The Amazon FBA program is great way to start an e-commerce business. Sure, Amazon grabs a percentage of each sale; but many people feel the benefits outweigh the fees. So, let’s review four account legal tips for FBA sellers.
Legal Tips For FBA Sellers #1: Don’t Manipulate Reviews
“We have a zero tolerance policy for any review designed to mislead or manipulate customers.” ~Amazon.com Terms of Service Agreement
Why the hard line when it comes to review integrity?
User feedback fuels Amazon’s marketing machine. Reviews meaningfully engage consumers and serve as effective sales copy. In fact, Amazon is so concerned with review reliability that its algorithm doesn’t allow for multiple product reviews, from the same household, on any ASIN. That’s right, if your spouse loves the couch-2-fridge 3000 and you hate it, only one of you can post a review from the home IP. Some people even allege that an Amazon algorithm can pinpoint parties tied to a particular seller or brand.
Amazon is so concerned with review reliability that its algorithm doesn’t allow for multiple product reviews, from the same household, on any ASIN.
The Big List of Amazon Review Dos and Don’ts
- Amazon doesn’t like it when people pay for product reviews. The company even has a history of suing fake review services and individual reviewers;
- Don’t buy fake reviews that trash competitors’ products;
- Don’t offer free or discounted products in exchange for a fair review;
- Do encourage buyers to leave reviews, but don’t direct them off Amazon.com.
Friend & Family Reviews
Does that mean friends and family, who genuinely like your product, can’t leave an honest review? Of course not. They can share opinions – good and bad. Technically, yes, the ultra-cautious could tell friends and family to disclose their relationships in reviews. But really, it’s unreasonable to disallow people from posting. After all, they have free speech rights. In fact, early reviews are often solicited from friends and family.
Just don’t pay people to write fake, glowing reviews — it could get you kicked off the site.
Legal Tips For FBA Sellers #2: Complainers Don’t Live Long and Prosper
The FBA space is growing by digital leaps and branding bounds. So is the number of complaints fielded by Amazon’s seller performance department. With that in mind, consider presenting questions and concerns in a concise, easily digestible way. And above all, provide evidence; doing so makes Amazon’s job easier — and may speed your case in the long run.
Don’t drone on — and on — about a personal beef or how something or someone is unfair. Instead, clearly delineate your issue and explain how it breaks Amazon’s rules. The less emotional your appeal, the better; stick to a “just the facts ma’am” approach.
Legal Tips For FBA Sellers #3: Don’t Bribe Customers For Good Reviews
Is it OK to offer deep discounts in exchange for reviews? In the past, yes. Now, no.
Updated in 2016, Amazon’s TOS says that account holders can’t offer free products or discounts in exchange for a fair and unbiased review. Full stop.
Legal Tips For FBA Sellers #4: Amazon Holds A Lot Of The Cards
Here’s a simple but essential fact: Clicking the “I agree” box when opening an Amazon seller’s account is the equivalent to signing a contract that says, “Yes! I agree to play by Amazon’s rules.”
So, if Amazon makes a decision related to your account, like not choosing to use all the supplied keywords, don’t complain about “unfairness” or “impinging on your rights.” You agreed.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t work with the company to resolve issues, but don’t go into negotiations with guns blazing.
What’s Your Plan If Amazon Suspends Your Account? Work With An FBA Fixer.
The best way to avoid account suspension is compliance – compliance with both FTC and FDA guidelines, in addition to Amazon’s rules. Are you 100% positive your operation is on the up-and-up, regulations-wise? If not, we can help.
Our mission is simple: Support online entrepreneurs using legal, technological, and marketing tools — at an affordable rate.
We help ecommerce sellers and marketers:
- Navigate the account suspension process;
- Shake hijackers and counterfeiters;
- Set up business entities;
- Review accounts for compliance with Amazon’s rules;
- FTC / FDA / FCC / shipping compliance;
If something goes awry with your Amazon account, you don’t have to go it alone. Protect your investment and work with one of our FBA fixers. Guidance from an e-commerce attorney probably costs less than you imagine – and it may ultimately put more money in your wallet.