Amazon’s Dirty Tactics — One Brave Whistleblower Exposes Them All
What follows is true in its entirety, yet will be hard to believe.
I’m here to show you that Amazon is guilty of fraud, and on a colossal scale.
Read on to see exactly how Amazon are putting sellers out of business by inventing spurious reasons to permanently withhold funds, then cutting the seller out entirely and reaping serious financial rewards.
IT. IS. NOT. LEGAL.
Let me start by illustrating how it’s meant to work:
You sell your product on Amazon; they process the order and ship it out. The funds are held with Amazon for 14 days for all sellers. After 14 days, they disburse funds to your account.
All fine and dandy.
Now for what is really happening:
Before the funds are paid to you, Amazon put your account into ‘review’ — a sort of semi-suspension of your account. Why semi-suspension? Because, although they refuse to release any of your funds, you can keep selling items not under review.
As Amazon is a big part of your business model, and you know the items in question are legit, you keep selling your other inventory, while not getting paid for them. As you can imagine for an active seller, this creates a large hole in finances very quickly.
At the point of suspension they ask for:
“Copies of invoices or receipts from your supplier issued in the last 365 days. These should reflect your sales volume during that time.
Contact information for your supplier, including name, phone number, address, and website.
You can send .pdf, .jpg, .png, or .gif files. These documents must be authentic and unaltered. We may call your supplier to verify the documents. You may remove pricing information, but the rest of the document must be visible. We will maintain the confidentiality of your supplier contact information.”
Fine, you think.
Got all those.
Here you go.
Phew, should all be sorted soon.
But no. Now you have unwittingly joined Amazon in a merry dance through a system of automated emails designed to get you nowhere. Your next few days will be filled with repeats of the email below:
“We still need more information about the items at the end of this email. Please reply to this email with copies of invoices or receipts that include the following:
— Supplier information (name, phone number, address, website)
— Buyer information (name, phone number, address, website)
— Item descriptions
— Item quantities
— Invoice date (must be issued in the last 365 days)
You can send .pdf, .jpg, .png, or .gif files. These documents must be authentic and unaltered. We may call your supplier to verify the documents. You may remove pricing information, but the rest of the document must be visible. We will maintain the confidentiality of your supplier contact information.
We will review your information and decide whether to reinstate your listings.”
Yes, you think, I sent you that.
I’ll check it all, send it again.
A tedious few days, to say the least. For some, with orders pouring in for other items they sell, an incredibly stressful time with a financial crater emerging.
But you do it, of course, because you have to.
Then, after several days, Amazon comes in with the kicker:
“You may no longer sell on Amazon.co.uk because you have supplied documentation to Amazon which appears to be forged or manipulated.
We have removed your listings from our site. If you do not appeal this decision within 90 days, funds will be withheld and any of your FBA inventory of the items that caused “inauthentic” complaints remaining in Amazon European fulfilment centers will be destroyed at your expense.
To appeal this decision, click the Appeal button next to this message on the Performance Notifications page in Seller Central (https://sellercentral-europe.amazon.com/gp/customer-experience/perf-notification...).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org”
Nightmare. Absolute nightmare.
They have now suspended your whole account, and officially seized your funds.
But perhaps dealable with, a glimmer of hope arises at the option to appeal. Off it goes and you keep fingers and toes crossed that a human will look at your file this time and see all is legit.
A few days pass, perhaps drifting into weeks. Your suppliers need paying for items you sold, but you’ve not received funds from the buyers yet. Amazon has them.
Then, the dreaded email comes back:
“We reviewed your account and the information you provided, and we have decided that you may not sell on Amazon.
We may not respond to further emails about this issue.”
But, wait, what???
The documentation is legit. Buyers received the items. Amazon received the money. They also received the money for the whole host of products sold in that window that weren’t subject to review. What about those funds?
Another email to appeals, another response:
“We reviewed the information you provided and completed a comprehensive review of your account. We have decided not to disburse any funds to you. Due to the nature of our business, we do not provide details on our investigation methods.
We may not respond to further emails regarding the status of your account or the permanent hold on your funds.”
So that’s it then is it? Amazon decided it. Permanent hold. No option to review. They decided to keep hold of your money with no real explanation and no option of recourse.
Now, those uninitiated in the Amazon game will be screaming at me:
“Just pick up the phone for Gods sake!!!”
