NEW YORK (VINnews) — Tens of thousands of sellers on Amazon.com are facing financial ruin overnight due to the consumer retail giant’s draconian new policy regarding items which are claimed to be counterfeit. The company has decided that even if one or two items are claimed to be counterfeit, without the claim even being corroborated, the seller will be barred from selling his entire inventory on Amazon, even if it includes hundreds of other totally legitimate items.
The policy has hit many Jewish sellers, some of whom are stuck with huge inventories which they cannot unload due to their being peremptorily banned by Amazon from continuing their business. If you are one of these sellers, please take a few moments to share your experience with VINnews.
Amazon.com does not own everything sold on their website. Rather, they operate a marketplace, where hundreds of thousands of small businesses sell their wares. In fact, 58% of sales on Amazon.com are sold by these merchants, amounting to tens of billions of items sold a year.
This marketplace is great for consumers, providing them with an incredible variety and ensuring the lowest prices on things due to the fact that everyone is competing on the same listings to sell the same items. The more competition there is in one place, the more there will be a price war to gain sales, which is wonderful for the consumers that gain from these lower prices.
Unfortunately, some of the manufacturers of these items are not so happy about the fact that the best place to get a good deal on an item is Amazon. They wish there was less competition, so items can be sold for more and their profits will be higher. Some of these companies are willing to engage in various shady and questionable actions to try to stop as many people as possible from selling their items, in order to try to raise the prices.
Some of these unscrupulous actions include falsely reporting the items being sold as being counterfeit, or as violating the company’s intellectual property. This results in the seller’s item that was reported as counterfeit being frozen and taken off of Amazon.com until the seller proves that it is legitimate. (The manufacturer does not have to provide any evidence whatsoever to their allegations that the items are counterfeit. On Amazon, the seller is guilty until proven innocent.)
However, recently Amazon decided to take things a drastic and completely unnecessary step further. Instead of just suspending the sales of the item in question, Amazon often decides to suspend the seller’s entire store, and does not allow them to sell anything. They do this even for sellers that have been around for years with a stellar record and perfect customer feedback, and that are selling hundreds or thousands of other items besides the one or two items that received unsubstantiated complaints. This callous disregard on Amazon’s part to the welfare and livelihood of the sellers and their employees currently has hundreds, if not thousands, of sellers suspended. These sellers, and all their employees, have no idea where their next paycheck is going to come from, how they are going to pay their rent, and how they are going to pay their bills for the hundreds of different SKUs they purchased that are now all frozen and unsaleable due to receiving complaints about a couple of the SKUs. There is absolutely no reason why Amazon would decide to suspend these sellers entire accounts, even completely unaffected items because a tiny proportion of the items received complaints from the manufacturers that have not even been corroborated.
Recently some of the affected sellers decided to initiate a petition to Amazon demanding that the sellers be reinstalled and only the questionable items removed. One seller described her predicament, stating that:
“My dream was to be a stay at home mom, but now my kids will have to go to daycare so I can work my 9-5 job if Amazon does not lift my suspension. We are REAL people! What Amazon does with a click of a button is equivalent to a natural disaster damaging a brick and mortar business. Does it make sense to have a business lose everything without first assuming innocent until proven guilty? Even when a company fires an employee they gather lots of evidence against them. And the longer the tenure, the more leniency generally depending on the situation. Why can’t we at least be treated as well as employees?”
Another signatory wrote that:
“Amazon is destroying “The American Dream” for so many! First they allow Chinese to completely take over the site, and now all of us hardworking US based companies have to live in constant fear of a false IP complaint from a Chinese competitor! Amazon, take a step back and look at what you’re doing to people!!! You are destroying lives over nonsense!!!”
The goal of the petition is to reach 15,000 signatories. At present 12,000 have already signed their support.
If you have been affected by Amazon’s policy, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org