What can I do about unauthorized sellers on Amazon?

How do I contact Amazon to get them to stop people selling our products on Amazon without authorization?

Amazon works as a marketplace where anyone can sell goods they legally acquired. Amazon's strategy is to offer the biggest assortment of goods, with the easiest buying experience at competitive prices. They want to have multiple sellers of each product, because it helps keep the prices competitive and in-stock, which in turn makes the products easier to buy at a great price for consumers.

Amazon is a beast of a marketplace and can be difficult to deal with unless you have a lot of experience. Their primary concern is their customer and their customers experience. If you (a seller or a brand) can ensure the customer has the best price and a great experience, you'll be aligned with Amazon's goals and have few problems selling on Amazon.

Ultimately, Amazon does not view unauthorized sellers, i.e. anyone but you and your authorized distributors, as policy violators. They are a catalog market and designed to have multiple sellers on a single listing.

Here is the quote straight from Amazon: "Exclusive or Selective Distribution: Amazon respects a manufacturer's right to enter into exclusive distribution agreements for its products. However, violations of such agreements do not constitute intellectual property rights infringement. As the enforcement of these agreements is a matter between the manufacturer and the retailers, it would not be appropriate for Amazon to assist in enforcement activities."

Now, we are not trying to be all bad news bears. We have our own brand on Amazon as well and have been spent considerable time vetting the best steps to maintain brand integrity on Amazon. There are still steps you can take to protect your brand on Amazon.

1. Setup Authorized Sellers with your Distributors

This is the easiest and most effective step to control your authorized sellers on Amazon. Most distributors are aware of which clients are Amazon sellers and they can restrict certain products from Amazon sellers. Or they can only allow approved sellers (approved by you!) to purchase your products.

2. Contact the Seller directly

A cease & desist or just a gentle email can get sellers to move to RRP/MAP. You'll often find sellers were unaware of your brand policies and will remove their items from the listing or adjust to MAP. We wrote a step by step guide on how to contact sellers. ​

3. Register Your Brand with Amazon An excellent long-term solution is to enroll in Amazon Brand Registry. When you register your brand with Amazon, you control the product page! So you can make changes to photos, product description, important details and even add a special section with extra photos and descriptions. Right now, anyone can change the product page without your consent.  This is a straightforward process since you are the manufacturer of the product. You simply need: • Brand name that has a live registered trademark. • Government Registered Principal Trademark Registration or Serial Number. For USPTO marks, the Mark Drawing Type must be equal to one of the following and the text much match the brand name: - “1 - Typset words(s)/letter(s)/number(s)"  - “3 - An illustration drawing which includes words(s)/letter(s)/number(s)"  - “4 - Standard character mark”   - “5 - Words, letters, or numbers in a stylized form” • Images of the brand’s logo.  • Images of products and packaging that carry the trademarked brand name. If the product is not branded, the packaging must be branded.  • A list of product categories (e.g., apparel, sporting goods, electronics) in which the brand should be listed.  • A list of countries where the brand’s products are manufactured and distributed. This will not prevent other sellers from selling on the listing. Per Amazon, “Enrolling a brand in the Band Registry and registering as the brand owner does not prevent other sellers from selling the branded products.”

However, once you have registered your brand, you will be able to control your product page and it is less likely that someone will change your product listing without consent. And if someone sells a counterfeit product, and it is proven (with photos and descriptions), then you can have the hijacker’s listing removed. See the next step!

4. Report counterfeit product sellers

If you suspect one of the sellers on Amazon is selling counterfeit goods, e.g. just random rocks in a bag, you can do the following:

1) Purchase the item from the seller in question. This is called a "test buy" to verify the product does not match the listing.

2) Take pictures and document how the product is counterfeit. If it does not match what is stated on the product page (materially different, wrong product, poor quality, etc.), then it is in violation of Amazon's policy.

3) Submit an infringement complaint to Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/report/infringement.

Here is Amazon's language on counterfeit sellers:

"We do require sellers to list only against detail pages that exactly match their items. If you believe sellers are listing against detail pages that do not exactly match their items, we ask that you report the violation directly by using the contact us form."

In other words, if they are selling random rocks in a bag, this is a policy violation and Amazon will usually remove the seller. For privacy reasons, the results of Amazon investigations cannot be disclosed, but they will take any disciplinary actions as appropriate. Usually the seller will be gone from the listing within 24-48 hours of a verified report.

This tends to be a lot of work and back and forth with Amazon. It should be used a last resort.

You can see how Amazon requires a lot of work and maintenance. There are a lot of details to selling properly and protecting your brand on Amazon, from setting up brand registry to contesting counterfeit sellers. That’s where we come in and help our brand partners. Contact us here to find out more about how we can help your brand grow on Amazon.