Surely Amazon, this mammoth money making machine, the biggest online selling platform in the world, offers phone support to their sellers?
Let me introduce you to ‘Seller Support’ — a title that fills you with optimism. Really sounds like it could be useful, yes?
A valid thought. Alas, in reality, no.
I’ll give you an example of a call to their so-called Seller Support:
“Hello, my account has been incorrectly suspended and my funds seized.”
“Oh right, I’m afraid I can’t help you with that, I will see if I can forward your request for someone to look into this also please email to email@example.com and for your funds to firstname.lastname@example.org”
“But they have said they won’t be responding to further correspondence from me.”
I so dearly wish I were joking.
Unbelievable, you think. Is it just me?
No, no it isn’t. This is happening to thousands of sellers across the world.
The really dark motive underlying it all…
Now, the particularly savvy amongst you will have realised that aside from purely stealing money from sellers, there is another larger motive driving Amazon. This is the determination to cut out the seller entirely.
From our experience, and talking to other big sellers, items that come under ‘review’ are nearly always Hot Sellers. They are the products flying off the metaphorical shelves, actually earning the seller their living.
When Amazon do a ‘review’, they request an original invoice that INCLUDES ALL CONTACT DETAILS, forcing the seller to hand over all the details of their supply chain! So, you can imagine what they do with that information can’t you? They go straight out and buy the product to sell it themselves and bar you from doing anything about it.
Sure enough, time and time again, up pops your product on the platform, and who’s selling it? Bloody Amazon. You can tell very easily, because it’s being sold ‘By Amazon.’
Truly dangerous behaviour
And now, I’ll demonstrate why Amazon’s behaviour is so dangerous. Put yourself in the shoes of an active seller on Amazon.
You set your prices low to survive. Amazon takes a high commission; your profit margin is tiny. For the last month (AT LEAST) you’ve been selling inventory. You’ve not been paid FOR ANY OF IT.
Your Amazon account has been shut down. Your business kneecapped.
Your suppliers need paying. Your employees need paying. Your rent is due.
What will you do?
How soon is it before Amazon’s corrupt, immoral business practices leave someone feeling they have no option left but to end their life? Does it take so big a leap in imagination to see that on the horizon? We think not.
They think they have made themselves literally untouchable and are merrily operating above the law with total disregard for the sellers they built their billions upon.
Now, with Amazon being so huge, there may be few ways to hurt them. Certainly none that match the extent they are hurting their sellers. But we can’t just take it lying down.
What we can do is act!
We can stand together and STOP buying products sold ‘by Amazon’. These ‘by Amazon’ products are the ones where Amazon has forced their way into the supply chain, bullied and undercut the original seller and in many cases bankrupted them in the process.
Will you join our boycott and help us stop them??
Highlight to Tweet > > > I’m standing up for the little man and joining the fight to #BoycottSoldByAmazon < < < Highlight to Tweet
Highlight to tweet > > > “Join our movement to support sellers: #BoycottSoldByAmazon — DO NOT BUY products ‘by Amazon’ to stop this giant stomping on small businesses!” < < < Highlight to tweet
Highlight to tweet > > > Stop Amazon before they kill. Amazon are illegally withholding seller funds, bankrupting sellers then cutting them out of the chain. It’s time to #BoycottSoldByAmazon < < < Highlight to tweet
It is time to stop supporting this immoral business model. STOP buying products direct from Amazon.
*** It is important to note we are well and truly Team Seller — we are not asking you to stop using Amazon, as this would hurt the many businesses using the platform who Amazon haven’t already put out of business.***
We want you to support actual small businesses and buy FROM THEM. Not from Amazon the behemoth, the monster making vast financial gains by crushing the little man. And it’s not hard, all you have to do is steer well clear of products sold by Amazon, which you can spot as they are clearly marked ‘by Amazon’.
Highlight to tweet > > > I’ve joined the Amazon boycott, will you? #BoycottSoldByAmazon < < < Highlight to tweet
Are you prepared to stand up for the normal people earning their living through Amazon? Are you prepared to ditch a minuscule amount of of convenience to do what is right?
Highlight to tweet > > > Stop helping Amazon stomp all over #SmallBusiness by joining the #BoycottSoldByAmazon movement #ShopLocal < < < Highlight to tweet
Highlight to tweet > > > Supporting sellers by boycotting products sold ‘by Amazon’ #BoycottSoldByAmazon < < < Highlight to tweet