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  #1  
Old 12-16-2018
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Default Taking Amazon to Arbitration

I've talked to a few people by private message about this issue, and I'm wondering how common is it for Amazon to permanently withhold money from sellers. As far as I can tell, this is a practice that has been going on for years and a google search seems to suggest this isn't uncommon. I know there is a lot of discussion about messages to Jeff's email, action plans, appeals, etc., but have people on here taken it further if those measures fail? How many legitimate sellers have had their money seized and have simply chose not to pursue legal action?

Has anyone here filed in small claims court for smaller amounts?

Has anyone here filed for arbitration?

Would you be willing to share your experience? I understand if you can't share the terms of the settlement, but just generally were you satisfied with the outcome? What advice would you have for others?

Has anyone actually had the funds released AND their account reinstated?

If Amazon withheld your money and you simply walked away from the account, why did you choose not to pursue legal action?

Please share your experience.
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Old 12-16-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Unsurprisingly the agreement is written to favor Amazon in just about every imaginable way. Relevant provisions of the Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement:

"if we determine that your actions or performance may result in returns, chargebacks, claims, disputes, violations of our terms or policies, or other risks to Amazon or third parties, then we may in our sole discretion withhold any payments to you for as long as we determine any related risks to Amazon or third parties persist…If we determine that your account has been used to engage in deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity, or to repeatedly violate our Program Policies, then we may in our sole discretion permanently withhold any payments to you."

"If the Elected Country is the United States, Canada, or Mexico, Amazon and you both consent that any dispute with Amazon or its Affiliates or claim relating in any way to this Agreement or your use of the Services will be resolved by binding arbitration as described in this paragraph, rather than in court, except that (i) you may assert claims in a small claims court that is a Governing Court if your claims qualify and (ii) you or we may bring suit in the Governing Courts, submitting to the jurisdiction of the Governing Courts and waiving our respective rights to any other jurisdiction, to enjoin infringement or other misuse of intellectual property rights. There is no judge or jury in arbitration, and court review of an arbitration award is limited. However, an arbitrator can award on an individual basis the same damages and relief as a court (including injunctive and declaratory relief or statutory damages), and must follow the terms of this Agreement as a court would. To begin an arbitration proceeding, you must send a letter requesting arbitration and describing your claim to our registered agent, CSC Services of Nevada, Inc., 2215-B Renaissance Drive, Las Vegas, NV 89119. The arbitration will be conducted by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) under its rules, including the AAA's Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes. Payment of all filing, administration and arbitrator fees will be governed by the AAA's rules. We will reimburse those fees for claims totaling less than $10,000 unless the arbitrator determines the claims are frivolous. Likewise, Amazon will not seek attorneys' fees and costs from you in arbitration unless the arbitrator determines the claims are frivolous. You may choose to have the arbitration conducted by telephone, based on written submissions, or in person at a mutually agreed location. Amazon and you each agree that any dispute resolution proceedings will be conducted only on an individual basis and not in a class, consolidated or representative action. If for any reason a claim proceeds in court rather than in arbitration Amazon and you each waive any right to a jury trial."
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Old 12-16-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

I also get the sense that very few of these cases proceed to a formal hearing/trial. Even if they settle all cases, it's still incredibly lucrative if only 2-3% of sellers file the demand for arbitration and those cases are settled. However, this is anecdotal, and I'm not sure if even that many people pursue legal action. It's really difficult to know because these proceedings and hearings are private and not open to the public.

The Demon, are you currently in arbitration with Amazon? Would you care to share a little more about your experience and what has transpired thus far? Are you trying to be reinstated as a seller or just trying to get your money?

Any others that have had their funds withheld for what they see as being an illegitimate reason or no reason at all?

I also agree with The Demon that Amazon can put just about whatever they want in the agreement, but that doesn't mean a court or arbitrator will enforce it. Amazon having sole discretion whether to disburse or permanently withhold funds seems unconscionable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Demon View Post
All I know is what I hear from the lawyers specializing in arbitration. If you have the balls, time and money to take amazon to arbitration, you will win. He said he has not lost a case. I don't believe the other amazon lawyer has either. TOS or no TOS, amazon does break laws and that's where arbitration comes in.
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Demon View Post
I am in arbitration on 1 account, and then in another arbitration on 3 accounts. We just started the 2nd arbitration. The first arbitration is in the process of choosing an arbitrator and striking others. Again I only have the lawyer's info to go on but he's confident we'll win all of them and has repeatedly said he has not lost one. We are asking for lawyer+filing fees for each arbitration because Amazon is continuously wasting our time and resources. I'll update people as soon as I get more information regarding this.
Yes, please keep us updated as your cases progress. Best of luck.
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

If you sold ⊗⊗⊗⊗ items, you can kiss your money good bye even if that sum is hundreds of thousands of $.
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  #6  
Old 12-16-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

If you have been selling counterfeit items I really wouldn't use that argument...

It wouldnt take much for them to prove that and if they did you would open yourself up to a lot of other issues
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Quote:
Originally Posted by walkingupwards View Post
If you sold ⊗⊗⊗⊗ items, you can kiss your money good bye even if that sum is hundreds of thousands of $.
If someone is knowingly selling only counterfeit or inauthentic goods, I think that's probably true. Amazon can withhold your money and an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators probably wouldn't be too sympathetic if Amazon can prove your items are inauthentic, but is Amazon withholding money only from those sellers they know to be selling counterfeit/inauthentic goods? Or are they withholding money more indiscriminately?
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Old 12-16-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

I've heard of sellers who had a very well written letter from a lawyer to amazon where they stated that Amazon should give the seller their funds....supposedly it worked, no clue if it's true or not.
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesNorth101 View Post
If you have been selling counterfeit items I really wouldn't use that argument...

