Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Nov 27 2013 21:31:14

Amazon Gives Sellers a Fright with Counterfeit Warnings

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers of DVDs got a fright when they received a warning email from Amazon on Tuesday, and though some were relieved to learn it was a mass mailing rather than an individual warning about a violation, others expressed concern over possible ramifications.

The text of the email ran as follows:

Hello from Amazon Services,
Customers trust that they can always buy with confidence on Amazon.com. Maintaining a trusted marketplace benefits both our customers and sellers. To preserve this trust, we vigorously enforce our policies against the sale of inauthentic products, and we would like to remind all sellers of DVD products that Amazon prohibits the sale of the following:

-Counterfeit products

- Recordings not authorized by the copyright holder

- Recopied media in any form

We strongly advise sellers of DVD products to purchase their inventory only from known and trustworthy sources. Each seller is responsible for performing due diligence on their inventory sources and ensuring they only sell authentic products. Sellers should be especially cautious if purchasing inventory from sources with which they do not have an ongoing business relationship.
We would like to remind you that the sale of inauthentic products may result in the suspension or removal of your selling privileges even if you have no prior knowledge of the infringing activity.
More information on this topic can be found in the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=201166010">Amazon Anti-Counterfeiting Policy</a> and in seller Help by searching on "condition guidelines."
Regards
Amazon Services


Discussions about the warning email popped up on the Amazon boards. "Okay, like others here, I'm glad to see this seems to be a notification e-mail, and not an accusation of such," wrote one seller. "I've not many DVDs, but I know that they all came from either the publisher itself, or a place known for distributing their items."

Others discussed whether it would be okay to continue sourcing DVDs from library sales, yard sales, thrift stores and the like.

In response to a seller who asked, "Does this email mean they want us to stop sourcing used DVD's," another responded, "Sellers can put away their price scanners. Garage sales, thrift stores and swap meets are now no-nos as far as Amazon is concerned."

Amazon DVD sellers have been targeted by manufacturers and brands, including Warner Bros., which has been aggressive in targeting Amazon sellers and charging them with copyright infringement, actions purportedly designed to target counterfeiters. (At least one manufacturer sued Amazon directly.)

Amazon also sends individual warnings to sellers, such as one received by a seller last week with the subject line, "Important information about your listings on Amazon.com."

The email stated in part, "In order to preserve customer trust, we have implemented listing restrictions on certain Cell Phones and Accessories, MP3 players and Accessories, Car Electronics and GPS items that are considered to be at risk of being counterfeited. Your listings for the following ASIN(s) are among those that are being removed within 30 days as a result of this policy. Accordingly, you are no longer able to replenish your FBA inventory for these ASIN(s). However, for the next 30 days, you can continue to sell any remaining inventory of these ASINs already in Amazon fulfillment centers. You can also request the removal of your existing inventory, in which case, we will reimburse your removal fees. There is no penalty for this removal, but we ask that you refrain from relisting removed products."

The email provided the seller with an email address to seek pre-approval to sell the products. But sellers who seek permission must include information about their suppliers, including name, address and contact information, as well as invoices, purchase orders or other documents showing that they obtained their inventory from trustworthy sources. "You may obscure pricing information on any purchase orders, receipts, or invoices you send. We ask that you do not obscure any other portion of these documents."

We've sent an inquiry to Amazon for comment about DVD mailing to sellers and will update upon receiving a response.




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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 27 22:57:30 2013

eBAY and Amazon keep their sellers running scared, makes them jump through higher hoops , good doggie!

Perminate Link for Amazon Gives Sellers a Fright with Counterfeit Warnings   Amazon Gives Sellers a Fright with Counterfeit Warnings

by: Xander This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 28 00:27:23 2013

These venues want to make money off your time and product investments but are very concerned about their liability.

Whats that you say? Loss is part of doing business? Yes, the sellers loss but not the venue... now get back in line you lowly seller.

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by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 29 00:02:48 2013

Sounds like Amazon wants to keep expanding it's Prime feature by way of streaming content.

Why not indirectly force sellers to reduce sales of media?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Fri Nov 29 08:22:58 2013

Who wants to sell counterfeit DVDs?

Unless you are only dealing in that commodity and maybe an ersatz Rolex or 2 (PS I can get you an Oyster for $20USD) it is a no brainer.

