Are you looking for ways to get rid of a hijacker from your Amazon listing? It is stressful when someone else is making money off your listing and hard-earned seller reputation.
But do not worry. By taking the necessary steps right away, you will be able to get rid of listing hijackers.
This article will walk you through all the essential information regarding hijackers, how to report them, and the preventive measures you can take to protect your Amazon business from being hijacked.
We will discuss the following:
Without any further delay, let’s begin.
There are a few basic ways that most individual sellers should turn to in the case of a hijacking. Reporting the hijacker to Amazon is the first and foremost approach to dealing with such a mischief. Amazon has strict policies regarding trademark violations and counterfeit listings.
If you are enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry, here is what you should do:
The process is efficient and effective against any counterfeit seller or listing you may encounter. Additionally, once you have successfully reported infringements and received a 90% acceptance on the complaints within the past six months, Amazon gives you Project Zero protection.
Project Zero protection allows you to remove counterfeit listings on Amazon through a self-service tool, and you will no longer be required to reach out to Amazon for help.
Sellers not part of the Amazon Brand Registry are more likely to get affected by hijacking attempts. If you’re one of them, you can consider two measures:
In either of these correspondences, you are more likely to need these details: the ASIN, product type, your official seller title, hijacker’s seller title, and patent details (for lodging a trademark infringement claim).
Here’s a template you can use for your email to Amazon’s seller support team for reporting an instance of listing hijacking.
Subject Line: Unwarranted Offers from Counterfeiters on My Listing
I’ve been working as an Amazon seller under the title [insert your official seller title] for [insert the duration] years. Recently, I’ve noticed that my private label listing [Insert your ASIN] has been occupied with offers from other sellers. Since I’m not wholesaling or reselling, these offers are unwarranted and look like an attempt of listing hijacking and selling counterfeit products.
I’d request the relevant support staff at Amazon to look into it and remove the counterfeiters/hijackers from the listing and suspend their accounts for good.
Here are the patent details of the actual product of my private label listing [insert details].
It is good to leave a warning before deciding to go guns blazing at the counterfeiters. The goal is to inform them that they will be in trouble if they do not take their product off your listing.
Although you may want to use harsh language, the key is to use a civil yet strong tone that will put your point across in an assertive manner. You should not curse them out, but ensure that your letter has a threatening tone.
Here is a template you can use for the letter. Feel free to copy this or formulate one using the tone.
Subject Line: YOU ARE WARNED!
To whom it may concern,
It has come to my attention that our brand [brand/seller name] is experiencing a loss due to your illegitimate offer on my listing [mention the ASIN]. We are hereby asking you to immediately take your offer off my product.
We sell high-quality, branded products, and you are in direct violation of Amazon's policy by selling counterfeits of a patented product. We own exclusive rights to the product and can get your seller account suspended.
Consider this a warning; we have full authority to take legal action against you as we have done with multiple sellers in the past. In case you do not take your listing off, we will file a copyright infringement with Amazon.
We will give you 24 hours to comply.
Amazon doesn’t handle listings and offers on them through its backend support teams. Instead, an algorithm determines if a seller is eligible to have their offer on a certain Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). This algorithm gives prices a lot of weight in its decision-making. Therefore, if a seller offers the same product for an existing ASIN at a lower price, the algorithm might also pick that seller.
This mechanism works decently for arbitrage and wholesale listings where multiple sellers are legitimately competing for the same ASIN. However, the problem arises in private label selling, where only ONE seller owns the ASIN. This means if any other seller (a hijacker) adds their offer with a lower price on a private label ASIN, customers can also buy from them.
Amazon listing hijackers use this algorithmic shortcoming to undercut your listed product to put up a better offer for customers.
This can prove to be extremely annoying (and damaging) for hardworking private label sellers who have maintained good product quality and customer service for a long time.
It is important to mention here that a hijacked listing doesn’t look different from any regular listing at first glance. However, if you carefully skim through the listing page, you will find out some unethical sellers are trying (and succeeding) in exploiting your brand and seller reputation to make unlawful bucks.
Following is an example of a seemingly regular private label listing allegedly hijacked by multiple hijackers.
Here’s a tumbler offered by a private label brand. At the onset, the listing looks like any other private label listing where the brand automatically wins the Buy Box as well.
However, if you scroll down this product page, you will find another column right below the Buy Box titled "Other Sellers on Amazon". In this column, there are three other offers for the same tumbler at lower prices than what the original brand offers ($70).
If the brand hasn’t granted reselling rights to any other entity, then any offer in this column will be considered an attempt to hijack the listing.
A hijacked Amazon listing doesn’t just mean losing out on your rightful sales. A hijacked listing can also cause long-term harm to your seller journey on Amazon.
Those who exploit someone else’s ASIN to sell their products usually don’t offer good quality. Therefore, if you have a hijacked listing, you may notice an uptick in negative feedback and unhappy customers despite providing good quality products, timely delivery, and good customer service.
Customers will not want to buy from you as your negative product reviews keep adding up. Due to the increasingly bad feedback, people eventually stop engaging with your listing, lowering your product impressions by a significant rate.
