What are Shortage Claims on Amazon Vendor Central? How to reduce or stop Shortage Claims from Amazon Vendor Central?

In simple terms, Shortage Claims on Amazon Vendor Central implies that Amazon is saying that you as a Vendor / Brand did not send in as many units to Amazon as you had committed to in the Purchase Order process. This is also called the PQV Shortage Claims. PQV refers to Purchase Quantity Variance. There is another type of Shortage Claims called PPV which is Purchase Price Variance, but we will not worry about that as the percentage of occurrence of that is fairly low. We will worry only about PQV here.

Now, this is a contentious topic. Most Vendors / Brands say that they have sent all the units that they had committed to, and there must be something wrong with the Amazon check-in process at the Fulfillment Centers.

While we cannot audit the Amazon process to see how the check-in of items happens at the Fulfillment Centers, what we can certainly do is an audit of our own processes to ensure that we have everything in place to reduce the occurrence of Shortage Claims.

  1. Do an Audit of the Vendor Central catalog to ensure that the correct UPC and GTINs are present in the Vendor Central catalog
  • In several cases we see that the UPC mentioned in the Vendor Central catalog for the item is different from the UPC that actually exists on the item. 
  • Only ONE scannable and unique ASIN/GTIN-12/SKU/UPC barcode is permitted on a single shippable/sellable unit. If the same ASIN/ SKU/ UPC barcode is also present on the Inner Pack and/or Master Pack, it must be covered over such that it cannot be scanned.
  • Apply a scannable ASIN/SKU/UPC barcode on the Inner Pack ONLY if it is different from the barcode on the single units contained within and if that barcode does not link to any of the items cataloged with Amazon.
  • Similarly, you may apply a scannable ASIN/SKU/UPC barcode on the Master Pack ONLY if it is different from the barcodes on the Inner Packs AND single units contained within AND if that barcode does not link to any of the items cataloged with Amazon.
  • If the Master Pack or Inner Pack is itself the sellable unit, it MUST have a unique scannable ASIN/SKU/UPC barcode.
  • Inner Packs should not be transparent, revealing the item barcodes on the individual sellables, if the inner pack is not a sellable unit by itself as this might also result in Inner Pack as being received as a single unit.
  • Make sure items intended to be sold together as a single SKU (i.e. sets) are packaged and uniquely barcoded as a single unit.

2. Do the GTIN Gold Listing

This will ensure that if the person at the Warehouse who is checking in your carton, is not able to scan the carton label for any reason — they will be able to scan the GTIN and check it in. This will also help if your Warehouse misses sticking the Amazon carton labels or the SSCC labels (as the case may be).

3. Advise your Warehouses to ensure that they stick Amazon cartons labels or the SSCC labels on all cartons (unless the items are going on a Pallet Ordering Vendor Code)

This is very important, and cannot be neglected. While we advise for GTIN Gold Listing (Point 2) that does not mean the carton labels can be avoided. Ensure that the carton labels are stuck on every carton. Also, the carton labels need to be stuck on a plain surface with no bubbles showing up on the carton labels. Do not stick the carton labels at the corners of the cartons. Stick them in the center of the sides. Do NOT place carton labels over a seam. Ensure that the printer ink is good and does not cause faded printing of carton labels.

4. Apply for the Pallet Ordering Vendor Code, so that whenever possible — ​​ Amazon orders only in multiples of pallets and this will ensure that the effort needed to stick carton labels on all items is reduced and you are able to just do with one label on the pallet.

5. Do not have multiple barcodes on the items / cases

6. If you are doing the PO process handling via EDI — Provide SSCC numbers at carton level hierarchy in EDI856 under MAN*GM section.

7. If you are looking to dispute the Shortage Claims, do it after 30 days from the time you received the Shortage Claims note as Amazon would have reconciled some more units by then and the Shortage Claims numbers would have reduced.

8. Do the ASN, and ensure that the ASN is done before the shipment reaches the Amazon FC. If there are any changes in the numbers accepted in the PO’s vs what has been sent — ensure that the correct numbers are mentioned in the ASN.

9. Avoid Mixed Cases / Pallets — Do standard case packs and pallets and avoid mixing SKUs in a case or a pallet

Blog Post by Arjun Narayan, with inputs from Giri Prasad and Kevin Celestine