back to article Irate IT distributors chase Amazon over unpaid bills

Amazon has a bad rep among some Brits for avoiding taxes but it seems the company isn’t winning any fans among its supplier base locally either. Multiple tech distributors and vendors have told us they are fighting tooth and nail with the retail giant to get paid for historic deliveries it has disputed, potentially amounting …

  1. James 51

    "Another distributor claimed Amazon had asked them to write off some money"

    In other words, thanks for paying us to take this valuable stuff off your hands. I can see that as a lasting and stable arrangement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Another distributor claimed Amazon had asked them to write off some money"

      Agree. Amazon has tried to rope themselves in with Google and the Silicon Valley companies, but they have a lot more in common with Wal Mart, next generation Wal Mart... i.e. they hose everyone.

  2. s. pam
    Angel

    Wait just a damn minute....

    We all know that Amazon does NOT have any staff, operations, or sites in the U.K.!!!

    We know this as our Chancellor said so which is why they don't pay any/enough taxes.

    Shirley this must be a mistake!

    1. DavCrav

      Re: Wait just a damn minute....

      "We all know that Amazon does NOT have any staff, operations, or sites in the U.K.!!!

      We know this as our Chancellor said so which is why they don't pay any/enough taxes.

      Shirley this must be a mistake!"

      You're thinking of Google. Amazon don't pay Corporation Tax because they don't make any money.

      1. noboard

        Re: Wait just a damn minute....

        "You're thinking of Google. Amazon don't pay Corporation Tax because they don't make any money."

        Which is even more amazing now we've learned they don't pay for the goods they sell.

  3. wyatt

    Isn't this what the small claims court is for?

    1. James 51

      Taken from https://county-courts.co.uk/small-claims-court/:

      The financial value of small claims court cases

      To be placed in the small claims track the financial value of the County Court claim being presented must be less than £10,000. Cases involving personal injuries will be allocated to the small claims court if they do not exceed £1,000, while disputes between landlords and tenants are also only applicable if they the amount being disputed is less then £1,000.

      There are rare exceptions where, even though the financial value of the case, both parties agree that they would like the proceeding to take place in the small claims court. While this could mean the dispute is settled more rapidly, it also means that the normal rules of the small claims track are thrown out the window, and each party becomes potentially liable for the others legal fees, including solicitors costs.

      Common types of small claims court cases

      Compensation for flawed services and negligent professionals

      Consumer disputes over defective goods and breaches of contract

      Landlord and tenant disputes over missing rent or failure to repair the property

      Non-payment of wages or other debt related disputes

      If the value of the stuff is high enough the court might not be able to hear it and the small supplier risks being sued into submission by a company with much deeper pockets.

  4. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Amazon's "Uh oh" moment:

    "we are told of two distributors, one US-based and the other a UK national, that have decided to simply walk away from Amazon."

    If more start doing that, Amazon's purported business advantage goes out the door. They're already swamped in counterfeit goods so having legit disties bailing out simply reinforces that side of things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Amazon's "Uh oh" moment:

      Probably there are enough competitors with greedy management who will take their place that Amazon doesn't care. The sales people who negotiate the deal with Amazon will get a huge bonus. The public announcement of that huge deal (which probably just says "major new customer" so investors won't know who it is) will cause their stock price to soar, meaning huge windfall for management whether they are paid bonuses or receive stock options (or double dip if they receive both)

      When it all falls apart and the company finds it isn't profitable and they need to cut ties with Amazon, the management has already got rich and they can flee the sinking ship and sell their stock before its value plummets. This is a perfect example of why management compensation needs to be tied to long term success of the business, not short term measures like signing a deal or causing the stock price to spike for a few quarters.

      Bonus points if the fleeing managers find refuge at a different company, call up the guy they worked with at Amazon last time, and do the same thing again!

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Amazon's "Uh oh" moment:

        Hmm, I would still agree with suppliers walking away from Amazon.

        There is no point in being able to reach "millions of customers" if you don't actually get paid for it - you might as well take less of a hit on your margins and re-establish a direct contact with your customers. It also reduces leverage - YOU remain in control. But it will take a bit more work.

        Having said that, quite a lot of these mega-startups are starting to piss off customers. At some point there will be a competitor taking those away and the cycle starts anew.

  5. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Amazon cloud

    So.... if they can't even keep a record of their deliveries intact would you trust them with your important data?

  6. Zippy's Sausage Factory
    Mushroom

    Winding up order...

    If it's more than £10K, go for a winding-up order on the grounds that Amazon UK is insolvent.

    About that, they will care, I suspect...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Winding up order...

      A statutory demand pretty much shuts the shop until they cough up (for cases over £750, if I remember correctly).

      Sure, it's the nuclear option for a business relationship, but non-payment is IMHO a severe enough breach of contract that I would not continue with such a business without pre-pay arrangements. I reached that stage twice with companies in London - if I say "funds cleared within 30 days" I don't mean "pay whatever you feel like on your end and we'll take the currency exchange hit and bank charges, oh, and it's OK to be 2 weeks late".

      Both of them paid when I literally had the forms in my hand to set up a stat demand..

  7. The Godfather

    Easy enough to guess who then...

    If it's taken a year or more for this to surface you can bet responsibility rests equally with suppliers for failing to resolve issues or enforce payment legally due.

    As for those walking away, there's a suspicion perhaps margins don't merit the hassle. I can recall UK to UK business going this way.

    If you're owed money, you charge interest and litigate if that is the ONLY way to elicit payment. If you litigate however, odds are your credit insurance will come down and future business is likely to suffer.

    1. Son of the Godfather

      Re: Easy enough to guess who then...

      Agree Sir Godfather, however given the value of goods being taken no doubt the wholesalers felt in between the need to hit vendor targets, a difficult customer and credit insurance!

      I suspect they should have escalated quicker and harder and now regret the decision.

      Personally I wish they'd weigh up the rewards of the trade using a balance scored card of profitability & working days cash.

  8. Cynic_999

    Is it all Amazon's fault?

    I wonder how many cases are a result of delivery drivers stealing or otherwise disposing of the goods? I also wonder who is actually holding the money. If it was a case of alleged non-delivery, I would hope that the Amazon refunded the money to the purchaser.

  9. John Geek
    Paris Hilton

    I read this story, and thought it was talking about hardware amazon buys for their data centers.... is it that, or is it stuff Amazon is reselling?

    color me confused, like blondie over there ==>

  10. ratfox

    Embarrassing for Amazon, but…

    I understand it's not at all rare for large corporations to have an embarrassingly complex reimbursement system, which are not at all optimized because you optimize very hard things for users, and you don't care about optimizing paying money to suppliers.

    I remember a story about a similar company in which for anything over a couple of hundreds of dollars, a supplier needed to first get introduced into the payment database which was maintained by a third-party contractor in Poland, which meant that first-time suppliers needed to wait months until they saw a dime.

    If I remember correctly, there was a story on this very web site about Google being sued by a supplier over a ridiculous amount of money, because after months of waiting, they still saw nothing coming, and that was the only way they could see of speeding things up.

  11. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    See it on Amazon, buy it in store

    It used to be that you'd "look at it in the store then buy it on Amazon." I find myself doing the reverse now. Physical and online stores are rapidly catching up to Amazon's efficiency, making Amazon the useless middleman taking a cut of the money. Distributors aren't going to put up with as much crap as Amazon hopes they will. They have other options.

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