The growth of e-commerce platforms, online sellers and affiliate marketing has led to a new area of law practice. Fueling Amazon’s growth is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) a complete fulfillment solution to warehouse, pack and ship products to their millions of consumers.
Amazon’s intricate systems and processes, while a blessing to some, has created astronomical challenges to others.
In our experience, we have found following common legal disputes which may arise for the
1. Amazon Account suspension:
Amazon Account suspension is the fastest growing problem marketplace sellers are facing. It is an attempt to crackdown on bad players, Amazon has started suspending accounts as a form of punishment. If your account is suspended Amazon may allow you to appeal the decision. But it is important to respond methodically and persuasively because you stand to permanently lose your selling account if the account is not resolved.
2. Intellectual Property:
Intellectual Property includes copyright, trademark and patent infringement. If there is a claim that you have infringed on someone’s content or product rights, not only will your account be suspended but the owner of the Intellectual Property can file a lawsuit. And if you are the legitimate owner of the Intellectual Property, it can be a quick fix by simply providing us the proper documentation and we will do the rest.
3. Competitor Dispute:
Competitor dispute can run the gamut. These disputes arise when a competitor accuses another seller of improprieties.
4. Counterfeit Claims:
In case of the counterfeit claims, the accusation is that the product being sold is not the product being marketed. A counterfeit item is merchandise marketed as one thing but turns out to be something else.
5. Customer Disputes:
When it comes to customer disputes Amazon is put in a bad spot because they provide customer service under the FBA plan, too many complaints about a particular seller are serious for business.
6. Reseller MAP Pricing:
MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Pricing. When someone becomes a reseller, they must abide by guidelines set by the manufacturer. One of the guidelines is a set minimum price that indicates the lowest amount their merchandise can be advertised for.
We are going to create the plan of action and submit it for you to get your account reinstated. Sometimes you want to make sure that you say the right thing but what can be even more frustrating is submitting a plan of action that gets rejected. And also what’s even more frustrating is that you have spent more money up to a thousand dollars for a plan of action either because you had somebody else help you and it didn’t work and now you’re out those thousand dollars.
If your account or listings are deactivated, specific legal actions may be needed to bring your product listing or account in compliance with Amazon policies.
For an account deactivation, submit an appeal by locating the specific notification in the performance notification section.
For listing level violations, submit an appeal in account health under the performance tab. Make sure to log into the marketplace example U.S, U.K or Canada where the deactivation or violation occurred.
To submit an appeal, a plan of action gives Amazon confidence that you will address the identified issue and help Amazon to make a reinstatement decision on your account or listing by considering a holistic perspective of your specific situation.
Now let’s dive into a professional plan of action which typically includes the following elements:
1. Identification of the root cause:
Identify the root cause of the issue or identify the problem that led to the account deactivation or policy violation. Explain the actions you have already taken to resolve the issue for your customers. Provide a solution so the issue will not happen again in the future. A plan of action must be clear and concise and should be factual and direct focus on the facts and events that cause the issue.
2. Provide an explanation:
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.
3. Supporting evidence:
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 and make sure to check the time frame requested for the documents as some require invoices from the last 365 days.
4. Highlight areas:
You can make your response more relevant by circling or highlighting the areas within your documents that are most important such as ACENS supplier details. For example name and supplier website or clauses within your terms and conditions.
5. Don’t recycle an old plan of action:
Don’t recycle an old plan of action or resubmit a previous appeal. If your account or listing is deactivated for the same reason, try to understand if the root cause has changed or consider implementing alternative solutions. Only submit a PoA that addresses the issues for the current enforcement.
6. Consult with your lawyer:
Write a poa after consulting with your lawyer as you will address the issue in a legal manner so as to understand legalities and identify solutions.
7. Not to include questions or references:
It is ideal to not include questions or references to ongoing support cases in your submission and focus on the facts as to how you plan to address the issues.
8. Provide reactive solutions:
Don’t focus on what happened in the past or provide short-term or reactive solutions to the issues. Understand what went wrong and use that information to identify solutions to prevent the same issue from happening again in the future.
9. Highlight steps you have taken to address the issue:
It is not recommended to list all possible solutions and things you will do in the future. A PoA should be specific and highlight steps you have already taken to address the issue. Sometimes you may be required to send supporting documentation along with your plan of action. For example invoices or other supply chain documentation may be requested for certain policy violations or customer complaints.
You should always keep invoices and any other relevant records for all of your products sold on Amazon.
Invoices must be clearly identifiable and must include the details like your name and address.
Supplier’s name, address and phone number. It can be beneficial to add supplier information within the appeal in order to help investigators verify the distributor’s supplier credibility.
Also include details like issue date, invoice number, quantity of inventory, product names, asin etc. If the ASIN in question is not clearly identifiable from the invoice, you can highlight the line item for the ASIN that is under review and rescan the invoice to submit. This will help eliminate confusion and expedite the review process.
Make sure that image quality of all documents are clear, not grainy, not cut off and all your information matches the information you have entered in seller central.
You may obscure pricing information and you are encouraged to highlight the item under review. If your invoice does not meet these requirements then you can tell the reviewing authority that when you submit your appeal and explain why you are not able to supply an invoice in the required format, they will consider this information during the review process.
We are legal experts with a comprehensive understanding of the Amazon platform and skilled in litigation on behalf of FBA merchants whose accounts or product listings have been suspended.
We are capable of handling any issue that an online merchant can face. These issues are challenges that the business cannot resolve on their own.
It is important to note that we estimate on the basis of our experience that how promising your chances are to win the case, we never guarantee that a legal dispute will end in your favor but we put our efforts and time to get the dispute resolved in your favor.
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