Amazon Reaches Settlement in Germany
Amazon reaches a settlement in Germany, Austria, and EU antitrust cases concerning its policies regarding third-party retailers. When Amazon began allowing third-party retailers to use Amazon as a market place for their products, Amazon’s terms and policies were that they could end the third-party seller’s participation at any time for any reason and without prior notice. An attorney to address amazon suspensions began suing Amazon for seller account suspensions. This brought attention to the problem and began the antitrust suit by Germany, Austria, and the EU. Since the agreement, Amazon has changed that policy so that third-party vendors will have a 30-day notice of termination and an explanation for that decision. This will allow Amazon to help those merchants who have had their accounts suspended or closed to either be reinstated or reopened. This allows third-party vendors to seek amazon sellers’ attorney reviews and file an account suspended appeal for the decision. They can then work on a resolution with Amazon to keep their accounts open. Amazon sellers’ lawyers can help the third-party vendors to find out what they need to do to have their account reinstated or taken off suspension, so they can do business again with the Amazon platform. For more information about ASIN suspension recovery visit us at Amazonsellerprotection
The difference between the previous and the new policy.
The previous policy stated that Amazon could terminate or suspend the agreement or any service for any reason at any time by notice to you to the vendor. The new policy states that the vendor will have 30 days’ advance notice of suspension or termination if Amazon determines the following:
- The merchant has materially broken the agreement and failed to fix it within 7 days of being notified they need to fix the situation unless that breach exposes Amazon to liability toward a third-party, in which case Amazon is allowed to reduce, or waive, the above-mentioned fix period at Amazon’s reasonable judgment;
- The vendor’s account has been, or the Amazon algorithm identifies that it may be used for misleading or deceitful, or illegal activity;
- The vendor’s use of the Services has injured, or their algorithm identifies that it might injure, other merchants, patrons, or Amazon’s legitimate interests. Amazon will promptly inform you of any such closure or interruption via email or comparable means including Seller Central, demonstrating the reason and any possibilities to appeal, unless we have reason to believe that offering this information will deter the investigation or prevention of misleading, fake, or illegal activity, or will enable you to sidestep our safeguards.
The agreement reached with the German antitrust case made sure that Amazon provided prior notice and a period of time for the issue to be fixed. However, that does not mean your account is safe. Amazon seller reinstatement lawyers will still be needed in order to make sure that your account is not harmed.
Amazon uses technology to determine if an account is outside of the terms of service. These algorithms are written by humans. Humans often tend to put biases into their programs without consciously knowing the bias is there. That presents the problem of false negatives in the algorithm for example; a computer trying to take down a highly respected and high ranked seller will trigger the algorithm. The algorithm then designates the seller as violating terms of service. This is why amazon product appeal service is needed.
This problem is not addressed in the new policy according to Jerry Kavesh, an Amazon seller and consultant. The new policy language concerning this is vague and does not explain how to address the issue of a false positive. Many sellers may suffer amazon suspension even though they have done nothing wrong. Another problem is that the black mark will stay on their account even after it is reinstated.
Amazon suspension consultants have this to say about the new Amazon policy, “It still has that level of ambiguity that Amazon can just say, ‘We think you’re doing something wrong and we’re going to shut you down,’” “In this case, you’re guilty until you can prove you’re innocent.”
This guilty, until you can prove you’re innocent is reinforced with the black mark attached to your account that stays there. This mark being left means that the next time the algorithm is tripped whether it is something the seller is doing such as something illegal or a competitor is doing something to lower the rank of the seller, the seller is going to suffer with an amazon seller account suspension or termination because they already have a black mark on their account.
While some sellers need to be shut down for committing illegal nefarious acts through their account; those who are proven innocent should have the mark removed to protect the vendor’s reputation and prevent further suspension or termination because of a mark that shouldn’t be there.
How the changes will help you!
The changes in the new policy provide more protection to third-party merchants while allowing Amazon legal services to protect Amazon from liability where third parties are concerned. Unlike the previous terms, it provides the third-party prior notice and a period of time to come in line with the terms of service. Amazon legal help will be able to help smaller retailers who sell on the marketplace wade through the issues by providing suspensions help.
Anyone who has sold their products on Amazon as a third-party understands that having their account terminated without any time to correct the issue was damaging to their reputation with their customers. Amazon consultants can now help them work through the issue and save suspension or termination allowing them to keep their reputation intact. We have a dedicated team of Amazon suspension lawyers who can help out with your seller account reinstatement.
Many of the third-party merchants may not have even known they were not aligned with the terms of service. This is especially true if the terms of service changed since they joined. It is important that as a third-party merchant you read the terms of service carefully as well as any notices of changes to the terms of service. Paying attention to this detail will help you reduce the risk that your account is terminated.
What else has the antitrust case found?
The EU looked at Amazon in a full-blown antitrust case as they believed Amazon’s online business model is a host to many smaller retailers. This inquiry could also affect other tech giants.
Part of the problem that the EU looked at is; how Amazon might use data it collects from sellers on its Marketplace platform. For example, Amazon can use its platform to see what products do well and if Amazon uses that benefit to launch its own similar items. This could be an issue for third-party sellers who do not have a brand or name recognition who would lose sales of the product to Amazon. It could lead these small retailers or third-party sellers to close down.
The EU is concerned with Amazon’s terms of business, responsibility stipulations, and contract sections on where vendors could sue the company and the process of suspending and closing sellers’ accounts. Amazon has replied with an Amazon plan of action in which they will make alterations to their Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement from August 16 to deal with matters raised by the German and Austrian regulators.
Amazon has also promised to bring about its vine rating program another part of Amazon POA. This program is geared toward marketplace sellers who own a brand name registered with Amazon. This has come about due to vendors’ complaints that Amazon removes product reviews from external providers because Amazon wants their own sales to go up.
Amazon has made other changes that include reducing the privacy requirements Amazon has used to constrain what third-party sellers can say about it in public; product information rights and quality requirements; and over product reviews and seller ratings. Amazon has said that it is operating against a substantial risk of fake reviews. These new provisions will not only help those in the EU but also those in North America and Asia.
Amazon is the biggest E-book distributor in the EU and has agreed to change some of its policies regarding E-book contracts that concern business templates, announcement dates, directories of e-books, pieces of e-books, campaigns, agency prices, agency commissions, and wholesale values.
These decisions help ensure that Amazon follows fair practices and help protect consumers and third-party sellers from being taken advantage of by Amazon. It will help make sure that merchants have Amazon product appeal service should they find their account suspended or terminated.
Just remember if you are or going to become a third-party merchant on the Amazon platform make sure to read the sellers’ service agreement and that you understand it. If you need any Amazon legal help or ASIN reinstatement services contact an amazon seller’s attorney who can answer any questions you have about the policy or help you with a termination or suspension. You can connect with ASIN reinstatement specialists here
The large tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and others need to use fair practices with their vendors and users. The antitrust suit against Amazon is a signal to other tech companies that they like Amazon will not be able to get away with unfair practices.
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