Documentation is one of the most important things for Amazon sellers to maintain. More and more, we are seeing Amazon requesting documentation to reinstate ASINs and accounts. Additionally, the right docs can help protect you against would-be attackers on the platform.
But what documentation do you need? And what does it need to include to be accepted by Amazon?
Below, we’ll run through the most common scenarios we see, and what you need to include in your documentation to resolve them.
Documentation All Amazon Sellers Need:
Seller Account Verification Docs:
Verification isn’t just for new sellers. Any time you change account details, you could get flagged for reverification. Make sure you have your valid verification docs on hand that 100% match the information on your seller account.
The identity documents required depend on the country or state your business is based in, and where you live, but usually you have the option of providing a passport, driver license, or national ID.
You may also be asked to provide a business license, bank statement, credit card statement, or utility bill.
Certificate of Liability Insurance
If you have a Professional Seller Account with sales over $10,000/month, you are required to have a Commercial General Liability insurance policy on file with Amazon.
This policy must:
- Cover at least $1,000,000
- Include Products Liability coverage (Products/Completed Operations)
- Cover all sales from products listed on Amazon
- Be an Occurrence Form Policy
- Have a company Rating of A- or better
- Name Amazon.com Services LLC and its affiliates and assignees as additional insureds (Amazon.com Services LLC and its affiliates and assignees, PO BOX 81226, Seattle, WA 98108-1226)
- Have a deductible of less than $10,000, if a deductible is included
- Match exactly the company name and address on your Seller Central Account
Here’s an example from WELL Insurance of what the Certificate of Insurance needs to include:
Documentation for Anyone That Accesses Your Seller Account
You need to be able to document your relationship (and termination of relationship) with anyone that has access to your Seller Central account.
Because if Amazon relates you to a suspended account, or to someone that they believe has committed abusive conduct, you need to show the scope of your relationship, and/ or that you have terminated it, in order to get your account reinstated or your Brand Registry approved. The last thing you want is to be held responsible for someone else’s bad behavior.
You need dated contracts and termination letters with all employees and service providers, detailing the scope of their work on your account. This includes 3PL’s and warehouses, software providers, and contractors.
Additionally, make sure that when you do terminate your relationship with anyone that has had access to your account, part of your offboarding process is revoking Seller Central (and Brand Registry) account access.
If the ownership of your company changes, ie. you change business partners, or you buy or sell a company, you must have clear documentation for creation or termination of partnerships and change of ownership, dated when these changes took place. And make sure all information is properly updated in your account (including removing old users).
Documentation for Brand Owners:
Trademark/ Patent registration:
A trademark is required to enroll in Amazon’s Brand Registry. Brand Registry gives you access to additional branding tools, as well as tools to report infringement of your intellectual property. Registering your IP also gives you a much stronger legal basis to report infringement and counterfeit versions of your products, and further protects your listings from hijackers.
Make sure you also have photos of your product and packaging clearly showing your Brand permanently affixed to either the product, or packaging, or both.
You should be copyrighting all text and images that you use on Amazon. If a competitor copies your listing, your copyright registration will ensure that your abuse report to Amazon is acted upon quickly as IP infringement. Your copyright registration will also stop any attackers from copyrighting your content out from under you, and then reporting you for infringing on their false copyright of your original content.
We are seeing this tactic used a LOT, so make sure you’re protected.
You are getting your GTIN’s from GS1 right? Per their Valid UPC Policy, Amazon verifies “the authenticity of product UPCs by checking the GS1 database. UPCs that do not match the information provided by GS1 will be considered invalid.”
If you aren’t getting your GTINs from GS1, your information will not match their database. Amazon may restrict your ability to list new products, or suspend your active listings, if you can not show the relationship between the information in GS1’s database and your products. Your GS1 prefix should be registered under your company name, and you will need to be able to document how that relates to your brand.
“GS1 collaborated with the retail industry more than 50 years ago to set a global standard on product identification and the GTIN was born. Once just a means for speeding up checkout lines, the GS1-sourced GTIN has become a key symbol of credibility for products over the years and shows that a brand is ready for all levels of growth and success, no matter what channel you sell through,” said Michelle Covey, Vice President, Commercialization and Strategic Accounts, GS1 US.
Proof of relationship between your company and brand
If your company name differs from the brand name of your product, you need to provide proof of the relationship between your company and brand. You can prove this relationship with a DBA certificate, a Trademark certificate which lists your company as the owner of the trademark, or a licensing agreement.
Invoices from your manufacturer
Just because you are the brand owner doesn’t mean Amazon is not going to ask you to prove the authenticity of your products. You need to keep excellent records of your relationship with your manufacturer. You should have a contract with all manufacturers, as well as invoices that meet Amazon’s verification requirements (see the below example).
If you manufacture your own products, you should maintain separate entities for the manufacturing and selling of your products, and invoice the selling entity accordingly. Why? Amazon won’t accept “self-issued” invoices as proof of authenticity.
Amazon may request licensing agreements when you create a listing for a licensed product or if you have received a Suspected Intellectual Property Infringement complaint.
If you are selling licensed products, you need to have a licensing agreement which clearly documents:
- Your relationship with the licensor
- Under whose brand the products will be listed
- A letter of authorization from the licensor, which authorizes you, the licensee, to sell the licensed products on Amazon
Documentation for Resellers:
You need invoices to prove the authenticity of your products. Without them, you’re not just looking at blocked listings- you’re looking at potential account suspensions with Amazon keeping you inventory and money indefinitely.
But what exactly is an acceptable invoice from a verified supplier?
- Proforma or Commercial Invoices are not acceptable
- Invoice needs to be dated within the last 12 months, and reflect the actual sales volume
- Must be dated
- Must have an invoice number
- Must include your supplier name and contact information. Ideally the contact information is a direct line to your rep, not just the company’s main line/ customer service email.
- Supplier must have a website (ideally, the URL is on your invoice)
- Invoice includes unique identifiers for the products (ideally GTIN, so Amazon can easily match it to the products listed)
- Ideally, you are sourcing directly from the brand. If not, you should be sourcing from an authorized distributor who is verifiable with the brand.
Letters of authorization
In addition to verifiable invoices, Amazon may ask you for a letter of authorization to sell a brand. This is again where sourcing directly from the brand will make your life a lot easier.
The letter of authorization should include:
- Company letterhead from your supplier (ideally the brand)
- Verbiage that states that you, the seller, are authorized to sell the brand on Amazon
- A list of specific products
- Your name, store name, email, phone number and address (must match the information on your seller account)
- Brand name, company name, email, phone number, address and contact information for contact person with the brand
- Brand owner’s signature
A note on Product Compliance Documentation
Product compliance varies by product and marketplace. You should work with compliance experts, regulating bodies, and your manufacturer, to ensure that you are meeting the compliance requirements for your products. Additionally, Amazon has a long list of compliance requirements for different products, which you can refer to here.