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Jewelry Sellers on Amazon.com Facing Intense Scrutiny

Jewelry sellers on the Amazon.com marketplace have been finding their businesses under greater scrutiny for at least the last months of 2013. Some forum discussions by Amazon sellers indicate the company is actively seeking to stop potential problems with items being sold that don’t match their descriptions.

At issue currently are the requirements of jewelry sellers to adhere to selling authentic items. The forum discussion in question looked at how one seller of sterling silver jewelry picked up an October 2013 suspension, reportedly over “detail pages” not matching the items being listed on them.

It appears Amazon did provide some early warning about the review of jewelry sellers that took place, in the form of a letter about the Quality Assurance program sellers must follow to participate on Amazon. The suspended seller in question later posted that Amazon had some of the seller’s jewelry tested, and found the items weren’t 92.5 percent sterling as Amazon requires per US law.

However, it should not be surprising to learn of issues with imported sterling silver – problems were being reported back in June 2012; these items arrived listed as sterling but lacking the level of purity legally required in the US to label them as sterling.

Jewelry is already a restricted category on Amazon.com: it limits the addition of new sellers in the Jewelry category “to ensure that customers are able to buy with confidence from all sellers on Amazon.com,” and a notice on the marketplace help pages states the company is not reviewing new seller applications in the Jewelry category at this time.

The suspended seller reported this month that after undergoing the steps required by Amazon, he has been reinstated to sell. His tale provides a level of caution sellers must adhere to when selling imported merchandise, as those sellers and not their overseas suppliers will be the ones facing the consequences if all that glitters isn’t gold, or sterling silver, as defined by the law.

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.