Selling products on the Amazon.com marketplace is becoming an increasingly high-risk endeavor, as the multinational corporation reportedly does next to nothing to protect its sellers against fraudulent complaints filed by other malicious sellers who are simply trying to destroy the businesses of their competition.
Take the case of “Brushes4Less,” a toothbrush and oral care products company that recently lost upwards of $200,000 in sales after a fake law firm filed a complaint against the company that resulted in Amazon suspending its seller account. Brushes4Less tried to appeal this arbitrary and baseless decision, but Amazon refused to look at the complaint to determine whether or not it was even valid.
Brushes4Less was instead given the contact information for the alleged law firm that filed a complaint against it, known as “Wesley & McCain,” purportedly in Pittsburgh. The owner of Brushes4Less looked into the matter further and discovered on his own that the law firm was completely made up, and that images and information published on the website had been stolen from various other legitimate law firms across the country.
“Just five minutes of detective work would have found this website is a fraud, but Amazon doesn’t seem to want to do any of that,” the owner of the store, who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity, explained about what happened to him and his business. “This is like the Wild Wild West of intellectual property complaints.”
It’s something that many experts and store owners alike say is endemic within the Amazon platform – fraudulent complaints that result in entire store accounts being shut down on a whim. It’s pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a business, and many business owners are now fleeing Amazon for greener pastures because it’s simply too much of a risk to be caught victim of the false complaint racket that plagues Amazon’s marketplace.
“Virtually any person can push the right buttons to get Amazon’s attention for particular issues,” says Paul Dworianyn, founder of Awesome Dynamic Tech Solutions, a company that tries to help brands selling products via the Amazon platform stay protected.
Brushes4Less learned the hard way that Amazon almost always takes the road of lead resistance, accepting the claims of any complaint that comes its way without doing even a cursory investigation into whether or not it’s valid. And when store owners try to reason with Amazon about such matters, the company almost always gives the cold shoulder.
“Due to the complainant’s failure to respond to our attorney’s attempts at contact (or even confirm receipt), we believe these complaints are baseless and were filed in bad faith,” the owner of Brushes4Less wrote in a private correspondence to Amazon, which went unanswered. Instead, Amazon issued the following empty response publicly to CNBC:
“Fraud is prohibited on Amazon.com. If we discover that bad actors have abused our systems, we work quickly to take action on behalf of our customers, which includes sellers. If a seller believes we’ve made a decision that requires further review, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can investigate and take the appropriate action.”
Amazon claims that it’s been trying to step up efforts to combat fake complaints against its sellers. But many sellers feel that this represents little more than empty rhetoric, as the corporate giant continues to throw its sellers under the bus without remorse. As long as new sellers are waiting in the wings to take the booted sellers’ places, Amazon couldn’t care less as long as its revenue stream remains contiguous (even though it aggressively censors the sales of other items like confederate battle flags in order to keep up appearances of political correctness).
Eventually the public is going to lose faith in Amazon’s integrity, though. And when this happens, Amazon’s reputation will implode, forcing it to either change its failed policies or descend into the dustbin of history (where it belongs, based on its current behaviors).
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