Investigate Your Invoices Before Amazon Does
I cannot say this enough: Be careful with how you present your invoices to Amazon.
Lots of sellers will receive policy warnings stemming from buyer complaints. The particular wording of inauthentic or counterfeit item complaints trigger manual investigations of your seller accounts. Product Quality teams cancel listings against certain ASINs or suspend you while asking for more information. Why did the buyer complain about your item quality? Have you reviewed your inventory, your supplier, or your item condition classifications? Essentially Amazon asks if you can convince them you sell legitimate products. You open your notifications and read something like this:
Copies of invoices or receipts from your supplier issued in the last 180 days. These should reflect your sales volume during that time. Your supplier’s contact information including name, phone number, address, and website.
This means providing invoices and a proper documentation trail to demonstrate supply chain. The Product Quality team is tasked with ensuring that an item’s promised quality on a product detail page matches up exactly to the items sent to buyers. If any doubt lingers in their minds, they refuse to allow future listings against those ASINs.
What does Amazon want you to show?
I’ve included the main criteria sought by Product Quality below. You must be willing and able to show all sourcing information to Amazon other than pricing. Holding back anything considered crucial to evaluating the authenticity and quality of your products raises the risks that you will lose the ability to list against top selling ASINs and quite possibly your entire account. Policy teams regard these violations as threats to a buyer’s experience. Higher-ups have given them the leeway and leverage to take action as they see fit against any account.
- Invoices dated in the last 180 days.
This one is tricky if you buy inventory items annually.
- Volume accounts for sales levels.
Do the invoices you’re providing only account for a fraction of your sales on the site? This won’t wash because it only takes a small number of item quality complaints to trigger removal of an active listing or an overall account review.
- Not over-redacted.
Sellers are understandably leery about sharing their deals with suppliers. They assume that Amazon is only interested in their supply chain in order to find ways to source items more cheaply themselves, then beat their marketplace sellers on price. Withhold information from Amazon at your peril. Withholding important info motivates PQ investigators to disallow permanently your listings against certain ASINs, or worse, your ability to argue that you have legitimate product when you’re suspended. Over-redacted invoices makes it look like you’re hiding something, and that’s not good. Supplier can be verified, contact info, web site URL, etc. Have a healthy amount of info on hand to share about your suppliers. Often an investigator only wants to see that it’s a legitimate business with a real website, not a page “under construction” or worse. Give them good info to check.
- Professional, presentable format.
Your invoices need to be clean and easy to read. Don’t expect investigators to go hunting around for crucial bits of information. If it’s not legible, it won’t be acceptable.
- Shipping info (date, method, tracking, etc.).
Don’t forget to show how you received the shipment of products, indicating that the items were sent to your warehouse, or your place of business
- Payment info (terms, payment method).
Document that you’ve paid for the items on the invoice.
- Chinese government stamp showing official approval of the sale and shipment.
For items sourced in China, there must be a stamp showing review and approval by the authorities.
Investigators constantly reject invoices for missing or incomplete information, fake-looking stamps, or for entirely fabricated content whether there is a basis for it or not. Anything that looks like a seller hiding something will be turned down because investigators are looking for reasons to disqualify them and move on to the next one. It saves time, effort and energy.
Some sellers hold back supply chain info because their reseller isn’t authorized to sell grey market items in the US or they simply aren’t authorized for online sales. Suppliers sometimes skirt the terms of their own deals with manufacturers and don’t want Amazon seeing documentation that shows it. Unfortunately, that’s the Amazon seller’s funeral, and not the supplier’s. If a buyer complains to Amazon, the seller suddenly has to show item provenance. At that point the strength of the invoices will play a major role in reinstatement or denial on appeal.
Every minute your account is suspended or your listings are blocked you lose money. Get a FREE sneak peak of my proven 4 step method for getting your listings back