1 year later: Amazon suspended our (100% legitimate) account and (stole?) our $1500


#1

So long story short we were FBA in January 2017 and our account was in perfect standing (4.8 rating, no issues whatsoever). All of a sudden Amazon suspended our account (with over $1500 in it) for selling authentic NFL merchandise directly from an NFL-authorized supplier who authorized us to sell FBA (of course Amazon had already gotten their money from the customers our products were shipped to). We complied with every request and jumped through every hoop we were told to in order to get the account reinstated, but all of a sudden they just stopped responding to any of our correspondence.

I logged into our seller account today and the balance now says $0. Apparently they have just decided they are going to steal our $1500? Not to mention the interest it should have accrued over the past year. This is truly insane. I’m holding out hope this is just an oversight and they will make us whole. Any Amazon reps who can finally help us get this situation rectified once and for all?


#2

For some reason Amazon has come to the conclusion that you were selling counterfeit items and therefore will not disburse any monies to you.


#3

I can understand why you would think so, however, per Amazon’s request we sent numerous purchase orders/receipts for every piece of inventory sent to FBA from a reputable merchandise supplier, and Amazon confirmed everything was legitimate (as in, I was told so directly). Also, I had 100% positive feedback, and Amazon was free to inspect the inventory if they really wanted to as it was in their own warehouses.

So the counterfeit question was not the issue…


#4

Are you certain it just zero’d out, and didn’t get disbursed into your bank account?


#5

If that was the case then why did Amazon not reinstate your account?


#6

Unfortunately yes, I double-checked before posting this and no luck there.


#7

I don’t know, that’s why I created this post.


#8

Lots of questions here, but lets cut to the chase, I would just suggest seeking arbitration per the TOS you agreed on.

See Disputes
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=508088


#9

Thanks for posting - this actually might be our only option at this point. I will give it another 24 hours or so to see if there can be any resolution from Seller Support, then I guess I’ll have to send an arbitration letter. I had been contemplating a lawsuit anyhow, and may have to take them to small claims court.

What a nightmare, I hope all Amazon sellers are keenly aware of the risk that even if you’re doing everything right, all your money may just be taken by Amazon without explanation. I’m just glad it was “only” $1500, could have been much much worse.


#10

Was that before or after the NFL and MLB banned all online sales on Ebay and Amazon of their licensed products?

If after, you may have provided invoices but could not have provided an acceptable authorization letter.

You can search this forum and should be able to find when the NFL implemented their restrictions.


#11

The NFL issue was heavily discussed in the forums … and those suppliers would not have had authority to convey to you those rights any more.

Did you fight for reinstatement ?

These are not the same as Invoices, which are required, so regardless of what support may have said it seems obvious (sadly) that seller performance who actually makes these decisions did not agree.

Many facts missing so that’s all I can give opinion on. But I’ve seen this over and over.


#12

For all I know it was after, however none of that information was forwarded to the sellers and the products were not gated or given any such warning or notice. It is an appalling business practice to knowingly allow (and even recruit) new sellers to sell products on their site and then instead of providing any warning/gating the products/etc, to just suspend accounts and keep all the money (in addition to their profits from the sales in the first place). In that light frankly it appears Amazon is complicit in fraudulent practices.

I also believe it is unreasonable that new FBA sellers who read the FBA documentation, agreements, etc, should be expected to know they have to refer to the chaotic, scrambled forums to get information from 3P sellers about Amazon’s policies, instead of actual stated Amazon policies and official channels. But that seems to be Amazon’s expectation. It’s nuts.


#13

I did fight for reinstatement over a sustained period of time (many months) and I complied with their every single request. Was told numerous times that someone was looking into the issue and would get back to me, then never heard back.

I did send invoices, actually. Apologies, used the wrong term.


#14

I would be very willing to place a wager that the last communication you got from seller performance stated that you would not be allowed to sell on Amazon and that they would NOT respond to any more messages from you.


#15

I’m afraid you would lose that wager.

The last communication I got from seller performance was exactly as follows:

That was on 3/28/2017.


#16

There has to be more to this.

I have several (probably close to 20) items with NFL or MLB licenses. What Amazon did to them was to block and make the items Inactive so that they can not be sold on Amazon.

It is my guess that your supplier was not identified by the brand owner as an authorised supplier and your products were treated as counterfeit and funds held to be paid to the brand owner.

Having the account suspended would normally be associated with selling counterfeit merchandise.

You may need to get in touch with your supplier and the brand owner associated with the products to get the complaint removed and the account reinstated.

If the products WERE counterfeit, you will have no recourse and could face more significant penalties and challenges if the cages get rattled. Ensure that all of your communication is very carefully thought out and you might even need to consider consulting with a lawyer as admitting guilt to being involved in counterfeit or infringing products could result in more serious and much more expensive problems.

Dave


#17

NFL notified their licensees and licensees notified their distributors who were supposed to notify their customers.

At the time, many reported receiving this info.

Either you are in business or you are not,

If no one notified you you were never an authorized seller or your supplier didn’t care about you.


#18

I can understand why you would think so if your experience was completely different. Maybe it was just a question of timing, maybe you got lucky with the people who handled your case and I got unlucky with mine, maybe you’re a bigger fish than me and Amazon is less willing to shaft a company like yours. I don’t know, but everything I’ve said here (and in the prior thread I linked) is exactly as it happened.

And at this point I may as well just publicly disclose the supplier in question, it’s Casey’s Distributing. They’re very reputable, have been in business for many years, and their products are 100% authentic. In fact, there are probably many people still selling their products here, possibly even yourself.

Again, none of the products were in any way counterfeit and I supplied invoices for everything. So I am quite happy to rattle the cages until my money is returned to me.


#19

Selling Sports Team Items has been asking for Trouble…Lately


#20

I think you might have taken my message the wrong way. You should not take it personally.

I am simply trying to give you some insight into what the problem likely is and what your course of action to resolve the problem is.

There are MANY sports related products that are on the market. Most NFL and MLB branded products were restricted. Some of those products were able to get the restrictions removed, but most were not. In the case of those I was selling, that was not going to happen. Making them inactive is what would normally happen.

Where the account gets suspended, it is usually because of alleged counterfeiting. That does not mean that yours were counterfeit, but it does mean that your supplier was probably not authorised to sell you those products, especially if you were planning to sell them online.

NFL and MLB decided (back in 2016 and earlier) that they wanted EXCLUSIVE online sales rights for all licensed products. Letters were issued to their licensees to advise that their products could no longer be sold online as of a specified date (which I recall to be July 2016).

As I suggested, you need to treat this as an alleged counterfeit problem and that is what needs to get resolved. You will need to have your supplier provide paperwork proving that they were authorised to sell you those products for online sales. I believe that you will not be able to get that, based on what I mentioned earlier.

What you might be able to achieve with some attorney involvement is get the complaint removed to allow you to be reinstated and that will likely be with a written commitment that you will not attempt to sell any of those licensed products online (at all EVER). Amazon has a process for complaint removal that you may need to start with notice-dispute@amazon.com and the ASIN to request the associated complaint ID.

This will not be easy, but it is the only approach I believe that can help you dig yourself out of the hole you are in.

Dave