The high seas have pirates; Amazon has hijackers. Hijackers can steal the Buy Box you worked so hard to earn, but that’s not the end of their insidious activities. They can make unwanted changes to your listing, tweaking product descriptions, photos, titles, categories, and more. They can even infiltrate your listings and remove your best reviews.
In order to take down your enemy, you need to know who they are. Here’s a closer look at the most common kinds of Amazon hijackers.
- Buy Box thieves. Whether they be ill-intentioned American sellers or foreign counterfeiters, these bad actors undercut your price by a thin margin and make off with the Buy Box.
- Leeches. These hijackers have no legitimate business history or feedback. They are often bots programmed to feed off others’ carefully-crafted Amazon listings for their own purposes.
The good news is that you are not powerless in the face of these hijackers. Here are some ideas for fighting back and protecting your listing.
- Send a letter. Start with a cease and desist letter. Hijackers all share an inner fear that Amazon will identify them and suspend or disable their account. Start by inviting them to discontinue their menacing tactics. If this doesn’t work, you can sharpen your tone and sent an additional letter from your seller account. You don’t need to make it ugly or vile but do make it firm. You can let them know that you have the tools to get their seller account suspended and even threaten legal action.
- Alert Amazon. Go to Amazon Central Seller and hit the “Contact Us” link. You should then get some drop-down suggestions. Select “Report a Violation.” Describe your situation succinctly, include a link to the imposter’s storefront, and mark your communication as urgent. You should get a response by the next day. Note that this tactic will easily pull down a leech but may be less successful with a counterfeiter who has gone to great lengths to look legitimate.
- Become a customer. The first two tactics are usually sufficient to shut down the bad guys, but if not, you can resort to this strategy. If you can’t take down the hijacker as a seller, try taking them down as a customer. Buy the counterfeit product. If and when it comes, take photos to show that it is a fake. Call Amazon, demand a refund and lodge a counterfeit claim against the seller. Then contact Seller Performance with your photos, the order number, and the URL of the counterfeiter. You should hear back within a couple days at the most.
Remember that if you are enrolled with Brand Registry, you can draw on their brand protection program to assist you with counterfeiters. If you don’t have this option, however, you can usually stop a hijacker with the above-mentioned tactics.
Sadly, hijackers are a part of today’s Amazon selling experience, but you don’t have to take their abuse. You’ve worked much too diligently to watch your efforts go down the drain. Take the time to defend your hard-earned business success. To learn more about countering Amazon imposters, attend Prosper Show’s annual Amazon seller event.