It could also end in your account getting suspended.
Since hijackers usually sell low-quality products, your account may experience a massive spike in return rates. This along with poor customer rating and below-par Amazon seller feedback can severely dent your reputation on the platform. These poor performance metrics are integral to how a listing ranks on Amazon. Consistently poor metrics can bring down your position on Amazon SERPs for relevant keywords.
Once you have established that your Amazon listing has been hijacked, you can take specific steps for a fast recovery to ensure that your listing faces the minimum possible damage.
As soon as you become aware of the hijacker, immediately lower your prices to claim the Amazon Buy Box back. Although this will reduce your profit and even may cause you a loss in some instances, it will protect your sales information from the hijacker.
You can use your registered trademark as a legal shield against all violators, counterfeit listings, and piggybackers. The trademark is your easiest option to remove an impersonator (by reporting them to Amazon). However, you will be required to have a trademark registration in the same country where you report a violation.
For example, if you want to report a hijacker on Amazon in the UK, you will be required to have a UK-based trademark. Similarly, you will need a US-based trademark for filing any report in the US.
In the case of attempts at hijacking your Amazon listing, the first thing you should do is compose a cease and desist letter (as outlined above). It is wiser to get the legal attorneys involved if the situation gets too complicated for you.
Though it is only sometimes necessary as you can also compose a quite strong cease and desist letter on your own. You can access the hijacker's information on Amazon. All correspondence must be done through Amazon to have a record of every interaction between yourself and the hijacker.
Performing a test buy is also an intelligent way to deal with a hijacker. Here is how you can use a purchase of a counterfeit item to report the hijacker.
You can still report the hijacker to Amazon even if you do not buy the product. Although having photographs of the product may be more helpful than a simple report.
Amazon does not keep track of all the seller listings. Therefore, it is crucial for sellers to conduct the required diligence themselves to protect their business from potential hijackers and counterfeiters.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to keep the platform free of trouble, but here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of a listing hijack.
A trademark will provide you the legal ownership of your product on Amazon as well as outside of it. It is also essential for brand registration with Amazon (as mentioned). By getting a trademark, you will be able to take legal action against any listing hijacker.
Registering your brand with Amazon is crucial for your business's security. The brand registry provides opportunities for brand promotion and advertisement and support against attempted hijacks and IP infringements. In addition, Amazon is quite quick to resolve complaints of the registered brands, ensuring the individuality of the original business.
The process is simple. You will be required to provide the following information for brand registration:
Brand verification from Amazon roughly takes 3-10 days. Once registered as a brand, you will be able to report any nuisance to Amazon.
Actively monitoring your listings will help you notice any bad reviews or drop in sales. Although listing hijacking is not the sole reason for bad customer feedback or reduced product sales, it is still a major one.
Go through your listings at least once a week to ensure that there aren’t any other sellers of your private-label product. If there is more than one seller, you may be experiencing a product hijack situation.
Product branding is carried out in the following main ways.
Since you will be actively showing your brand identity to the customers, any hijacker will be immediately noticed by the customers due to the different packaging or absence of the trademark.
Bundling your products can also reduce the risk of hijacking by a considerable margin. For instance, if you are selling water bottles online, you will likely come across frauds trying to hijack your business.
However, pairing the water bottles with lunch boxes or workout gear in the listing will reduce the chances of hijacking. As it will require the mimic to source two products for their fraud business, they might not even try.
You can also provide personalized products or packaging to the customers. It will save you from fraud and give you a good customer base and many positive reviews.
You can reduce the risk of hijacking by ensuring you keep your product available for delivery at all times (no out-of-stock downtimes). Good inventory management will allow you to make smoother, quicker sales. This will in turn make it difficult for the counterfeiters to claim the Buy Box.
Amazon Transparency Program offers 2D Universal Product Codes (UPC) to fight counterfeit and product hijacking. It allows you to buy unique UPCs (Transparency codes) from Amazon that you can attach to your product. These codes are unique for each product unit. Customers can also scan those codes via designated apps to confirm product authenticity.
You must be part of the Amazon Brand Registry and own product trademarks for enrollment in this program.
Before concluding this post, let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions about listing hijacking on Amazon.
You can get hijackers removed by either reporting them to Amazon, sending them a cease and desist letter, or filing a trademark infringement complaint against them.
There is no apparent difference between hijackers and counterfeiters on Amazon. Both are the terms for sellers illegally using a brand's listing (ASIN) to sell a cheaper, unoriginal version of the branded product.
Piggybacking on Amazon is an act of using a seller's product listing to sell one's own product as an "additional seller'. Piggybacking is not a legitimate selling practice since it causes significant losses for original, ethical sellers.
Amazon listing hijacking can prove to be very stressful for hardworking, legitimate sellers working in any of Amazon’s online marketplace. Nonetheless, if you become aware of it in time by regularly monitoring your listings, reviews, and metrics, you can save yourself from a lot of trouble.
In addition, you can take several preventive measures to ensure that it does not happen. However, if you face the issue despite all the preventative measures, Amazon will provide you with the required assistance in getting rid of listing hijackers.
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