The growth of eCommerce websites, online sellers, and affiliate marketing has led to a new area of legal practice. Platforms like Amazon have ballooned into more than a place for people to sell their used books. Fueling Amazon’s growth is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) – a complete fulfillment solution to warehouse, pack, and ship products to their millions of customers. Today, a seller can be a start-up brand, a Fortune 500 company, or someone selling self-published books.
Amazon’s intricate systems and processes, while a blessing to some, has created astronomical challenges to others. Some leading to legal action, and the birth of a new area of law – “Amazon Law” thereby creating a demand for pioneering lawyers.
Amazon lawyers are legal experts with a comprehensive understanding of the Amazon platform and skilled in litigating on behalf of FBA merchants whose accounts or product listings have been suspended.
There is a growing list of legal issues Amazon merchants can face, and it doesn’t matter on the size of their revenue. Conducting business in the Amazon marketplace comes with risks and if you get a claim against your business, you’ll need experienced representation.
Are you an FBA merchant concerned about Amazon account suspension? Keep reading for everything you need to know about an Amazon seller attorney.
What is Amazon FBA?
FBA is a service provided to sellers that allows them to utilize Amazon’s warehouse for storage and shipping. A lot of sellers do not have a physical location. Instead, they market and sell their products directly from Amazon’s website.
Although Amazon provides shipping and customer service, the seller is responsible for their own marketing. However, when issues arise it is seen by the consumer as an Amazon problem and not a seller problem.
Problems arise when some sellers resort to practices referred to as Amazon black hat tactics. These are practices that go against Amazon’s seller guidelines. When these practices are used it is with the intent of undermining legitimate competitors.
The practice has grown to the point where legitimate accounts are being negatively impacted.
What Cases do Amazon Lawyers Handle?
Amazon lawyers are capable of handling any issue that an online merchant can face. These issues are challenges that the business cannot resolve on their own.
Amazon is a large corporation backed by a legal machine. When a claim is placed against a seller who feels they have not broken any rules it can create a David vs. Goliath fear.
Your attorney can assist you with these common issues that Amazon sellers experience.
Amazon account suspension is one of the fastest-growing problems marketplace sellers are facing. In an attempt to crack down on bad players, Amazon as started suspending accounts as a form of punishment.
Unfortunately, accounts that have not engaged in deceptive practices are being impacted. In some instances, the bad player has caused the action on an unsuspecting competitor.
If your account is suspended Amazon may allow you to appeal the decision. It is important to respond methodically and persuasively because you stand to permanently lose your selling account if the issue is not resolved.
Intellectual property includes copyright, trademark, and patent infringement. If there is a claim that you have infringed on someone’s content or product rights not only will your account be suspended but the owner of the intellectual property can file a legal claim.
If you are the true owner of the intellectual property it can be a quick fix. Simply provide your Amazon lawyer with the proper documentation and they will do the rest.
Competitor disputes can run the gamut. These disputes arise when a competitor accuses another seller of improprieties. There is a list of infractions that can fall under this category.
Someone can file a claim stating that you’ve hacked their account and changed the information on their products. This includes prices, titles, and descriptions.
Other disputes arise from fake ratings and reviews. If someone provides proof that a competitor is participating in behaviors to lower the rankings and taint their image, Amazon will take action.
In the case of counterfeit claims, the accusation is that the product being sold is not the product being marketed. A counterfeit item is merchandise marketed as one thing but turns out to be something else.
For example, a seller is marketing a red polo-style shirt manufactured by a particular brand. They list the item as being 100% cotton and made in the USA. When the customer receives the order, they get a red polo-style shirt by a company in China that is 50% cotton and 50% polyester.
This is a misrepresentation of the product. The customer can return it for a refund or replacement. If Amazon sees a trend it will raise a red flag and they will deal with the problem immediately.
When it comes to customer disputes Amazon is put in a bad spot. Because they provide customer service under the FBA plan, too many complaints about a particular seller are bad for business.
Amazon is its own brand and they have to protect it. If a seller does not address the issues that buyers are presenting, it is grounds for suspension.
Common complaints include not receiving the product that was advertised, receiving damaged merchandise, and used merchandise sold-as-new.
Reseller MAP Pricing
MAP stands for Minimum Advertised Pricing. When someone becomes a reseller, they must abide by guidelines set by the manufacturer. One of the guidelines is a set minimum price that indicates the lowest amount their merchandise can be advertised for.
This eliminates a pricing war if more than one reseller is offering the same product on a platform like Amazon.
Although Amazon is not likely to flag your account for MAP pricing violations the brand or manufacturer can. When this happens your Amazon seller attorney can represent you in the dispute.
Are You in Need of an Attorney?
Amazon lawyers specialize in the issues that a marketplace merchant may one day face. It is a good idea if you’re planning to sell on the platform that you consult with an attorney to get a legal perspective.
We specialize in Amazon IP Law. Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our attorneys.