Very British Case Study (suspension case)
To: [email protected]
Subject: Your Amazon.co.uk selling account
Thank you for submitting your plan of action. We reviewed your appeal and determined that it is missing at least one of the following points of information. Please include the missing information in your plan of action:
- Greater detail on the root cause(s) of the infringement.
- Greater detail on the actions you have taken to resolve the infringement issues.
- Greater detail on the steps you have taken to prevent infringement going forward.
Has your account been deactivated in error?
Where do I send this information?
Please submit your appeal to reactivate account by clicking the “Reactivate your account” button on Account Health (https://sellercentral-europe.amazon.com/performance/dashboard?ref=ah_em_mpa). If you want to submit additional information, click on the “View appeal” button and submit additional information as requested.
What happens if I do not send the requested information?
If you do not send the requested information within 20 days, your account may be deactivated permanently across all the marketplaces in the region of your enforcement and funds in your account may be held for up to 90 days or longer depending upon the marketplace.
Depending on your account status and activities, you may be required to complete an additional review before funds can be released. In some marketplaces such as Japan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt funds might not be returned depending on review. Amazon may withhold payments if we determine that your account was used to sell inauthentic or prohibited goods, commit fraud, or engage in other illegal or abusive activity.
What is my region?
— The following marketplaces are in the Americas region: United States of America, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil.
— The following marketplaces are in the Europe, Middle East, and India regions: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and India.
— The following marketplaces are in the Far East region: Japan, Australia, and Singapore.
You can see your balance and settlement information in the Payments section of Seller Central. If you have questions about those, please send an email to [email protected]
to understand how to write an appeal and explain the Root cause, Immediate steps taken and also future plans to avoid the violations from happening again
We help the seller create a detailed POA as below and the account was activated
WE CAN ASSURE YOU WE HAVE NOW AN ADEQUATE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT WENT WRONG, THEREFORE:
— WE HAVE NOW UPDATED OUR BUSINESS MODEL
— WE HAVE DELETED OUR ENTIRE INVENTORY TO RELAUNCH OUR BUSINESS MODEL ACCORDING TO THE NEW LISTING METHOD and NEW SOURCING PROCEDURE including BRAND AUTHORIZATION HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED.
–WE HAVE TRAINED OUR STAFF WITH AMAZON SELLER UNIVERSITY GUIDELINES. THE COURSES PROVIDED BY AMAZON SELLER UNIVERSITY HAVE GIVEN THE WHOLE TEAM A THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING ON HOW TO RUN OUR BUSINESS AND EVER SINCE IMPLEMENTING THE TEACHINGS, WE HAVE SEEN A POSITIVE CHANGE WITHIN OUR PRACTICES. WE LOOK FORWARD TO GETTING REINSTATED IN ORDER TO APPLY OUR TEACHINGS TO PRACTICAL DOINGS.
ROOT CAUSE OF VIOLATIONS
We take full responsibility for the complaints received, which led to the deactivation of our Amazon Seller Account.
REPORTED ASINS: B00PSLJF6Q, B08XWY6ZS2
REPORTED BRANDS: Spares2go, YOWAO
COMPLAINT TYPE (INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY): Counterfeit and Parallel Import
ROOT CAUSE OF PARALLEL IMPORT ISSUES: We source products from what we believe was a licensed supplier who was selling GENERIC ITEMS. This issue happened as we were not aware that we needed rights to sell certain products in the UK. Our Amazon Store could not be verified as an authorized seller of the reported brand (ZAVIA) products, which had led to complaints from the right owners. The Intellectual property rights owners prohibit us from importing or selling their goods in the UK unless you, your supplier or an upstream supplier have the rights owner’s consent to sell the items in the EEA or UK (i.e., the products are “exhausted” in the EEA or the UK).
THE ROOT CAUSE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY COMPLAINTS: We thought that by merging into existing listings, we would be able to sell quickly and profitably. There was no need for approval connected to Intellectual Property. When using the ‘Add a product’ and ‘Sell yours’ tools to add our offer to these existing listings. Unfortunately, we did not train our staff to understand the attribute ‘brand’, and they ended up listing items without any inspections.
- We planned to source items from manufacturers themselves, but instead of purchasing stock and acquiring a Letter of authorization before listing the product, we decided to Dropship these items once we received orders for them.
