According to CNBC, following a dispute with Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, Amazon has made changes to its suspension policy for third-party sellers.
As part of its settlement with German antitrust authorities, from August 16 2019, Amazon will give 30 days notice to sellers facing suspensions and provide specific reasons to those who are blocked for “alleged legal infringements.
“We may terminate or suspend this Agreement or any Service for any reason at any time by notice to you.”
“We may terminate your use of any Services or terminate this Agreement for convenience with 30 days’ advance notice. We may suspend or terminate your use of any Services immediately if we determine that (a) you have materially breached the Agreement and failed to cure within 7 days of a cure notice unless your breach exposes us to liability toward a third party, in which case we are entitled to reduce, or waive, the aforementioned cure period at our reasonable discretion; (b) your account has been, or our controls identify that it may be used for deceptive or fraudulent, or illegal activity; or (c) your use of the Services has harmed, or our controls identify that it might harm, other sellers, customers, or Amazon’s legitimate interests. We will promptly notify you of any such termination or suspension via email or similar means including Seller Central, indicating the reason and any options to appeal, except where we have reason to believe that providing this information will hinder the investigation or prevention of deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity, or will enable you to circumvent our safeguards.”
Although it’s a move in the right direction, some sellers are commenting that the new language doesn’t go far enough to protect third-party sellers from potentially unfair suspensions.
Suspension expert and former Amazon consultant, Chris McCabe, said “the 30-day notice will give sellers more opportunity to respond to unfair suspensions and make their case, but the rest of the language is vague and gives Amazon plenty of leeway. They need better training and to be more specific in terms of reason and causality around the suspensions.
Previously, Amazon could terminate seller accounts at any time “without justification”.
Third-party sellers are responsible for 58% of items sold on Amazon’s marketplace, up from 31% a decade ago.
In this year’s shareholder letter, Jeff Bezos wrote, “Third-party sellers are kicking our first-party butt.”