It wouldnt take much for them to prove that and if they did you would open yourself up to a lot of other issues
I also feel like the burden should be on Amazon if they're going to withhold the money. Of course, this isn't the case until you actually take the necessary steps to bring the dispute to a neutral arbitrator or panel.

I see what you're saying JamesNorth101. If you knowingly sold counterfeit goods you could be opening yourself up to criminal liability, but I wonder how many sellers are exclusively selling counterfeit goods and are they doing it knowingly? If you were gong to be prosecuted, I think the state would have to prove you were selling counterfeit goods intentionally or knowingly.

Would it be so easy for Amazon to prove your goods were counterfeit? I think it would be difficult to accumulate a lot of money prior to being banned if you were selling counterfeits. If they just have a few complaints that the goods were inauthentic, I don't know if a neutral arbitrator would see that as being enough for Amazon to seize all your money. JamesNorth101, what do you think?
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Quote:
Originally Posted by MM78 View Post
I've heard of sellers who had a very well written letter from a lawyer to amazon where they stated that Amazon should give the seller their funds....supposedly it worked, no clue if it's true or not.
MM78, that'd be nice. Do you know if it was just a one page demand letter? Or were there more details included relevant to the specific case? An attorney I spoke with who has experience taking Amazon to arbitration said Amazon won't take you seriously until you've filed the demand for arbitration, but I assume every case is different. Unfortunately, in order to be "taken seriously" that would mean you have to pay the fling fee and hire an attorney if you decide you want to be represented.
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Old 12-17-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Amazon has seized money from all kinds of sellers for many different reasons. There is an investigation being run by German authorities for that same reason btw.

Bottom line is, it is up to the seller if they want to fight or not, but going to court knowing you sold ⊗⊗⊗⊗ stuff on their platform could really land you in hot water (should the original rights holder get involved).


Also, if the account was made using stealth methods... then you definitely don't want to sue them.
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Old 12-17-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

One thing to consider if anyone has their real account info

I have an account with my real info

If I sue them on a suspended account they will likely suspend my real account once my name/details in arbitration are revealed?
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Old 12-17-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Quote:
Originally Posted by walkingupwards View Post
Amazon has seized money from all kinds of sellers for many different reasons. There is an investigation being run by German authorities for that same reason btw.

Bottom line is, it is up to the seller if they want to fight or not, but going to court knowing you sold ⊗⊗⊗⊗ stuff on their platform could really land you in hot water (should the original rights holder get involved).


Also, if the account was made using stealth methods... then you definitely don't want to sue them.
I agree. There is a lot to consider. I hadn't heard Amazon is being investigated by Germany. Do you know if a focus of the investigation will be Amazon illegally withholding funds?

Why do you say you definitely don't want to sue if you're using a stealth account? Do you think your chances of recovering the money would be greatly diminished? Or do you think that also would open you up to criminal prosecution?
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Old 12-17-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucky100 View Post
One thing to consider if anyone has their real account info

I have an account with my real info

If I sue them on a suspended account they will likely suspend my real account once my name/details in arbitration are revealed?
I'd be interested to hear if anyone has any experience with this issue. I think Amazon very well could look into whether you have other accounts and link them from the beginning.

I also think if you were to reach a settlement, a term would probably be "don't do business with Amazon in the future as a third party seller," and that could spell trouble down the line if they subsequently shut down your active account with funds still in it.
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Old 12-26-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Demon,

The accounts your going to arbitration with are the real accounts or stealth accounts?

Are you using a lawyer if so would you share who they are?

I am also at that point as well
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  #16  
Old 12-26-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Googling amazon lawyer arbitration and cross referencing their reviews/reputation will show you several options as well
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Old 12-27-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Thank-you for advise.

Has anyone taken Amazon to Arbitration on a stealth account?
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Old 12-28-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

I have taken amazon to arbitration with a stealth account and we settled a few days before it was supposed to go to the hearing. We still had to pay everything in fees and such but we got most of our money. It seems like if you fight them, you will win regardless of what you were selling. Took us about a year total but it was certainly worth it. If anyone needs any help or info you can private message me because I rarely check the forums.
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Old 12-29-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

We recently got banned. Did nothing wrong that I know of. No explanation. Amazon is corrupt. Someone should shoot Jeff B. They embezzled 40k from us. We are getting a lawyer for arb. Once we win, we will open stealth accounts linked to LLC so they cannot tie the account. We can take to arb again if those are shut down bc they are legit. Amazon just doesn't know who the owner is and will never know even at arb.
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Old 12-29-2018
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Hi Ellis555 (I can't private message yet)

I have a stealth account that I am at the point where I need to go to arbitration.

Did you hire a lawyer to do this for you?

Doma
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  #21  
Old 01-03-2019
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Seems like everyone is talking about going to arbitration to get their money back but what about reinstating your account?

They suspended my account for forged invoice. I sent them real invoice, even reseller documents from the brand but Jeff team hasn't responded yet. How long would you wait before give up on them and take them to court? Yes I can create a stealth account but I really want my long time account back. I hate starting from zero.
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Old 01-03-2019
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Default Re: Taking Amazon to Arbitration

Anyone have good experiences with any arbitration lawyers? Seems to be quite a costly process.
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