|Thu Sept 18 2014 11:11:55|
Warning to Media Sellers: Amazon Restricts Sale of DVDs
By: Ina Steiner
If you sell DVDs, be aware of a new restriction from Amazon - and even if you sell DVDs on other marketplaces, you may be impacted, since Amazon media sellers may look to other channels to unload inventory, possibly driving down prices.
Amazon is restricting the sale of DVDs with Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) of $25 or greater to pre-approved sellers only. That said, Amazon had already been restricting certain titles as we noted 2 years ago.
Interestingly Amazon's own titles are impacted by the policy. It produces original series for its Amazon Prime streaming service that it also makes available on DVD, such as this listing for Alpha House Season 1 that has a list price of $39.99.
Here's the letter Amazon sent sellers this week:
Hello from Amazon,
Please read this email carefully, as the listing restriction described below may affect your ability to sell DVDs.
As part of our ongoing efforts to provide a great shopping experience, beginning November 17, 2014, only approved sellers will be eligible to list DVDs with Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Prices (MSRP) of $25 or greater. We are implementing this restriction because these products may have a higher risk of authenticity issues.
Based on your current performance, you are eligible to apply to sell DVDs with MSRPs of $25 or greater. The application process is described below. You will not be eligible to list DVDs with MSRPs of $25 or greater after November 17 unless your application is approved. Your eligibility to list DVDs with MSRPs of less than $25 or Blu-rays is not affected by this restriction.
Any listings by unapproved sellers for DVDs with MSRPs of $25 or greater will be removed on November 16, 2014. Relisting products you are not approved to sell or creating duplicate listings may result in the immediate suspension or removal of your selling privileges.
To begin an application, click here:
If you apply and you do not have an account with a Professional selling plan, you must agree to sign up for a Professional selling plan within 30 days after your application is approved. A Seller Support associate will follow-up to request additional information to complete your application. At that time, you will need to provide the following to the Seller Support associate:
1) Your primary source(s) of inventory
2) A minimum of three (3) invoices or purchase orders for inventory with MSRP greater than $25 that you plan to sell
3) A written summary of processes you have in place to prevent inauthentic goods from entering your inventory
Your application will be evaluated based on the information you supply.
If you use Fulfillment by Amazon, you will need to create a removal or disposal order for any DVD products you have not been approved to sell after November 17. We will waive fees for any removal or disposal order for these products starting now through January 16, 2015. For assistance creating a removal or disposal order, please review this Help page.
Note that removal or disposal orders received in the fourth quarter may require additional processing time.
As a reminder, sellers are responsible for ensuring the quality of their products and should carefully review all sources of inventory. For more information, see our policies.
Customers trust they can always buy with confidence on Amazon.com, and this listing restriction is intended to help preserve that trust. Seller feedback is important to us. You can provide feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
To complete a preliminary application, please click the link below.
Thank you for selling on Amazon.
An Amazon moderator confirmed on the discussion boards that Amazon would notify all DVD sellers - "The communication will be sent to the email on file in your Seller account."
Amazon pointed to issues of authenticity and linked to its counterfeit policy. Some sellers were skeptical about the reason for the new restriction. "I do not see the point of the $25 MSRP. Asian counterfeit movies start at all prices. I think it's a ploy to eliminate the Amazon competition of new movies being sold under the MSRP," one seller wrote on the Amazon forums and warned, "Do not ever try and sell lower than Amazon,it could get you suspended."
A number of others said they sell their personal collection only. "They are simply eliminating small sellers like us who simply sell from our own personal collection. They could have eliminated bootlegs with a more efficient manner but instead they decide to screw people who have been loyal to Amazon like me."
But other sellers were not concerned. "I don't think this new requirement will negatively impact any legitimate vendors. Merchants and individuals who can validate their sources and ensure that they are diligent about only selling licensed video products will continue to operate as they have been. The $25 MSRP is the threshold for First release, special package, Deluxe, Blu-Ray with extras, etc. Those are the big cash and profit generators during the Christmas Buying season. So that's the set of products that the studios and copyright owners are most focused on protecting."
Sellers who use FBA will have to remove them from Amazon's warehouses. They have a tough choice: have Amazon dispose of them or pay the shipping costs to send them someplace else. (Amazon is waiving its fees for any removal or disposal order for products in their FBA warehouses.)
Whether they store their DVD inventory at Amazon or elsewhere, sellers with stock who are not approved to sell them on Amazon will have to figure out how to sell their inventory in another channel. Let us know if this impacts you!