What to do if your Amazon listing gets hijacked?
If you’re reading this post, the first thing is to not panic 🙂 Hijacking on Amazon happens, and it’s often a sign that you are so successful, another seller wants a piece of your pie! So follow the steps below and we hope it helps you to get rid of your hijackers quickly.
There are two things you might notice if your Amazon listing has been hijacked…
- New images showing on your product listing, which you didn’t upload
- Or a bad customer review out of nowhere
The former shows you clearly that your listing has been hijacked, the latter isn’t quite as obvious but it’s still very important to fix.
An irate customer comes out and says that the item they got looks nothing like the photo on your listing. It’s the wrong color, and the dimensions are completely off. You don’t understand how that could be possible. You’ve spent quite some time selling your product on Amazon – sales have been good, and you’ve never had issues and customer complaints. Could you have been hijacked?
Hijacking Amazon listings is a horrible but very real thing. Hijackers stalk strong sellers and take over their listings to sell their own (often inferior) items.
What this does is that if left unchecked, they will steal your sales, you’ll lose the Buy Box, and you’ll end up with bad reviews.
So, what do you do if you think your listing has been hijacked? What steps can you take to prevent this from happening, or mitigate the damage they have already done? Although Amazon has steps to prevent these things from happening, sometimes hijackers still get their way. Sometimes it’s better to take matters into your own hands.
Step 1: Scope out the problem, and do damage control
You’ll know for sure if you’ve been hijacked if you see other sellers as buying options on your Amazon page. You can spot this by periodically checking your listings manually. Oftentimes, it’s okay to use a third-party service as well that automatically notifies you of other sellers on your listings.
Prevention is better than cure. However, in most hijackings, the damage has been done and a bad customer review has already been submitted for a product that is not even yours. In cases like these, rectifying the situation is of utmost importance.
Don’t let your customer think that you duped them into buying an outright bad product. Respond to the review as soon as you can. Honesty is the best policy here – be transparent and explain the situation. Offer to give them one of your items for free. You have to take care of your reputation, so go the extra mile to show them that you would never sell any substandard item.
If you become completely open with a customer, it’s likely they’ll understand. Keep in contact with the customer and check in on them to see what they think about your real product. Best case is they change their review and actually say that you’ve been hijacked – that way, other potential customers will pay more attention and make sure they buy your product, and not the hijackers’.
Step 2: Let the hijackers know that you know what they’re doing
After doing damage control, the next step is to engage the hijackers. Let them know that they must stop immediately.
Use your seller account details on Amazon and send a Cease and Desist letter to the hijacking vendor. Check out the email template at the bottom of this post to help you get started. Go into as much detail as possible and be very direct. Let them know that what they’re doing is illegal.
Don’t be afraid to demand immediate action, and state clearly that you are taking action against them unless they cease their activity immediately. Request proof that they are selling legitimately, or else demand that they remove their listing within 48 hours to prevent you from taking further legal action.
It’s a good idea to also send the Cease and Desist letter by mail, if possible. Keep a copy for your records, and make sure you take note of the date that you sent out the letter.
Step 3: If the problem persists, consider a Buyer’s Complaint
If the Cease and Desist letter doesn’t work and they refuse to take down their listings, the next immediate step you should consider is to make a Buyer’s Complaint with Amazon.
A Buyer’s Complaint helps you prove that the hijacker is not listing their products properly on Amazon, they’re selling a product that doesn’t match the description on their listing, or they’re selling counterfeit products.
In order to do this, you need to have a registered buyer account on Amazon, and make a Test Buy. Make sure that the info on your buyer account is different from the details on your seller account so the hijackers won’t know that it’s actually you. The advantage of doing this that you actually get more of their product off of the site – and you can always request a refund later.
