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What to Do If Your Amazon Listing Gets Hijacked?
You have launched your product and the sale starts to trickle in, as a new seller or a seller that has recently launched a product you are checking this listing every minute! As you check your listing again, you discover the agony of your product image not looking like your original and another seller has not only entered but also winning the buy box!
You think to yourself “Yeah, I’ve been hijacked”
As an Amazon seller, you put in a lot of time and effect to launch a product on Amazon, the last thing you want is for someone to come along and sell a cheap counterfeit.
In this article, we discuss step by step and different tiers of engagement to get that pesky hijacker off your listing. Then list ways to prevent your listing from being a hijack target.
So if you have been hijacked, please “Keep calm and Carry on” you can do this!
Amazon listing hijacking is a situation where other Amazon seller who has posted their products under your listing. This is known as a hijacker or a piggybacker. Hijackers may be found by going to your listing, under the section “Other Sellers on Amazon”.
A hijacker will most likely try to sell a counterfeit version of your product that was sourced elsewhere. Occasionally, the product can be completely different from yours and can present a problem as it can potentially hurt your Amazon product reviews.
Another problem with hijackers is that they usually sell their items at a lower price, essentially stealing your buy box. This implies that your listing will no longer generate any sales.
Other than sales, another danger is that the longer the hijacker wins the buy box, the more it gives them the ability to change/manipulate your listing such as the image. So the danger to your listing is very much real if your listing is hijacked.
It is just easier to hijack! You know as a seller, all the work that involved such as:
The hijacker can skip all of that work and achieve sales. All they need to do is source cheaper and somewhat similar products as you, they get to piggyback on all your hard work. It’s like that kid from high school that keeps copying from others on a test.
Don’t be alarmed if you notice offers in the “Other Sellers on Amazon” section of your listing. Double-check your listing first.
Amazon hijackers and Amazon resellers are not the same things. Someone who buys your goods and then decides to resell it is a reseller, not a hijacker. The distinction between hijackers and resellers is that hijackers sell a counterfeit version of your goods rather than a legitimate one.
Another situation where there are other sellers on your listing but are not hijackers is situations where your product is being sold in other conditions than “New”. Such situations occur when “Amazon Warehouse” sells a resellable product from customer returns.
So in any of the situations listed above, you do not need to do anything further.
The simplest way to get a hijacker off your listing this through a cease and desist letter. Getting the hijacker off your listing directly without the help of Amazon will be the most time-efficient method. In most cases though the hijacker will probably ignore it, it’s worth a shot. To send a Cease and Desist Letter:
You can find a template of the cease and desist letter here.
I will wait for a day or 2 for the hijacker to respond. If nothing happens I will proceed to the next step.
As mentioned, if you lose out on the buy box for too long you can lose control of the listing.
We don’t know exactly how Amazon determines the control of the listing, but we know that time spent as the buy box winner is a huge factor.
So if the hijacker is winning the buy box because of price, make sure to adjust your price to win the buy box first. I know that it can suck because you might have to price your product under your landed cost, but this is a bullet that you should bite.
If you are being hijacked while your product is OOS make sure to get your product in stock asap and win the buy box. List your product under FBM if you have to.
It could be that the hijacker just wants to get rid of 10 units of the inventory. If that is the case it might not be worth it to go after the hijacker hard. Even if you go after the hijacker, by the time you get remediation via Amazon, this hijacker will no longer be on your listing.
So how do you check the inventory of the seller? You can do this via what we call the 999 methods.
In this situation, you will need to prove to Amazon that the hijacker’s product is a counterfeit by taking the step of purchasing the counterfeit product reporting it.
It might be probably best if you do go this route to purchase the counterfeit product before sending the cease and desist letter, as you do not want to tip the hijacker off that you are doing a test buy on their product.
Once you get the counterfeited product you will do the following.
Now you are ready to report to Amazon by going to the Report Infringement form. In this form you include:
If you do this correctly, Amazon will ban the seller within 48 hours and your hijacker will be removed from your listing.
You can stock out your hijacker by buying their entire stock. There will be some capital risk involved, if they don’t fulfill the order then you will not be charged. On the other hand, if they do fulfill the order you can return the entire inventory with the reason similarly stated above.
By doing this you are doing 3 things, first, it prevents them from selling on your listing. Secondly, this is a test buy within itself and you can report then return the product. And Third, you are sending a signal to the hijacker that you mean business is not an easy target to pick on.
This is an option if your listing has been hijacked as in your image has been changed. While you still have control delete your listing.
After you delete your listing you will wait 24 hours for the backend data to clear up. Then relist your listing with your product’s SKU and with the correct listing photos, bullet points etc via bulk listing uploads.
To delete your listing. Go to “Manage Inventory”, find your listing, and click “Delete product and listing”
Make sure to wait 24 hours before relisting your listing.
No matter how large you are, Amazon hijackers may still take over your listing. Even if they don’t directly affect your sales because you are out of stock, they can damage your brand. Because Amazon hijackers are normally located outside of the United States, shipment times are significantly slowed. Also, if the hijacker’s product is not the same product you are selling then you can get negative feedback on the shipping time, and then a negative review on the product. A double dinger!
Make sure your product is clearly branded with a logo and the packaging is distinct. This is probably your first line of protection against being hijacked. Your brand and/or logo, as well as photos of the items being offered, should all be prominently displayed on your listing.
This way you can attribute the difference between your legit product vs the hijackers.
You should register your brand as a trademark so that you can protect yourself against counterfeits/hijackers. Amazon will not recognize your brand simply because you have invented a brand name. Having your brand name registered as a legal trademark will certainly help to protect you.
The IP of your brand (ie trademark/logo) must be registered with government trademark offices in the following countries to be eligible for enrollment in the Amazon brand registry:
United States, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Australia, India, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Singapore, Spain, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates.
Being brand registered you’ll also have access to additional marketing channels (Sponsored Brands), improved brand material (A+ Content), and more once you’ve registered your brand via brand registry. And if you do become a victim of Amazon hijackers, Amazon responds quickly to IP infractions. They’ll stop the hijacker from selling your stuff right away and perhaps suspend them.
You can see the detailed requirements from the official brand registry page here.
Members of the Amazon Brand Registry can utilize Project Zero to access the Amazon Transparency Program and the opportunity to delete counterfeit listings. You can use this tool to thwart Amazon hijackers if you’re already a Project Zero member.
You may avoid hijacking by making your product as tough to hijack as possible. Bundling allows you to achieve this.
Because hijackers would have to source all your bundled products, this makes it more difficult for them. Furthermore, if someone offers a product that does not exactly match your bundle on your listing, then you have more fuel to state your case with Amazon.
Hijackers can harm your Amazon business. If anything like this happens to you, make sure you have a plan of action in place. Although the suggestions we’ve provided may not be enough to stop a hijacker, following them will surely help you prepare.
If you have questions or insights to share, please feel free to post them via the comments section. Please also consider joining our Facebook Group where we discuss any questions you may have about running an Amazon business.