It’s quite sad to know that legitimate sellers have to fight for Amazon unauthorized seller removal because unauthorized sellers plague the Amazon marketplace. Brand owners, manufacturers, and authorized sellers have to deal with these unauthorized sellers. They list their products without permission, damage the brands’ reputations, and steal sales.
Because of this, you need to know how you can fight against these unauthorized sellers. Before we jump into the Amazon unauthorized seller removal, it’s important to recognize the different types of unauthorized sellers on Amazon, and what you can do to stop them from further hurting your business.
Amazon Unauthorized Seller Removal: Who are the unauthorized sellers?
Unauthorized Amazon sellers are third-party retailers who buy your products and then resell them without your permission. They have no right to sell the products because they don’t have an official relationship with your business, but they still do it anyway. They usually sell the products at lower prices so they can steal customers away. What could be worse is that they can create knockoffs to pass off as your products to unsuspecting buyers.
To help you learn more, below are the three categories of unauthorized sellers:
- Counterfeit seller. A counterfeit seller may knowingly or unknowingly sell counterfeit products of your brand. He or she can get these products from overseas or online, and sometimes, the seller can be a first-time retailer, who thinks that the products are original products of your brand.
- Individual seller. An individual seller sells a couple of units or SKUs. He or she is probably an individual liquidating the products he or she received as gifts. A subcategory of this seller can be a professional retail arbitrage individual, who goes to major retailers, scoop up the clearance items, and then relist them on Amazon for profit.
- Liquidator. A liquidator probably got your products from a shop closing down or through other means. He or she sells them through Amazon for profit. To help you identify them, you should check how many SKUs of your items the liquidator is selling, and then monitor him over a period of time to find out if he’s a short-term or long-term seller.
Once you have identified them, you need to act on them fast.
Problems caused by unauthorized sellers
Unauthorized Amazon sellers can create several problems, which include the following:
- Losing sales
- Eroding the brand
- Lowering profit margins
- Damaging to a company’s reputation
- Upsetting a company’s authorized distributors
- Increasing price pressure
- Making it hard to attract new distributors
Because of these, it’s important for Amazon sellers to stop these unauthorized sellers on Amazon.
Does Amazon help legitimate sellers?
Amazon has a lot of rules and guidelines, but it doesn’t always have clear policies regarding unauthorized sellers. One of these is product listing, which is available to all who sell the same products. The unauthorized sellers then take advantage of this gray area by listing against the brand’s pages. They are not necessarily counterfeiters, but they use the policy so they can undercut brand owners.
When an unauthorized seller sells below a manufacturer’s MAP or Minimum Advertised Price, they are considered to be violating the MAP policies. However, it isn’t a severe violation, so it can go under the radar. Moreover, Amazon decides to stay out of disputes between the resellers and the manufacturers, even the so-called gray areas.
When pricing is involved, many get a standard response while bringing Amazon unauthorized resellers to the marketplace’s attention. Amazon doesn’t get involved in pricing disputes, so any complaint that revolves around someone selling below MAP will be ignored.
However, Amazon will remove any unauthorized seller listings that will violate the law. Sadly, Amazon cannot keep a close eye on such violations, so as the rights owner, you’re going to carry the burden of proof.
Amazon Unauthorized Seller Removal: How to get rid of unauthorized sellers
Below are some ways you can force Amazon unauthorized seller removal:
- If applicable, you can deny buyers of follow-up customer service after the sale, unless they purchased the product from an approved seller. You can also report this to Amazon as selling a product not as described.
- If your product has a warranty, you can refuse to honor it unless the buyers purchased the product through an authorized seller. Make sure that this policy is clearly stated in your product materials and on your website. Any unauthorized seller who is selling your item without its warranty is a violation against your trademark. According to the trademark law, a product sold without its warranty constitutes a material difference.
Send a message to the unauthorized sellers and politely let them know that you will report the violation to Amazon unless they remove the listing within 72 hours. If they still don’t remove it, then report this violation to Amazon. It’s best to consult with your attorney when dealing with issues like trademark and other intellectual property violations.
- If your item has any special storage or handling requirements, inform Amazon that you cannot guarantee the safety of the items if they aren’t sold by authorized sellers. There isn’t a way to know if the product is handled or stored properly. Doing this will be enough to get Amazon to gate the items in question, which means that only sellers you authorize are allowed to sell the product.
- Perform test buys of your products from unauthorized sellers. If you find anything weird such as altered packaging, removed serial numbers or UPCs, missing instruction manuals, missing accessories, etc., then you can file a case that these constitute a material difference in the items, and are a violation of your trademark. Immediately report these violations to Amazon.
- If you have any authenticity issues with your brand, then ask your attorney to get in touch with Amazon’s legal team. They will often be able to get Amazon to gate your brand, to only allow approved sellers.
There isn’t any foolproof way for Amazon unauthorized seller removal at all times, but you can almost completely get rid of the problem if you follow the advice outlined above. These should be enough for the unauthorized sellers to decide to look for