Amazon sellers are making headlines this week! I can’t post the link, but there’s an interesting article on CNBC about one seller’s suspension (Brushes4Less). I came across it on Drudge just now…
Here is the story:
“Shortly before Amazon Prime Day in July, the owner of the Brushes4Less store on Amazon’s marketplace received a suspension notice for his best-selling product, a toothbrush head replacement. The email that landed in his inbox said the product was being delisted from the site because of an intellectual property violation. In order to resolve the matter and get the product reinstated, the owner would have to contact the law firm that filed the complaint. But there was one problem: the firm didn’t exist. Brushes4Less was given the contact information for an entity named Wesley & McCain in Pittsburgh. The website wesleymccain.com has profiles for five lawyers. A Google image search shows that all five actually work for the law firm Brydon, Swearengen & England in Jefferson City, Missouri. The phone number for Wesley & McCain doesn’t work while the address belongs to a firm in Pittsburgh called Robb Leonard Mulvihill. The person who supposedly filed the complaint is not registered to practice law in Pennsylvania. One section on Wesley & McCain’s site stole language from the website of the Colby Law Office. The owner of Brushes4Less agreed to tell his story to CNBC but asked that we not use his name out of concern for his privacy. As far as he can tell, and based on what CNBC could confirm, Amazon was duped into shutting down the seller’s key product days before the site’s busiest shopping event ever.”
I have said many many times, some employees responds to complaints like knee-jerk reactions. They do not think or investigate before taking a serious action.
Such a shame. I’m sure Amazon will respond with a new policy that makes it impossible for legitimate IP complaints to be dealt with…
I’ve been arguing this for a while now.
Amazon does ZERO investigation when an IPV claim is filed.
I have had one listing reinstated, and subsequently blocked, over 40 times now.
I emailed Jeff documenting the abuse, and less than 6 hours after Jeff’s team (seller performance escalations) reinstated my listing, the SAME EMAIL ADDRESS that had already submitted 40+ false claims got my listing blocked again.
It’s a broken system, and it needs to be fixed. The easiest solution is a formal counter-notice similar to the DMCA where unless the complaining party files a lawsuit, the listing is reinstated (and additionally, they need to add a provision where it won’t be blocked again unless proof of a lawsuit is provided).
I hope Amazon SP can change their current policy and working procedures. It’s too easy to bring down a store by dirty tricks. Dirty tricks work so they become rampant.
Current policy gives a seller the ability to bring down a competitor by simple dirty tricks: (1) mobilizing his/her friends or relatives or hiring 10 persons to buy from a competitor, (2) leaving negative “fake” feedback or making “fake” product authenticity complaints.
Scary, isn’t it?
I just submitted a long complaint against SP to the highest level of management.
SP has become a very dark and corrupted monster right now.
Thanks for posting. There’s a good bit more written in the original article than what you posted, anyone interested should seek out the full text on CNBC.
I am reading the comments below the article. This one good:
by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday September 07, 2017 @03:34PM (#55154949)
It looks like the person(s) who filed the complaint created a fake law firm site using info stolen from a real law firm’s site. It wasn’t good enough to pass a 5 minute sniff test, but apparently was good enough to pass Amazon’s 1-click non-test. Likely the person(s) filed the fake complaint (and set up the fake website) using an anonymous email account.
The onus in these cases has to be on Amazon to expend the resources to properly vet these claims before acting on them. If there were viable competition between marketplaces, this wouldn’t be a problem. Sellers would abandon the flaky/lazy marketplace and move to ones which treated them better. But Amazon dominates online sales, much like eBay dominates online auctions.
This is the whole reason we revolted against walled garden online services (AOL, Prodigy, GEnie, MSN) in the 1990s in favor of the open Internet. Having a handful of companies acting as gatekeepers just presents too much opportunity for abuse. When Amazon first started, I was hoping multiple online retailers like it would blossom and we’d rely on price search engines (like Pricegrabber) to invite competition between all online retailers. Unfortunately that hasn’t really happened, and if anything the public seems to be gravitating back towards the walled gardens (iOS iTunes, Google Play on Android).
The problem is even the escalations department (exec support, jeff@amazon) entirely ignored the issue. They just put a bandaid over a bullet hole (reinstated listing, ignoring pattern of abuse thats happened 40+ times).
If anyone can get me in contact with a higher-up at Amazon, I’d be happy to explain the glaring flaws in the current system. I tried messaging the forum moderator, but she chose to ignore me (seems to be the norm with any complicated issue I’ve asked for her assistance escalating)
Seller Support does not have the authority, even executive support is useless when it comes to SP. They don’t have a direct communication with SP. They just transfer your case to another team, then case closed and nothing happens.
It needs persistence and perseverance. I have been reporting for 10 months. It’s hard to find one to report to. Today I found from this forum the best to complain about SP is email@example.com. That’s may be the only channel I guess, hopefully something can happen.
A major issue is the online form.
Where anyone can make a claim with no proof.
You don’t even need to be signed in.
As AZ Expands to be about Everything All The Time…
Dangerous Incompetence is Inevitable…Core Competence is Forgotten.
This Type of Hubris & Over-Reach is Common among “The Blessed” on Wall Street…
It usually Ends Badly… AZ’s Toxic 178 P/E is To Blame
Do you think Sony’s legal team has an account they can log into?
You don’t even need to be signed in.
Yeah, there was never any need for a fake law firm.
There’s zero verification done on these claims, and there’s sneaky ways to get them pushed through (which unfortunately more and more cheaters are using).
IPV claims are probably starting to be used more as an anticompetitive tool rather than for actual intellectual property infringement, which is very problematic.
If anyone can get me in contact with a higher-up at Amazon, I’d be happy to explain the glaring flaws in the current system. I tried messaging the forum moderator with help escalating, but no response was received.
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