Amazon Product Authenticity and Quality
Amazon wants its customers to be able to trust their purchases and have confidence in Amazon. Therefore, they have a strict set of policies that are followed in order to ensure product authenticity. As a seller, it is important to take note of violations of selling policies and how they are enforced.
Product violations are either categorized as “intellectual property” violations or “materially different” violations. Intellectual property violations occur when the products being offered violate intellectual property rights such as copyrights, patents, trademarks, and rights of publicity, or are not authorized for sale or re-sale. Materially different product condition violations occur when the product that is listed and shipped does not exactly match the description, pictures, and all other information on the product detail page. Some examples of materially different product condition violations include listing a product in new condition when it is not in brand-new or unused condition and shipping a product that is damaged, defective, misclassified, misrepresented, or missing any of its parts.
Depending on the severity of a seller’s policy violation, Amazon may take a variety of actions, including canceling the listing, limiting, suspending or blocking a seller’s ability to list products, suspending or blocking a seller’s ability to sell, removing or disposing of the seller’s FBA inventory, or withholding payments.
Product Authenticity Complaints
Sellers can check if there are Product Authenticity Customer Complaints under the Product Policy Compliance section in Account Health. Amazon may also email the seller directly if they have concerns about their listings. If a seller has listings removed, their account suspended, or is unable to list new products, they will be notified by email. They may be asked to submit invoices from their supplier or provide the contact information of their supplier. Amazon may also ask for a plan of action that describes the steps taken to resolve the issue and how they intend to prevent similar complaints. They may also request an authorization letter from the manufacturer.
Amazon’s Anti-Counterfeiting Policy
To ensure a trustworthy shopping experience for customers, sellers must agree that the sale of counterfeit products is strictly prohibited. No products that have been illegally replicated, reproduced, or manufactured may be sold. In addition, a seller must provide records about the authenticity of their products if Amazon requests that documentation. Failure to comply may result in loss of selling privileges, funds being withheld, destruction of inventory within fulfillment centers, or other legal consequences.
Reports of Inauthenticity
Rights owners and buyers with product authenticity concerns are encouraged to notify Amazon. Amazon claims that it will “promptly investigate and take all appropriate actions to protect customers, sellers, and rights holders.” Sellers can also check for Counterfeit complaints on their Account Health page in Seller Central.
Appeal Account Deactivation
If a Seller’s account has been deactivated, the seller can appeal for reinstatement by going to Seller Central->Performance->Account Health. On the top of this page, click Reactivate your account. From here, follow the instructions listed to submit the appeal which can include a plan of action or supporting documents. After submitting, be sure to keep up with emails from Amazon. After receiving a response from Amazon for more information, click Account Health->View Appeal to submit additional documentation and information required in the next submission.
Appeal a Listing Removal
A listing removal can be appealed by going to Seller Central->Performance->Account Health. From here, a Seller should select the correct issue within the Product Policy Compliance column and follow the instructions within the page to submit the appeal or modify the details on the listing to comply with Amazon’s selling policies.
Drafting a Plan of Action
Amazon provides guidelines addressing the plan of action needed to reinstate selling privileges. A plan of action should discuss the root cause that led to the issue, the actions that will be taken to resolve the issue, and steps that will be taken to prevent future issues. Amazon also offers the following tips for how to create a plan of action:
Be clear and concise. Your plan of action should be factual and direct. Focus on the facts and events that lead to the issue rather than providing an introduction of your product, business, or customer. Remove other questions or references to ongoing support cases from your submission. Avoid using emotive language.
Provide an explanation for all issues. Some deactivations can be the result of a combination of issues (for example, a High Order Defect Rate can arise from negative feedback and undelivered orders). You must provide a response for each root cause in your plan of action.
Include supporting evidence for all items. Make sure you submit supporting evidence for all of the products or ASINs that are under review. You can find the list of products at the bottom of your original notification. Make sure to check the timeframe requested for the documents, some require invoices from the last 365 days.
Highlight areas in your supporting documents. You can make your response more relevant by circling or highlighting the area within your documents that is most important such as ASINs, Supplier details (for example, name and supplier website) or clauses within your Terms and Conditions.
Contact Saper Law for help with drafting a plan of action to reinstate selling privileges or help with other Amazon legal issues, such as brand registry: 312.527.4100.