This is why you have to wait for payment from Amazon
I have been very lucky so far with Amazon sales. I had only a few returned items up to this point and they were returned before I was paid so they didn't affect me too much.
This week I had a shock however. I logged in to Amazon Associates and saw I had a negative balance for the day! My first thought was "Oh no, do I own Amazon money?" I made a few sales that gave me a profit of several dollars but I had a returned item for -$9. So the net was -$7. I have made enough this month that I still have a profit, that was just the balance for that one day. Now the catch is that I made this sale of an expensive product with a $9 commission a month ago in April. This refund will count toward my balance in May however because now is when it got returned. So it occurred to me this is why Amazon makes you wait two months to get paid! They don't want to pay Associates for commissions, then have an item returned and then have us owing them the commission back. This way the return is still within the time frame between when the sale was made and when I get paid for that sale. I am making money from Amazon each month, but the payment I get in May will be for sales I made in March.
Now I understand why there is such a long delay for affiliate commissions.
Here is the real irony of the whole story. I posted in April about the fact I expected to break my monthly sales record for Amazon commissions. I even mentioned that I doubted I would have to worry about returned items because I had only had one return so far this year. What do you know. It was one of those very items that prompted that post back in April that is now being returned! It is also one of the single largest commissions on an item I have had. The good news is I still surpassed $50 in April, in fact I exceeded $60, but with this $9 loss and a slower month, I won't be breaking any records in May.
The moral of the story is 'don't count your chicks until they are hatched' as the famous saying goes.
It is all a learning experience. I hope the several posts I added to my site recently will kick things into gear soon. There is often a lag to see the full effect of posting when you have not been doing so on your site.