What Amazon can do to further stamp out counterfeit sellers?
Updated: May 29, 2020
Reports of Amazon’s latest moves to minimise fraudsters and counterfeiters have emerged - but is it enough?
As reported on this blog last month, the company has started to use video technology to vet new Amazon Sellers (https://www.thompsonandholt.com/post/amazon-to-use-video-technology-to-vet-new-sellers).
Now they have also looked to further ramp up their verification process by advertising in America for ‘Seller Onboarding Associates’, whose job it will be to collect the required documentation and information to help verify new Sellers’ credentials.
However, currently, there are only three positions being advertised - in New York, Santa Monica and Seattle. Given that estimates suggest that there have been 70,000 new sellers on Amazon US since the turn of the year, that is clearly not enough.
So should Amazon be doing more to vet prospective new Sellers on the site? Thompson and Holt managing partner Craig Gedey thinks so.
He explained: “First of all Amazon do deserve credit for the recent measures they have put in place. As outlined on these pages in April, anything that maintains high standards on the site and protects the Amazon Sellers operating in the correct manner has to be welcomed.
“But there are justifiable questions over whether the latest measure in particular will even scratch the surface of the issues we see so regularly on Amazon. Three employees are clearly not going to be able to vet every new Seller even in America alone - although it should be pointed out that this is likely a trial run that will be expanded if successful.
“However there are other measures that myself and Amazon analysts would like to see implemented. The first one is - as outlined in a Wall Street Journal article last year - many of the problems in fraud and counterfeiting have increased since Amazon’s heavy recruitment of Chinese Sellers. It would be reassuring to see measures put in place there as opposed to just America.
“We continue to see regular cases of merchants having their accounts suspended because of vengeful and inaccurate counterfeit complaints from rivals, while Amazon’s algorithms have also seen products incorrectly withdrawn for price gouging during the current worldwide pandemic. Those are two absolutely crucial areas for Amazon Sellers.
“The introduction of video screening for new Sellers is definitely welcome, but I would also like to see Amazon validate business numbers through automated calls and introduce the kind of system Google uses requiring proof of physical address by sending direct mail with a code that needs to be verified within 30 days.
“The fact that US Sellers still don’t have to publish their address and business details to their page- as in most other international markets - looks to be a straight forward measure that would immediately have an impact.
“None of these on their own are likely to eradicate counterfeiting and fraudulent activities, but put together, they would create hurdles that could deter many.
“For a company the size of Amazon, and with what is at stake for its many honourable Sellers, it doesn’t seem like too much to ask.”
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt who offer an Amazon appeal service for a free LiveChat to get your Amazon Seller business back online as quickly as possible.