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Suspensions - Counterfeit

May 17, 2017

One of the most common policy violations we see is Counterfeit. Now, you’re most definitely NOT buying counterfeit items to sell on Amazon, right? Of course not! But there are 3 scenarios that may cause you to fall under this category.

  • You may be unknowingly purchasing them. This happens a lot when purchasing from a liquidator. This in turn leads to scenario 2…
  • You may simply be making a mistake in your listing, like not putting all the possible packaging variations in your listing or listing something as New when it should be listed as Used. This is tricky and definitely a grey area in Amazon’s TOS and we’ll break it down for you below.
  • Maybe a competitor has changed your listing in some way, like a picture change or weight change. Yes they can do this. Yes it’s a dirty trick. Yes, there are things to do about it. Sort of.

First, let’s break down this term Counterfeit. Often times it’s as simple as the item being Not As Described. Except even this isn’t simple as it can be broken down to mean a plethora of things.


Maybe the packaging is different from the picture. This happens a lot with discontinued items, cosmetics, and items purchased from liquidators. Manufacturers occasionally create new packing to freshen up a product line. When this happens, you need to update your listing as well. Make sure the main picture is the picture of the actual product you have on hand. Add additional pictures of the variations of packaging and make a note in the description that packaging may vary. You can usually change this information, even if you’re piggy-backing on another seller. If you cannot, make sure you have the manufacturer’s website and screenshots to prove that there are packaging variations to show Amazon if they end up flagging you for Counterfeit.


Maybe an Amazon robot picked up on a keyword in one of your product reviews like fake, bootleg, bogus, counterfeit, etc. Contest every single bad review. If there is any sort of foul language, no matter how insignificant, you can get it erased. If it’s not 100% accurate or you can prove it wrong, you can get it removed. This is why you must monitor your reviews and feedback daily. Stay ahead of the robots at all costs!

 

Maybe you purchased items with an electrical component from a liquidator. You think it’s legit and new, but often liquidators will sell store returns or refurbished items and tell you they’re new. You’re not going to test every single product and you trust that they’re telling you the truth. Meanwhile, your account gets suspended for Counterfeit when really your items have been found to be either faulty or not New. Here’s a thought: Stop buying from liquidators! That includes sites like AliExpress and eBay. It’s the fastest way to get suspended for inauthentic. Let me add a note here about retail arbitrage. While it’s not technically against Amazon’s TOS, they don’t like it and are cracking down on it. Technically, while the item is new to you when you purchase it, once you put it up for sale on the site, Amazon considers this Used. To protect yourself, it is suggested that you list any retail arbitrage items as Like New or Used depending on shelf wear and explain in the description. This covers you from being dinged for Counterfeit.


Maybe you went somewhere like a bulk warehouse or found a supplier who will sell you bulk items. You break those items up into individual items or smaller packages and sell them as new. I mean, they are new, so what’s wrong with this? Everything. More often than not, items purchased in bulk have disclaimers that they are not for individual resale. Second, repackaging these as individual or smaller sets means they won’t be in the original packaging and the customer will believe they are Not As Described.


If you take note and stay on top of your reports and reviews, you should be able to avoid suspension for Counterfeit. However, if you do get suspended for this, there are a few things you need to prepare to give Amazon. Make sure you have legitimate invoices or receipts (They must have the product name, purchase date, and sku number on a verifiable store receipt. Places like Dollar Tree and Marshall’s don’t provide this info so these receipts won’t work.) for the past 180 days of sales. If you don’t have this, you can always try getting a statement of purchase from your supplier with all of the pertinent information. Your Plan of Action will need to include information like new suppliers, old suppliers you won’t use anymore, and a list of items you intend to sell in the future. Fighting this kind of suspension takes a lot of effort and time. So pay attention...Pay Attention...PAY ATTENTION!