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Seller account suspensions gave rise to an Amazon-focused legal industry

Happy Monday! While we want to start the week calm and collected, we got hold of some hot issues that you deserve to know—and can probably relate to:

POST OF THE WEEK

BIG IDEA

Did you know that in the first half of 2023, 274 million actions were taken by Amazon in its EU store? While increasing policy enforcement against violations is recommended, Amazon’s lack of clarity on the reasons behind its actions is causing anxiety among sellers instead of security.

As a result, several law firms specializing in Amazon-related issues have sprouted. According to the Financial Times, most of the cases handled by these firms revolve around Amazon’s power to suspend accounts or product listings.

💸 The cost of confusion

Many U.S. firms report that most cases involve upset sellers trying to find a solution to IP cases. Each company handles hundreds or thousands of such cases annually, charging flat fees ranging from $1,300 to $3,500 per case

The complexity of account suspensions and the absence of due process have created this vulnerability in the system. This leads to three problematic reasons why these "saviors" are here:

  • The rise in legal representation, suggesting bigger problems in how Amazon treats its sellers
  • A problematic seller management method, as implied by many merchants needing legal help to navigate the system
  • Unfair seller treatment, coupled with the feeling that they’re just a means to gain revenue for the retailer

Amazon's response

In an undetailed explanation, the retail giant says its selling partners are “incredibly important.” However, the company added that they're working toward minimizing mistakes and false positive actions.

Brain food: As the marketplace expands, so does the need for stricter policing to protect it. And with sellers contributing to over 60% of Amazon's sales, the retail giant needs to find ways to keep them happy. If you have an idea of how it should do that, let us know your thoughts. 💬

BITES OF THE WEEK

HOT TOPIC

How buyers’ inattention to product details affects sellers

Have you ever sold something online and got complaints from customers who obviously did not read the product details?

Well, you’re not alone. EcommerceBytes shared an Amazon seller’s frustration about a similar problem. Based on the seller’s post in Seller Central, they’ve already put the size details of their products, yet some buyers still complained that the items were too small! 📏

But whose fault was it?

Was it because the seller’s effort to educate shoppers by adding the size details to all relevant places (listings, descriptions, etc.) wasn’t enough? Or was it due to buyers’ ignorance of the details?

But no matter whose fault it is, the former is still at the losing end. Customers give negative feedback for items that don’t meet their expectations. This hurts a seller’s Amazon Customer Experience (CX) health, which can get listings suppressed.

💡 To avoid this problem:

  • Online marketplaces can consider improving their interface. A few months ago, sellers were worried because Amazon hid the bullet points by default in listings. The website page should help buyers easily see important product details.
  • Sellers can update their listings, including the images, titles, or product descriptions. You can use Amazon’s AI tool to generate product descriptions that aren’t only engaging but also clear, accurate, and complete.

Ultimately, it still depends on the buyers to read the details carefully before purchasing. So, in addition to hoping that customers will be more diligent, make sure to always give clear and accurate product details.

BLACK MARKET

Seller’s payout got stuck on Amazon—deliberate or accidental?

No seller horror story is scarier than the words “payment stuck.” 😳

In a recent post on Amazon Seller Forums, a seller lamented how their $11,000 account balance was tagged as “Others” and became inaccessible. Here’s what happened:

  • The seller has decided to deactivate their account. After going through the disbursement appeals process, an email from the Amazon disbursement team said the remaining funds of over $11,000 would be released.
  • However, the money went under the “Other” column, prompting the seller to open a case with Seller Support.
  • After a week, Amazon said it would transfer the case to another department. But after 5 days, they discovered the case was closed—with NO ACTION taken!
  • The seller opened another case. For the past 6 weeks, they’ve sent multiple emails to Payments-Funds, Seller Support, and Account Health teams

🗣️ What did Amazon say?

According to the retailer, it’s most likely due to Amazon's VAT Services. However, it appears like a speculation as it’s not confirmed if the seller has subscribed to the program.

While we’re all waiting for the concrete resolution, it’s a good time to remind everyone to audit your payments. Not only will this prevent incidents like stuck payouts, but it’ll also help you keep an eye on what fees you’re paying.

Author : SellerBites
Faith began working on SellerBites in 2021, a weekly newsletter that provides sellers with the latest news and updates in FBA. With first-hand experience in managing various seller and vendor accounts, she understands what sellers face on this platform. Her background led to the conception of SellerBites, which main goal is to help people become better, more informed entrepreneurs in the Amazon marketplace.
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