One of the best practices an Amazon 3rd party seller can have is to keep up with current Amazon news and updates. Changes made by Amazon not only influence your sales and customer satisfaction level, they also have the potential to re-shape your entire business in terms of sourcing models and choice of suppliers. Read more for recent changes
Lately, Amazon have been increasingly adamant that all items (New or Used) be backed up by proper invoices. This has never been more obvious than when we came across this latest type of performance notification:
We removed some of your listings because of buyer complaints about the items they ordered from you. These items did not accurately match the condition or description of the product mentioned in your products listings on the product detail page. The listings we removed are at the end of this email.
Include the following information for each ASIN complained as Used Sold as New:
— Copies of invoices or receipts from your supplier issued in the last 365 days. These should reflect your sales volume during that time.
— Contact information for your supplier, including name, phone number, address, and website.
You can send .pdf, .jpg, .png, or .gif files. These documents must be authentic and unaltered. We may call your supplier to verify the documents. You may remove pricing information, but the rest of the information must be visible. We will maintain the confidentiality of your supplier contact information.
We will review your information and decide whether to reinstate your listings. If we receive more complaints about your listings, we may not allow you to sell on Amazon.
It’s the first time Amazon have asked for invoices to investigate a ‘Used sold as New’ complaint. This can only mean one thing: that they want to be certain of the quality of items sold on Amazon. So, as part of their continued effort to clean the market of counterfeit or unauthorized merchandise, they’re looking for any excuse to ask for invoices.
Invoices are their number one priority, and the obvious choice when it comes to quality assurance. In some cases, this new procedure is prioritized over the old ones.
For example, we came across a case where a client got the typical inauthentic item suspension. Amazon asked for a Plan Of Action and invoices. Surprisingly, the client’s listings were apparently reinstated based exclusively on the invoices they sent in!
To be clear, we would never recommend taking such a risk. There’s an unspoken rule that says you always give Amazon a POA when they ask for one. We stand by this rule and always will. But it just goes to show that things are changing.
They also support customers who wish to see proof of origin, by sending notifications such as this:
We’ve been contacted by a customer regarding the order identified below.
Reason: Authenticity of the Item
Details: The customer wants to see the authenticity of the Item. Please contact the customer with the information required.
Amazon’s invoice verification procedures are becoming stricter by the day. We’re all familiar with the general invoice requirements by now. You may remember some of the most important ones from our Amazon Suspension Series: 4 post:
- the ‘bill to’ field must be the same as the business name and address saved in Seller Central;
- the product description must match the Amazon title
- the invoice must be itemized invoices, with clear references to the brand and the manufacturer;
- the documents should actually say Invoice, not Order Acknowledgement, Pro-Forma or any variations;
But Amazon have now started calling suppliers for confirmation that invoices are legitimate.
It seems they now want the contact information displayed on invoices to be consistent as well. For instance, the email address stated on the invoice now needs to match the one displayed in the Seller Central account. This despite the fact it’s not uncommon to have different email addresses.
Merchants need to get used to these increasingly stringent requirements. They should also expect to be asked to address multiple issues at once. Here’s an example:
We received a complaint from a buyer about the condition of a product they ordered from you, which is listed at the end of this email.
Please review your listings and make sure that
— The items exactly match the product description on the detail page.
— The items are listed according to our Condition Guidelines.
Complaint type: Inauthentic Item
Seller Performance Team
So, should you be focusing on product details, condition, or inauthentic item complaints? Amazon gives equal weight to all of these items, so you need to be certain to address all of them in your response.
Other notable changes in performance notifications from the last 6 months include:
- Amazon now has a new team which asks for a plan of action prior to an account suspension. So, be sure to write a Plan of Action and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org; you’re on the verge of getting shut down. This is beneficial for merchants, because usually their funds aren’t withheld, and orders keep coming in. That’s the opposite of what happens with an account that’s been shut down or simply under review.
- When Amazon suspend items for a high rate of customer complaints, they now indicate what they checked. We’ve seen them say “Your offer for ASIN XXXXXXXX has been closed due to a negative customer experience rate of 5.3% (includes returns, refunds, reviews, and customer service communications)”, and they offer examples of buyer complaints. At least merchants now know what triggered the notification, and don’t spend time guessing what caused it.
As selling on Amazon becomes increasingly restrictive, it’s not unusual for sellers to be disheartened. Just keep in mind there are people out there that deal with this on a daily basis, so feel free to ask for advice. Our Services team is always eager to help answer any questions you have related to your Amazon selling business.