5 Easy Tips for Removing Unauthorised Sellers on Amazon
Selling on Amazon is an excellent way to increase your business revenue and build an eCommerce brand. However, as your competitors notice how much your products sell on the leading eCommerce marketplace, some will use illicit tactics to undercut your company. Fortunately, there's a solution—removing unauthorised sellers on Amazon.
Here's how to protect your brand from unauthorised sellers looking to cut into your profitability and reputation.
Why is it Important to Remove Unauthorised Sellers on Amazon?
One of the beautiful things about selling on Amazon is that anyone can do it. If you have a business idea, you can join Amazon as an Individual or Professional seller for a low monthly price or with an upfront investment of 5k. Thus, anyone who wants to promote their products on Amazon can register, create listings, and sell within hours.
With that in mind, it's also easy for people looking to take advantage of your brand to register as an Amazon merchant. And when people start selling your brand's products without authorisation or offer counterfeit knock-offs of your products, this tarnishes your brand's reputation and costs you money.
And the damage that unauthorised sellers cause can be irreversible in some cases, causing your brand to lose lifetime customers and critical business profits.
Unfortunately, the more popular your brand becomes on Amazon, the more likely it will attract unauthorised sellers. But what are unauthorised sellers, and how does Amazon handle them? Let's discuss.
So, what is an Unauthorised Seller? An unauthorised seller is any third-party with no affiliation to your business yet sells your brand's products.
Sometimes unauthorised sellers create duplicate product listings so that unsuspected customers purchase counterfeit items. In other cases, the unauthorised sellers might do arbitrage by attempting to take control of the Buy Box and undercut your profits.
Regardless of what type of unauthorised seller you notice, their goals are typically the same. Most unauthorised sellers aim to generate profits from your customers without buyers seeing that the goods aren't coming from your business.
Sometimes, unauthorised sellers even attempt to sell in a way where you, the business owner, don't realise they exist.
Indeed, there are several ways that unauthorised sellers take advantage of brands and buyers on Amazon, even without you noticing. For example, unauthorised sellers may:
Create phony ASINs so that manufacturers don't notice the identical product.
Undercut your minimum advertised pricing (MAP) strategy by creating phony retailer names.
Build duplicate product listings to knock your brand's listings from top search results placements.
Hijack your listings and edit product descriptions to make their items seem more attractive.
Because these are serious problems that can damage your business if you fail to monitor and prevent unauthorised sellers, it's vital to identify and counteract Amazon unauthorised sellers.
How do Brands Deal with Unauthorised Sellers on Amazon?
There's an essential topic to discuss before addressing the five tips for removing unauthorised sellers on Amazon.
Notably, we must consider how well Amazon protects brand owners from third-party sellers.
One common question Amazon sellers often ask is, "can't Amazon do something about unauthorised resellers?" The fact is that Amazon tries to limit involvement in third-party retailer disputes. Simply believing that a seller is unauthorised isn’t enough for Amazon to intervene.
Yet, suppose you can identify specific seller policies the seller is breaking. In that case, you have a much greater chance of removing unauthorised sellers on Amazon. Keep that in mind as we discuss five easy tips for eliminating unauthorised sellers on Amazon.
5 Easy Tips for Removing Unauthorised Sellers on Amazon
Let's say you believe that unauthorised sellers might be the cause of a recent reduction in brand sales. In this case, what could you do to improve your odds of having Amazon resolve the issue? Here are five tips for removing unauthorised sellers on Amazon that can prepare you to take action.
1: Learn how to identify unauthorised sellers.
Before learning how to remove unauthorised sellers on Amazon, you must first know how to identify them. Third-party sellers use a variety of strategies to remain undetected by brand owners. MAP compliance software can help you locate unauthorised sellers, but some even know how to avoid scanning software.
For this reason, the most comprehensive solution for identifying unauthorised sellers uses a variety of methods and strategies. Search for your brand name, product names, and comb category results to locate your products. Also, use unauthorised seller tools to identify fraudulent listings.
The more strategies you use and the more vigilant your business is, the more likely you'll catch unauthorised sellers. And if you notice duplicate listings that your brand didn't create, then it's likely the work of an unauthorised seller.
But how do you know which actions to take when you catch one? That's next.
