How, why, and when to ask for a retraction
If you’ve ever gotten an IP complaint as an Amazon seller, you know the gut-wrenching feeling that ensues. So how can you combat this difficult situation and ask for a retraction with confidence?
Since Amazon is arguably the most profitable retailer marketplace, it’s only natural that small and medium businesses want in on the action. The result is a comprehensive product catalog that is excellent for customers.
However, there is a downside to this vast product catalog, dealing with copyright infringement strikes and intellectual property complaints. An IP complaint can lead to the closure of your seller account, which means you can’t afford to rush through the retraction process. Understanding how Amazon processes intellectual property complaints could mean the difference between a quick reinstatement and a permanent ban.
Sounds good? Keep reading to find out how, why, and when to ask for a retraction from an intellectual property owner.
When do intellectual property complaints occur?
Dealing with an intellectual property claim can be frustrating, especially if the complaints are baseless. Remember, most account suspensions result from a brand owner or representatives filing a complaint with Amazon.
That said, Amazon does not take intellectual complaints lightly. The brand owner needs to take several steps before their complaint goes through. For instance, Amazon requires you to show the exact IP rights you claim to be infringed.
Additionally, the brand owner states under the penalty of perjury that their complaint is valid. These are some measures that Amazon has in place to filter baseless claims.
Amazon is required by law to act if the complaint falls under the following categories:
- Trademark infringement: Using trademark elements such as phrases and logos without the owner’s permission.
- Copyright infringement: Using original works such as music and artwork without the author’s permission.
- Counterfeit complaint: Selling counterfeit or knock-off versions of original products.
- Patent infringement: Selling products under the protection of a patent without the patent holder’s permission.
What does Amazon do when they receive an IP complaint?
Once Amazon receives several complaints and verifies the validity of said complaints, it then takes steps to resolve the situation. The first step the platform takes is temporarily deactivating the seller account.
Additionally, Amazon will hold on to funds in the seller’s account until the situation is resolved. But that’s not all. Amazon also suspends the seller’s listing until the infringement retraction is successful. Undoubtedly, these actions will hit any seller hard. Fortunately, Amazon allows affected sellers to appeal.
Note: Amazon policy dictates that the seller resolve the dispute with the rights owner before reinstating your account.
While reaching out to the rights owner seems like a pointless task, you shouldn’t be quick to give up. Remember, you are better off outsourcing this task to an account reinstatement consultant.
However, here’s how you can reach out to the rights owner if you prefer a DIY approach.
How do you reach out to request for retraction?
Thankfully, contacting the Rights Owner (RO) to request a retraction is not a complex process. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get the RO’s contact information: You’ll find the RO’s email address included in the suspension notice from Amazon. You should contact Seller Support in case Amazon doesn’t provide the email. Hopefully, Amazon Seller Support can help you trace the RO’s seller information.
- Be respectful to the RO: You should maintain a level head when contacting the RO. Using a respectful tone increases the chances of a quick resolution. Don’t chastise the RO, even if you know the complaint is baseless.
- Stick to the point: Explain your situation without offering too much detail. Remember, only provide information that’s relevant to the suspension.
- Don’t admit anything: Never admit to any wrong behavior. An admission of guilt can be used against you in a legal suit.
- Ask for a retraction: Provide the RO with the complaint ID given to you by Amazon and respectfully ask for a retraction of the IP complaint.
What are the possible outcomes from a request for retraction?
They are many possible outcomes for a retraction request, including:
- No response: You shouldn’t expect a fast response. It’s not uncommon for a rights owner not to answer your request. Consequently, you should be ready to follow up at least twice in the next two weeks. You can file a counter-notice with Amazon if the RO keeps stonewalling you. Amazon will contact the RO notifying them that you dispute their claim. Amazon will reinstate your account if the RO doesn’t respond to your claim dispute.
- Negative response: This is the worst outcome. The RO notifies you that their claims are valid and won’t retract them under any circumstances. Partnering with a seller account reinstatement consultant is your best bet to get out of this jam. A professional will pursue alternative avenues of reinstating the suspended account despite a negative response from the rights owner.
- Incriminating response: If the claim is baseless, the RO might incriminate themselves in their response. You have two options if this happens. You can involve an attorney and retract the complaint or reach out to Amazon and point out irregularities in the RO’s response.
- Positive response: This is the best possible outcome to your retraction request. Remember that the RO might insist on meeting certain conditions before retracting the IP complaint. For example, the RO might forbid selling the brand in the future. If the complaint was genuine, you need to take measures to ensure it never happens again, including meeting the RO’s demands.
The chances of dealing with IP complaints increase as your Amazon Seller Account grows. Given the severe nature of IP complaints, handling reinstatements yourself is a bad idea.
Partnering with an account reinstatement consultant increases the chances of a successful complaint retraction tenfold. Not only do consultants have the resources to fast-track the retraction, but they have other tricks up their sleeves in case the RO refuses the retraction request. Moreover, professionals will take steps to help you avoid copyright infringement strikes on Amazon in the future.
The bottom line is that experienced professionals from Riverbend Consulting will help you navigate the murky waters of IP violations and help you fast-track the reinstatement of your seller account. Contact us today to get help with your retraction.
Lesley is co-founder and co-owner of Riverbend Consulting, where she oversees the firm’s client services team. She has personally helped hundreds of third-party sellers get their accounts and ASINs back up and running. Lesley leverages two decades as a small business consultant to advise clients on profitability and operational performance. She has been an Amazon seller for almost a decade, thanks to her boys (21 and 15) who do most of the heavy lifting.
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