In response to a recent court ruling Amazon has agreed to change the core of many of its policies and business terms it offers to sellers on its marketplaces following an intervention by Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO).
The case stemmed from a slew of complaints starting November last year after receiving a large number of complaints from sellers pertaining to Amazon’s German marketplace, amazon.de and their lack of compliance and transparency in suspending sellers permanently.
Amazon.de, the largest of the company’s five European marketplaces, was the first to receive the effects of this recent case ruling.
So what does this mean to sellers?
Amazon has agreed to make amendments to its policies towards sellers to bring it into line with European standards for b2b relations, and changes to account termination and blocking to remove its unlimited right to do so without justification — meaning ordinary account terminations will in future require 30 days notice.
In a statement, Amazon said:
We are making several changes to the Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement to clarify selling partner rights and responsibilities. The changes will become effective August 16th. 58% of the physical gross merchandise sales on Amazon are from third-party sellers, and we’ll continue working hard, investing heavily, and inventing new tools and services to help our selling partners around the world reach new customers and grow their business.
Although this is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for the ecommerce giant, it is not a means of celebration yet. The policy changes started in Europe and subsequently took affect in the US marketplace shortly after August 16th.
As good as this sounds, it does not provide the answers many of us are hoping for.
We at Amazon Sellers Protection, have been following this case and the implications for sellers since the case started. In our findings, this has no real change for Amazon Sellers until after their suspension has happened. Ultimately, this is a slap on the wrist and this is a technical move by Amazon. It really does little to protect Amazon Sellers against suspension.
It does not give you a warning that your account is being suspended at all; in fact it takes affect after the suspensions happen. While you may be able to dig for a bit more information during the appeal process (which we will help you with), you have little to no real improvement on their processes until then. Additionally, you will be given 30 days notice prior to your account being permanently banned.
It is evident that additional lawsuits will continue to push Amazon from as it continues to find unhappy third-party sellers that are continuing to deal with algorithmic suspensions and little to no compliance in the appeal or reinstatement process from Amazon.