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Suspended Amazon seller gets a record breaking award after spending $200000 on legal fees

Kika Angelic

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An Amazon seller in the United States spent 18 months and $200,000 in legal fees fighting for his withheld funds and seized inventory following Seller Account deactivation over authenticity issues. In the end, he received about half the $1.4 million in restitution requested. But the biggest victory was the acknowledgment that the world’s largest online retailer treated him unfairly. 

Amazon suspended the seller’s account after suspecting him of selling counterfeit electronics, according to arbitration documents reviewed. Then the company seized $80,000 in his account and 50,000 products stored in its FBA warehouses. 

The merchant, who did not wish to disclose his identity, asked for his money and products back, but Amazon ignored him. He couldn’t file a lawsuit because, like all other Amazon sellers, he agreed to arbitration as a condition of selling on the platform.

After reviewing contracts, interviewing witnesses and reading legal arguments, arbitrator awarded the merchant $775,000 in November. He ruled that Amazon had reason to suspect the merchant and was within its rights to suspend his account. But he said the company went too far by ignoring the seller and withholding his products, including many that weren’t suspected of being counterfeit at all. 

“Given the vast resources of Amazon,” he wrote, “I would hope that in the future it will devote the resources necessary to treat all of its sellers with respect and some semblance of due process.”

The case provides a rare look inside an arbitration process that lawmakers and regulators say favors Amazon by discouraging sellers who lack the money, time and energy to take on the company. 

A report issued last year by the House Judiciary Committee investigating the power of big technology companies revealed that between 2014 and 2019 only 163 merchants—out of the millions who sell on Amazon—had initiated arbitration proceedings against the company. A bill that would end forced arbitration has been discussed in the Senate since 2019, and its advocates hope testimony from Amazon merchants will give it fresh momentum. 

The original intent of the 1926 Federal Arbitration Act was to provide a cheaper, faster alternative to settling business disputes than clogging up public courts. In the decades since, U.S. Supreme Court rulings have allowed arbitration to spread further into day-to-day transactions.

Before consumers rent a car or get cellular service, they’re often asked to sign contracts in which they surrender the right to sue and agree to resolve any dispute through arbitration. Some businesses require new workers to agree not to sue as a condition of employment, practices that can let serial sexual harassers remain on the payroll while their victims take confidential settlements and leave.

It looks like lawmakers are finally waking up to the antitrust implications of big companies using arbitration to gain an unfair advantage over smaller ones.  “Arbitration functions as a way for Amazon to keep disputes within its control, with the scales tipped heavily in its favor,” the House Judiciary Committee said in its report. “As such, Amazon can withhold payments from sellers, suspend their accounts without cause, and engage in other abusive behavior without facing any legal consequences.”

Amazon has no incentive to change its practices even though they often don’t pass muster with lawyers and retired judges who sideline as arbiters mediating disputes. When merchants prevail, the arbiter’s decision sets no legal precedent, so Amazon can do the same thing over and over, knowing most merchants won’t bother mounting a challenge. 

“It’s very expensive and time-consuming, and most small businesses don’t have the money or the time,” says Mario Simonyan, a Burbank, California, attorney. He says most clients decide against launching arbitration cases against Amazon because they typically cost $80,000 in legal fees.

One potential solution is to pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, which would create a way for Amazon sellers to pursue class-action lawsuits against the company. Jacob Weiss, a home-goods merchant who supports the legislation, testified before the House committee in February. He told lawmakers that, despite spending $50,000 on an arbitration case against Amazon, he failed to recover his losses. Weiss said a second case has dragged on for nine months without resolution.

The anonymous merchant who won his case isn’t waiting for a new law. He paid off debts with the arbitration award and hopes to start a new business “as far away from Amazon as I can get.” His suggestion: “Make the final rulings public so other arbiters can consider them and Amazon won’t lose the argument today and make the same argument with a different arbiter tomorrow and win.”

➡️ If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

Many Amazon sellers recently started trading stocks and crypto currencies, hoping to diversify their income, which is a very good idea with all the uncertainty which comes with the platform. For this reason, we launched a new Facebook group, Crypto Arbitrage Income (Bitcoin, Crypto, Altcoins, Blockchain, Trading) – feel free to join us and forget about the troubles of selling on Amazon for a moment! Regarding Amazon Seller Performance, you can always participate in our Amazon Seller Performance – Friendly Advice – Worldwide group, where you will be very welcome. If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. K Yu

    March 8, 2021 at 10:12 am

    We must have a funding to fight against unfairness.

