‘Amazon’s bureaucracy is downright Kafkaesque:’ an Amazon seller

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I’m nervous selling on Amazon. The sales are good, but Amazon’s bureaucracy is downright Kafkaesque. There are too many stories of people being suspended, or having their documents rejected, for obscure reasons,” says an Amazon seller, Dandelion, echoing concerns of many merchants trading on the marketplace.

This July saw Amazon overhauling their seller agreement in response to the verdict in a dominance abuse investigation by German’s cartel office, Bundeskartellamt.

The move saw Amazon changing their Business Solutions Agreement (BSA) for their marketplaces worldwide, allaying the scrutiny over the reportedly unfair treatment of sellers including terminating or blocking sellers’ accounts without justification, paying preference to their own sales as a retailer and handling merchants’ product information for Amazon’s own benefit and more.

The far-reaching improvements for sellers trading on Amazon have yet to convince them that the marketplace has improved. The waning trust is pushing many merchants to wish for the fairer trading system, raising a question of what would a good marketplace look like for them?

A new study by OnBuy took on this quest to discover what alternative marketplaces should offer to attract sellers. The research polled 1,148 UK marketplace traders to understand the underlying business principles marketplace must adhere to woo marketplace sellers.

The majority (88%) of the respondents say that they would consider switching if an online marketplace proposes unique offers that are unbeatable elsewhere, such as low commission and low monthly rates, with a slightly (84%) smaller share of the respondents saying an easy to use platform and payment system (78%) is vital.

Heightened nervousness over marketplaces often being ‘robotic’ in their communication with merchants has been highlighted in the study as 69% of the respondents wish for a dedicated sellers support team that would keep in constant communication with sellers, and 72% want a UK-based customer service team.

A flexible contract is advantageous to many sellers, especially if the marketplace is new as it gives sellers the chance to trial it (36%), with costs to be clearly marked from the beginning, to avoid incurring any extra fees (68%).

Cas Paton, founder and managing director of OnBuy.com, one of the fastest-growing marketplaces in the world, believes there are various ways that marketplaces can act to ensure that sellers choose them, rather than Amazon:

“The best thing anyone can do for their business is joining a marketplace that is honest and provides a platform that treats both buyers and sellers fairly – something OnBuy knows well

But, despite being one of the world’s fastest-growing marketplaces, it took sellers time to trust our online marketplace due to big brand alternatives constantly stealing potential customers. However, with buyers and sellers alike becoming all too aware of the shady tactics used by Amazon, OnBuy are seeing record numbers of buyers and sellers using the platform, again highlighting that people are beginning to turn their backs on the major marketplaces.”

3 Responses

  1. Just as example, regarding Amazon ; we were recently asked to provide compliance information on over 100 kids toys products, but so were 7 other sellers as well as the brand owners all asked for the same identical information, and having all submitted this as requested, Amazon still contesting the information and blocking the sale of these asins. Raised case after case and just get same stupid response, which we assume is probably their AI non human attempt to dealing with everything. Like other well known retailers currently in the press, Amazon will fall off the pedestal at some point, its just a matter of time. We are certainly not seeing any sign that they have taken on board the verdict of the dominance abuse investigation. I have a case in Italy that has been ongoing for 6 months only due to our persistence and still not resolved let alone responded to by someone at Amazon that can actually care. I am sure other sellers have frustrations and perhaps Tamebay you could investigate and invite further comment.

  2. Amazon think nothing of giving away sellers products.

    We sell items and because we use the Seller fulfilled prime a customer can telephone customer service and make any claim such as faulty or previously used was the last one (we do not sell any used products at all) and Amazon will immediately refund the buyer and authorise a return. £64.99 item plus £5.20 Amazon 24 label

    So far i hear you say “whats wrong with that?”

    well after a few weeks the item has not been returned so you are advised to open a Safe T claim. which we did. Then amazon eventually 5 days later refunded just £25.99

    i called and was told their policy was just a 50% refund which i questioned the maount and was told the £64.99 minus VAT at 20% then just half that.

    So its crazy the chap then does not return.
    well that may be a cost that a multi billion p[ound non tax paying company like amazon can absorb bet we definitely cant as we do not make double on items at the start.

  3. Is Amazon really that good?
    I bought a new product line and put 5 on eBay and 5 on Amazon.
    So far, 4 sales on eBay, 0 on Amazon!


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