I know one of the main challenges you face selling in an e-commerce marketplace is unauthorized sellers can undermine brand integrity and dilute product value. This makes them a problem for many brand owners. 

For the several years that I’ve consulted with and helped Amazon sellers, I’ve recommended several channels to counter the activities of unauthorized sellers.

My aim in this article is to walk you through practical strategies that work when looking for how to stop unauthorized sellers on Amazon.

How to Stop Unauthorized Sellers on Amazon

Unauthorized sellers profit by using your brand name and selling your products without permission, hurting your business. They can copy your product listings, tweak them to suit their needs, and use them to attract customers to their counterfeit listings. They can also maneuver through Amazon’s algorithm to get away with unauthorized sales. 

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Unfortunately, unless they infringe on your intellectual property rights or commit a severe violation, Amazon will not likely help you find and remove unauthorized sellers. This means you will have to take steps to protect your brand and stop these sellers from hurting your business. In the event of legal action, a patent lawyer is necessary. 

Who Is an Unauthorized Seller on Amazon?

An unauthorized seller on Amazon is any individual or entity who sells products on the platform without obtaining proper authorization from the brand owner or manufacturer. These sellers may acquire products through various means, such as purchasing from retail stores, wholesalers, or other channels, and then resell them on Amazon without permission.

There are several types of unauthorized sellers on Amazon, including:

Unsanctioned sellers can do a lot of damage to your brand and general business on Amazon, including:

How to Handle Unauthorized Sellers on Amazon 

As of 2023, there were almost 2 million sellers signed up on Amazon. Amid numbers like this, it may seem quite challenging and almost impossible to identify and stop unsanctioned sellers on the platform. Yet, there are several ways that you can do this as a brand owner.  

Enroll in Amazon Brand Registry

For Amazon brand owners with registered trademarks, Amazon Brand Registry is a powerful tool to prevent unauthorized sales on Amazon. This program gives you exclusive access to a suite of tools that allow you to protect your intellectual property, report violations directly to Amazon, exert greater control over your product listings, and many more. 

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Utilize Amazon’s Transparency Program

The Transparency Program by Amazon is a service that enables brands to assign unique serial codes to each unit of their products. These codes then authenticate products and track their movement through the supply chain. 

Using this program, you can identify unauthorized products on Amazon and guarantee that only authenticated products are shipped to your customers. 

Get Signed Distribution Agreements With Your Sellers

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. This means that the best way to stop unauthorized sellers is to limit their access to your products in the first place. One way of doing this is by entering a distribution agreement with every distributor you sell your products to. 

These agreements should include restrictions on where, how, at what price, and to whom your products can be sold. By signing these agreements, your distributors can be held accountable for going against your rules. The consequences of this can include cutting off their supply and, in severe cases, taking legal action against them. 

Register for Amazon’s Brand Gating

Amazon offers a Brand Gating program that allows brands to control who can sell their products on the platform. By gating your brand, you can restrict access to your products and prevent unsanctioned sellers from listing them on Amazon without permission. 

To qualify for Brand Gating, you must meet certain eligibility criteria and provide evidence of your ownership of the brand and its intellectual property rights.

Monitor Your Listing Regularly

You can use automated monitoring tools and services to track your listings on Amazon and identify any sellers selling your products without authorization. You can quickly remove these sellers and protect your brand integrity.

If you have a MAP policy in place, you should also monitor and enforce it to prevent unauthorized sellers from undercutting authorized prices.

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Take Legal Action

In cases where unauthorized sales persist despite all your preventive measures, you may need to take legal action to protect your rights. This may involve sending cease-and-desist letters, filing trademark infringement claims, or filing a lawsuit against repeat offenders. 

Cease and desist letters should cite relevant laws and provisions, such as the Lanham Act, which governs trademarks in the USA. These actions send a strong message to these sellers that their activities will not be tolerated. 

However, make sure that you seek the help of a qualified attorney to review your case and outline the best steps to take to safeguard your rights.  

Related Questions

How Do Unauthorized Sellers Affect Business on Amazon?

Unsanctioned sellers can affect your business on Amazon by damaging your brand reputation, causing price erosion, reducing your profit margin, disrupting your distribution channels, and exposing your brand to legal risks. Offering counterfeit or subpar products may also cause negative customer experiences and loss of trust. 

How Do I Identify Unauthorized Sellers on Amazon?

To identify unsanctioned sellers on Amazon, constantly monitor your product listings for sellers not affiliated with your authorized distribution network. You can check for any inconsistency in price and other signs of counterfeit products, such as negative customer feedback and product reviews. 

What Should I Do if I Find an Unauthorized Seller on Amazon?

If you find a seller who is not authorized to sell your product on Amazon, you can reach out to them to ask them to stop selling your product. Let them know that this is because they are unauthorized to do so. If this doesn’t work, gather evidence of the unauthorized sale and report it to Amazon. 

Conclusion 

Sellers who are not authorized pose a significant challenge for brands selling on Amazon. However, by taking some of the proactive steps listed above, you can protect your brand on the platform and preserve your reputation.