What do you do when Amazon sends you a ‘Used Sold as New’ notification? You take it seriously. But what if you sold it as ‘Used’? Again, you take it seriously. Here’s why.
Changing Trends in ‘Used Sold As New’ Notifications
A few years back, ‘Used sold as new’ notifications used to be a very common reason for suspended listings. If complaints piled up in a short space of time, their accounts were suspended immediately. Then they had 17 days to provide a Plan of Action.
To sort out the issue right away, they needed to find the reason and address it the first time around. However, sellers struggled to find the cause, and they’d send several Plans of Action, protracting the process.
With time, being suspended because you sold a used item as new became less common. Rather than ‘Used sold as new’, most notifications were sent out for safety or authenticity issues. That’s because Amazon chose to focus on cases where condition issues translated into safety or authenticity concerns (e.g. toys that broke easily in transport could pose a choking hazard).
But recently, Amazon started focusing on this specific type of notification again. What’s worrying sellers, though, is the fact that sending POAs to convince Amazon that they can avoid condition issues in the future will not be enough to ward off a suspension. We see more and more sellers being asked for invoices as well, which was virtually unheard of before.
We’re told Amazon sometimes sends these notifications even for items that were sold as used, not new. It’s unclear what’s causing this mistake, but it seems a simple complaint from a customer expecting more from a product will suffice. That is, if the item malfunctions, is of lesser condition than expected, or is somehow different than advertised, this can trigger the process.
So, what do you do when Amazon makes a mistake? Tell Amazon right away that your item was ‘Used’ to begin with, but also send a Plan of Action, just as you would with any other suspension. All the more reason to read up on your condition guidelines, by the way. You need to show that you’re being proactive and taking steps to comply with the rules, some of which are summarized below.
The New Vs. Like New Conundrum
Fig. 1. Extract from Amazon.com condition guidelines as of May 30, 2018
At present, an unopened item isn’t necessarily ‘new’ to Amazon. It’s ‘Like New’ if it’s untouched and giftable, with all the original packaging and instructions included. It’s ‘New’ if it’s intact, with the original packaging, shrinkwrap, and warranty (which is something you need to mention in the listing comments), if applicable.
Of course, there’s a grey area here. What do you call an intact item that never came with shrinkwrap or warranty, but has been sitting on a shelf for years? Some would argue it’s still new. Our advice is to err on the side of caution.
‘It Wasn’t Me’ Just Doesn’t Cut It
Don’t forget the FBA Repackaging service. Items are returned to Amazon’s fulfillment centre, deemed by warehouse staff to be resellable, and sent out again in poor condition. Unless an FBA seller opts out of this service, they can be held accountable. If you’re in this situation, you still need to send a POA, as above. Then you should consider opting out of the repackaging service, as shown below.
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the seller featured in this video, or any of their subsidiaries and affiliates.
How To Tackle ‘Used Sold As New’ Notifications
Whatever the reason for your notification, give it your full attention. To begin with, never admit to Amazon that you did something you didn’t, just because you want to speed things up. False confessions will only complicate things.
But even if you believe you were in the right, don’t spend all your energy trying to prove Amazon wrong. Focus on showing Amazon that your internal processes are excellent, but you can do even better.
Amazon’s notification may be vague or the reason mentioned there could be wrong. If you suspect it to actually be one of the following issues, then address this problem too:
- authenticity issue: you need detailed invoices from the manufacturer or an authorized reseller;
- not as advertised: check that the item is exactly as described in the listing;
- damaged in transit: try to get an acknowledgement from your courier;
- FBA order shipped in poor condition with the FBA Repackaging service: show that you’re not responsible, because the item the fulfillment center received from you was new.
Also, if you’re asked for a POA, remember to address all the possible reasons the first time around. Don’t assume you know what the claim is really about until you thoroughly investigate the situation.
Before you draft your POA, check this list of common seller appeal mistakes. Then make sure that your POA touches on all the processes involved in fulfilling an order, including:
- Inventory control: how you match deliveries with orders, how you check that descriptions are 100% accurate, how and where you store new and used items, how you process returns, etc.;
- Quality assurance: how you check your items when they come in, how you check them before you wrap them, how you train your QA staff, how you wrap and pack, and what courier service you use;
- Product testing: what processes you have in place to inspect and test each ASIN before it’s listed, how you keep track of tests, and how you hold testers accountable for mistakes;
- Product authenticity: how you engage with your suppliers, how you personally inspect their facilities, how you double-check with the manufacturer, etc.
Hopefully, we’ve given you some pointers and helped you gauge the importance of dealing with Used Sold as New notifications promptly, even if they were sent by mistake. But remember: you don’t need to go it alone. For expert advice and assistance, please get in touch with our teams offering Listing Rescue and Account Rescue services.
Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.