What are Amazon Hijacking Listings?
Hijackers come in several forms. There are those who are using your listing details to sell fake or counterfeit versions of your listed product. Many of these in recent times have been from Chinese companies that have simply tried to steal the concept and produce inferior copies made from lower quality material and processes that they try to sell at the price you are charging fora better quality product.
They might hijack Amazon listing after listing without any consideration. There are those who are selling a different product but have decided to use your listing as it makes it easier for them to list. In this way, they will be able to get sales of products, even if they are not the same as the listing. And there are some who may simply have got hold of some product that is the same and has figured that they will use your hard work to get the buyer box and sell it at a lower price to make some money.
How does Amazon Hijacking harm your product listings?
Any of these scenarios will damage your listing. They will impact your sales, and if somebody else does get the buyer box then your sales levels could be greatly impacted. Plus, if for some reason people buy an inferior product from another seller thinking they are in fact purchasing from you they may leave a negative review against your listing.
Consider ways that you are able to use Amazon brand protection as you have worked hard to get your listing right and you should not allow others to take advantage of this to sell their products.
Ways to reduce your chance of being hijacked
Amazon Brand Registry
The Amazon Brand Registry allows you to register for each product ASIN a unique model number and manufacturing number. You will need to be given the approval to do this by Amazon and you are able to speak with Amazon listing help to clarify what you should do. You are able to input the information through the Seller Central control panel or speak to an Amazon contact to help you.
This will be particularly relevant if you are a manufacturer of a product, the owner of a private label looking for Amazon brand protection, the producer of your own branded products, a person who is creating specialist customized products or hand-made products, or a licensed distributor of a product who has sole distribution rights for Amazon. By having your product on the Amazon Brand Registry you also prevent anybody else from being able to make any changes to your product listing.
Differentiate your product or packaging
If you have established yourself, developed a highly effective listing that brings sales, and you are looking to ensure you have some protection, then consider branding your products. By differentiating your product or the packaging it comes in you are making it much harder to hijack your listing. If you develop a logo then consider trademarking it. The manufacturer could be willing to assist you with adding your logo to the product or the packaging as part of their manufacturing process. It could also be part of your longer-term business development strategy. By also printing your UPC code inconspicuously on your product and by having it on the packaging you ensure that anyone receiving your product can be confident they are receiving a legitimate item.
Create a website with your brand name in the URL
If you are happy with your brand name, your logo, and packaging then consider establishing a website for your business. You could list the brand name in the URL. Of course, it might be a more effective strategy to check as part of choosing your business name that the domain is available. By having your brand name on the Internet you are increasing your market presence, making it easier for people to find you. You are then able to make a listing on your website of the products using your best sales copy. Initially, you might link it to your Amazon listing but there might be an opportunity in the future to consider a different approach to running your business if you are enjoying success.
Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging
Amazon created an initiative to reduce the amount of packaging that is being used on products. The intention was to reduce the level of frustration that a buyer might feel when they receive an item that is heavily over packaged. It is obviously important to ensure that products arrive in good condition but at the same time, it is important to not overdo the packaging. You are able to become a certified FFP seller and your product is labeled as this. By having the UPC code for your product printed on your packaging you are able to add another layer of complexity for a would-be hijacker.
Take screenshots of your Amazon listing page
Take a screenshot of your completed or updated Amazon listing page. Speak to Amazon listing help if you want any assistance with your listing as well. It is important to ensure that your listing is not being changed by an unauthorized person. If you need to you are then able to change the listing back to its correct form. Your listing is copyrighted material and permission has to beseek for it to be used or changed in any way. By having screenshots of the original listing with suitable dates will confirm that you were the creator of the listing if you need this when contacting Amazon.
How to respond to Amazon Listing Hijacking?
Contacting the Hijackers
You will need to use your seller account details on Amazon to send a cease and desist letter to the vendor. You need to clearly identify that you are aware of what they are doing and that they must stop. Examples of these are available through doing an online search. The letter needs to be worded appropriately and should clearly state that you will be taking action against their account unless they cease their activity. You must request them to provide evidence that they are selling legitimately or else remove their listing within 48 hours to prevent further action against them being commenced.
Making a Buyer’s Complaint with Amazon
If you have gone through the above process and you did not receive a response from the hijacker, and they did not take their listing down, then you need to undertake the next step in the process. This process is to give you the ability to prove to Amazon that the hijacker has not listed their product correctly onAmazon, or that they are selling a product that does not match the description, or they are selling a counterfeit product.
