This is a guest post by C.J. Rosenbaum, Esq & Travis J. Stockman. All opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitbond.
Over the last few weeks, many Amazon sellers accounts were hacked. The Amazon sellers that had their accounts hacked fell into, generally, three categories:
- Funds diverted to another country and Amazon accounts needlessly suspended;
- Funds diverted to another country but Amazon accounts were not suspended;
- Locked out of account.
Our law firm obtained reinstatement of suspended Amazon accounts and we also recovered funds that had been diverted.
If your Amazon sellers account was hacked there are a few things you need to know. First, Amazon is clearly aware of the problem. 2017 is not the first time that Amazon sellers accounts have been hacked.
While Amazon sellers have no control over an unauthorized user, the result is the same: A performance notification indicating that your selling privileges have been removed. Furthermore, Amazon reserves the right to suspend the listing, the seller account, or withhold funds if necessary…until the issues are resolved.
Successful Reinstatement for a Suspended Amazon Seller after a Hacking
A recent client of ours found his account hacked. An unauthorized user had accessed his account and changed the bank account information. Shortly after, he received a performance notification. Amazon had suspended his sellers account. The Amazon account was suspended until we resolved the issues.
As if an account suspension isn’t bad enough, to make matters worse, the hackers withdrew the remainder of the money in his account. Left without an account or funds, the client sought our help.
We first drafted a strong and complex Plan of Action, demonstrating our client’s lack of fault in the situation. Within the letter we were careful to thank Amazon for the opportunity to correct the situation. In our Plan of Action we asserted that the situation was out of our clients control. Our Plan of Action focused on the corrective measures taken to avoid any hacking going forward. The Plan of Action for this suspended Amazon seller included a variety of preventative measures such as changing the seller’s IP addresses, logging out of all electronic devices, password resets, and updated virus protection plans.
In addition to the Plan of Action we provided to the suspended Amazon seller, we issued Amazon’s legal team a Demand for Arbitration.
A Demand for Arbitration is how suspended Amazon sellers take the final decision out of Amazon’s hands. The decision making for the issues goes to the American Arbitration Association.
Arbitration is more efficient and less costly than suing Amazon in court. In fact, Amazon sellers waived their right to go to court in exchange for the ability to resolve problems via arbitration. While many provisions of the Amazon seller’s agreement with Amazon are one-sided and unfair, the provision requiring arbitration is great for sellers.
Arbitration is not free. But, it is still much less expensive than going to court. In addition to attorneys’ fees, the American Arbitration Association’s fee schedule is below. As suspended Amazon can see, the more money you seek, the higher the fees. However, suspended Amazon sellers can always seek reinstatement in any arbitration including the one with the lowest fees.
In our Demand for Arbitration for this suspended Amazon sellers, we requested compensation for the lost funds. Given our experience dealing with Seller Performance, we believed it would help to simultaneously follow up with letters to Amazon legal requesting immediate attention of our previously submitted Plan of Action. Shortly after these actions were taken by our firm, the client’s Amazon Account was successfully reinstated.
Takeaway for Amazon Sellers:
In the event your account is subject to a hijacking or hacking, remain calm, send a detailed Plan of Action showing how you have corrected the situation. While it is understandingly frustrating to receive an Amazon account suspension for an issue out of your hands, avoid sending emotional responses. Rather, send complex, detailed plans of action showing the useful corrective actions you implemented to prevent this going forward.
Lastly, in the event Amazon is unresponsive to your Plan of Action, or you’ve had funds illegally withdrawn from your account, and Amazon is reluctant to cover the loss, contact a law firm focused on Amazon Sellers to assist you with a successful reinstatement.