Your account is down, and you are watching your dreams of selling on Amazon dwindle away while trying to navigate the process of appealing the suspension due to inauthentic claims on your items. While it seems that Amazon has it out for you, in truth it is mostly an automated process to vet and validate the items you are selling.
Understanding why your items are flagged as inauthentic is your first step. There are many reasons this can happen, most of the time it is from a customer comment or feedback, such as customer reviews, chats, phone calls or emails. It could also be in feedback from the customer to you as the seller.
Regardless, the reason, reinstating an inauthentic claim requires proof that your items are truly authentic. It means proving the product is not counterfeit or poorly made and meets Amazon’s expectations and requirements. Key to your proof points is the product’s invoice. Amazon has a laundry list of invoice requirements. Here are the must-knows.
10 must-knows for Amazon-friendly invoices
What does Amazon really want to prove authenticity? A big part of it is invoices – genuine, fact-filled, verifiable, accurate invoices. Keep these as a checklist.
- Every invoice should include a supplier’s name, address, phone number and website. Ideally, it also includes a primary contact name (first name, last name) and email address. Investigators use this information to do a simple Google search and confirm and match the information.
- Invoices must include who bought the products and include that person’s name, address, phone number and email. Hopefully, it shows you made the purchase. It shows your name and storefront name. If not, you’ll need to explain why.
- Invoices must show not only who bought it, but they must match account information listed in Seller Central. If it doesn’t, why? Did you buy the product using a personal credit card in your name? Did you purchase it through a different corporate entity? Did a family member buy it for you? Yes, more explanation is needed.
- Invoices must be dated within the last 365 days. This one tends to annoy sellers the most since many sellers purchase two years’ worth of inventory at once. That means a “within 365-day invoice” is impossible. In such cases, added explanation is needed.
- Invoices must cover your sales volume plus remaining inventory for the ASIN(s) in question over the last 365 days. Amazon examines and compares the invoices to verify that you had enough inventory for the orders. This can get challenging and exasperating since it requires some tabulating and estimating sales vs. orders vs. returns and more.
- Invoices do not have to show line-item pricing to be Amazon friendly. Amazon allows you to black out the pricing information but DON’T. We recommend leaving it as-is. Here’s a BIG caveat: If you choose to black out your pricing, DO NOT black out the any TOTALS.
- Invoices must show payment confirmation with a “balance due” showing zero for one primary reason. It shows the products are paid in full. If you are unable to get an invoice with a balance due of zero, we recommend including proof of payment such as a wire transfer confirmation, canceled check, credit card statement, PayPal confirmation, etc. Proof of payment goes a long way to prove you are the legal owner of these items and that there is nothing wrong.
- Invoices must confirm products are paid in full so do NOT submit pro forma invoices, commercial invoices or order confirmations. In many cases, suppliers only may provide these types of invoices. If so, provide extra proof that verifies the payment.
- Invoices must be clean and original. DO NOT alter, edit or falsify your invoices. Ever. Amazon is unforgiving when it believes invoices are forged and fraudulent. I’ve seen sellers suspended, even banned for this indiscretion. If your invoices do not meet the above standards, consider reaching out to your supplier and asking for replacement invoices that satisfy Amazon’s requirements. I’ve worked with sellers whose suppliers were more than willing to help.
- Invoices from China can be another challenge. Without question, I’ve seen hundreds of contrived invoices that included bogus details and a bogus “trade/country mark.” If you do not know what the perfect mark is, you can reach out to the trade authorities to ensure what you are receiving is valid and compliant. All invoices from China should have a stamp that proves all VAT has been appropriately paid.
Written proof removes all doubts
Quality, Amazon-friendly invoices tell a story of fact over fiction. They remove all doubt about product authenticity. They serve as the cornerstone to appealing Inauthentic policy violations.
Remember, “inauthentic” doesn’t always mean Amazon believes you’re selling fake or counterfeit products. Rather, the products are suspect because they may fit in a gray market category that reaps suspicion. Couple that with a process in which investigators spend less than 4 minutes to review the violation, scan invoices, read an appeal, research a bit, then make a decision. This is why keeping everything clean, clear, and concise is imperative.
The process of collecting and organizing invoices, identifying the complaint and why it’s been flagged—and what steps will be taken to prevent it from happening again–is arduous. That’s when you hand it over to experts who know how to streamline, organize, write and manage the entire process. Find out how the Riverbend Consulting team takes on the tasks of your account and ASIN struggles.