To do this you need to make a Test Buy. You need to have registered a buyer account on Amazon. Make the details on the buyer account different to those in your seller account so that the hijacker does not recognize who you are. You are able to then make an order and then when you receive the product you will be able to verify if it is genuine or not.
It is important to document thoroughly the process of receiving and opening the product with clear photos. These photos will play a very important part of any contact you have with Amazon.
If the product does not match the description or is a forgery, you are then able to contact Amazon Seller Performance and lodge a complaint from your Amazon buyer account. In this way, the seller will have Amazon contact them.
You will need to provide:
- The ASIN/ISBN of the page for the item as well as the correct product title.
- The full and correct name of the store or seller that you are reporting.
- Order ID from the order that you made for the Test Buy.
- Photos of the item(s) you received in the Test Buy showing that the item did not match the description.
- A list confirming how the Test Buy item is different from the listing (which should be linked to the photos).
- A list of dot points stating the details of the complaint against the seller because the item is not as described.
Email templates for contacting the Amazon seller who hijacks your listing:
We noticed that you are not an authorized online retailer for XXXXXX brand products and you have listed this particular item, ASIN XXXXXXXX, which is sold exclusively by us, XXXXXX.
As you may be aware, the unauthorized selling of XXXXXX products is an illegal action that seriously infringesTrademark Laws of the United States. As the Trademark owner, we did not sell you, nor authorize you to sell any XXXXXX branded products. While doing so you are violating USPTO laws and Amazon’s policy against IP infringement. Amazon Terms of Service: Amazon does not allow the unauthorized selling of products as it makes Amazon liable for allowing copyright and trademark infringement. In addition, products sold under a listing must match that listing EXACTLY.
Amazon Terms of Service: When listing items for sale using an existing product detail page, the product being offered must be listed on a product detail page that accurately describes the product in all respects, including with respect to the following attributes: manufacturer, edition, binding, version, format, or player compatibility. Sellers may not match their item to a detail page with a different ISBN, PC, EAN, or other external identifier.
We kindly request that you follow our instructions:
a) Remove your offers for ASIN XXXXXX from all product pages on Amazon.com within 48 hours, and do not use these, or other XXXXXX list items on product pages in the future.
b) Send us confirmation after you have removed the previously stated products and listings.
If you do not comply with these demands, we will commence further action. This includes filing an official claim with the amazon.com Seller Performance Department, which will seriously impact yourAmazon performance metrics. We will also take legal action against you and your company for Trademark Infringement on our products.
If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (XXX) XXX-XXXX
Steps to Contact Amazon when suffering from hijacking
It is important to get to the Amazon contact line to advise them of a hijacking. You are also able to send an email which lists all of the details of what has happened including:
- the date you noticed something wrong
- the date when you started selling the product
- any screenshots to show what has changed
- any correspondence you have had with the hijacker
- any customer photos of inferior products
It is important to try to make the job of the Amazon listing help team easier so they are able to give you good customer service and support your perspective on the matter. You are also able to make a call to follow up on your email and identify if more information is needed. Ensure that you are dealing with them with courtesy and respect as they are not personally responsible for the situation and will be going through a process to manage your contact.
Amazon Buyer Complaint Letter Template:
I am writing to advise you that I have recently purchased an item from an Amazon supplier that did not match the description of the product.
I wish to make a complaint about this seller and I would like my complaint to be investigated to ensure that they are not selling the same product to other Amazon clients.
I have attached for your information:
Name of Store/Seller:
I am providing photos of the item that I have received. The item was different from the listed item in the following ways:
1. aaaaa (refer to Photo 1)
2. bbbbb (refer to Photo2)
3. ccccc (refer to Photo 3)
4. ddddd (refer to Photo 4)
I am listing a complaint as the seller:
1. provided me with a product that did not match the product description
2. provided me with a product which was of lesser quality than the product in the description
3. provided me with a product which was counterfeit
4. provided me with a product that was not of suitable quality
5. misled me in their Amazon listing
Hijackers are one of the unfortunate realities of Amazon. They will hijack Amazon listing after Amazon listing as it is their way of making money. It is an attack on your hard work and it may not be easy to get rid of a hijacker but it is worthwhile to stop them. Protect your listing as much as possible and they could leave you alone. But be vigilant so that you do not lose money. Amazon continues to be a competitive but lucrative marketplace where you are able to make a good living with the right approach.