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Dirty Tricks Pulled by Amazon Sellers… on Other Amazon Sellers

By Alex Knight

A growing number of unethical Amazon sellers are abusing the system to take down their competitors. Here’s how they do it.

Dirty Tricks Pulled by Amazon Sellers… on Other Amazon Sellers

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William E. Raab

Great article. The only thing I would do differently would be to employ someone, or possibly just simply use a grammar correcting program. There are some wording mistakes in the article, especially in the use of ‘underhand’. Underhand means to throw an object very much in the way a softball is thrown. ‘Underhanded’ means in a deceptive way. Otherwise, it was a great article, keep up the good work.

Andy Geldman

Replying to William E. Raab

Thanks William. I disagree with you on “underhand”, and so does the dictionary. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/underhand

Ryan Simmons

Replying to Andy Geldman

It’s an optional complaint for redress at best. The option to keep it limited to ones opinion should have been exercised as the point was made with the same intention as it was given. One must conclude that they know what they are reading to eliminate confusion when they perceive it. At no point, did I feel you changed topics from Amazon sellers dirty tricks to Amazon sellers dirty softball team. Proper English is imperative to our communication, but pausing communication to criticize proper English will prove catastrophic. Even with a liberal and more forgiving approach, it would indefinitely cripple… Read more »

Whitney

Replying to Ryan Simmons

Daniel and Amber Foote of Sosa games purposely use family members and friends of theirs to do stealth purchases on their competition and then they report the competition for selling fake items or they just completely demolished the item and send it back for a complete refund and leaving negative feedback saying that the item didn’t work when they received it when in fact they destroyed it when they got it just so they can leave your negative feedback they destroyed my store on Amazon by doing this to me. And they’ve done it to others check out the badbuyerlist… Read more »

Joe

Replying to William E. Raab

Oh please, nobody cares if there are any minor errors or not. It’s about the content of the article.

Stop the grammar policing.

Eddie

Replying to Joe

Agreed, Joe.

Kathryn

Replying to William E. Raab

William, Are you serious?

Mark Hetherington

The counterfeit switch is EXACTLY what happened to me on Amazon, three years ago now. I had a healthy business with a six-figure turnover selling batteries for phone, cameras etc. but I started to receive negative feedbacks on a regular basis, one a week at first, then every other day, then two or three a day, stating that the items either had not arrived or were counterfeit. I knew something wasn’t right because I had been selling these for over two years, thousands every month, and averaged one neg feedback every three months. It was also slightly odd in that… Read more »

Pia

Replying to Mark Hetherington

Mark, Your story is heartbreaking. It is also a very real possibility for any Seller. Have you considered posting your informationi as a blog that will be indexed to search engines? Others should be made aware of Amazon’s actions and/or lack thereof in your case. What you described is a clear manipulation of the Amazon platform and sound reason for Amazon to take action. Public awareness of Amazon’s handling of your matter and failure to properly compensate and reimburse you for your merchandise is vitally important. I’d enjoy communicating with you on this matter. How can I get in touch… Read more »

Ryan Simmons

Replying to Mark Hetherington

Mark, This is very similar to my story of working for Amazon. They have attempted to manipulate every angle of facts and offer no supporting evidence to their conclusions that always see me as out of luck, to where I am now, which is out of money. I’m losing everything as we speak due to Amazon not initiating payments to my account. Instead, they continue to lie to me daily stating that it will take 3-5 days for disbursement of funds to be made available in my account. That is why I am here. To hopefully find a solution instead… Read more »

Robin Nicholas

Just deal with buyers in your own country and verify addresses. When one of them tries to scam you, turn up at his/hers address and front them up.
If you do it right, you should get your money back, an apology and out of pocket expenses.
DON’T LET AMAZON BULLY YOU! REMEMBER THEY DON’T WANT BAD PUBLICITY.

Joni McDonald

Replying to Robin Nicholas

Robin, that’s an interesting idea. It would be awesome to confront face-to-face with an unethical seller. But, what do you mean, specifically, when you say “If you do it right”? How do I do this right?

Mark Hetherington

It doesn’t work like that unfortunately. You can’t verify addresses if you have dozens of orders going out every day, It’s not practical or even physically possible within the time you have available to do so. Apart from that, if they are being sent by Amazon’s FBA service you don’t have the chance to cancel them, and you certainly can’t spend your time driving around the country investigating several addresses every day and you don’t know it’s a scammer until something happens, i.e. a negative feedback or claim. On top of that many of them were false address anyway, items… Read more »

David B.

