Amazon Suspension – Receipts, Invoices and Inauthentic Items
Amazon Suspension – Receipts, Invoices and Inauthentic Items
If you want to learn about brand protection and supply chain integrity please click here
to read Brand Protection and Supply Chain Integrity: Methods for Counterfeit Detection, Prevention and Deterrence A Best Practices Guide by Inmar and Authentix
Providing Receipts To Amazon:
We cannot stress this enough – PLEASE BE VERY CAREFUL how you present your invoices to Amazon when you appeal an Amazon suspension or appeal product removal.
A golden suggestion that is even better is – MAKE SURE you have invoices as opposed to receipts.
While Amazon may have accepted receipts in the past and continues to request receipts or invoices from Amazon seller, they are very ‘picky’ on what receipts they will accept and what receipts they will reject. It’s very difficult to gauge what receipts from which retailers they accept.
What is known is that the receipts should contain the invoice number, the retailers address, their location, contact information, description of the product purchased and the quantity of the products purchased.
A great example for accepted retail receipts are the receipts from Ross, they contain the required information and thus Amazon is likely to accept them. However, be forewarned that Amazon may reject them depending on various factors that include but do not exclude various information on the receipt.
Something to ALWAYS keep in mind is the following: Just because Amazon is requesting that you send them “receipts or invoices” does not mean they will accept your receipts. Truthfully, in our opinion we always feel as if Amazon is fishing to see who will provide receipts and thus confess that they have products that are outside the supply chain.
We see their request for receipts as a double edge sword. Proceed with caution by providing Amazon with receipts if your receipts meet all the criteria required but remember they may not accept them. It may be confusing and very frustrating when Amazon alleges that you may be offering inauthentic items when in fact your products are authentic. We are certain that Toy R Us, Ross, Best Buy, or Game Stop are not selling inauthentic products to you.
Receipts and The Supply Chain’s Integrity
Amazon sellers have to know that it's VERY DIFFICULT and next to impossible to confirm and verify whether the product(s) in question were actually purchased by you (the Amazon seller) because the retail receipts do not contain your information (the buyer’s information) like their name, business entity, address, website, phone number tax identification number, and many times receipts do not contain a clear description of the product purchased or the quantity in numerical format.
Because the retail receipts do not contain the information of the buyer or proper information of the product(s) purchased and or the full information of the supplier, there is vulnerability in the supply chain. This vulnerability is susceptible to infiltration. This mean the supply chain’s integrity is no longer valid and therefor putting into question the authenticity of that the product(s) that Amazon is questioning.
Yes, we understand, and we believe that Amazon sellers who have been suspended for ‘offering products that MAY be inauthentic’ or had inauthentic item complaints that have receipts for products purchased from retailers are not attempting to ship inauthentic items into FBA or sell inauthentic items. These sellers just found products they could make a product on by reselling them on Amazon.com
BUT again, Amazon sellers have to remember that their word plus their receipts is not enough to confirm the integrity of their supply chain. Amazon sellers have to have the proper paper trail and documentation showing that the product(s) in question were sourced and purchased by them from a reliable source in order to show and verify that their supply chain’s integrity is valid.
Amazon sellers are running a business and need to take the necessary steps to make sure they are operating their Amazon seller accounts as the valuable businesses they are.
Providing Invoices to Amazon:
Depending on Amazon they will request invoices / receipts from the past 90 days, 180 days, or 365 days. Don’t worry if you only have one invoice or if you only have one invoice and it’s from 367 days ago (if it’s outside the date range requested by Amazon).
As long as the quantity in your invoices matches more or less the volume of the product(s) in question sold you will be okay. Please remember that any copies of invoices or receipts provided to Amazon have to reflect your sales volume (volume of the product(s) in question sold).
Errors that Amazon Sellers Make When Providing Amazon With Invoices:
The first error Amazon sellers make is that they provide one invoice or one receipt for each product in question. We always advice our clients to provide all of their invoices and receipts from the past 365 days for every product that may be in question by Amazon.
The second error we constantly see is that Amazon sellers have invoices that lack the proper information required for the document to be an acceptable invoice. All invoices should be dated.
