The good news is that instead of abandoning the Amazon platform altogether and sacrificing boatloads of business, you can adapt and learn how to prevent these guys from overtaking your perfectly optimized product listing.
Before we get started, we should take a moment to differentiate between the two types of scammers:
Who Are Amazon Hijackers?
Hijackers are the people on your listing that have undercut your price just enough to steal the Buy Box from you.
Typically, these are Chinese counterfeiters or bots that are running on an algorithm, but some of them are Americans trying to get a leg up on your online success.
Second Type of Amazon Hijackers
Similarly there are also sellers known as leeches.
Leeches don’t actually own the Buy Box, but they’re equally as annoying.
Many of these pests are bots without any history or feedback, most of which just launched a brand-new account right before they began assaulting yours.
The first string of defense that I always recommend is a simple cease and desist letter.
This might feel like the most obvious initial step, but many people don’t know how effective one of these bad boys can actually be.
If that doesn’t work, don’t fret! You still have three other plans of attack that are sure to do the trick.
And no, you don’t need a brand registry in order to implement them (although having one certainly wouldn’t hurt your odds).
My Top 3 Strategies to dealing with Amazon Hijackers
Strategy 1: The Threatening Letter
The effectiveness of an email is very surprising!
If the scammer that is targeting your listing totally ignored your letter, their ears might perk up when they hear that same frustrated sentiment from another angle.
The secret? You need to send the email from your Amazon Buyer Account, which should be different from the seller account you used to send your Cease and Desist.
The hothead in you may want to go overboard with the harsh language, or you might be too much of a nice guy to lay down the law, but I’ve found it best to try and tread confidently in that firm middle ground.
You probably shouldn’t curse them out, but your goal is to let them know that they’re about to be in hot water if they don’t stop hijacking your Amazon product listing.
Here’s a template I use. Feel free to copy it word for word or alter it however you like, but rest assured that it’ll make an impact:
Threatening Letter Example
To whom it may concern,
Consider this your first and last warning to remove ASIN _________ from your Amazon selling account. Your account WILL be suspended if you do not comply. We have successfully gotten 12 other sellers like yourself permanently shut down in the last month for doing exactly what you are doing.
Is one product listing worth losing your entire Amazon selling account and business? I’m sure that it’s not.
Do the right thing and remove ASIN _________ or face legal action and the permanent loss of your Amazon account.
You have been warned.
Whether that tone comes off lukewarm or scalding hot in your eyes, it sure gets the job done.
Strategy 2: Report the hijackers to Amazon
When you first experience Amazon hijackers, your first instinct may be to report them.
However, it’s best to use this as your second string of defense. This approach is extremely effective for bots, because they’re pretty identifiable as fraudulent when you take a moment to check out their account.
This doesn’t work as well for counterfeiters, mainly because they practically make a career out of looking and seeming legit. They’re basically professional liars.
Select: Selling on Amazon > Other Issues > Report a Violation.
Keep it short and sweet, generally within two or three sentences. Drop a direct link to their storefront at the bottom of the email and mark it as urgent.
This approach tends to get results in just a matter of hours!
Strategy 3: The Amazon Hijackers Account Test Buy
Now, the odds are that a dispute will never make it this far.
One of the previous methods should have fixed your problem by this point.
If not, it’s time to whip out the big guns.
Pro Tip: Don’t waste this much time, energy, or effort on someone that doesn’t have the Buy Box.
It just plain isn’t worth it.
The process can take several days, and if you actually do have a brand registry, you’re better off filing a trademark infringement claim instead.
The Exact Steps to purchase from your Amazon Hijacker
Step 1: Purchase the product from the scammer in question and choose the fastest shipping option.
Step 2: When it arrives, take a few photos that prove the item is fake and lacking your branding. If they actually managed to plaster the side with a bootleg version of your logo, just angle the item in your photos so that the logo isn’t visible. If that isn’t possible, you can try to Photoshop it out instead.
Step 3: Call Amazon as a customer and open a counterfeit case against the seller. While you have them on the phone, demand a full refund. (Trust me, they’ll give it to you.)
Step 4: Email [email protected] from your buyer account and include your photos, the order number, and the storefront URL.
Step 5: In 48 hours, Amazon responds.
I know it sounds like a lot of hard work to keep a close eye on your listings all the time, but I’ve witnessed firsthand just how important it is to monitor these things.
So What Else Can Amazon Hijackers Do?
Amazon scammers aren’t just stealing your Buy Box, you know.
They can change:
Some of them will even run a bot to thumbs-up negative reviews on your listing and delete authentic 5 star reviews!
These are tenured product hit men we’re talking about here, and they will sabotage you from all sides. When you make a living in the world of e-commerce, there’s no room for negligence.
Solutions For Amazon Hijackers
If you simply don’t have the time to police your listings 24/7, tools like AMZAlert can keep a watchful eye on your store around the clock so that you don’t have to.
At the end of the day, whether you hire an online security guard or check your phone every 15 minutes, the surveillance will wind up being worth the trouble.
You work hard to achieve your ranking, and no international cyber-villain should be allowed to rob you of that.
. Just remember this: You aren’t powerless against fraud. .
There are always measures you can take to fight back. .
With these tricks, you’ll finally be able to fend off leeches, hijackers, and other internet creeps with ease.
Steve Eilers is a father, husband, and seasoned Amazon veteran that runs a multi-million dollar Amazon INC 500 company. Steve’s software start-up, AMZAlert.com provides helpful product monitoring to Amazon businesses of any size.