- Seller Labs
- On May 22, 2017
Guest post by Travis J. Stockman of Amazon Sellers Lawyer
Amazon Sellers are increasingly fighting counterfeit claims on a regular basis. This often is followed by account suspensions and the need to fight for account reinstatement. These account suspensions are typically the result of selling inauthentic or counterfeit items. However, most sellers are unaware the products they have listed are counterfeit or inauthentic. Fortunately, this is not the end of the road for Amazon Sellers. Amazon will normally reinstate a seller’s account if that seller can prove the product came directly from the manufacturer, and that their supplier is legitimate. There are several measures a seller can take to prove their manufacturer is legitimate. In addition, there are several measures a seller can take to avoid dealing with illegitimate manufacturers.
Steps for Amazon Sellers to Prove a Manufacturer is Legitimate
If your account is shut down for inauthentic or counterfeit claims, the first measure you must take is to draft a letter which demonstrates that your products are authentic. To do so, a seller must show that these products were purchased directly from a legitimate manufacturer. If the claim came directly from a rights owner, a seller will need to contact that rights owner and resolve the issue with the owner directly. If not, Amazon will refuse to reinstate your account.
In your plan of action, Amazon Sellers will need to provide invoices for each disputed product. This demonstrates to Amazon that the products came directly from the manufacturer. Proving the manufacturer is legitimate—and that your products came directly from them—is usually enough to show that the claim made by the rights owner was made in error. However, invoices must be sufficiently detailed in order for Amazon to reinstate a suspended seller account.
A Seller should attach invoices that prove two things. First show you are an authorized Amazon Seller. Second, prove that you received your product directly from the manufacturer, or from an authorized reseller. Detailed invoices allow a seller to prove that their product and the manufacturer are authentic.
In addition to the measures a seller should take to proving their manufacturer is legitimate, there are also preventative actions a seller can take to avoid the situation entirely.
Steps in Avoiding Illegitimate Manufacturers
Counterfeit claims on Amazon are often linked to local manufacturers who produce cheaper alternatives which are nearly identical to many private labeled products. In many cases, Amazon Sellers are unaware the manufacturer is producing such counterfeit alternatives. An Amazon Seller should always take preventative measures in an effort to avoid associations with illegitimate manufacturers.
First, a seller should try to avoid selling products from other online sellers, liquidators, eBay dealers, or thrift stores as you run the risk of selling inauthentic or counterfeit items. An Amazon Seller should always source its items from a legitimate manufacturer.
Avoid Gray Market Goods
Second, when choosing a manufacturer, a seller should be cautious when dealing with international manufacturers. If a United States seller is going to source its products from places such as China, India, or Vietnam, the seller should be sure to get all the necessary documentation proving their legitimacy, so they are protected in the event a complaint occurs. Furthermore, a seller runs the risk of selling “gray market goods” which are goods sold without the trademark holder’s knowledge or consent.
Often, these goods are sold from one country to another and occasionally end up in the hands of Amazon Sellers. Typically, these sellers believe the products are from legitimate sources. A seller should be on alert for gray market goods if the product does not come with a US manufacturer’s warranty, if the warranty is written in a foreign language, or if the prices are significantly lower than the actual manufacturer’s price. A seller should always investigate into gray market goods to avoid association with illegitimate manufacturers.
Lastly, an Amazon Seller should always verify that their manufacturer or supplier has legal permission to sell the products they are producing. Taking these simple preventative measures can ensure that a seller is protected in the event their account is suspended.
Amazon sellers should follow the above preventative measures to ensure that they are not associated with counterfeit or inauthentic items. In the event a seller has already received a complaint along with a suspended account, the seller will need to prove the legitimacy of its manufacturer. The seller must draft a plan of action and attach the necessary invoices and documentation to prove the complaint was made in error.
When an Amazon Seller is having difficulty putting together the appropriate paperwork needed to reinstate their account, they can always hire an attorney to assist them. Specialized attorneys like the team at Amazon Sellers Lawyer will be able to compile the necessary documents and explain to the complaining party that their complaint was made in error. Once a party becomes aware of their mistake, they will often remove the complaint ultimately resulting in the reinstatement of your account.
About Amazon Sellers Lawyer
Amazon Sellers Lawyer is a team comprised of unique individuals with extensive knowledge and backgrounds. They are dedicated to defending the rights of e-commerce entrepreneurs and sellers across all platforms. Founded in 1994 by CJ Rosenbaum, the firm is now emerging as an industry leader as evidenced by its receipt of the Bitbond Best E-commerce Site of 2017 award. Whether a seller is facing an Intellectual Property issue, their funds are being held, or they simply need assistance with a suspension and reinstatement, the team at Amazon Sellers Lawyer has the knowledge and experience to serve sellers day and night, all around the world.