If you have been selling on Amazon for the past year, you know exactly what I am talking about. Even if you haven’t received one of these, you’ve no doubt heard about them. Today, I want to bust a few myths with IP claims, as well as give you a plan for how you can resolve these.
First, I want to give a warning here:
DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY, THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE IN ANY FORM OR FASHION. FOR LEGAL ADVICE, WE SUGGEST CONTACTING AN ATTORNEY!
Now that we understand I am not an attorney I want you to understand my goals, as they are two-fold:
1) I want to give you a framework for resolving these complaints without an attorney, where possible.
2) If you have to use an attorney, I want to make their job easier.
Our methodology in resolving these complaints is much like Amazon’s. We don’t pretend to know the validity of any claim received. We don’t assume to know if it is “bogus” or “completely legitimate”, and frankly aren’t qualified to determine that. Amazon mirrors a similar approach. They DO NOT review claims to see if they are legitimate, they simply remove the seller from the listing and ask them to resolve the issue with the brand.
When Amazon removes you from the listing, this is NOT a punishment. They aren’t saying you are guilty, they are removing you because they don’t want liability in the instance you are guilty. If you choose not to resolve the complaint (or accumulate more of them) this can get you suspended as it appears to Amazon you are intentionally breaking the rules. So, the most important thing, is when you get a complaint – resolve it!
One caveat to this: if this initial complaint resulted in a suspension the process will work differently, and our suggestion would be MUCH different. If that is the case for you, I advise skipping ahead to section 4b, as that would be our suggestion for resolving the issue.
In the instance that we received a complaint, this would be the course of action we would follow:
1) In the Amazon infringement e-mail, they tell you who you should contact to resolve the complaint, here:
2) We suggest contacting that person, with the following message:
We are a retailer on Amazon (our store name is _______), and we recently received a complaint regarding IP Infringement.
I can absolutely assure that we only had the best intentions, and weren’t aware of any restrictions with selling your product. All of the product that we sold was authentic and procured from legitimate sources, and I have attached our [receipts/invoices] for your convenience.
Our concern is these complaints affect our account and standing with Amazon, and therefore we would love to resolve this with you.
If this complaint was issued in error, we would appreciate if you could issue a retraction of the claim to the following addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com
If this claim were intentionally filed, we are happy to work with you and address any concerns that you may have.
As you would imagine, this can have two different outcomes. One where they respond, and one where they do NOT respond.
3a) If you receive no contact back, re-send them the same message three days later with the opening line of:
I emailed you regarding this three days ago on [INSERT DATE] and have received no response.
… [insert email above]”
3b) If you receive a response, and they are simply trying to limit the sellers you have a couple options. One option is telling them you will no longer carry the product if they would retract the claim. The other is to contact an attorney directly and discuss your legal options.
This is the email that I would personally send (if the product didn’t mean very much to me):
Thank you for responding, and I definitely understand your concerns.
As I had previously mentioned, we had no ill intentions with your brand, and all of our products were authentic and purchased through legitimate sources.
We are happy to refrain from carrying your products in the future without your direct authorization.
That being said, we would ask that you remove the complaint as it is negatively impacting our business.
You can do so by contacting these addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com.
4a) If you receive no response after two more days, I would contact firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org with the following message.
Thank you for previously notifying us about the complaint you received for an Intellectual Property rights violation on the following ASIN [INSERT ASIN]. We take all of these complaints very seriously, as well as our standing with Amazon.
When we received the notification from you, we reached out to the email address provided by Amazon on [insert date]. I have attached a screenshot showing that email, as well as the time stamp for when it was sent. We did not receive a response to that initial inquiry, and sent them follow up correspondence on [insert date]. Likewise, I have attached proof of that message and time stamp to this email as well.
Also, for your convenience I have attached our [receipts/invoices] for the products, so you can verify that the products we were selling were authentic.
We would ask that you remove this strike from our record. We have reached out to the email address provided and tried to resolve the complaint several times (as we have shown here), and the company clearly has no interest in working with us to resolve it. We personally believe this to a be a non-legitimate complaint.
Thanks again for your attention in this matter, and please let us know if we can help in any way!
4b) If the company responds but is NOT willing to remove the complaint, or if Amazon is not willing to remove the complaint based on the case you provided, it’s our suggestion to reach out to CJ Rosenbaum.
CJ is an actual attorney, but beyond that is an expert with resolving complaints regarding Amazon. So, not only does he understand your legal rights, but also has a great deal of experience in dealing with these complaints.
You can reach CJ here: www.amazonsellerslawyer.com
The vast majority of bogus complaints won’t answer your inquiry, because they realize they can’t actually enforce anything. Therefore, many of these complaints can be resolved easily using the process above. On any that you can’t resolve – we can confidently say CJ would be our first choice in dealing with this issue, as he has the necessary legal and Amazon experience to work through the issue.
Hopefully this helps!