[There’s an email template for this as well at the end of this post]
Contact Amazon Seller Performance and lodge a complaint. You should do this from your Amazon buyer account. Amazon will then contact the seller. Make sure to provide the following:
- The correct product title and the ASIN/ISBN of the item page
- The full name of the store/seller
- Your Test Buy Order ID
- Photos of the item you received from the Test Buy, showing that it does not match the description
- Explanation of how exactly the item is different from the listing, and details of the complaint against the seller
If you don’t want to deal with that, it’s better to contact Amazon directly.
Step 4: File a direct complaint with Amazon
When you get in touch with Amazon, make sure to be as detailed and clear as possible. Attach as much evidence as you can, like customer photos, email correspondences, screenshots, etc. These will help prove that you are the original creator of the listing, and that you have been hijacked.
Open a case with Amazon and advise them of the hijacking. Be as detailed as possible, and make sure to include the following:
- Date when you noticed that you were probably hijacked
- Screenshots of the hijacking instance
- Date when you started selling the product
- Customer photos or reviews of the inferior product
- Any correspondences you have with the hijacker
- Providing all these details helps the Amazon listing team with investigating the case.
Remember to deal with them with courtesy and respect as they are there to help. It’s easy to get carried away and not realize that they’re not personally responsible for the situation.
Hijacking is a horrible practice, and it should always be called out when it happens. It’s definitely worth it to do your part and stop these kinds of predatory practices.
Be vigilant and protect your listings so you mitigate the damage that they do. At the end of the day, Amazon is an amazing platform to continue to do business, and we must all do our part to ensure that it stays that way.
Email Template for Contacting the Amazon Seller Hijacker
“Hello [Seller Name],
We are writing you about your listing of this particular item, ASIN [Item Code]. You are not an authorized online retailer for [Your Brand] products, which is sold exclusively by us, [Your Company Name].
The unauthorized selling of [Your Brand] products is an illegal action that seriously infringes trademark laws of the United States. As the legal owner of the said trademark, we did not give any sort of authorization for you to sell our products. You are in violation of USPTO laws and Amazon’s policy against IP infringement.
Amazon’s Terms of Service state that they do not allow the unauthorized selling of products as it makes them liable for copyright and trademark infringement.
In addition, Amazon’s Terms of Service states that all products sold under an Amazon listing must match all details exactly. The product offered must be listed on a product detail page that accurately describes the product in all respects. This includes the following attributes: manufacturer, edition, binding, version, format, or player compatibility. Sellers are not allowed to match their item to a detail page with a different ISBN, PC, EAN, or other external identifiers.
In light of this, we kindly request you to do the following immediately:
1. Remove your offers for ASIN [Item Code] from all product pages on Amazon.com within 48 hours.
2. Refrain from using these, or other [Your Brand] list items on product pages moving forward.
3. Send us a confirmation email and screenshots after you have removed the previously stated products and listings.
Failure to comply with these demands will force us to pursue further action. This will include filing an official claim with the Seller Performance Department of Amazon.com, which will greatly affect your Amazon performance metrics.
We will also pursue legal action against you and your company for Trademark Infringement.
If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (XXX) XXX-XXXX
Amazon Buyer Complaint Letter Template:
I am writing to let you know that I have recently purchased an item from an Amazon supplier that was unsatisfactory and did not match the description on the listing.
I wish to file a complaint about this seller and I would like it to be investigated to ensure that they are not selling the same subpar products to other Amazon clients.
Details of the transaction are as follows:
- Name of Store/Seller:
- Order ID:
Attached also are photos of the item that I have received. The item is different from the Amazon listing in the following ways:
1. [Detail 1] (refer to Photo 1)
2. [Detail 2] (refer to Photo 2)
3. [Detail 3 ] (refer to Photo 3)
4. [Detail 4] (refer to Photo 4)
I am filing a complaint as the seller provided me with a product that did not match the product description, was of lesser quality than what was promised, possibly counterfeit and, is not of suitable quality. The vendor in question has misled me in their Amazon listing.
I hope for your favorable response and immediate action.