implement this change throughout our tracking systems, so you may still receive a loan repayment notice issued after that date. You can disregard the notice.If you have questions, please reach out to amazon-lending@amazon.com.”
– Sincerely, Amazon Lending

Extending payment terms on outstanding loans is going to especially help those merchants who have seen their stock frozen in FBA warehouse and so are seeing no income. Kudos to Amazon, they also won’t be charging interest on loans during the period that payments are paused. It would be nice to see other marketplace loan providers step up to the plate and similarly pause repayments and interest.

We’ve heard of many complaints from sellers that pausing payments or giving fee holidays doesn’t really help their business as the money will still have to be repaid at some point in the future. However at this moment in time there will be more demands than ever on your business and anything that frees up available cash on hand should be welcomed. If you are willing and able to make payments no one is going to stop you paying now. For those who are in straightened financial situations delaying repayments will be welcomed.

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