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Irate IT distributors chase Amazon over unpaid bills

Online giant's suppliers scuppered after system upgrade

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Exclusive 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 to a seven figure problem.

The spat, according to numerous sources, followed an internal system switch-over at Amazon a year ago, after which the number of queries from the company “went through the roof”, one distie claimed.

Suppliers told us they followed the paperwork exactly and delivered as specified by Amazon, but were informed on repeated occasions that shipments were short and the proof of delivery docs didn’t match up.

The boss of one distributor claimed Amazon had “resolved to settle” the outstanding issues and “reconcile” the financial discrepancies but no timeframe has yet been outlined for this.

“This has been escalated, Amazon has promised to smooth it out,” one told us, “Maybe Amazon thought it was too big to be challenged by distributors or that they could bully their way through this”.

He complained it was a “process issue” and that Amazon’s procurement, logistics and accounts payable departments don’t necessarily have a single view of an order.

Another distributor claimed Amazon had asked them to write off some money, “the issue was reconciling deliverables to actuals to invoices - it’s been torrid”.

“All the current deliveries are fine but we are still battling legacy issues to get our money. Everyone is pitching to get out their money so none of the distributors want to talk on the record,” he added.

El Chan has decided not to name the distributors.

For some, it seems the crisis has reached breaking point and we are told of two distributors, one US-based and the other a UK national, that have decided to simply walk away from Amazon.

Amazon, and others including Google, came under fire in recent years over the amount of corporation tax paid in the UK. The EU last year branded so-called sweetheart tax deals with Luxembourg, which many tech firms have used, illegal.

We asked Amazon to comment last week, and called up the PR team today again to remind them of them of the query. Maybe it got lost in the systems… just like payments to suppliers.

Amazon refused to comment. ®

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