How to protect your Amazon listing from hijackers

How to protect your Amazon listing from hijackers

What are hijackers and leachers?

A hijacker is a scammer who jumps on your Amazon listing without your authorization and steals your buybox. A leacher is someone who is on your listing, but does not own the buybox.

There are 2 types of hijackers:

  1. Sells an unbranded or a counterfeit version of your products on your listing. Typically a Chinese counterfeiter. Relatively easy to deal with, but very harmful.
  2. Sells your product without your authorization. Typically a local (e.g. US) scammer who got your product through a deal service and resells it on your listing. More difficult to deal with, but way less harmful.

Leachers are typically Chinese bots (automated programs) that list thousands of products and try to get a little bit from every listing.

Hijackers and leachers are scammers and need to be dealt with swiftly without any delay, as they can hurt your product’s reputation (in case of counterfeits) or mess with your listing price history (in case of resellers).

Amazon Transparency Program

Amazon knows about the hijacker problem, and it has been damaging to the company’s reputation, as well as the customer experience.

Recently Amazon has launched a program called Transparency, that is meant to protect brands against counterfeiters, scammers and unauthorized resellers.

brandservices.amazon.com/transparency

You have to be on Amazon Brand Registry to be eligible for Transparency program.

With Transparency, every single unit of the inventory requires a unique non-sequential 26 digit alpha-numeric code, which can be printed as a scannable barcode.

The sellers who use this program say that this is the is the ultimate solution to the hijacker problem.

Note, if you have a trademark, you can always report a Trademark Infringement: amazon.com/report/infringement

Strategies to Take Down Amazon Hijackers

If you are not on the Transparency program and maybe not even on Brand Registry, here are a few steps you can follow to take down the hijackers:

  1. Send a Threatening Letter
  2. Send a Cease & Desist Letter
  3. Send an “Unauthorized Sellers” Letter
  4. Report hijacker to Amazon
  5. Test Buy an item from hijacker

Send a Threatening Letter and/or a Cease and Desist letter

Find the hijacker’s store page: “Sold by …” or “Other Sellers on Amazon” and click on “Ask a question” button.

Send your letter from your Amazon buyer account. Make sure you use a different account that is unrelated to your seller account. If sending both, a threatening letter and a C/D letter – send them from different buyer accounts.

Threatening Letter Example

(Effective against counterfeiters)

“To Whom it May Concern:

Consider this your first and last warning to remove ASIN : {ASIN} from Amazon Selling account.

Your Amazon account WILL be suspended if you do not comply. We have successfully gotten 12 other sellers like yourself shut down permanently already, last month alone, for doing the same thing you are doing.

Let me ask you this – is it worth losing your entire Amazon selling account & business over just one product listing? I’m sure the answer is no.

Do the right thing and remove listing {TITLE} | {ASIN} or face both legal action, and the permanent loss of your Amazon account.

You have been warned.”

Cease and Desist Letter Example

(Effective against counterfeiters)

“To Whom it May Concern:

This office represents {STORENAME} and it has come to our attention that your company has engaged in an unlawful behavior intended to harm their brand and disrupt its business regarding its product on Amazon: {TITLE} | {ASIN}

This letter constitutes your final warning to discontinue this unwanted conduct and remove your Amazon listing within 12 hours. Furthermore, we demand that you respond to this writing with a statement affirming that you will refrain from continuing your disruptive behavior. Should you choose to ignore this notice, we will have no choice but to pursue all legal remedies available in law or in equity, including but not limited to seeking monetary damages.

In addition, your Amazon Seller Account and all of your products will be removed from the Amazon Marketplace. We will ensure your account is suspended, immediately.
You have been warned.”

“Unauthorized Sellers” Letter Example

(effective against resellers)

Dear Teams:

We are writing to you to inform your team that our intellectual property rights are being infringed upon and are making a formal request for Amazon Legal to take action by removing all unauthorized sellers from the ASIN:{ASIN} and require approval in the form of a written letter from our legal entity, {COMPANY NAME} if they wish to list on the ASIN in the future.

Our store name is {STORENAME} Our legal entity is {LEGAL ENTITY}

Reporting the Hijacker to Amazon

Effective against Leachers / BOTS

The letters are not efficient against automated bots, we can report the bot to Amazon using this strategy.

  1. Go to Seller Central > HELP > Contact Us > Selling on Amazon > Other Issues > Report a Violation
  2. Mark “This is Urgent” checkbox
  3. Under “Please describe your issue” write this:

Please investigate seller {SELLER} for suspicious listing activity. This seller is changing the seller name on a daily basis to avoid suspension, so here is a direct link to their storefront. {STOREFRONTLINK}
Thank you.

The Test Buy

If previous strategies did not give any result, we can do a Test Buy strategy. (Note, it is useless against Leaches/ BOTS)

The Test Buy Strategy

  1. Buy the product from the hijacker, do the fastest shipping possible. (Use an account not connected to your seller account)
  2. Take pictures showing that product lacks any logo or branding. If they counterfeited the logos (rare, but happens) – either take an angle where logo does not show or even photoshop the image to remove logos.
  3. Call Amazon and report the counterfeit. Demand that Amazon opens a case against the seller for selling fakes. Ask for your money back.
  4. Email Amazon from a Buyer Account.

Use these email addresses to report counterfeiter as a buyer:
seller-performance@amazon.com

seller-performance-policy@amazon.com

jeff@amazon.com

Include the Order ID and pictures with the proof.

Here is an example email:

This seller {SELLER NAME} {STOREFRONT URL} is selling product {ASIN}. I was instructed by Amazon to do a test buy. I did this and the order came in today. It was a knock-off / counterfeit. It did not have the {BRAND NAME} packaging and did not have the {BRAND NAME} logo. It did not match the Amazon detail page.
Images attached as proof.
Please take action against this seller for selling counterfeit goods:
{STOREFRONT URL}

We can also do a Test Buy with Unauthorized Resellers. However, it is more complicated, since they sell the real item.

The goal is to tell Amazon that the hijacker sold a used item, so that they get “Used Item Sold as New” warning and hopefully an eventual ban of the seller account.

The Test Buy Strategy (Unauthorized Resellers)

  1. Buy the product. If the hijacker sells only a few of your items, buy them all, to quickly remove him from the buy box.
  2. Return the item(s), you can pick “Item Defective or Doesn’t Work” or “Missing or Broken Parts” reason and explain that it was used. Make sure it actually looks used / damaged and can not be re-sold by Amazon.

Note that if you do this too often from your account for different items, your buyer account may be in trouble.

 

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