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Sat Oct 6 2018 10:22:21

Amazon Incident Highlights Seller Hunger to Talk to Buyers

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon buyers say they received a notice about an inappropriate disclosure of their email addresses,* but not through a hack or software vulnerability - rather, through an employee who allegedly disclosed information to a third-party seller in violation of Amazon's policies. 

Posters on Reddit said they received the following letter:

Hello,
We are writing to let you know that your email address was disclosed by an Amazon employee to a third-party seller on our website in violation of our policies. As a result, the employee has been terminated and we are supporting law enforcement in their prosecution. The third-party seller has been blocked from selling on our website. No other information related to your account was shared.
This is not a result of anything you have done, and there is no need for you to take any action.
Thank you,
Amazon Customer Service

Amazon takes great care to prevent sellers from communicating directly with customers even after a purchase, to the frustration of sellers who wish to urge buyers to leave them feedback and product reviews, which can give them a competitive advantage that translates into greater sales revenue.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was allegedly investigating reports of bribery used by sellers to obtain confidential data. It isn't clear if the latest incident is related to that report.

Gizmodo said Amazon did not provide it with details about the alleged incident, nor would it address whether the affected customers were customers of the seller.

A reader said in a comment to the Gizmodo story what some sellers may be thinking: "sellers should have had access to customer emails in the Amazon ecosystem."

It's worth noting that as eBay moves in the direction of becoming a payments intermediary, its sellers may find themselves similarly restricted.

*Updated 10/6/18 after receiving clarification from an Amazon spokesperson.



Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: eBay Shill Buster This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 6 13:23:02 2018

Amazon also has a theft ring operational within their distribution centers that is stealing Billions of dollars of FBA inventory as it comes in.

They allow criminals to destroy sellers who have put in years of work, some of those criminals are working on the inside for Amazon.

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 6 15:18:46 2018

Wait..so a amazon rep gave a seller the email of their buyer?

Or did the rep give some other seller thr buyers ingo?

I feel its a sellers right to have their buyers email and other contact info

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 6 17:09:39 2018

Amazon put buyers email addresses on lock-down almost a decade ago and it's been a pain in the ass ever since. They don't want you to have any contact at all outside of their own "messaging" service and would prefer to let the buyer "think" they are buying from Amazon and not a third party seller.
We started putting removable stickers on every item purchased and shipped from all marketplaces that state if there is a problem they need to contact us directly through OUR phone support our OUR email address and not to use the messaging service of any marketplace.

So far 90% of the people who have post sale questions or problems either call us directly or email us directly.

You get a few "troublemakers/scammers" who completely ignore it but for the most part I would call it a success.  

The ones that ignore the stickers and our requests were going to be a problem no matter what..  But someone with a legitimate issue that we can correct or legitimate questions we can answer well that's one less metrics ding we don't have to deal with.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 6 17:58:53 2018

lol, on Amazon it is always their customer, until they think there is a problem and then its ''YOUR customer has a problem''

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sat Oct 6 18:34:16 2018

I recently received an email from someone I bought from on Amazon, BEGGING me to leave feedback. I didn't answer it and I got SIX more requests to leave feedback.
I thought it was a little strange, never happened before.....

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by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 6 19:28:38 2018

Feedback is crucial to Amazon sellers. I leave FB for all of my purchases, but sometimes it takes a few weeks to get to it. One I find myself sitting and waiting at an airport, or a sleepless night I will do pages of FB to get caught up. I NEVER leave product reviews though because once you do that you get tonnes of spam. As for selling, I have those business cards that you can get for $25 a box with all contact info, website etc. Did magnetic ones for a while too. I suggest you do the same, include a card in every package.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Oct 6 23:10:53 2018

I just had the first problem ever with an item from a 3P seller on Amazon. An item I ordered was missing a piece, which was obviously a manufacturer defect as it was still in the packaging from the manufacturer. I sent a message with a photo through Amazon's messaging system, and got the notice that it could take two days to hear from the seller. I would have been really nice if I could have communicated directly with the seller, and hope every message between us doesn't take two days to be delivered.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 7 12:06:30 2018

interesting article since bribery is not unheard of on Amazon hence I never sold there

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Oct 8 01:15:25 2018

While these companies keep trying to find ways to keep buyers and sellers communicating, find ways to charge unnecessary fees, etc. I think back to the first 8 years of my online selling. I was making really good money. As more and more rules got dumped on us, and more sellers came on board, many of them scammers from overseas so more competition for each dollar my net income keeps falling. And no I'm not doing everything the same old way.  I wonder how many other sellers could see the same stats that from 2000-2010 they were making better money than they have over the last 2011-2018? Perhaps it is just me. But sellers are frumpier, poorer and having a harder time earning a living and the 'venues' don't seem to realize that those rules that they keep making are part of fewer sales. Being as much of a venues money comes from FVF and/or listing fees these companies are missing the point that the harder it is for us to make money the harder it is for them to make the money they want to. We all did better when the CEOs of eBay did get paid $250K 2x a month to have thinking days. For that kind of money, I would think for a year or two or three, but these CEOs seem to think they are entitled to oodles of money with no real work on their part. A person can work full time selling online and still not have enough made to take a day or two off. I don't know what Wenig's favorite way to waste money while supposedly working but DH was horrific and this newer one seems even worse. They have their priorities turned around and upside down. If the workers and sellers are making money then they will and they won't need to do things like charge for TL. I would love to be able to communicate directly with my customers. Oh, I do, on eCRATER!

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 8 02:13:33 2018

@moonwhishes  What you have seen, so have I. The constant downhill spiral of income. eBay flourished when it had an open search engine. It was the biggest and the best company out there. Then Wall Street got involved, and it became all about imports, moving money and data offshore, and has went downhill as a selling market  for US sellers.  

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by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 8 06:38:26 2018

free enterprise is being taken away from sellers by these mobsters.  

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by: tiastreasures This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Oct 8 13:20:04 2018

I include a packing slip with every order I ship that includes my contact information.  A few times I have been contacted by a buyer with a question.  Does no harm and violates no rules.  



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