The opportunity available to Amazon sellers is absolutely massive.

However, with that opportunity comes inherent risk…

So let’s be honest about it, Amazon hijackers are becoming a real threat and it doesn’t appear they’re going away anytime soon. Don’t let this keep you from starting your own Amazon Business.

Maybe you started with Retail Arbitrage, then moved on to private labeling your own products only to discover that someone has been stealing your business!

It feels kind of like this…

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.

However there are many ethical hacks you can use to rank your new Amazon listing fast that aren’t considered hijacking at all.

So What Does a Hijacked Amazon Product Listing Look Like?

Take this for example:

MOCREO sells a Bluetooth selfie stick under its own brand. Yet, we can see there are 2 other sellers for this product.

Amazon Hijackers Different Product Listing Example

Here we see that MOCREO seems to be the original seller based on review-count. But REDGO Direct is selling the same product under the same brand for almost $2 less.

Amazon Hijackers Undercutting Price

And if we look at their individual listings, we see they are almost identical. Except for the seller.

Amazon Hijackers Using The Exact Same Listing as Branded Seller

What can you do about these Amazon Hijackers?

You can’t just shrug your shoulders and say something like, “This is how the online marketplace is nowadays. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Never give up on your business! You spent so much time trying to perfectly rank your Amazon product listing.

It’s time to defend your fortress.

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.

All you have to do is email seller performance.

Navigating Amazon Seller Central

Go to Seller Central > Help > Contact Us.

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:

  • Titles
  • Images
  • Descriptions
  • Product Categories
  • Reviews

Handpicked Content for You: How Amazon Reviews Increased Our Sales Dramatically in 9 Months

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.

For more info on the subject, read this 6 steps to protect your Amazon Product listing from Hijackers article, or you can grab some popcorn and check out this recent presentation I did with the StartupBros:


.
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.

Author

Steve Eilers

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.

  • […] photography, how to perfectly optimize your Amazon product listing, quick hacks to win the buy box, fighting product listing hijackers, and opening an Amazon seller […]

  • […] photography, how to perfectly optimize your Amazon product listing, quick hacks to win the buy box, fighting product listing hijackers, and opening an Amazon seller […]

  • […] cycle, but luckily there are still many ways for new sellers to compete. If you have a problem with Amazon hijackers stealing sales make sure you know how to protect yourself […]

  • […] It should be noted here that Amazon doesn’t have anything against selling cheap knockoffs. They just don’t like it when you lie about what it really is or who really made it. So, I’m not telling you this method because I condone it, but merely to keep you informed doesn’t Amazon seller. Someday it could happen to you! Know how to protect yourself from having your product listing hijacked. […]

  • […] cycle, but luckily there are still many ways for new sellers to compete. If you have a problem with Amazon hijackers stealing sales make sure you know how to protect yourself […]

  • […] have an incredible article about protecting yourself from Amazon Hijackers. If someone tries to hijack your product listing because Amazon will immediately have that seller […]

  • David says:

    Unfortunately, unless you have a registered trademark and with Brand Registry, Amazon now refuses to do anything to remove obvious counterfeiters. It takes months and years for the USPTO to process an application for a trademark. Amazon is allowing thieves to run rampant in their marketplace. “Hijacker” is too nice of a term when you are the manufacturer and someone steals your good name, product reviews, and revenue. There needs to be an easy way for manufactures to file criminal and civil charges against counterfeiters and against Amazon – when this is allowed to occur.

  • Ketan says:

    Thanks for sharing valuable information. I have recently started selling on Amazon and this would really help me in future to protect my listing.

  • Daniel Albelice says:

    Hey Steve, thanks for the read. I’m having an issue with an Amazon seller of the same ASIN as me creating alternate buyer accounts, purchasing my ASIN on multiple orders and repeatedly leaving negative feedback to lower my metrics. He’s been doing this to multiple sellers actually and now has started filing policy complaints, etc. All of his orders are shipped to the same address, so he’s not even trying to hide these tactics. Any input on what I can do? I’ve already contacted all of Amazons departments, provided screen shots of the orders addresses and the sellers location being in the same area, etc. But they seem to do nothing.

  • […] haywire, calling seller support departments nonstop and filing endless complaints and appeals. If you become a victim of these fraudulent acts, know that you're just one out of the thousands who are trying to file a […]

  • Federico says:

    Your first tip of using a different email as a buyer and as a seller may get people into trouble. I had a buyer account for years, and created a seller account with a different email. A few weeks later Amazon found out and banned me from selling permanently. It took me months to finally convince them to allow me back in, and this was only possible if I kept the same email. Hope this helps!

  • Nathan Gardner says:

    I run a t-shirt business on Amazon and just had 30 designs hijacked by a Chinese scammer today. This is the third time in a month this has happened. The first two hijackers quickly took down the listings after I contacted them. Hopefully this hijacker does the same, because i know Amazon will never do never do anything about it. If this continues my business will eventually be ruined.

    • Serge says:

      Same thing now happens with my accout. Have 3 hijackers to fight with. Sent them a letter – no result. Reported to Amz form/phone – no result.

  • Nick says:

    As someone who is new to the game, I’m a little confused by what a hijacker is. Aren’t a lot of products on Amazon these days just sourced from China? So what would make someone a hijacker if I’m just sourcing from China as well? Or is this for more original products that then get copied by Chinese manufactures? If so, how do I as an out-sourcer, ensure that I’m not the one being the hijacker? And if there isn’t a trademark or patent in place, what makes it illegal or is it more of an ethical game? I certainly don’t want to do anything illegal or unethical so I’m trying to learn.