Hitting a wall with your Amazon appeal?
While Amazon seller forums are great resources for smaller issues, it’s not always easy to get clear answers about how to deal with things like account suspensions, appeals or suspensions from intellectual property right accusations.
But how do you know when it’s time to get legal help?
No lawyer can (or should) guarantee that your account or listing will be reinstated. That’s always up to Amazon. However, a lawyer experienced in working with Amazon sellers may give you a better chance at reinstatement than might have on your own.
Here are 8 good reasons to reach out to a lawyer to help you with your Amazon problems.
1. When your Amazon seller account is suspended.
Your first request for reinstatement usually starts at the Seller Performance or Product Quality teams. Next, it’s the Policy Team. Then, you are still suspended you can reach out to the Jeff Bezos’s team. Every time you move up a rung, your chances of being reinstated diminish and the effects of the decisions become more permanent.
Bottom line: Don’t waste your opportunities.
A lawyer that focuses on Amazon sellers can likely write your Plan of Action and additional submissions more effectively than you can do yourself. If you want to read about what AmazonSellersLawyer.com thinks belong in a Plan of Action, check out our post about what Amazon really wants to see in an appeal.)
2. When you have proof that you were wrongfully banned.
Amazon doesn’t usually ban an account unless the seller was in clear violation of Amazon’s policies. However, Amazon reserves the right to discontinue a seller’s account at any time–it’s in the selling agreement.
However, if you were wrongfully banned and accused of violating Amazon’s policies, you may have a better chance of reinstatement with someone who drafts Plans of Action each day and who has no emotional attachment to your account.
3. When you can’t seem to stop hijackers.
There are two big kinds of listing hijackers: unauthorized resellers and counterfeiters. All vendors will have a harder time fighting unauthorized resellers than they will fighting counterfeiters. Why?
Because while Amazon doesn’t take part in manufacturer/vendor/reseller agreements except for the newly gated brands. But, Amazon’s entire focus is on what shows up on their Amazon customer’s doorsteps.
Either way, if you find you can’t tackle listing hijackers on your own, and they are sucking the funds out of your most profitable ASINs, it’s probably time to get a lawyer involved.
If there are counterfeiters, sellers using your pictures or your verbiage, a lawyer can tell you if the hijackers are violating your intellectual property rights and whether you should seek to have them removed by Amazon’s complaint system, cease and desist letters or DMCA take down.
4. When you’ve been wrongfully accused of IP infringement.
Sellers are often accused of violating intellectual property rights. Sometimes the baseless complaints amount to “Trademark Bullying.”
It’s important to be able to distinguish the difference between the different intellectual property rights: trademark, copyright, patent and trade dress. If you don’t know the difference between the 4 different categories of intellectual property, call a lawyer.
6. When another Amazon seller infringes on your brand.
There are legitimate cases where you can claim copyright or trademark infringements.
Not all Amazon sellers know when they have a valid case against another seller, and most sellers also don’t know that when their products or design are infringed upon, they don’t have to provide proof of damages (which is probably why #5 is happening so frequently).
Amazon takes this issue seriously, but a lack of knowledge about your rights can damage your credibility. Every brand is different, and a lawyer should be able to tell you what your strengths and weaknesses are before you attempt to fight the other seller.
7. When you’re receiving suspicious listing complaints.
Did your listing drop in the ranks or get suspended due to a few poor reviews that seemed to come out of nowhere? Unfortunately, defamation, libel, and slander are real issues on Amazon.
Whether it was another over competitive seller or particularly disgruntled customer, you may be able to contest the problem in court. But as we’ve said before, there’s a fine line between contesting a reviewer and infringing on the right to free speech. A lawyer should help you walk that line.
8. When you’re not sure how to proceed, and the forums aren’t helping.
Sometimes Amazon Sellers’ Forum members just give you wrong advice. And no matter how experienced a seller is, he only knows what he has learned from his own experience.
In addition, Amazon makes adjustments to their rules and requirements every year. It’s just as important to stay on top of those changes as it is to know exactly what’s in the contract you signed with Amazon before you started selling. It’s definitely comforting to hear other sellers have survived similar situations–but remember, every seller’s experience is different, and they are not invested in your company. (In fact, they’re competitors!)
Even if you do fit a few of the above descriptions, it’s important to remember what we said at the beginning: no lawyer can or should guarantee that all of your Amazon issues will disappear. It’s up to you to make sure you read the fine print every step of the way.
But if you strive to stay within Amazon’s guidelines, you’ll be rewarded with access to millions of customers all over the world. And that’s worth fighting for.