Shortage Claims at Amazon
Shortage claims, also known at Amazon as Purchase Quantity Variances (PQVs), are generally understood to be the most common form of deduction that retail suppliers face.
Amazon defines a shortage as what happens when "an invoice [is sent] to Amazon for a quantity of items that is higher than the quantity received" (Shortages training). In other words, a shortage claim is generated when there is a discrepancy between the quantity invoiced and the quantity received by Amazon.
This is almost always the result of human error on the part of either the supplier, the carrier, or Amazon receiving:
A loading/logistics error
Packaging, labeling, or barcode error
Miscommunication regarding pack size between vendor and Amazon
Shortage claims are viewable in Vendor Central (VC) under Payments > Invoices > Review/Dispute Shortages. From there, you can look at individual shortage claims and sort by Invoice Number (automatically sorted by this), Payee, Invoice Date, Invoice Creation Date, Invoice Amount, and Payment Due Date.
For shortage claims that are older than 30 days (the method above only shows those), you should go to Payments > Invoices > View all Invoices > search by: shortage invoices > select a desired date range up to 90 days. Even still, some invoices may not be visible in either of these places. The only way to guarantee that you can view all of your shortages is if you dig for them all under "view all invoices" > search by: invoice date.
Shortage Claims and Shortage Claim Reversals
Invoices that move into the "Paid" status are always either fully or partially paid. In the case in which an invoice is partially paid, a shortage claim will be applied to it, appearing under the Deductions and credits tab.
Shortage Claims (SCs):
Shortage claims are created when Amazon can't match the shipment amounts against Amazon's receipt records. Roughly five days before the due date of the invoice, the shortage claim will be generated, allowing time for the supplier to match the invoice with Amazon's receipt records or capture the shortage claim in the payment cycle if there is no match.
The full value of the invoice is viewable under the Invoice/Payment column under the Deductions and credits tab of the invoice in VC. The shortage claim itself is viewable under the Debit column as a negative charge reduced from the Invoice/Payment value. The shortage claims then appear as Invoice Number + SC.
Missed Adjustment Claims (MACs):
After the invoice is matched and paid, Missed Adjustment Claims (MADs) are deducted based on inventory adjustments made at systems downstream. The adjustments determine the deduction and will be recovered from invoice payments in the future. A new invoice memo will be created, similar to the shortage claim and price claim memos, which shows the amount of missed adjustments recorded after the invoice has been paid. These memos will appear in remittance details and be deducted from future payments.
MAC deductions are identified with the suffix -SC on a supplier's remittance. The deduction's description includes Missed Adjustment Claim for Invoice - ####. This activity can be reviewed under Payments > Remittance. The deducted amount is in the corresponding shortage claim reversal invoice, which can be disputed if there is an open shortage.
Disaster Recovery Claims or Other Recovery Claims (DSCs):
Amazon describes this claim as occurring when they issue suppliers one or more payments in error, related to outstanding shortage deductions. These overpayments are then reversed and deducted from future supplier payables. They are identified with the suffix -DSC on remittance, and the description for the deductions includes Disaster Recovery Claim for Invoice - ####.
Just like with MACs, the account activity can be viewed under Payments > Remittance. The deducted amount is in the corresponding shortage claim reversal invoice, which can be disputed if there is an open shortage.
Shortage Claim Reversals (SCRs):
When a shortage claim is identified by Amazon, their system creates a separate child invoice, a shortage claim reversal invoice, directly related to a shortage claim. The SC reversal notice allows suppliers to dispute the shortage claim by submitting valid evidence in VC for review. The shortage claim reversal invoice allows Amazon's systems to search for receipt records and match and pay for the product after the due date of the original invoice. These SCRs appear as Invoice Number + SCR.
Shortage Claim Review Process
It can sometimes take Amazon up to 35 days for a matching review to confirm or reverse a shortage claim.
When an invoice shortage claim is raised, the suffix -SC is added to the invoice ID and an email is sent to the accounts payable contact. Then, during the review process, a temporary deduction is applied to the account. If the review successfully matches items to invoices, the deduction is reimbursed, and the invoice ID suffix will change to -SCR to indicate a reversal.
Disputing an Invoice Shortage
Amazon recommends that suppliers follow the below guidelines before disputing a shortage:
Wait for the review to be complete before filing a dispute.
Do not dispute an invoice before the invoice due date; potential shortages may be reversed before the invoice due date.
Do not dispute an invoice that is already approved or paid.
Do not dispute an invoice that is already being disputed (or has a draft status).
Submitting a Shortage Claim Dispute
Amazon's policy is that each invoice can be disputed only once, so they recommend that suppliers include all the necessary information in the dispute, including details of the quantities shipped, product IDs (barcodes), and the shipment date of each item.
Go to Payments > Invoices and click Review/Dispute shortages.
Click Actions > Dispute shortage by line item.
Select the invoices to dispute, complete the required fields, and click Continue.
Add the dispute details, upload supporting documents, and click Continue.
Review the dispute summary, and slick Submit or Save as draft.
NOTE: The dispute process does not officially begin until the dispute or draft is submitted.
NOTE: Shortages can also be disputed via Payments > Dispute management by first selecting Shortage Invoice, and following Step 3 above.
As mentioned earlier, dispute resolution can take up to 35 days. If a dispute is approved, no action is required of the supplier, and Amazon will reimburse the amount deducted. If a dispute is rejected, suppliers should still submit a credit memo (or credit note) for a full or partial adjudication, depending on the outcome.
Invoices can be canceled by going to Invoices > Review/Dispute shortages.
To keep up with invoice shortages, go to the shortages sections of the Financial Scorecard. Amazon's training on shortages, under the Shortages tab, is very thorough and is likely to help with a variety of questions.
Written by Jessica Varon
About Jessica Varon
Jessica is SupplyPike's Senior Retail Insights Manager. Her industry expertise helps our teams build the best experience for our clients.Read More