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How to reconcile invoices in Xero with incoming deposits from the sales channel

Kika Angelic

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Once you have sent a settlement to Xero you will be able to reconcile the settlement against the disbursement Amazon, eBay, Shopify or Etsy will have paid out to your bank account.

If you need guidance on how to send your settlements to Xero from Link My books read this help article.

The good thing about settlement based accounting is that when you do so the amount shown on the invoice in Xero and the amount you receive into your bank from the sales channel will be exactly the same. This makes it really easy for you (or your accountant) to reconcile your bank account.

All you need to do is locate the deposit on your bank statement reconciliation in Xero and click on the OK button, as shown below:

This will work for settlements in your home currency, so if the invoice is in GBP and your bank account is in GBP too.

IMPORTANT – If the currency of the invoice is different to that of the bank account, then follow the instructions in this article on How to reconcile foreign currency settlements.

Why are some of my settlements being sent as bills instead of invoices to Xero?

When Link My Books sends your Amazon settlements to Xero we do so in the form of an invoice (almost always). 

You may have noticed that we sometimes send your settlement (or part of it) as a bill instead of an invoice and wondered why we do that…

Since Xero does not allow negative total invoices, if you have a settlement which is for a negative amount then we have no choice but to send it as a bill instead.

Why would I have a negative invoice for a settlement?

There are two main reasons as to why you may have seen this happen in your Link My Books account.

  1. You have a negative settlement. This can occur if your Amazon fees and advertising costs are larger than your sales amount. In this case Amazon will actually charge your card on file with the settlement amount and produce a negative total settlement report.
  2. If you have a settlement that spans two months and you also have a large reserved balance by Amazon. In this case we split the settlement by month so we create two invoices but because the reserved balance will always fall in one or the other invoice it will end up meaning that one of your invoices will be for a negative total.

I hope you found this article helpful. Many Amazon sellers recently started trading stocks and crypto currencies, hoping to diversify their income, which is a very good idea with all the uncertainty which comes with the platform. For this reason, we launched a new Facebook group, Crypto Arbitrage Income (Bitcoin, Crypto, Altcoins, Blockchain, Trading) – feel free to join us and forget about the troubles of selling on Amazon for a moment!

Regarding Amazon Seller Performance, you can always participate in our Amazon Seller Performance – Friendly Advice – Worldwide group, where you will be very welcome.

If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

Additionally, here you can watch my YouTube video, where I am presenting you several secret tips about appealing Amazon Seller Account suspensions (don’t be confused by the opening of the video, where I am enjoying a vacation – it’s a part of the story):

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How to reconcile foreign currency settlements through Xero

Kika Angelic

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Reconciling foreign currency settlements against their local currency amounts in Xero differs depending on whether you use Amazon currency conversion tool or not.

If you have entered your GBP bank account as the deposit account for all your Amazon funds, including those in EUR, USD and CAD, then Amazon will use their Amazon Currency Conversion platform to convert your EU, USD or CAD payments into GBP before they pay them out to you.

If you have added local bank accounts for each of the different currencies that Amazon uses then they will pay you out in those currencies without first converting them to GBP.

If you are using the Amazon Currency Conversion platform then when your settlements are sent to Xero we will add their converted amounts to the invoice references like this:

“(€5.79) LMB-FR-1012345678-1 (converted to GBP 4.88)”

This makes it easier to find and match the foreign currency settlements with their GBP bank lines.

To do so if you take the amount you received in GBP and simply search for that value in the reference search box and untick the show GBP items only box, then Xero will show the invoices which have that figure in the reference which should make it much easier to identify them.

The steps are:

  1. Click the “Match” tab
  2. Un-tick the “Show GBP items only” checkbox
  3. Copy the amount you received in GBP and paste it into the “Search by name or reference” box
  4. Click “Go”
  5. Tick the invoice and hit reconcile.

I hope you found this article helpful. Many Amazon sellers recently started trading stocks and crypto currencies, hoping to diversify their income, which is a very good idea with all the uncertainty which comes with the platform. For this reason, we launched a new Facebook group, Crypto Arbitrage Income (Bitcoin, Crypto, Altcoins, Blockchain, Trading) – feel free to join us and forget about the troubles of selling on Amazon for a moment!