- Furthermore, our sourcing procedure did not include checks related to supply chain verification, Product authenticity verification and acquiring a Brand Authorization letter prior to listing products on Amazon. Therefore, Amazon could also not verify our store as an authorized seller of the reported brands, which led them to believe that a COUNTERFEIT item was listed.
- It was our assumption that we could list merchandise without an LOA. As we could not identify ourselves as an AUTHORIZED re-seller of the stated BRANDS, it has led rights owners to believe that we sold an item without their permission, leading them to believe COUNTERFEIT products were sold.
- Detail pages appeared to be GENERIC (UNBRANDED), and we assumed we could map on reported ASINs as we are selling similar products. We were unaware that we need approval from brand owners to list those products nor our supplier can provide us those documents, as the products we purchased from them were Generic hence leading to the conclusion that COUNTERFEIT items had been sold
Immediate steps were taken on 29th December:
- ENTIRE INVENTORY IS DELETED to relaunch our business model.
- CEASED sourcing from our current suppliers.
- We are undertaking an entirely new process to ensure none of our latest products infringes on intellectual property.
- The Team has done a complete overhaul of our Account Health and our INVENTORY to ensure that everything aligns with Amazon’s intellectual property policies and guidelines across all marketplaces.
- We also monitor our Account Health Daily (THREE TIMES A DAY) to ensure that the seller account complies with Amazon Policies
- We have NO INTENTIONS TO list the reported items again in the future without official documentation.
FUTURE LISTINGS: We shall create our own listings whereby the product is not currently within the Amazon catalogue, however whereby the EXACT/IDENTICAL product is already listed within the Amazon catalogue we understand Amazon policy advises we will need to list as a contributor to the listing as opposed to creating new listings.
We have reached out to the right owners, and we have apologized for the VIOLATIONS made and confirmed that IT WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN IN THE FUTURE. We now understand that the brand owners have retracted the complaints.
We immediately reached out to our suppliers and requested LOA for the items for which Amazon ordered additional documents. Unfortunately, our suppliers were unable to provide us with the required documents, which led to the suspension of our account.
WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY COMPLAINTS PREVENTION STATION and Listing Team with an additional three staff where all products will be inspected and reviewed before being listed on my Amazon seller account. From now on, all products, Brands and descriptions will be examined again using the inspection station before they are listed on our inventory to ensure they do not contain ambiguity regarding product intellectual property.
Listing inspection station implemented: We have assigned a listings manager who will approve the listings before going live on Amazon and make sure the listing is not violating any rights of owners, Trademarks, Copyrights, or Intellectual Property of a brand. All products identified under ongoing or potential conflicts of counterfeit; trademark & copyrights have been removed from Amazon. We will ensure that these products are never made live without prior confirmation from rights owners.
THE TEAM MEMBERS HAVE BEEN IMMEDIATELY TRAINED ON HOW TO ENSURE WE DO NOT SELL PARALLEL IMPORT GOODS IN THE FUTURE: Make sure we only sell products on Amazon’s UK marketplace which we have imported into the EEA or UK ourselves, with the rights owner’s consent (including their consent for us to sell in the EEA and UK), or which we have sourced – directly or indirectly – from a supplier who has been authorised by the rights owner to import or sell the products in either the EEA or UK (e.g. an authorised subsidiary of the rights owner or an authorized EEA or a UK distributor).
TRAINING SESSIONS: We hired a senior Manager who has expertise in policies regarding trademarks, patents, and other Intellectual Property rights. He would be conducting monthly and weekly training on the policies that are applicable to our business. He would be responsible for and monitoring the listing of the products as well. The listing process would always require his approval. He would make sure each employee is well acquainted with Amazon’s policies as per AMAZON SELLER UNIVERSITY GUIDELINES. He might give an additional training session to new employees and those who need it. He would report back to the management team about the improvements and assessment of training sessions regularly. In case any employee is found to be reporting the same violation or not performing according to the training provided, he will be liable for his own termination or disciplinary action on an immediate basis. THE COURSES PROVIDED BY AMAZON SELLER UNIVERSITY HAVE GIVEN THE WHOLE TEAM A THOROUGH UNDERSTANDING OF HOW TO RUN OUR BUSINESS.
