Amazon’s Terms of Service for Sellers: Paragraph 11 & 14: Disclosing Transaction Info. & Confidentiality
Amazon is very adept at changing their contracts constantly in a way that protects Amazon from liability.
So, as we’re going through it paragraph by paragraph in the agreement, as a whole, we saw the entire thing was deleted – and there’s no way Amazon was giving up an entire paragraph of anything. Instead, they seem to have consolidated it. So let’s start with what was crossed out in 14 and then we’ll go back to how it’s been beefed up in paragraph 11.
Paragraph 14: Sellers will not disclose any Amazon transaction information.
I don’t see where it says what transaction information means. To me, that can be pretty much anything from making a sale to any sort confidential information. So it’s a wide range for what disclosing transaction info. could actually mean. We’ve seen this issue come up at arbitrations where you have a seller who Amazon’s not paying or they’ve suspended, they released that information to somebody else like to an employee, a staff member, or a consultant who doesn’t have attorney-client confidentiality. Then Amazon uses that later on to justify their conduct that says, “Hey, you weren’t supposed to reveal how we do business and you did. You gave it to a consultant. The agreement says that you cannot do that.” They’ll look for the correspondence because further down in paragraph 14, it talks about disparaging communications. So, these are some of the ways Amazon will often fish for reasons to have you suspended or to have kept your money. They’ll talk about the provisions in paragraph 14 to use it to harm a seller after they’ve already taken away your inventory, withheld your money, kicked you off the platform, and all sorts of things like that. So that’s the substance of paragraph 14.
Paragraph 11: How Amazon has rebuilt in its own protections.
So for paragraph 11, it’s all about confidentiality and they add personal data into the subject line. They also again remove Amazon transaction information. Some are good for sellers, some give us a lot more wiggle room in terms of plans of action. They are also tightening up loopholes that we’ve been using for years against Amazon. So, they’ve taken the transaction confidentiality out of 14 and stuck it into paragraph 11 where you’re still not supposed to reveal what goes on between you and Amazon because Amazon cannot prevent you from talking to your accountant about it. They can’t prevent you from talking to people within your entity which is a great reason to use corporations for Amazon accounts. And they certainly cannot come down on you for revealing it to your lawyer. Also that you can’t reveal it to the government which I don’t think was in the last one. So they made sure to include that as well. We think this is part of the whole antitrust issue that Amazon faced a few months ago and where Amazon voluntarily released sellers that obligation that you can’t sell your products any place else cheaper than you sell on Amazon, which is antitrust.
The reality is, sellers don’t have much information from Amazon. If you’re an Amazon vendor, you don’t find out about the intellectual property complaints, the counterfeit complaints that Amazon receives and keeps track of. You don’t find out about a lot of the complaints that Amazon receives. In paragraph three of the new business solutions agreement, as a seller, you should keep fulfilling orders even though Amazon may not release your money, and in this paragraph, it conflicts with paragraph three because it says that obligations continue five years out.
If you’ve been suspended on Amazon or have questions about the new TOS, call us today for a free consultation: 1-877-9-SELLER.
Make sure you watch all of our videos regarding the loopholes Amazon created in the new TOS.