I have been selling on Amazon part time for well over a year now. It started off as a hobby initially to rack up miles and points as I was buying inventory using credit cards and obviously paying them off in full each month to avoid interest charges. Definitely learned a lot of lessons over the past year on what works and what does not. I easily accumulated over 2 million miles/points (used them to fly some fancy airplane cabins and destinations for almost free) in the past year by both signing up for new credit cards as well as selling on Amazon utilizing credit card strategies some of which I discuss on my Facebook page Credit Card 101.
A big challenge with selling on Amazon for 3rd party sellers (3P) like myself is suspension and Amazon may suspend you from selling on their platform for several reasons. One of the primary reasons a seller could be suspended is if a company files an Intellectual property (IP) Infringement claim which Amazon takes very very seriously. If suspended you cannot sell on Amazon and they may hold back payments making the situation even worst. I received my first IP claim couple weeks back from a company called Channel BPO who claim they represent Dockers. Below is the transcript of the email I received from Amazon after this company filed IP claim against my business for a brand I sell. I almost had a mild-heart attack reading this email knowing what possible consequences could be.
The company claimed I was selling “counterfeit items” which is absolutely false without any substantial evidence . I bought this brand of shoes “on” Amazon “from” Amazon as the seller (Amazon to Amazon flip) and the chances of these being counterfeit are next to none as I am fairly confident Amazon does a decent job of vetting vendors they purchase goods from.
A rule-of thumb is to respond to these inquiries within twenty four hours with a plan of action to Amazon and also contact the company as to why the complain was filed . I was agitated as they falsely claimed my products being “counterfeit” . I sent a friendly email to Channel BPO to first get more information and as to why they think my product is “counterfeit” along with purchase receipts explaining them that these items were sourced from Amazon. The response was not too friendly and they even threatened a legal action against me if I did take my listings down. Definitely rubbed me the wrong way! I decided to call a lawyer “friend” of mine, explained him the situation and we drafted a plan of action to deal with this company with a stronger response as I chose not to be bullied (picture below).
In my email (cc’ed to my lawyer) I asked them to provide a proof that their company is actually hired by Dockers and OTBT to file IP claims against e-commerce sellers. Second, on what basis did they claim to Amazon in the IP complaint that my products are counterfeit . I even brought up a fact in my email that some companies that wrongfully file IP claims are other 3P seller on Amazon who want to promote their own products and claim monopoly by having other sellers suspended. My email also asked them to retrieve the IP compliant from Amazon if they are unable to prove their claim that products I sell are inauthentic. Now obviously if this email were directly from Dockers or OTBT I would have gladly taken down my listings and apologize but with a lack of proof combined with a semi genuine website made me think if this company is even real. Within hours of sending this email I received an email (picture below) from Amazon that the ASIN had been reinstated and I am once again allowed to sell this brand on Amazon.
It was 24 hours of whirl-winding experience and the thought of getting suspended had me extremely nervous but in end it ended well.
Couple quick thoughts – If you ever get an IP claim try to resolve it within the first 24 hours. You should send an email to Amazon Seller Evaluation team asap acknowledging the fact that you take this complain seriously and are addressing this matter in a timely fashion before Amazon thrown the suspension bomb on you. Next get in touch with the company who filed this complaint. Check them out – website, phone number, Better Business Bureau etc etc. do they look authentic? Are their any BBB complaints filed against them and ratings? If the company fails to respond to your emails send those copies over to Amazon stating lack of response. There is a good chance the ASIN may be reinstated if the company fails to respond within a certain time-frame.
I haven’t blogged in a while but have plans to do it more often in the future. I will be launching a whole new website in the next few weeks with lot of exciting stuff credit cards and rewards related. Also, if you are looking to learn trick and tips to maximize credit card benefits do check out my Facebook page Credit Card 101