2: Research Amazon's unauthorised seller policies
To recap, in tip one, you learned how to identify unauthorised sellers on Amazon. Yet, simply having a hunch that these third-party sellers are breaking the rules isn't enough.
To confirm this assumption and make it more likely for Amazon to act against these unauthorised sellers, you must understand Amazon's seller policies.
If you are a merchant, vendor, or brand in the United States, you should read about Amazon's terms and conditions.
Sellers must abide by a code of conduct. Thus, if you can prove that an unauthorised seller creates misleading product pages, influences customer ratings, or operates multiple accounts, you have a case to make.
However, before you report the third-party seller for breaking violations, you might want to set yourself up for success. This next tip will explain how to do just that.
3: Protect your brand with Amazon's Brand Registry.
Now, registering for the Amazon Brand Registry program could have easily been the first tip. And if you own a trademark or hold copyrights for your brand, then joining the Brand Registry program is the first step you should take.
And if you don't yet have a trademark, consider starting the process, either yourself or using Amazon's IP accelerator program. Why's that, you ask? Brands that register gain leverage on the platform and have an easier time reporting unauthorised sellers on Amazon.
In fact, Amazon boasts about proactively stopping bad actor accounts that were aiming to duplicate registered brands. While Individual and Professional sellers sometimes have a difficult time working with Amazon to prevent third-party sellers, those in the Brand Registry program have an easier time working with Amazon to stop them from selling Brand products. According to Amazon's Brand Protection report, registered brands notice a 99% reduction in infringements.
Therefore, if you want the most potent brand protections, you should enrol in the Brand Registry program right away. It'll give your business access to a dedicated investigation team to prevent brand, trademark, and copyright infringement.
4: Collect information to make your case.
After locating a third-party unauthorised seller, what are your next steps? Well, if you want to make your case, you must collect information about the bad actor.
In step two, you read about Amazon's Selling Policies and Seller Code of Conduct. If you suspect that someone is breaking the rules and selling items without your company's permission, then you must provide that information to Amazon.
Here are some common ways that unauthorised sellers break the code of conduct that you can easily document and prove:
An authorised seller damages your listings or product ratings by duplicating listings, which can confuse customers. You can always order from your competitor to determine whether they're selling genuine or fake products.
When they influence ratings, feedback, and reviews, they're damaging your brand. (Look for reviews mentioning that an unauthorised seller paid for positive feedback).
Suppose they create multiple selling accounts on Amazon without a business need. Search for similar product listings, product description language, and other commonalities between unauthorised sellers that list your products.
It's also easy to prove when sellers are not acting reasonably. For example, they might duplicate your listings to push yours further in search results, which directly impacts your brand and products.
Now, there are several other ways that unauthorised sellers break Amazon policies. These are only a few examples that you can easily prove to Amazon. Therefore, uncover as much proof that someone is acting as an unauthorised seller, and collect it for use in our next suggestion.
5: Report violations by filing a complaint and calling Seller Support.
Our final tip is to report any violations that you can find. There are two methods of doing this:
You can visit the Selling Policies and Code of Conduct Page to report violations. After you log in, there's a "Report Abuse" button where you can make a formal complaint.
Another option is to contact the Seller Support center to discuss your account. Although it might seem redundant to file a formal complaint and call Seller Support, this step can help remove unauthorised sellers on Amazon faster.
If you follow these tips, the likelihood is high that you'll stop unauthorised sellers from stealing your profits and damaging your reputation. However, it's essential to be patient as an Amazon seller. Sometimes resolving unauthorised seller issues takes time, so being patient will go a long way.
Don't Let Unauthorised Sellers Steal Your Profits! Removing Unauthorised Amazon Sellers is Vital.
In conclusion, unauthorised sellers can harm customers and sellers alike. Fortunately, there are several ways to remove unauthorised Amazon sellers from the platform if you can locate them and share evidence of bad behavior.
For the highest chance of succeeding, brands must combine tools like MAP Compliance Software with traditional Amazon product monitoring and violation reporting. By combining these strategies, brand owners can ensure that Amazon takes action against unauthorized sellers that would like nothing more than to steal brand customers and profits.
Want to learn more about Amazon Brand Management? Discover more helpful content from Sunken Stone, a premier Amazon Marketing Agency that helps six- and seven-figure eCommerce brands build and scale their Amazon retail channel.