|Wed Nov 27 2013 21:31:14|
Amazon Gives Sellers a Fright with Counterfeit Warnings
By: Ina Steiner
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:
- 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."
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.