As far as conspiracies to enslave the unshaved, unwashed masses - sounds good in theory, but like most conspiracies, government/business/religious/Commies/Preppers the logic used is always back-asswards and impossible to validate.

I got the e-mail & after a minute carefully reading it, I thought it was a good thing, pro-active, clear and concise. Contrast that with some of eBay's missives put out by their "trust-me" department.

Happy tryptofan recovery day.

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 29 09:01:25 2013

Third party sellers are getting more and more restrictions.
Think maybe it will end up that third party sellers can only deal in used goods. They already have that in place in certain categories or brand names. Then it will look like a flea market and we all know how ballistic ebay went when the reference to ''flea market'' was used. Will Amazon follow?????? Amazon already has a no appeal in place.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 29 10:05:55 2013

@ Al G

Agree.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Fri Nov 29 10:43:27 2013

@Al G - Exactly.

Anyone selling on Amazon is directly benefitting from their superb reputation - the best, in fact, of any ecommerce site.  

But it has become increasingly apparent that counterfeit items are showing up - and this is a VERY big deal.  Liability, sure, but the real issue is TRUST.  If Amazon loses buyer's trust, it will take 10x more effort to regain it.

I recently had to buy a couple of high capacity SD cards and the reviews were FULL of buyers screaming that the items were fake chinese ripoffs that did not work properly.  But the worst part was how many comments were many months old wth follow-ups insisting that Amazon was informed and did nothing.

I had to pay a few dollars more and follow the reviewer's advice to only buy SD cards in original retail packaging and return any SD card sent in any other way.  I also ignored all 3rd party sellers.

In fact, my only problems on Amazon has been with 3rd party marketplace sellers, and I go out of my way to avoid them.

So, as a buyer, I think this move is critical if Amazon is to remain on top as the most trustworthy ecommerce site.  

But for it's 3rd party sellers, if Amazon doesn't get a handle on this growing problem, no one will want to buy from you.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 29 10:51:01 2013

At least the "polite email" is better then how eBay handles VERO issues, so as far as Im concerned - its all good.

I dont sell in those categories (beyond the occasional selling my own older dvd when I upgrade to a Blueray disc) so Im not directly efectted.

I do know though (based on eBay's and my entanglements with VERO and accusations of counterfeit)(idiots thought they were smart and that they had "gotten me" until I produced an invoice from thier own distributor) wooops .... that alot of companies CLAIM copyright violations when they KNOW that none exist. Its simply a ploy to clean up the marketplace - ie remove unwanted sellers.

Amazon btw does this in many electronics categories - specifically headphones (a category I do sell in). Pre approval is needed to sell Bose, Beats, and a few other brands.

Amazon, just doesnt want to be sued, eBay just wants the FVFs and looks the other way. There are TONS of fake headphones on eBay and reporting them does nothing.

I even volunteered to help VERO clean up the listings by pointing out which ones are fakes (it helps me in that I dont get the 900 emails daily asking me if my items are legit AND fakes lower the prices of REAL items) and I was told - thank you but we arent interested. TYPICAL eBay.

Perminate Link for Amazon Gives Sellers a Fright with Counterfeit Warnings   Amazon Gives Sellers a Fright with Counterfeit Warnings

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Nov 29 12:17:53 2013

@pace306,

You actually received a response from eBay? You were indeed privileged. But at least the response was truthful: the only thing eBay is interested in is their FVFs, and they will do anything, including obvious criminal activity, to try to maintain or improve same ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

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This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Sun Dec 1 16:22:18 2013

Evidently AMZN netted a few real fish In theIR anti-counterfeit campaign.

There's a new eBay apologist drone posting on the Seller Central Discussion Board moaning about getting the boot as an AMZN DVD seller for peddling knockoffs (although adamantly denying the charges)and how the Bay would have never done this to him.

Read that as his sins on eBay are not yet sufficiently egregious to catch the manufacturers' eyes and have him VeRO'ed out of existence.

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 2 11:50:31 2013

Is there really a problem with fake DVDs anymore? I bought a box of 75 DVDs at a garage sale for $65 and only found about 10 of them that were even worth listing on Amazon($2-$7 profit each on them). The rest were penny plus shipping.

I sold about 50 of them for $50 on ebay and kept the last 15 for myself.

Avoiding buying any DVD at garage sales unless I want to watch it or is something really rare.



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