Was your account shut down because of an Amazon inauthentic complaint or A collection of ideas, concepts, ... More right infringements? Don’t take it personally. This suspension doesn’t target your business, in particular. It’s just one in a long line of measures Amazon started to implement some months ago to rid the market of counterfeits.
Read on to find out how it all comes together.
We’ve all heard of products becoming Selling certain product categorie... More or brands being Selling certain products and bran... More overnight. We’re also familiar with the practice of switching inventories to ‘inactive’ while Amazon investigates your sources. It’s all happening because Amazon and brand owners have joined forces to ‘cleanse’ the market of counterfeit goods. This has led to an increase in the number of Amazon inauthentic complaints.
Product and brand gating goes hand-in-hand with account suspensions caused by intellectual property right infringements and selling inauthentic item on Amazon. That’s because Please see "Gated", lifting product restrictions and reinstating selling rights involves going through a very similar, albeit confusing, approval process. Occasionally, you may even need to go through it just so you can keep selling the same items you’ve been offering for years.
How Serious Is It?
If you’re one of the lucky ones, Amazon will only ask you to provide invoices for some of your inventory. They probably don’t have serious reasons to suspect you of fraudulent activity, and they’ll let you continue selling other items while they’re running their investigation. This usually applies to certain brands or restricted items, so don’t panic. If you show them valid invoices, they’ll most probably say they erred on the side of caution.
Worst-case scenario: they take away your selling privileges altogether, and expect not only invoices from you, but a thorough plan of action as well. The trigger may have been a very serious Amazon inauthentic complaint or suspicions of property right infringements. We’ve written in a previous post about the type of information a plan of action should include for those suspected of selling inauthentic items on Amazon. So, please skim through the last section again to refresh your memory.
What Should I Do?
Whatever restrictions you face at the moment or their cause, remember that a good plan of action starts with accurate and valid invoices. So, as you’re preparing your invoices, please keep in mind they will only be acceptable to Amazon if:
- the format is pdf, jpg, png, or gif file (so xls, doc, etc. will not be accepted).;
- the heading clearly says ‘invoice’, not Commercial invoice/ proforma invoice/ order confirmation/ purchasing list/ contract document/ delivery report;
- they include supplier details, namely full company name, address, phone, website (the more details, the better);
- the supplier’s identity is easily verifiable, with an active website listed on search engines like Google, official company information available online, or a registered office (for brick-and-mortar shops);
- the details under the ‘Bill To’ field match the company name and address on record in your Amazon Seller Central is a portal or a h... More account;
- the content is in the local language; otherwise, you should translate invoices from foreign suppliers;
- the quantity stated on the invoices matches or exceeds your stock (sales + remaining inventory);
- the product descriptions, as stated on the invoices, should include a title, a brand name, colors, sizes and any other information that helps Amazon match these items to their catalog pages.
Before you start defending your selling privileges, arm yourself with all the information and all the paperwork you need. In some cases, such as intellectual property right suspensions, invoices may not suffice. If the supplier didn’t have reselling rights, for instance, the brand owner is entitled to file a complaint against you. Read our tips on intellectual property rights infringement to see what can be done in this case.
Lately, suspensions due to Amazon inauthentic complaints or intellectual property right infringements have been overwhelming. Amazon now replies to appeals with canned responses asking for patience while the verifications are under way. These verifications can take days or even weeks. Yet, pressuring the performance team to react sooner doesn’t seem to work, so we assume they have a huge backlog.
Suspect Foul Play?
We’ve all heard of bogus companies filing IP complaints against sellers. If you believe this has happened to you, be prepared to prove it. If a bogus seller is really behind the complaint, they won’t respond to your requests to discuss the matter. But you still need to prove to Amazon that you have not violated their rights.
Here are some of your options in representing your case, if these are This is what you call products manufactu... More items:
- point out that the UPCs you bought from GS1 establish that the products belong to your brand;
- show Amazon the product is officially registered under your name (trademark, logo, patent registration number);
- mention your selling history for these products on your website, other online platforms or brick-and-mortar stores;
- add that you’ve signed your brand up for Amazon Amazon Brand Registry is a tool that ena... More.
If you’re not doing private label, get in touch with your supplier first. Then contact the manufacturer and ask for an official confirmation that the company filing the complaint against you is not real or contracted by them. Ask for a formal letter that the items are authentic and can be sold by your company further down the chain.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Amazon’s suspensions are happening at a mind-boggling rate, and a single Amazon inauthentic complaint could be very damaging. So, when you’re behind on your paperwork or you can’t chase up suppliers for very old invoices, it may be better for you to take a break from selling on Amazon until the matter is dealt with.
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