How is retail arbitrage through Amazon NOT dead?


#1

Hello all,

I’ve been reading a lot of forum posts on sellers being suspended for items that are suspected as “inauthentic”. They need proper documentation to provide to Amazon but all they have are store receipts because they were retail-purchased items. Often the seller is frustrated and asks if retail arbitrage is even still accepted/legal on Amazon. A common response I’ve seen to this problem is: “Retail Arbitrage is still ok on Amazon unless you’re asked for documentation for that item (like a wholesaler invoice, authorization letter, etc.). If all you have are store receipts that won’t cut it.”

My question is, why is it not universally accepted that retail arbitrage on Amazon is dead? If someone is going store to store in hopes to find items to sell through FBA, they’re essentially a ticking time bomb until Amazon asks them for proper documentation. If Amazon is almost undoubtedly going to ask for follow up documentation, how could anyone make a few bucks on the side through Amazon RA, let alone make make a living off of it?

I appreciate your insights!

Best,
Chris


#2

Anything is profitable until you get caught - that’s the X factor in the equation. If you fly under the radar with few complaints and such, then how will Amazon realize it’s RA in order to investigate it? Amazon is (most likely) understaffed in many departments, and RA sellers probably pop up faster than whack-a-moles, so finding these sellers isn’t a priority until the red flags (complaints) come out.


#3

I appreciate your reply! Your verbiage strongly suggests to me that RA is something Amazon doesn’t want on their site. Is it just an unspoken idea that RA on Amazon is one big sneaky loop hole a lot of people happen to get away with for a while? Has Amazon ever said outright that they don’t want RA sellers on their site?


#4

I don’t think that it is. The common issue I see when people have problems is that they are selling the items as “new”. If you list the items as “Used” there is no problem, as I understand it. The issue with invoices only comes up with an authenticity claim on a new product if I’m not mistaken.

Sellers who understand these rules shouldn’t run afoul of Amazon. It’s all the folks who don’t research this issue in advance that run into all of the problems.

But I only sell things that I manufacture, so I’m not an expert on this topic by any stretch of the imagination.


#5

That’s interesting. I’d be interested in hearing the feedback of RA sellers and if they’ve ever run into these authenticity problems when listing items as “Used”.


#6

Yet another in the myriad of reasons to avoid FBA especially as a new seller. Not only will you lose your account but your inventory too. JMHO


#7

This is less of an Amazon concern than an authorized dealer concern. Authorized dealers and brand hired-gun lawyers will report RA sellers for infringement. Many brands are very protective of their retailers.

There are some brands who do not care, but it is a minefield to discover which do and which do not.

Also you need to be aware that for some products that can be sold as used, there are still counterfeiters out there (case in point is media items like CDs, DVDs, and video games) who will also sell as used.

Dave


#8

Here are the Condition Guidelines, which may help with your questions on this.


#9

A few months ago, some seller posted on this forum about their arbitrage business. Every time they received an order from Amazon, they’d buy from some retail business and then ship to buyer, so they never had a single invoice.
They did this for years without any problems and made a lot of money. Then, they got suspended and funds held. After a while, they posted a message saying they got reinstated.
I have no idea how they got reinstated without invoice.


#10

I think it’s like UBER. Some people make money. Most people make very little (or lose) money…but they do it anyways because they don’t look at the numbers. But for every person who quits, there’s probably two new people who sign up to sell.


#12

I appreciate you forwarding this. I’ve looked through this a few times in the past and have been a bit confused on something. It may seem like a silly question, but are “Toys & Games - Collectibles” the same as just “Toys & Games”. I can’t seem to find a section in these guidelines for regular toys or games that are not collectibles.


#13

Based on what I’ve read online, it seems like you can have a small number of inauthentic complaints from customers without getting suspended. These complaints stay on your record for 180 days.
Also, as long as the total number of such complaints do not exceed a certain number, you only get banned from listing the corresponding ASINs.


#14

If that was true, that would mean that hundreds or thousands of Amazon sellers could go out and purposely buy inauthentic merchandise and sell it on Amazon without repercussions.


#15

There are hundreds of manufacturers that do not care who sells their stuff on Amazon or anywhere else they want to sell it. Those manufacturers are not going to file inauthentic complaints with Amazon against sellers.


#16

Yes, but buyers can still file inauthentic complaints.


#17

So it’s not the case that an Amazon seller can list their retail-purchased item as “Used” and it won’t be hit for being possibly in authentic?


#18

A big mistake in your logic is assuming that all inauthentic claims are somehow related to RA. There are many, many inauthentic claims brought against sellers who sometimes even manufacture the items being questioned! There are shady sellers on Amazon who will do anything to sabotage other sellers, including filing fake authenticity complaints. That isn’t an RA issue.

Another problem is that inauthenticity claims do not always result in seller accounts being suspended, just the item in question. Plus inauthenticity claims can be brought against items purchased from wholesellers, too. There is documentation and then there is Documentation.

Having said that, RA is going away simply because it is becoming too hard to be profitable. It’s much easier to buy from wholesellers.


#19

Is this one of those suspension threads you’re referring to?


#20

No it is not. In this thread you have provided I am requesting feedback on my pre-typed Plan of Action to Amazon. In this current thread I am asking about the responses I’ve read to plenty of sellers saying what I’ve stated above: The basic statement - “You’re allowed to do RA on Amazon until you’re asked for documentation”.


#21

it depends on what you are selling i have never seen amazon ask for invoices when selling a used books. Some companies do monitor their old asins and kick people out. While some people just want to watch other sellers get suspended so they report them to kick them off the listing. When you play the Game of amazon you win, or you get suspended there is no middle ground.