- ANTI-COUNTERFEIT https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/201165970
- IPR: https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/external/201361070
- Intellectual Property Office – GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office
- Trademarks: https://www.gov.uk/topic/intellectual-property/trade-marks
- Patents: https://www.gov.uk/topic/intellectual-property/patents
- IPO website – Intellectual Property Office – GOV.UK: https://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmtext.htm
- EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) – Home – https://euipo.europa.eu/
- UK Intellectual Property Office | indirect: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/contacts/uk-intellectual-property-office
ACTION PLAN FOR FUTURE
A management team has been implemented to maintain the Amazon account and customers. This Team shall keep in touch with any new policies or changes to work following what Amazon requires from sellers and avoid any counterfeit, Parallel Import and intellectual property complaints on our panel in the future.
We hired an experienced manager to oversee products’ shipment, and we will do everything as per Amazon policies. We have notified all personnel working in our Amazon department to refrain from activities that may violate Amazon counterfeit, Parallel Import, and intellectual property policies. The Manager has to monitor our Sourcing Procedures and learn and address the current issues related to intellectual poperty. We have made every effort to resolve them by taking all the necessary steps and procedures in place. We have hired our brand attorneys to ensure we do not have counterfeit issues in the future. Our attorney’s website www.humphreys.co.uk
We had a top management meeting with all our team members to deep dive into our existing procedures and find the issue’s root cause. As a result, below are the changes we have made in our Operating Procedure to ensure that the mistakes we mention are never repeated proactively. We updated our SOP to check with every new brand owner and supplier for any ongoing and potential violation of Counterfeit, Parallel Import, and intellectual property.
We will ensure that the products which do not have the supporting documents will not be listed on our inventory. Requesting and holding the following documents for all items on our inventory will be mandatory (if applicable):
- Invoices (Clearly identifying the product – with supplier information, i.e., Company number, contact details and web address.)
- Supply chain verification / Invoices
- Letter of Authorization from Rights Owners (Must showcase that we are authorized to sell the relevant items.
NEW SOURCING METHODS: We ensure that we source all the products that we wish to sell on Amazon directly from the manufacturer or through authorized distributors – who will be able to provide the Right Owners AUTHORIZATION LETTERS AND LICENSES. Our Team will verify this by calling the Manufacturers or Right Owners Directly. After careful research on products and distributors, we would like to relaunch our business by appointing a NEW VERIFIED SUPPLIER to sell under a new category of SPORTSWARE for future inventory
BB SPORTS DISTRIBUTORS
Unit 29A Apple Lane, Sowton, Exeter, Devon. UK. EX2 7HA.
Tel. No.: 01392 354790 | E-mail: [email protected]
WHY WE CHOSE ‘BB SPORTS DISTRIBUTORS’ AS A FUTURE SUPPLIER: They work directly with brands with licensed products. All items ordered via this supplier have relevant rights’ owners’ documentation available, which we now understand is a requirement to sell on Amazon. As we have decided to sell branded products only, BB SPORTS DISTRIBUTORS is a reliable source for our procurement. Our solicitor checked all the documents provided by the supplier. After getting the documents vetted by our Solicitor, we have appointed the supplier.
HOW DO WE CARRY OUT CHECKS RELATED TO SUPPLIER AND PRODUCT AUTHENTICITY
- We now reach out to the right owners directly, making sure the supplier we are purchasing the products from is authorized by them to do so.
- We now request letters of authorization directly from the right owners asking for permission to sell their products on Amazon.
- We have started consulting an independent solicitor to check and verify documents we receive from suppliers and to make sure we have all needed documents prior to listing items in inventory.
- We now have a staff member specializing in Authenticity and Intellectual Property checks to ensure we do not infringe Trademarks. We seek advice from independent solicitors at www.ip-coster.com and when required to ensure we request necessary documentation with the Manufacturers, and they are verified.
- The Manager will conduct a second review of the product, so the listings comply with Product Detail Page guidelines.
- To avoid future violations in relation to PARALLEL IMPORT: In the future, we have no plans to list PRODUCT WITHOUT THE LETTER OF AUTHORISATION. We have immediately educated ourselves with parallel import policies, https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/external/201361070