They should contain the buyer’s information (Amazon seller’s information such as their name, business ENTITY, address, phone number, fax number, email address, and website address if applicable. Invoices should contain the supplier’s information such as: supplier’s business entity name (example: BONVIDA, LLC), address, phone number, fax number, email address, and website.
Invoices should also contain a detailed description of the product being purchased. If the supplier can match the name on the invoice as the same name as on Amazon.com, well that would be great. Invoices should also include the products UPC code, numerical quantity of products being purchased (example: 250), price total, balance due.
It would be best (but not required) if the invoice provided by the supplier had their logo on it and their tax identification number just for additional detail purposes.
If your supplier provides you with invoices with anything less than what we described above, you should contact them and request to have your invoices with the information we mentioned above. If Amazon ever requests invoices from you, you will have them readily available and will not have to wait for the supplier to prepare them for you.
Another error that we see often is that many times Amazon sellers will have invoices with the proper information however; the information on their invoices does not match the information on their Amazon seller account.
For example: If your name is John Rear Doe and your business name is JRD, LLC and you live on 123 B Dr. Seller City, WA, then on your name on your Amazon seller account should be John Rear Doe, your business entity name should be JRD, LLC (unless you have an individual and not a business account) and your address should be 123 B Dr. Seller City, WA.
Your invoices should also have the same matching information as your Amazon seller account under the buyer section: John Rear Doe, JRD, LLC, 123 B Dr. Seller City, WA. All information needs to match across: Bank account information, phone number, Amazon account, invoices etc. Obviously if you run your business from home them you will have your home address on records but if you run your business from elsewhere, then that should reflect on all your bank, utility, contracts, lease agreements, invoices and Amazon account.
Many times we see that invoices contain the spouse’s name or business partner’s name or we see that the Amazon seller uses a different name on their invoices or a variation of their name (don’t do that), keep everything organized across all documents and accounts.
About Chinese or Foreign Invoices:
If you have a private label product and are sourcing products from another country (i.e China for example) please make sure that your Chinese invoices contain an official approval stamp and are in English.
Chinese invoices are okay to have if you're manufacturing your own private label. However, there are a few rules you should follow:
Be sure to own the product's intellectual property (trademark, copyright, patent, etc). This means you will have to have a trademark registered with the United Stated Patent and Trademark Office and have copyrights registered with the United States Copyright Office for all images you are using on your Amazon listings and any supporting documentation showing that you own the rights to your products and that your company makes them (invoices).
Additional: Register your brand trademark with Amazon's brand registry (it's very IMPORTANT step in proving that your private label product is authentic): https://services.amazon.com/brand-registry.html?ld=BRUSNF
Additional: Make sure that your trademark is fully registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (www.uspto.gov). Don't just apply and begin selling your product. It does take 3-6 months, however, properly waiting for the trademark to be registered will save you many troubles down the road and will make it easier for you to defend your product and listings from hijackers and foreign sellers attempting to sell on your listing and undercutting your prices.
Additional: visit the United States Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov) to register your images.
Your foreign invoices should contain the same information as regular suppliers: they should be dated, should contain the buyer’s information (Amazon seller’s information such as their name, business ENTITY, address, phone number, fax number, email address, and website address if applicable. Supplier’s information such as: supplier’s business entity name (example: BONVIDA, LLC), address, phone number, fax number, email address, and website if applicable.
They should include the detailed name of your product containing your trademark name on the detail description which should be the same as the title of your Amazon listing to make things less difficult for the Amazon and for the Amazon seller. These invoices should contain the quantity of products being purchased, their condition and the total price in dollars or euros (depending on your country).
Your Chinese / foreign supplier should be providing you with a detailed invoice for your private label products as the invoice shown above. Please ensure it is detailed and contains the correct information so that if anything was to go wrong (i.e someone accusing you of selling inauthentic items when you are the owner of the brand) and Amazon requests invoices, you will have proper invoices and paper trial for your products and brand to prove they are authentic and are made by your company.
Please remember: if you are an Amazon seller, selling on Amazon is a business, treat it as such. Be organized and ensure you have a trusted supply chain that is unquestionable. You will ever regret taking a few extra steps to ensure you properly have detailed invoices to prove to Amazon that you are not OFFERING inauthentic items.
If you have any questions or need help to appeal your Amazon suspension please feel welcomed to contact us via email at email@example.com
Seller Reinstatement Team