Amazon Pay suspended the accounts of iOffer sellers after an anti-counterfeiting group waged a coordinated campaign against the marketplace.
Earlier this month we reported iOffer had gone offline
for a week followed by reports that it lost listings. Five days later, the International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) issued a press release stating that along with payment industry partners, it had "disrupted the sale of dangerous counterfeits sold on iOffer."
The IACC press release stated
, "The popular online marketplace temporarily shut down its website after the partners took steps to stop payment processing on the site. iOffer has been a tremendous point of frustration for brands and the IP community. Counterfeit goods were easily found across the site, putting well intentioned shoppers at risk of buying fake goods."
The incident is a reminder that actions sellers may have taken years ago and that they might not even remember, can cause them headaches today. In 2008
, iOffer began allowing merchants to offer Amazon Pay (or Amazon Payments, as it was called at the time) as a payment method for sales on iOffer. And in 2015, iOffer updated its instructions to sellers on how to integrate with Amazon Payments
On Sunday, a seller tweeted a message to iOffer
containing the message they'd received from Amazon Pay: "We have closed your Amazon Pay account canceled any pending transactions and placed a temporary on your account. Any new accounts you open will be closed. We took these actions because the website http://www.ioffer.com may be in violation of our Acceptable Use Policy." (2:05 PM - 31 Mar 2019)
Another seller shared with EcommerceBytes the notice Amazon Pay had sent him when it suspended his account last week. "I have been inactive on iOffer over a year and was stilled banned because "iOffer is known for selling counterfeits,"" he said, "though I only sell genuine items and have never been accused of selling a counterfeit. Thinking the email could be a phishing attempt I went to Amazon website directly by tying it in the browser and sure enough my account was "deactivated" with an opportunity to appeal."
Here's the message he received from Amazon:
"We have closed your Amazon Pay account, canceled any pending transactions, and placed a temporary hold on any funds in your account. Any new accounts you open will be closed. We took these actions because your website www.ioffer.com may be in violation of our Acceptable Use Policy. This policy prohibits the sale of counterfeit goods. To learn more about this policy, click the "User Agreement/Policies" link at the bottom of the Amazon Pay site and then click "Acceptable Use Policy" (http://pay.amazon.com/us). We encourage you to take appropriate steps to resolve any pending orders.
"Note that any amounts paid as a result of A-to-z Guarantee claims and chargebacks may be deducted from your account. After 90 days the hold will be removed and any remaining funds will be available for withdrawal.
"If you have questions about your funds, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to appeal this decision, click the "Appeal" button on the "Notifications" page in the "Performance" section of your Seller Central account."
Whoever is behind the iOffer Twitter account refers to the February downtime as "maintenance" and as recently as March 27 made the following suggestion
"If an item is unavailable or you are unable to see any items in your watch list, it’s likely the item has been removed or the seller is no longer active on http://iOffer.com . Please search http://ioffer.com for the same or similar item from another seller." (3:41 PM - 27 Mar 2019).
According to the IACC, it had gathered input from its brand members and worked with its payment partners to address the sale of counterfeits on the iOffer marketplace with the help of a program called RogueBlock, describing it as follows:
"RogueBlock, the IACC's payment processor initiative, is a collaborative effort of the IACC and the payment industry to create a streamlined, simplified procedure for members to report online sellers of counterfeit or pirated goods directly to credit card and financial services companies. With a goal of facilitating prompt action against counterfeiters' merchant accounts and diminishing the ability of such sellers to profit from their illicit sales, the RogueBlock program offers members a cost-efficient tool for IP enforcement. To date, the program has terminated over 5,000 individual counterfeiters' merchant accounts, which has impacted over 200,000 websites."
IACC specifically mentioned Mastercard in its press release about iOffer, but we don't know if Amazon is a member of its RogueBlock program or joined the bandwagon against iOffer sellers after the crackdown.
Let us know if you've been impacted and how.