Alas, doing business on Amazon is truly a two-edged sword: hugely rewarding, potentially, yet very precarious, with little to no avenue for redressing injustices. The bottom line is that, with as many 3P sellers as they have, they simply don’t care. You are but a single pebble in a quarry of seller accounts – not worth their time! It is, therefore, my advice to always take as much profit off the table as possible; keep as little inventory in FBA as possible, and run as lean an inventory management system as you can. Also, diversify as quickly as possible. All… Read more »

Steve

Amazon needs to do a better job at providing relief from scammers. They’re so good with algorithms surely they can configure a few to protect sellers better…

Mark Hetherington

Yes, absolutely. It’s long been a complaint of mine that they don’t do enough. It’s all part of cybercrime which is a huge industry now. Shoplifters would be prosecuted so why not people who are trying to scam you on ebay, amazon etc? I believe that pat of the reason it has become such as big problem is that sellers are an easy target and there is little to no chance of prosecution. On amazon you have virtually no information on the buyer and are effectively sending everything out on trust, while on ebay you do have a little more… Read more »

Steve

Replying to Mark Hetherington

Thank you! So the only way eBay/AZ will change is if it impacts their bottom line. Cyber crime could include fines for doing nothing about it. I don’t like feds in our Internet but they did create it and to leave it as the wild west can surely hurt many many small mom and pop sellers just trying to get by. Perhaps a serious competitor that takes seller security seriously would be a rather big wake up call. Thank you again for your earlier response, Mark.

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Steve

Yes, that sums it up completely Steve, unless their profits were hurt they will never be particularly interested.

The reason they always find in favour of the buyer in disputes isn’t incompetence, it’s actually a very clever business ploy. Keep the buyers happy and they will come back to your site. A few sellers might lose out here and there but it’s not your money (as the site owner) that is taking the hit, it’s the sellers. It’s win-win for you, no losses in a dispute and the buyer comes back and buys more.

Lynne Norris

Replying to Mark Hetherington

I think individual sellers are a burden to Amazon at this point. They have WalMart and the other box stores selling on their platform, and Amazon’s main interest lies in becoming so big that they swallow them up in the storm. So the independent seller is just in the way.

Lynne Norris

Replying to Mark Hetherington

It’s time to verify everything you do. Whether you have the time or not. Watch who you sell to. Dont sell to those accounts that have letters & symbols for names & next to no feedback, who just sold 150 items and they just set up their account 2 days ago. Video your order fulfillment, and require a signature on every item you send. FedEx, et al are using GPS to verify where they left packages these days; I guess they are getting hit by the scammers, too. When they claim an item wasnt received, or the box was empty,… Read more »

Mark Hetherington

Replying to Lynne Norris

Unfortunately you’re a long way off the mark and with all due respect you are showing your naivety there. If it was that easy the problem would have been eradicated years ago. First of all, if you are selling hundreds of small or low value items every week on Amazon it is a physical impossibility to check every single order, even if you worked 24 hours a day. Those items don’t make enough profit to hire staff to cover that sort of thing and even if you had the resources it would still be a near impossible task. As for… Read more »

Lynne Norris

Replying to Mark Hetherington

So, you dont think that just the idea that a seller had that much documentation of a sale, or just the suggestion that a package could be tracked to their door w/proof of signature (who would sign for an opened box?) or that a police report might be filed, etc., wouldnt be enough to deter many would-be scammers? Sure, there are always those out there who are set on scamming you, but I think these ideas would go a long way in deterring many scams. I know Im naive, but I know it has deterred at least a few scammers… Read more »

CL

Replying to Mark Hetherington

As far as eBay (I don’t sell on Amazon), I’ve discovered something that’s had success for me … mostly out of irritation at the bogus returns. I sell cosmetics, with a no return policy. As opposed to just agreeing to accepting a return, I reiterate that my terms were in writing and they agreed to that by their bid and eBay’s TOS. We all know no one reads the TOS. In my case I have a valid reason for not accepting any return due to hygiene. I do let them know that they can try doing something through eBay’s program,… Read more »

Pia

Replying to CL

Thank you for your comments regarding your process for discouraging bogus eBay returns for beauty products. Would you mind sharing the terminology that you post to the listing that defines your return policy?

Mark Hetherington

Sure, I understand where you are coming from but for claims for items not received, it’s not a major issue except for small, cheap items that are too cheap to send tracked. The “penny” scammers as I call them are more of a nuisance but are not costing you a great deal of money in the greater scheme of things, and you have to look at it as you would with a retail store, you’re always going to get a few shoplifters no matter what you do. For tracked items you’re fairly well covered. But if somebody wants to claim… Read more »

Gary Sardena

Replying to Mark Hetherington

Is there no responsibility with the courier or driver ?
They are not to blame, but surely they can put into writing that they do not deliver and make people sign for empty or damaged boxes.

Ed rosenberg

great article. One point, you mentioned a DMCA claim. I believe that will only work on copyright claims, not trademark or patent

Christopher McCabe

Yes, not trademark claims, but copyright claims. Disputes can be countered in a few different ways, depending on the kinds of complaints and the resulting clarification by the right’s owner of the specific rights infringed upon.

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