Amazon Does Amazon think might makes right? Amazon Internet
In the middle of November during the prime holiday retail season - I received an appalling email saying I could not continue selling in the Toys & Games category! I am disgusted at this and am asked Amazon to reinstate my listing through the holiday season.
Amazon knew when it signed me up for this seller's account that it intended to use this criteria and yet AMAZON DID NOT NOTIFY ME OF THE CRITERIA AT THE TIME I SIGNED UP! Amazon knew full well of its criteria BUT CHOSE TO BURY IT ELSEWHERE ON ITS SITE! Why? We suspect that Amazon was posting this information in an obscure spot to try to have it both ways: to avoid telling potential sellers about the criteria at signup (who might, as a result of the warning, choose to sell elsewhere) and at the same time use it as a disclaimer against anyone who complained about having their listing pulled! This is unprofessional and unethical on the part of Amazon! Do they think we have all day to read many, many pages of content scattered all over Amazon's site? Discussion boards are not the appropriate place to look for terms and conditions and Amazon cannot reasonably expect us to go there for its own terms. We already read extensively through Amazon's seller guidelines. Again, if Amazon wanted us to see this criteria, it would notified us up front in a clear manner at sign up.
(By the way, a search for Seller Success Board, the 2008 Toys & Games holiday guidelines in Amazon.com Help on November 14, 2008 yielded the message: No results match your search for Seller Success Board, the 2008 Toys & Games holiday guidelines in Amazon.com Help. The Google searches (in brackets): [Amazon Seller Success Board 2008 Toys & Games holiday guidelines ], [Seller Success Board, the 2008 Toys & Games holiday guidelines Amazon], [Amazon Seller Success Board 2008 Toys & Games holiday guidelines], and [Amazon Seller Success Board, the 2008 Toys & Games holiday guidelines] also yielded no results whatsoever.)
Back in August, before signing up for our account, we spoke with someone named Malia at Amazon (at the following phone number: 206-266-3206) who explained that Individual Sellers must sell 25 units before Sept 9th or their listings would get pulled, and the merchant sellers in the toy category can't join between September and January but if I joined before September I could list my product throughout the holiday season! She offered to sign me up immediately without any mention of the criteria in question and without even asking me what my projected sales were! Clearly, Amazon could have breached the subject at this time through its representative but chose not to.
We strongly suspect Amazon obscured this criteria in order to sign up merchant account sellers who might not have agreed to such terms, so that Amazon could post the sales, take the revenue, and make its decision unilaterally at its convenience later without regard to the effect on its sellers. If Amazon doesn't want its sellers to find certain information too easily, it seems to hide it elsewhere on its site so it can use it as a disclaimer knowing the vast majority of sellers will not find it.
It is particularly galling that Amazon would choose to trot out these criteria on November 14th immediately before the prime toy selling season! Many of us have invested time and energy not to mention our own hard earned money to promote our product. To pull our listing immediately before it can become profitable shows extremely bad faith and unfair dealing on the part of Amazon.
In a phone call one of Amazon's reps using a very condescending tone throughout the conversation informed us that our item could not be put in any other product category and even if it could, it did not necessarily revive the listing.
Last but not least, this product is being promoted as a charity fundraiser for Compassion International (http://www.compassion.com/default.htm, further information available on request), which makes Amazon's actions especially disappointing.
To add insult to injury, Amazon attempted to bill me on 12/3/08 for a monthly merchant account fee! When I complained, Amazon emailed back saying the account was still open. My product page still said item unavailable. When I got them on the phone, Kayla, their representative, claimed the account was still open, I just couldn't sell in the Toy & Game category!!! What an underhanded way to deal with its sellers! First, prohibit a Toy & Game retailer from selling in the middle of the holiday season. Then, keep on billing them without informing them they can still sell in categories they didn't sign up for, or present the option of canceling the account right then & there with full knowledge of the terms. Just passive-agressively bill them & let your seller waste their valuable time & spin their wheels trying to find out what the problem was.
Kayla reversed the charges & helped me close the account, but the whole experience leaves us with the impression that Amazon does not deal with its sellers openly, honestly, and ethically.
Does Amazon think might makes right? Its sellers & customers don't!
Syosset, New YorkU.S.A.
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