Plan of Action for Amazon Price Gouging Accusation & How To Deal With Attorney Generals
When it comes to price gouging, there are two huge issues you need to face:
Number one is the Amazon issue. Has Amazon suspended your account/listing? If Amazon has given you a 72-hour notice or any other issue, you need to know how to write a plan of action.
Number two is how to deal with states’ Attorney Generals when they come knocking on your door with letters. If you’re an Amazon seller and you receive a subpoena or a letter from your Attorney General, it’s a frightening thing to get in the mail, but I’m going to talk about how you should address those, and how we are addressing those every week.
When it comes to receiving either a letter from your State’ Attorney General or a subpoena for information from your Attorney General, I’m going to let you know right now how we are dealing with these all over the United States from Nebraska to Connecticut and States in between.
First thing, as soon as a client lets us know they’ve been contacted by their Attorney General, either in the form of correspondence or the Attorney General giving them a subpoena, that they have to provide information, we immediately lookup that Attorney General and email / call them.
Most Attorney Generals around the United States are now working from home, so usually leaving a voicemail on their desk, then they call you back from their cell, but their emails are all online so we immediately write a letter to the Attorney General, let them know we received it, let them know that this law firm focuses on Amazon and we will be reviewing the statute and compiling the information and we’ll be back in touch as soon as possible. I always ask for a phone call to try and get to know the person on the other side.
The second thing that we do is we review the individual state statutory system, their regulations pertaining to price gouging and you’d be surprised what they say sometimes. Often the state’s statutory scheme clearly spells out that the Amazon seller is not price gouging. I am not a Nebraska lawyer, but let me give you an example from the statutory scheme in Nebraska. In Nebraska, the statute says that part of the price gouging analysis is what the replacement costs would be for that item. Now let’s say you’re selling hand sanitizer and you cannot replace it, it’s irreplaceable or the replacement costs are even higher than what you were selling at. Well, then under their statute, there is no price gouging and that’s just one example from one small subsection in one state. So when you get these notices, don’t freak out, we will contact the Attorney General. We will then look at the statutory scheme and then we’ll talk to you about it.
The third thing that we do is then write to the Attorney General or speak with them and educate them on Amazon. You’d be surprised how many Attorney Generals have no idea about commingled inventory, the FBA warehouse system, or software programs like Keepa that tracks pricing over long periods of time. So we try and educate the Attorney General and educate them in a way that shows that our clients were not engaging in price gouging.
In certain states we need to associate with local counsel and based upon my decades of experience trying cases, employment issues, and teaching other lawyers how to try cases, I have tons and tons of contacts all over the United States. When needed, we will associate ourselves with a local counsel prior to providing any formal information to the Attorney General. That’s how we are handling price gouging accusations against sellers across the United States.