Regarding Amazon Seller Performance, you can always participate in our Amazon Seller Performance – Friendly Advice – Worldwide group, where you will be very welcome.

If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

Additionally, here you can watch my YouTube video, where I am presenting you several secret tips about appealing Amazon Seller Account suspensions (don’t be confused by the opening of the video, where I am enjoying a vacation – it’s a part of the story):

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Should you be worried when your ODR exceeds the 1% target?

Kika Angelic

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Many Amazon Sellers are contacting me through my OnlyFans page daily, seriously worried about their Seller Accounts being labelled as ”At Risk” of deactivation. But does this orange warning status actually mean anything bad? Learn more in this article!

Amazon has their minimum performance targets for Order Defect Rate, Cancellation Rate, Late Shipment Rate and many other metrics. Whenever a Seller Account exceeds the maximum permissible defect rate, a warning will appear.

Typically, the affected seller will also receive the following e-mail from Amazon Seller Performance:

Warning: Your order defect rate is higher than 1%

Hello,
We have identified that your Order Defect Rate has exceeded the target rate. If this problem continues, it may result in account deactivation.
Why did I receive this message?
We have taken this measure because your Order Defect Rate has exceeded the target of 1%. Order Defect Rate is the percentage of all orders that result in negative feedback, an A-to-z Guarantee claim that is not denied, or a credit card chargeback out of total orders during a given 60-day time period. Amazon’s Order Defect Rate policy can be found at: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/200285170.
We’re here to help
If you have questions about this policy or your account, or believe that this was sent in error, please contact us at https://sellercentral.amazon.com/cu/contact-us.
What can I do to avoid account deactivation?
Please ensure that you no longer violate the above policy. Review your orders to determine the cause of the issues contributing to your Order Defect Rate. You can appeal any A-to-z claim, negative customer feedback, or service chargeback that you believe should not be counted in your Order Defect Rate by visiting the following links:
— Appeal A-to-z Claims: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G202041210
— Request removal of seller feedback: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/20231
— Appeal Chargeback Claims: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/202145040
You do not need to submit a plan of action to us at this time.
You can view your account performance at https://sellercentral.amazon.com/performance/dashboard?reftag=ah_em_op or by selecting Account Health on the home screen of the Amazon Seller app on your iOS or Android device. The Account Health page shows how well your account is performing against the performance metrics and policies required to sell on Amazon.
Sincerely,
Seller Performance Team
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com

In regards to Order Defect Rate, Late Shipment Rate or Cancellation Rate, if you are a small seller, your metrics will typically greatly exceed the targets following a single defective order. Seeing this on your Account Health Dashboard can be quite alarming.

However, please note that no Seller Account will get suspended over 1-2 or 3 defects. Amazon can see, that you are a small seller. Even if you have a 50% Order Defect Rate with 1 defective order out of two, you are not worse off than someone with an 1.02% ODR!

Many Amazon Sellers wrongly believe, that the best approach is to try to get into touch with the buyer at all costs and make them withdraw the A-Z claim or negative feedback. They are trying to achieve this by offering free items, full refunds or even extra credits issued on the top of a full refund.

Doing this is a terrible idea, as it can be picked up by Amazon’s automated bots as a serious violation of their Seller Code of Conduct. My advice is to never contact buyers who left a negative feedback or opened a valid A-Z claim in an attempt to have the defect removed. The best thing you can do is avoid getting additional defects and complaints by learning from your mistakes and implementing preventative measures.

If you are an Amazon Seller who needs help with any Amazon-related issues such as suspensions, listing blocks or is looking for professional assistance, please don’t hesitate to subscribe to my new OnlyFans page at: www.onlyfans.com/kikaangelic

Additionally, here you can watch my YouTube video, where I am presenting you several secret tips about appealing Amazon Seller Account suspensions (don’t be confused by the opening of the video, where I am enjoying a vacation – it’s a part of the story):

I hope you found this article helpful. Many Amazon sellers recently started trading stocks and crypto currencies, hoping to diversify their income, which is a very good idea with all the uncertainty which comes with the platform. For this reason, we launched a new Facebook group, Crypto Arbitrage Income (Bitcoin, Crypto, Altcoins, Blockchain, Trading) – feel free to join us and forget about the troubles of selling on Amazon for a moment!

Regarding Amazon Seller Performance, you can always participate in our Amazon Seller Performance – Friendly Advice – Worldwide group, where you will be very welcome.

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