How can I deal with Amazon Hijackers?
How can I deal with Amazon Hijackers?
Being hijacked on Amazon is an issue that has plagued many Sellers, and one which can be difficult to combat if you have no knowledge or experience of it.
But what is Amazon hijacking and what do you need to do if it happens to you? Thompson and Holt managing partner Stuart White breaks down the key issues of a problem and how you can react to it if it happens to you.
What is Amazon hijacking?
Amazon hijacking takes place when scammers copy your listings, start price wars or send threats to your account. Because any Seller can list on Amazon, any Seller can imitate or target your account, and it’s an issue that Amazon Brand Registry has often struggled to get a proper hold on. Hijackers can use photoshop and amend a couple of words on your listing and suddenly have a similar account that can go unnoticed for months before you realise what is happening. They can be selling counterfeit items which result in lost sales, lower Amazon rankings and even trigger legal threats from the manufacturer of your product.
What do I need to be aware of?
There are four main approaches that Amazon hijackers can take. They are: imitating your listings, selling counterfeit copies of your product, sabotaging your listing and hacking your account.
List imitations are usually the easiest to spot if you are monitoring your competitors because their listings are nearly identical to yours. That can take traffic away from your site, and hijackers have also developed a system whereby a second account pops straight up even if their list is suspended.
Subtly selling counterfeited goods is another approach. Sellers that have a good brand reputation can often find themselves subjected to this, with small changes to brand names and logos often going unnoticed by customers. They will also undercut your prices to make themselves more attractive to buyers.
Hijackers can also sabotage your account by price gouging and fake reviews, deliberately targeting your business to take customers away from you. At Thompson and Holt we have known Sellers that have been threatened with list sabotaging before it has even happened in a bid to discourage you from selling.
Account hacking is another potential danger, and it can be the most damaging because it can lead to suspension. If you think this has happened to you get in touch with Thompson and Holt as quickly as possible to remedy the issue.
How can I deal with Amazon hijacking?
First of all gather as much evidence as you can if you think you have been targeted. Keep a track of the business name of your suspected seller, the ASIN or ISBN of the items that have been targeted, and a clear explanation of what you believe has happened. Any supporting evidence such as order IDs or receipts are also valuable. Save URLs of listings and screenshot what they look like. Highlight areas where fraud or imitation is apparent in photos or text. If you’re sent a threatening message, make sure you screenshot it and keep track of all dates.
Once you’ve done this you can contact the Seller that you believe is targeting you. This is an important step to take because Amazon will ask you whether you’ve done it. Record all communication between you, and make sure you do it with your buyer account rather than your seller account. You can send a ‘cease and desist’ letter, which in some cases will intimidate the hijacker to stop them immediately. Make sure the letter is legally valid and doesn’t have any mistakes in it.
Don’t sent them all of your evidence immediately, this is more a warning that you are about to report them. Don’t use emotional language in your communication, keep it formal and accurate at all times.
How can I report a hijacking?
You can find examples of this online. Here is one:
To whom it may concern at [Seller Account Name],
This is a formal warning to remove listing [ASIN Here] and cease [Violations Here] before your account is suspended. We have gotten [Exact Number Here] sellers permanently removed from Amazon in the past for doing exactly what you’re doing, and we do not take this behaviour lightly.
You have [Exact Number Here] business days to remove [ASIN Here] before we take legal action and your entire seller account on Amazon is permanently removed.
This is your first and final warning.
Give them two to three working days to respond.
After that you can report the hijacker to Amazon, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line like “Report a Violation: [Nature of your case]” e.g. “Report a Violation: Counterfeit Listing.” Preferably do it with an email address linked to your Seller account.
If you are a brand owner, you can go to seller central dashboard and log in to your account. Once logged in, click on “Report A Trademark Violation” under the “Actions” tab. From there, you’ll require roughly the same information as above, but the process will be a lot more straightforward and likely faster.
Once you have two successful violations against sellers, you’ll be given “project zero” protection, which will make it easier for you to protect your brand and report sellers in the future.
These are the policies that Amazon looks out for in their words to include within your messaging:
• Provide Accurate Information to Amazon and Amazon Customers
• Act Fairly Without Misusing Amazon’s Features and Services
• Not Try to Damage Other Sellers, Listings, or Ratings
• Not Try to Influence Ratings, Feedback, and Reviews
• Not Send Unsolicited or Inappropriate Messages
• Not Attempt to Contact Customers Except Using the Buyer-Seller Messaging Platform
• Not Try to Misuse the Amazon Sales Process
• Not Operate More Than One Sales Account on Amazon Fraudulently
There has to be an element of patience here for Amazon to work through your case, but if you have compiled clear cut evidence and information, you should hear back after two working business days. In the meantime continue to monitor the hijacker’s page and keep detailed records of everything. It may be that their listings are taken down during that time, but if they continue to operate then you should continue to gather evidence. If ant any stage you’re not clear on what to do next, you can contact Thomson and Holt for further advice.
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Seller business back online as quickly as possible.