Amazon Sellers’ News Sept. 9, 2019
Vital Info for Sellers. Amazon Sellers and Amazon Fair Pricing Policy Suspensions; Amazon Seller Code Conduct Suspensions; Intellectual Property Right Complaints Copy Right Complaints against Sellers and Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA Counter Notices and Amazon 30 Day Pre-Suspension Notice to Sellers.
Today’s Sellers’ News with CJ Rosenbaum
Today’s breaking news has to do with intellectual property, rights owner complaints against sellers, specifically copyright issues and fair pricing policy suspensions.
Amazon Fair Pricing Suspensions & Reinstatements
Over the last week or a week and a half, we saw dozens of Amazon Seller suspensions, but mostly for sellers that are outside the United States: in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other countries where they really were not large sellers. Then towards the end of last week, we started getting more chats and more phone calls and more emails from suspended Amazon Sellers located in the United States who were getting their accounts suspended. We have seen major Amazon Sellers and smaller Amazon Sellers getting suspended based upon accusations about their pricing.
So far, the cases that we have handled are not people who are price gouging, and we think this is Amazon making an end run against their promise about two months ago where they were not going to require Amazon Sellers to have the lowest price on Amazon.
They did that, we believe, to avoid antitrust litigation, but Amazon seems to be doing an end run around that and suspending a growing numbers of Sellers in the United States for pricing issues.
If you receive one of these notices, if your account goes down or a listing goes down for fair pricing policy issues, please get in touch with us immediately.
Code of Conduct Suspensions
Sometimes Seller Code of Conduct suspensions are coupled with price issues, sometimes they are not.
When the Amazon Third Party Seller code of conduct suspensions are coupled with a pricing issue or an IP issue or something else, they are relatively simple suspensions to deal with.
When they just come in stand alone, then you have to really do a deep dive investigation as to what caused the suspension. Sometimes we need to send in a rather generic plan of action so we can trigger Amazon to provide identification of what the issue is or what the source the suspension is. But this is an ongoing and growing issue, seller code of conduct account suspensions. It’s a growing problem for sellers on Amazon.
Intellectual Property Complaint Suspensions: Copyright Complaints
IP complaints continue to grow, and this is kind of normal this time of year as you’re getting into. More brands are protecting their turf. The latest issue we are seeing is a growth in the number of copyright complaints. Now, copyright complaints, when it comes to sellers, almost always have to do with images and verbiage. You cannot use pictures that are owned by another company and you cannot copy and paste someone else’s verbiage from their website and create an Amazon listing.
Now, if you simply jumped on a listing that was created by somebody else, in most states in the country, you are not violating anybody’s intellectual property rights.
However, whether the complaint is valid or baseless, you are still going to have to address someone making a complaint against your account, because as far as we are aware, the people at Amazon that read these complaints have the minimal training in intellectual property law….practically zero training when it comes to intellectual property issues.
DMCA Counter Notices
If you are accused of violating another person’s or company’s copyright, you have the tool available to you under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
It tells that company that they have a choice to make. You can file that lawsuit and actually sue us in a federal court or your complaint disappears. This is a part of the law, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. When it pertains to Amazon Sellers, it can be a very good tool for sellers. If the complaint is absolutely baseless, this is a fantastic tool and you should not fear sparking litigation. Most small brands will not start that lawsuit and you can usually identify the larger brands that will.
Amazon’s Claim of giving Sellers 30 Days Pre-Suspension Notice
Amazon had promised to give sellers 30 days notice before suspensions. But, Amazon has reserved three huge loopholes where it will not give you 30 days notice: a material breach of the agreement, deceptive or fraudulent activity, or that your sales somehow puts Amazon or consumers at risk.
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