Amazon Seller Horror Story: The Gremlins Attacking Your Listings
In our practice, we are seeing more and more cases of black hat activity on the Amazon space. “Black Hat” refers to actions intended to manipulate, undermine, and cheat the system. These tactics are often employed to boost one’s own business and/or sink the competition.
A common tactic used by black hat sellers is Product Detail Page Abuse. This refers to a scenario wherein someone makes unauthorized changes to your listing information with the intention of getting your product offer removed or suspended. Like gremlins causing aircraft malfunctions during the World Wars, these attacks produce deadly consequences to your Amazon business. Such was the case with our client Honest Living Inc.
When Gremlins Attack Your Listings
Honest Living manufactured and sold electronic devices designed to attract and kill insects. Between August 2020 to April 2021, their most popular product had been repeatedly flagged by Amazon for alleged product image nudity or sexually explicit content. Each time they received a policy warning, Honest Living carefully reviewed the backend of their listing and found nothing wrong.
The attacks continued on a regular basis and every time it occurred Honest Living needed to submit an appeal to Amazon explaining why they believed their listing was suspended in error and they were often required to re-upload their product images. Clearly, this was a time-consuming process to manage on a regular basis and was causing great financial loss for Honest Living as many of the attacks occurred during the peak holiday period.
The malicious and systematic nature of the attacks against Honest Living was further demonstrated by the fact that their lightning deals showed the item as sold out even though there was available inventory. When Honest Living attempted to add more units, the deal would not refresh. Then again, on another occasion, Honest Living’s lightning deal started with the main image removed, which is clearly an attempt to sabotage their paid event and overall sales for the day.
After thoroughly investigating the matter, Honest Living had good reason to believe these malicious attacks were coming from competitors who offer the same product under different brands and seller accounts. The competitor listings were launched less than a year ago and already registered several thousand product reviews.
Honest Living scoured the internet to find lawyers who specialize in Amazon Seller issues and found one of our blog posts. They then scheduled a free consultation with us and recognized that we were a good fit for their case.
In a firm, well-reasoned letter, we brought this issue before Amazon’s attorneys and demanded that Amazon conduct a comprehensive investigation into the attacks against Honest Living’s listing, immediately suspend the selling privileges of the Amazon seller(s) behind these malicious attacks; and take all necessary and reasonable steps to prevent these malicious attacks moving forward.
Section 3 of the BSA, in relevant part, provides:
We may terminate your use of any Services or terminate this Agreement for convenience with 30 days’ advance notice. We may suspend or terminate your use of any Services immediately if we determine that … (c) your use of the Services has harmed, or our controls identify that it might harm, other sellers, customers, or Amazon’s legitimate interests.
Therefore, Amazon had the obligation to investigate these attacks and Honest Living had legitimate grounds to demand the immediate suspension of the selling privileges of the Amazon seller(s) behind it.
Furthermore, Amazon’s Seller Code of Conduct requires that all sellers must:
- Provide accurate information to Amazon and our customers at all times
- Act fairly and not misuse Amazon’s features or services
- Not attempt to damage or abuse another Seller, their listings or ratings
It further provides that:
Violating the Code of Conduct or any other Amazon policies may result in actions against your account, such as cancellation of listings, suspension or forfeiture of payments, and removal of selling privileges.
The systematic and malicious attacks against Honest Living’s listing clearly violates Amazon’s Selling Policies and Seller Code of Conduct. Those behind these attacks have not acted fairly and honestly in the marketplace. Therefore, Honest Living is well within their rights to demand that Amazon take all necessary and reasonable steps to protect their listing from repeated and systematic attacks by these bad actors moving forward.
After investigating the issue and seeing the merits of our claims, Amazon complied with our demands.
Speak With An Amazon Seller Attorney at ESQgo®
Like Honest Living, if you have evidence to suggest that your Amazon selling account or listings are under attack by a competitor, seek professional legal assistance immediately. These cases can be very difficult and by no means do we recommend handling them without help. Learn how an Amazon Seller Attorney at ESQgo® can help resolve your Amazon-related issues. Contact us today by calling 866-254-6503 or via our contact page. We offer a free initial 30-minute consultation.