Amazon Account Reinstatement and Suspension Prevention
January 24, 2017

Amazon Suspension and Reinstatement News


NewsBites4Just some quick notes of what’s happening in the world of Amazon suspension.  Tune in next week for a post on how Amazon is addressing bad actors on the platform. Please note that when I say “I believe, should, may, might,” etc. that I am expressing my opinion based on what we are seeing and hearing and not official Amazon policy.

  • Ashlin Hadden of Voldico Insurance is bringing reinstatement and business continuity insurance to ecommerce sellers!

    Due to launch in early February this insurance will not only cover the cost of reinstatement, but also provide 75% of your normal revenue for either 15, 30 or 90 days – a real godsend for sellers.  Once all the details are available, I will have a follow-up blog post.  Stay tuned! You can contact Ashlin to get added to her notification list.

 

  • The ability to advertise within the sexual wellness category is in the works as well as A+ content.  We hear it will be “soon.”

 

  • New suspension reason: “Violation of Code of Conduct.”

    This one is serious and permanent. We suspect that there is more to this than getting banned.  Time will tell. What we know for sure is that we can’t get you back.

 

  • Manipulation of the platform for product reviews is STILL occurring.

    Please understand.  There is NO WAY around Amazon’s rules on this one.  NONE.  Focus on sales, not reviews.  Sorry.  Don’t use ZonBlast and then follow up with emails soliciting a review, for example.  Don’t do it.  Programs like Feedback Genius have a filter that will turn OFF product review emails for products bought at a discount.  We recommend everyone use that filter to avoid accidentally asking the wrong buyer for a product review.  Here’s more information on how to do that.

 

  • Amazon has started to take action against companies/lawyers that file copyright infringement cases as a tactic.

    We saw the first volley when they started to give sellers an appeal process.  We believe that Amazon will take further action against frequent offenders. If they follow previous procedures like with product review companies, we anticipate possible lawsuits.  We hope so.  We’ve seen some companies file dozens and dozens of bogus claims against sellers.  If you have a legitimate beef against an infringer, be sure to follow the rules and answer their emails if they contact you, explain the infraction and send an email to Amazon once the issue is resolved.

 

  • Amazon is proactively filing counterfeit claims on sellers who have not even sent in product yet.

    We are not sure if this is due to claims filed by rights holders or simply because Amazon has seen a problem on those brands.  What puzzles us the the most is why these brands are not gated if there is a problem?  They are letting sellers send in the merchandise and then sending them listing suspensions before the goods even get to the warehouse.

 

  • Amazon is stepping up its game going directly to manufacturers/brand owners to get them registered in the brand registry and to sell product themselves on the platform.

    We are seeing a lot more of their people at trade shows, etc. Why would they do this?  To reduce inauthentic/counterfeit issues for buyers.  This is both an opportunity and a threat for wholesale sellers.  Lock down your relationships AND remember that you know Amazon better than most brands.  Use that to your advantage.

 

  • Selling NFL licensed products you bought RA or OA? You are at risk for suspension and inauthentic claims.

    A new algorithm tweak means lots of sellers are being suspended for licensed products (all sports not just NFL).  Don’t sell licensed items unless you are buying from an authorized manufacturer/distributor. You can often find the list of authorized manufacturers on the internet.  They are VERY limited and tightly controlled.  Buying in a retail or online store is not good enough.

 

  • Do you sell textbooks?  Amazon is suspending used and new textbook sellers right and left recently for counterfeit.  100 sellers are being sued by publishers.

    Are you sure your textbooks are authentic?  Are you buying them from a legitimate source?  If not, you may want to pull your textbooks.  They are cracking down hard on counterfeit textbooks.  Most of our clients didn’t even realize that counterfeit textbooks are a real problem.  Amazon recently obeyed a subpoena from several textbook publishers to produce the real names and addresses of 100 Amazon booksellers. These sellers are being suspended and we can’t help them get back until they resolve the lawsuit with the publisher.  In addition, Amazon has the right to sue these sellers as well. Read more in this article from Financial Times.

 

  • Amazon launched worldwide account verification for new sellers.

    This means that anyone wanting to open an account in the US or anywhere else needs to go through a thorough screening. They will want your passport/birth certificate, proof of your bank and credit card (they will call them), proof of your physical location and more.  Note that everything MUST be in the name of your business or your name.  Do not use your mom’s credit card and your cousin’s warehouse. We suspect that sellers who get suspended will also be asked for verification data before being reinstated.  We’ll let you know.

 


Visitors Comments

  • Jen

    Please investigate further on “used books sold as new”. Many of the suspensions are from book sellers who listed books as new.

    There is fierce debate over whether Amazon condition guidelines allow sellers to list books as “new” if they “look new”, or if sellers can only list “new” books if sourced from distributors / publishers and have invoices (not store receipts).

    Can a seller list a book purchased from a thrift store or library book sale as NEW? Sellers need clarification from Amazon about this. The Amazon condition guidelines need to state more clearly how a “new” book is defined. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Cynthia Stine

      Jen,

      Books purchased from retail stores, thrift stores, etc., are USED, not NEW. Amazon is clear about this. Even if the book is in its original shrinkwrap from the manufacturer I would not list it as NEW because you can’t prove it. You definitely need invoices if they are put as NEW on Amazon. In addition, inauthentic is inauthentic. Counterfeit is counterfeit. If Amazon suspects (or knows for a fact because they did a bin check) that these books are counterfeit, they require invoices regardless of condition. Our clients have learned to their chagrin that they were selling counterfeit textbooks. They didn’t take the trouble to understand what makes a textbook counterfeit. We strongly urge all textbook sellers to educate themselves and choose their books carefully. You may even want to take pictures before sending in the books that prove your book is not counterfeit. There are generally things that counterfeiters do not include in their books that legitimate books do.

      When I got my first inauthentic for a used book, I ran with it all the way up the chain protesting that they couldn’t seriously expect me to have invoices or even a clear receipt for an old “Cosmos” I bought at a book sale. That’s when I learned that they absolutely did require it. I didn’t have anything, of course, and I took down ALL my books because none of them are authentic in Amazon’s eyes. I warned the community. Most sellers chose to wait and see how frequently Amazon was going to ask for invoices. We’ve seen several suspensions in the past few months for counterfeit textbooks with a whole bunch of them recently. This is the future. I strongly urge all sellers to re-condition their NEW books and to consider where they are buying their books and what they are buying. So far we’ve not had a problem with non-textbooks. That could change. It gets down to the buyer experience. If buyers are complaining about a book being counterfeit…then sellers will be shut down for it.

      Reply
  • Stephen

    Cynthia,

    What are the most accurate resources for learning how to spot a counterfeit or inauthentic book? And, where can these resources be found or obtained for study?

    Reply
  • Randy

    I got an intellectual property rights infringement warning and my account was being reviewed. No one at Amazon could explain the reason and gave me the contact info thru them for the place that created it. They told me to contact them which I did but I never heard back from them. I would like to know what caused this so I don’t have it happen again but I can’t get an answer, thanks.

    Reply
    • Cynthia Stine

      Randy,

      You need to respond and resolve this infringement issue. The rights holder should tell you in what way you are infringing on their IP. Sometimes it is as simple as changing a picture. Sometimes it is a tactic by a competitor to get you off a listing. Be sure you’ve really tried to reach the rights holder. You can tell Amazon that you’ve made every effort and they are not responding and they should annotate your account (remove the product from your inventory, too). If you want our help, we charge $500 for ASIN reinstatements (which this falls under). See our website (http://egrowthpartners.com).

      Sincerely,
      Cynthia

      Reply

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