Does your eBay business translate to Amazon?

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eBay and Amazon are two very different websites and marketplaces, as one long time merchant has just discovered. Sellers may have challenges selling on eBay but Amazon have different rules and standards as a US merchant has discovered when they were permanently suspended from Amazon.

The back story is that a retailer called Cheapskates Liquidators was suspended in March this year and last week received a final message having escalated their appeal all the way to Amazon boss, Jeff Bezos, and were told that they were no longer welcome to sell on Amazon’s marketplace and were permanently suspended.

“Jeff Bezos received your email and I am responding on his behalf, I have thoroughly reviewed your account and the information you have provided and determined that you may not sell on Amazon.com.”

The problem appears to be, as the company name suggests, that they were wheelers and dealers sourcing inventory from all manner of places and whilst there doesn’t appear to have been any issues on eBay, Amazon took a few complaints of counterfeit products (which Cheapskate deny were counterfeit but acknowledge one wasn’t authorised for sale online). Other complaints included used sold as new, not as advertised and damaged/defective.

There is a whole industry of sellers who dress products up as new when in reality they may be customer returns, display stock or otherwise liquidated stock which isn’t quite as new as the average consumer would expect. You may get away with this on eBay but on Amazon customers expect perfection and Amazon always takes the side of the customer.

Amazon number one leadership principle is customer obsession, everything that they do is built about starting with the customer and working their way back. If you as a merchant are doing anything which will negatively impact a customer’s experience or has a chance of doing so then just a couple of complaints will lead to suspension. More than anything, Amazon want to ‘Wow’ their customers and if you’re shipping shop soiled, returned or otherwise less than perfect goods expect it to seriously impact your seller performance and possibly lead to a permanently suspended account.

The biggest problem now facing Cheapskate is the vast amount of stock they have placed in Amazon FBA which will either be destroyed or returned – either way Cheapskate will have to foot the bill.

The lesson to be learned from this is that if you get a single complaint about a product from Amazon then take it seriously. It’s a lot easier and less painful to remove your stock of offending product lines and be vigilant about the type of stock you sell on Amazon. If you’re not certain the stock is 100% new and there’s a chance it could be customer returns or otherwise imperfect then be honest and don’t try to pass it off as new. And when you do sell it consider eBay – Amazon might just not be the right venue for you.

3 Responses

  1. Makes sense that once it became more publicised that they would keep their account suspended. It’s in their best interest to send the message that they do not want sub-par or potentially counterfeit products sold on their platform. The Amazon brand name is probably their most valuable asset, and they cannot afford for it to be devalued (as seen by the big crackdown on incentivised reviews).

  2. Cheapskates Liquidators is still active on Amazon.com so I’m confused by this article.

  3. I’m with Amazon on this one. Not saying that the ban was needed but the actual problem of many sellers selling returns/used/display/refurbished items AS NEW is massive! I myself have received few items in the past that have some obvious marks of use (like no original packaging or no protective films on screen etc.) and it’s not a good feeling. You have purchase a brand new item (in your mind) and you expect to receive one. Also, with the business strategy this company uses, it’s very likely that they will run into fakes too from time to time as it’s impossible to check each and every line of item they buy from all the various sources. So the problem is there and the problem is real and I can fully understand why Amazon want to distant themselves from it, from the hassle/risk this brings to their customers.

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