How to avoid Black Friday Amazon Seller Scams
Thompson and Holt managing partner Craig Gedey has urged Amazon Sellers to be vigilant and Amazon themselves to step their process up ahead of fears of a surge in counterfeit goods for the upcoming Black Friday on November 29th.
Fake Amazon sellers and products are hardly a new notion on the site, but it becomes amplified in the run up to the biggest selling day of the year later this week. The Counterfeit Report found that more that 150,000 phoney products have been identified on Amazon over the past seven years, while various media reports have uncovered fake and unsafe products in recent years.
Other reports suggested that it contributed to Nike’s decision to quit the service earlier this month, because they were unable to police unauthorised vendors despite joining up in an attempt to regain control of its products on Amazon. Seasoned observers saw that as a blow to Amazon, believing that Nike’s initial arrival on the site would have been a way to help them clean up the platform and work harder against counterfeit goods.
Amazon Fake Seller Scam
Now, with Black Friday just around the corner, fake sellers see a perfect opportunity to ride on the coattails of what has become a consumer phenomenon. Black Friday is effectively the day after America’s Thanksgiving Day, which always falls on the fourth Thursday of November. It has been regarded as the beginning of America's Christmas shopping season since 1952, although the term “Black Friday” did not become widely used until more recent decades, and has now firmly spread across the globe.
With it comes the opportunity to boost sales whether online or in shops, and Amazon has been as proactive as most in pushing their Black Friday deals.
The negative to that comes when counterfeit sellers look to promote their fake products, which can be damaging both for genuine Amazon Sellers, but also consumers who receive substandard goods at a crucial time of the year.
A recent report in the Telegraph newspaper highlighted the case of Kevin Williams, the inventor of a product called Brush Hero that featured on the US version of Dragon’s Den. He explained how Chinese companies copied his product under the same brand, with a huge number suddenly appearing on Amazon just a month after he appeared on television.
Williams estimated that the issue cost him around $50,000 at the time of last year’s Black Friday.
It’s important to acknowledge that Amazon have attempted to address the problem. Amazon has stated publicly that it has over 5,000 workers battling counterfeiting and fraud, spending over $400m on the issue in 2018 alone. It says that that brand-registered products see a 99 percent drop in suspected infringements, and claims that investigators take action on 95 percent of reports within eight hours.
Amazon Seller Inauthentic Suspensions
A spokesperson told the Telegraph: “Our customers expect that when they make a purchase through Amazon’s store they will receive authentic products. We investigate any claim of counterfeit thoroughly, including removing the item, permanently removing the bad actor, pursuing legal action or working with law enforcement.”
But Amazon’s systems have also been widely criticised as not being fit for purpose, while their “commingling” policy - which sees Amazon sometimes replace an order from one Seller with an order from another in order to meet strict delivery deadlines - has also led to issues. A customer might have deliberately sought out a trusted Seller, only to receive a counterfeit item that is substandard quality, and never know why.
Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey said: “While Amazon implement policies to battle counterfeiting and fraud on the platform, it’s clear from experienced and respected Sellers that this is still a significant issue.
“This issue becomes bigger at times of peak sales, with none higher than Black Friday. It can be a very productive and profitable time for Amazon Sellers, but be wary of slashing prices too much - it can lead to wheeler-dealers snapping them up in an attempt to sell them for a profit at a later date, and if they also buy fake goods the two can become mixed with the real items.
“Be sensible with your deals, and also search the platform for potential counterfeit items of your goods, reporting them immediately to Amazon if you find any. This time of the year usually sees an increase in the number of Amazon Sellers suspended for selling inauthentic items even though the items may be legitimate.
“Amazon itself needs to constantly evolve to keep up with the latest tactics for producing and selling counterfeit goods on the website, because ultimately everybody else is losing when those spring to the fore, including its valued customers.”
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Amazon Seller business back online as quickly as possible.