Amazon Brand Protection: How to Deal with Hijackers and Counterfeiters

March 4, 2021
Written by Kevin Wong
amazon brand protection

Amazon is such a household name in ecommerce that it has become synonymous with shopping and convenience. Indeed, almost 215 million people visited Amazon’s website in December of 2019 alone, and the number just keeps on rising. Because of its popularity among buyers and sellers alike, it’s no surprise that many hijackers and counterfeiters take advantage of the situation. There are many ethical business practices in Amazon that you can use. However, there are also many unethical methods people use to make money. This is why  Amazon brand protection is vital in maintaining your cash flow, and good business.

What are Hijackers and Counterfeiters?

Hijackers are third-party sellers or distributors who go on a listing of a private label or product and sell the same (or sometimes counterfeit) merchandise usually at a lower price. Products that are very successful are often the targets of these unscrupulous characters.

Counterfeiting is one of the ways to hijack a listing. These sellers often offer fake merchandise, usually hijacking a legitimate product listing. This can be very harmful to the sales volume and brand of private label sellers.

For your products to be authentic, Amazon has an Anti-Counterfeiting Policy. No third-party seller may offer anything that's not allowed to be sold legally, such as products that have been illegally reproduced, replicated, or manufactured. To make sure your products are authentic, Amazon may ask for documentation (e.g., invoices) proving your merchandise's authenticity and your authorization to sell them.

How can your business be affected by Hijackers and Counterfeiters?

  1. The product quality might not be the same - As a seller in Amazon, a lot rides on your reviews and how customers perceive your products. Even Amazon’s algorithm relies a lot on your seller stats. If the hijacker is offering lower quality products that are similar to yours, it might affect your seller feedback and lose your chance to win the buy box
  2. By using black hat tactics, hijackers and counterfeiters can negatively affect your brand. Here are some ways they can do that.
  • Competitors can get your account suspended by giving your products a lot of fake positive reviews. Amazon frowns upon tactics that sellers might use to artificially encourage customers to give positive reviews. That includes paying for positive reviews outright and giving incentives to customers. When Amazon detects these fake positive reviews, your account might be investigated, or worse, suspended.
  • Hijackers can sometimes change your product listings, images, and content so they don’t follow Amazon’s policies anymore. There are even some instances when they put unrealistic claims in the product descriptions (e.g., it can cure cancer, your hair will grow in one week, etc.), so Amazon’s bots can detect them and remove the listings. 
  • The saying, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” is scant comfort for brands who’ve lost revenue because of counterfeit products. It’s so easy to overlook other people selling cheap knock-offs of your brand until you start getting complaints from customers. It’s also possible for people to buy your products bulk at a lower price and sell them on Amazon without your knowledge.
  • If your account is suspended even for just a few days it will have serious repercussions on your sales. Some hijackers have been known to submit false copyright infringement claims to Amazon against their competitors. These types of reports can sometimes take several days to resolve and will have a negative impact on their competitors’ ability to make sales. Amazon has spotted this alarming pattern that it has now started suspending accounts that have submitted these false claims.

How can we deal with Hijackers and Counterfeiters and avoid future problems?

  1. Send a Cease-and-Desist Letter

How to protect your brand in Amazon? The simplest way to deal with a hijacker is to confront them directly. Their success mostly relies on operating under the radar. Calling them out on their shady practices will usually solve the problem for you. Of course, a general message won’t do it for you. A Cease-and-Desist Letter will send a message to them that you mean business.

  1. File a Complaint with Amazon

Amazon protects its sellers as much as the buyers. If you have a reasonable chance to report hijacking or counterfeiting, file a report with Amazon and they’ll take care of your issue. Remember, Amazon requires complete documentation before initiating an investigation. Keep your information as updated as possible.

  1. Don’t Run Out of Inventory

The easiest way for hijackers to take over your listing is when you run out of stock. Of course, you’re not directly losing business because you don’t have anything to sell anyway, but your chance to win the buy box might be seriously affected by the time you do.

  1. Join an Amazon Brand Protection Program

These programs were started by Amazon for a reason. They enable you to protect your brand and at the same time, improve customer experience. Some programs like the Amazon Brand Registry and Project Zero can make it easier for you to detect hijackers and report them to Amazon. It can even give you advantages in knowing how to sell Prime on Amazon.

  1. Purchase From Your Hijacker

After sending them a cease-and-desist letter and filing a complaint with Amazon, you can make test purchases to support your claim. That way, you can provide information about the rival product -- its quality, price, etc. Doing this kind of research will go a long way in reinforcing your case with Amazon.

  1. Monitor Your Listings Constantly

Don’t give hijackers an opportunity to affect your business. Remember, Amazon brand protection is vital in maintaining your sales volume and brand integrity. Do an inspection of your listings regularly. If possible, hire Amazon experts to monitor your brands closely. Detecting a problem early on will make it easier for you to deal with these issues. 

Where can you find Amazon Brand Protection Experts? 

Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] to know more about our team of Amazon brand protection experts. We can help you formulate an action plan that will effectively protect your account from hijackers and counterfeiters. 

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