What to do if Amazon asks for supplier invoices
Updated: Apr 18
With increases in complaints over quality and authenticity of items sold on Amazon, the company is asking sellers for invoices from their suppliers more than ever before. Lots of Sellers are asking how to verify supplier Amazon invoices.
In an attempt to protect the integrity of its marketplace, Amazon has stepped up its protection programmes, which may even ask for invoices before an item has made its first sale, if it has triggered the site’s algorithms.
Supplier Invoices for Amazon
Asking for invoices is a way to verify that what you are selling is new, safe and bought from a legitimate supplier, and once they receive them, they are scrutinised, checked and double checked. Amazon has no issues contacting suppliers by phone or email, and their system has become so thorough that even genuine invoices have been reported as being rejected because they don’t meet the company’s standards.
So what do you need to ensure if Amazon has asked you for supplier invoices? You may be completely confident that any complaints of inauthenticity are unfounded, but you will still need to be able to prove it convincingly. Make is as simple as possible for Amazon to verify the supplier invoices.
Thompson and Holt managing partner Craig Gedey is an expert in the Amazon marketplace and has outlined the best ways to ensure that you pass the verification process.
Verify Amazon Invoices
Gedey explained: “The first thing to recommend is never to fabricate or amend invoices from suppliers. Amazon now has sophisticated systems which include investigators that have received specific training to look for tell-tale signs for manipulated documentation. The chances are they will pick up on the slightest clues, and labelling your account with ‘forged invoices’ will lead to more trouble including potentially getting banned for good.
“But there are key things you can make sure are in place to prove the legitimacy of your supplier invoice for Amazon.
“Make sure that your invoices look as professional as possible, allowing Amazon to access the information as easily as possible. They don’t want to see blurred pictures from a phone or badly-scanned PDFs, and make sure the logos and colours match the supplier’s brand and websites. Anything that looks likes it’s been amended will trigger suspicion that the invoice is fake and has been forged for Amazon approval.
“Invoices should never be hand-written - if a supplier provides that then tell them they need to change in order to satisfy Amazon’s systems.
“All addresses should match your details in Seller Central, so be sure to update any details that change immediately. You must also include a link to your supplier’s website, an insistence from Amazon’s Product Quality team since 2017. It’s also worth keeping an eye on your supplier’s website - anything that comes up with ‘under construction’ or is redirected to a generic landing page will again alert investigators. Any business without a website won’t be considered legitimate by Amazon.
“You also need to make sure that your sales volume doesn’t exceed the number of units shown on your supplier invoices, another clear red flag for Amazon investigators. The quantities on your invoice need to match or exceed your sales on Amazon.
“Even successful Amazon private label sellers need to keep good records. Amazon is receiving increasing numbers of ‘fake’ and ‘inauthentic’ complaints on items where there is only one company making and selling the product - but that doesn’t matter to automated tools, the same measures will remain in place. You might have found a great supplier overseas, but they still need to provide the correct documentation.
“Keeping your supplier invoices in good order and ensuring the measures above are in place will go a long way to helping you out of any unfounded allegations of inauthenticity that could lead to you being suspended by Amazon. If you don’t have invoices to send to Amazon when that happens, you will not be able to sell the ASINs in question, and it will lead to doubts over your ability to supply other products on the site. Selling anything you don’t have the relevant documentation for is a big, and unnecessary risk. Amazon may never ask you for an invoice but when they do make sure it is easy for Amazon to verify the supplier invoice as this will avoid any unwanted reviews or Amazon suspension for inauthentic items.”
Amazon Invoice Checklist
Amazon will more than likely have an invoice checklist that is constantly changing. Below are some of the details that should be included on a standard supplier invoice. 1. Invoice The document should be labelled as an invoice, not a Proforma Invoice' credit note or receipt.
. 2. A unique invoice number This is the unique number on each invoice. Most companies issue sequential numbers. The reference can contain numbers and letters. Amazon may check against their existing records to see in the dates and invoice numbers appear to be logical. 3. The supplier company name and address The invoice must show clearly the trading name, business address and also, where the supplier can be contacted by the customer, in case of query or dispute. If the company charges VAT or other tax the VAT or tax number should be included.
4. Your company name and address This information should match the address you have registered with Amazon. 5. A description of the products A clear description of the products purchased along with the quantity. Each product should be on a separate line to avoid confusion.
6. The date of supply This is the date when the products were purchased. 7. Amount paid Each product line should have the total value of the items purchased. 8. Total amount payable This is the total sum of all the products on the invoice 9. Payment terms are usually included This can be a link or the full terms and conditions included. 10. How to pay the invoice Companies usually list ways clients can pay the invoice, many will include their bank details or links to payment sites.
If your supplier didn't issue you an invoice when you purchased the products you should make sure the invoice contains all of the above as a minimum.
Many of the Amazon Sellers we help have received an inauthentic Amazon suspension with the words 'we cannot accept this invoice because we are unable to verify the supplier'. This message 'we cannot accept this invoice because we are unable to verify the supplier is included in both inauthentic Amazon account suspensions and inauthentic Amazon product suspensions.
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free Amazon Appeal LiveChat to get your Amazon Seller business back online as quickly as possible or see how to write an Amazon inauthentic suspension appeal.