When Amazon takes down an ASIN or seller account for inauthentic, that’s not usually what they mean
By: Lesley Hensell
“Item is FAKE.”
It’s feedback that every Amazon seller dreads – and most long-time sellers have received at least once. Unfortunately, that one negative comment from a buyer can quickly transform into a notification from Seller Performance, demanding you disprove their accusation of “inauthentic.” Or, even worse, it can lead to an account suspension. Please know that “inauthentic” doesn’t mean fake.
For most sellers, accusations of inauthentic are downright confusing. And for good reason.
What does “inauthentic” really mean?
When Amazon suspends an ASIN – or a seller account – for accusations of inauthentic, Amazon itself is not saying, “You are selling fake stuff.” Rather, Seller Performance is expressing concern that a pattern of complaints, feedback, reviews and returns have indicated there could be problems with the authenticity of merchandise.
This could mean any number of things.
- You could be selling fake stuff. It happens. We’ve worked with sellers who truly believed they were selling authentic goods – but were not. Buyers who are loyal customers to a brand can spot the inconsistencies and will point it out. This is where excellent sourcing relationships become key. If you purchase liquidation inventory or buy things that “fell off the back of a truck,” you cannot guarantee authenticity.
- You could be selling generic items on a branded ASIN. There are two flavors of this problem. In one instance, you could be listing your generic product against a recognizable, major brand – which is a major no-no. In other cases, the problem is more difficult to untangle. Sometimes, a “generic” listing will be modified by a competitor to show their brand. This can get you in trouble. Our best advice? Don’t list generic products. Always include a brand and manufacturer.
- You could be selling items in bad condition. Amazon buyers expect merchandise to be in perfect, gift-giving condition. This means the packaging – inside and outside – should be free of dings, creases and shelfwear. When applicable, seals should be present. When an Amazon buyer receives an item with box damage, they may (unfortunately) complain of inauthentic. To prevent these kinds of complaints, up your inspection game. Ensure that outer packaging is always perfect.
- You could have lousy prep and pack. Your items could be getting damaged in transport – whether you’re sending them to the Amazon FBA warehouse or direct to customers. When buyers receive broken cosmetics, leaking shampoos and bent posters, they complain. You cannot control what their complaint might be – and some assume that a broken or damaged item must be fake. Improve your shipping performance, from upgrading packaging to better prepping items.
- You could have an FBA problem. Let’s face it. Amazon does a poor job of receiving and grading returns. Sometimes, when opened and used items are put back into your fulfillable inventory, it can lead to authenticity complaints.
- You could be commingling inventory. Commingled inventory is a nightmare. Don’t be tempted to go down this road. With commingled inventory, another seller’s fake items could be used to fulfill your orders. Instead, take the time to sticker all of your inventory – or pay Amazon to do it for you.
If your ASINs or account are down for accusations of inauthentic, don’t struggle on alone. Let Riverbend Consulting help. We can assist you in pinpointing and solving the underlying problems. Then, we will help you work with Seller Performance. We are here for you and your business! Let’s talk 877-289-1017 or visit our website.
Lesley is co-founder and co-owner of Riverbend Consulting, where she oversees the firm’s client services team. She 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.