What to do when you get an Amazon Return notification – part one

Amazon Packaging

Nothing can ruin the day faster for an FBA seller than checking your email and discovering one of those dreaded “Refund initiated” emails from Amazon. Not only is a return notification frustrating, there’s also a lot of unknowns hanging out there that can make a knot form in the pit of your stomach.

Is the buyer planning on leaving me negative feedback?
Will I be able to resell the item or has it been damaged by the buyer?
Is this going to affect my seller metrics?

These are all valid questions and although it will all play out in time, for the moment, the things to concentrate on are protecting your account. Here’s part one of some things you can do that can help.

Save the return notification to an email folder

Although Amazon issues the buyer a refund as soon as they initiate the item’s return through Prime shipping, Amazon doesn’t wait until the item has been returned before it will issue the refund. Instead, they go right ahead and issue the refund even though the item hasn’t even made it back to the warehouse yet. Since there is a 45-day window for the return, it is important to keep up with the email notification, so that you can verify the return has been made within those 45 days.

Request a refund

Interestingly, even though the buyer asks for a refund, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are going to return your item. If it is not returned, Amazon is suppose to go ahead and automatically reimburse you when this happens, but that doesn’t always occur. After the 45 days are up, you will want to go to your Seller Central and click on Reports to take a look at your returns and refunds. If you find the item has not been shipped back, you can then nudge Amazon to reimburse you the funds.

Contact the buyer

At this point, you may not know whether the buyer has a legitimate reason to return the item or not, but it’s still a good idea to try to protect your feedback. To do this, contact the buyer and apologize that the item did not meet their expectations. In some cases, this may keep the buyer from leaving a negative feedback, or if they have already left the feedback, this may give you an opportunity to show that you are a helpful and responsible person. In turn, they may decide to remove the negative feedback they have already left.

Stay tuned. Next week in part two, we will look at the steps you need to take once the item has made it back to the warehouse.

What tips do you have for handling Amazon returns? Leave a comment below.

Keeping your competitive edge in the eBay marketplace

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need a competitive edge. This is especially true if you’re selling the exact same thing as the other guy (or gal). Your competitive edge is the thing that makes you stand out, or rather, it’s what can give your store an advantage over the competition. Below are some tips that can help.

Identify your strengths

Start by identifying the things that make you stand out from the other stores in your niche. What do you and your store have over the other stores that sell similar items? As an example, maybe you and another store both sell vintage clothing, but you have noticed that you tend to sell more scarves than they do. Ask yourself why you believe this is happening. Perhaps you take better photos or your descriptions are better than other similar stores. Once you realize where your strength are you can find ways to use it to an advantage in your store.

Note your weaknesses

A weakness is something that you can improve upon. It’s different for everyone, so this may take some introspection. Perhaps you have items that you keep in the store that have never sold (and never will), but you keep letting them stay in your store (and take up inventory space in your house). Maybe your inventory is okay, but you haven’t updated the look of your store in years and years and it looks out-of-date.

Identify the opportunities

An opportunity is something that you aren’t taking advantage of that could help you with your store or sales. Are there any trends going on in your niche that others haven’t noticed yet? As an example, some of the retail stores, such as Target already have items for dorm rooms on sale. Many of them are kitschy and in bright colors. If you sell in a niche that caters to the college crowd, this may be an opportunity to look for items that are following this trend.

What’s standing in your way?

Things that stand in your way are problems or potential problems that may be keeping your store from reaching it’s full potential. Maybe your competition has already noticed that items for dorm rooms are already selling, but you’re still lagging behind. Maybe you have a lot of heavy items for sale, but the cost of shipping will be going up soon and it’s going to make those items too expensive to ship. Identifying things that are standing in your way or could soon impact your business can help you not only keep you competitive edge, but also help ward off issues before they become a problem.

How to stop the negative self-talk


Sometimes it almost seems like your listening to a broken record. EBay or Amazon make a change and the next thing you know everyone is talking about how the sky is falling. While you can kind of drown out the noise when it’s other people talking, what do you do when you discover that it is you who is behind all that negative self talk?

Well, first of all, it is important to realize that not all negative self-talk is bad. Sometime having some anxiety over an issue is a good thing. It can make us try harder, look at things differently or make changes we need to make. As an example, when sellers discovered that eBay was changing its store fees (yet again), some people initially reacted negatively, but once they acknowledged their anxiety, they realized that it was time to do something else. Some created their own websites, some moved over to other marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, and some decided it was time to simply buckle down and get more inventory listed.

What do you do when you can’t shake the negative self-talk though? Here’s some ideas that can help you get it under control.

Calm down

You won’t see the opportunities if you are concentrating on all that bad stuff. As an example, when Amazon decided to limit the amount of what could be sold in certain categories, many sellers just kind of found themselves in a spiral. What am I going to do with all the stuff I can’t sell? What do I sell now? For days on the end, that is all they could think about.
On the other hand, some sellers like Kelly sat down quietly and realized that part of the reason she wasn’t selling more items was because her inventory mainly consisted of the slow selling items that Amazon was no longer allowing. Kelly says it was kind of a wake up call for her. Rather than let it consume her, she decided it was time to get some help with her selling and ended up signing up for some arbitrage training that she had kept putting off.

Challenge your thought pattern
Instead of continuing in all the negative self-talk, take a step back and look at all the things that are going right. Your sales in one category may be down, but that doesn’t mean all of your sales are down. Even if it’s hard to do, find one thing that you see that is going right and focus on that. It can help you break the negative self-talk and help you move past it.

Find a solution
Things may seem bad, but if you take a step back and quiet down all the negative self-talk, you can usually find a way to take control of the situation. Of course, sometimes maybe the sky really is falling. When that’s the case, you just need to find a way to accept that there is nothing you can do, but walk away from it. It may not be what you want, but letting go can help you end the negative self-talk and let you start thinking about what it is that you need to do next.

That Kat Radio Show Episode 51 Tim Chapman’s Home Run Sales on eBay

This week on That Kat Radio, Tim Chapman joined us to talk about eBay Homeruns 


In segment One, Kat and Tim talked about eBay news.

Kat explained about eBay’s program, The Global Shipping Program. If you sign up as an eBay seller, if someone from a foreign country buys your item then you only have to ship the item to the eBay warehouse in Kentucky, that means you only have to pay domestic shipping. eBay takes that product and takes responsibility for getting it to your foreign buyer. Last May 15th eBay added another 38 countries, so now it’s over 100 countries that seller can ship their items to. 

Kat and Tim spoke about another eBay announcement, how to use eBay Shipping Supplies Coupon. When eBay changed the fees to the eBay stores, one of the bonuses they gave for eBay stores was a coupon to buy eBay branded shipping supplies. You have to use it all at once, you can’t split it in different transactions. 

Another thing Kat added, USPS is announcing a rate change. You can find the details about announcements on eBay.com or USPS.com. 

Kat and Tim discussed about Homerun item# 201590351835 or (47) Pcs DREIZACK Mid Century Flatware set Wusthof Solingen Germany Pamir Nice. Tim said that it’s a fantastic set of flatware. He was expecting around USD$600.00 for this item but the guy from the estate sale charged him for USD$200.00. He took it anyway and sold it for USD$271.66 with 6 bids. 

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In segment Two, Kat and Tim talked eBay Homeruns

Kat and Tim discussed about Homerun item# 311620961344, Vtg Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine 221 w/ Box Scripted Front Works great. This one is sold for USD$249.00 with 2 bids which is right about where it should be, Tim said. You look at the base of it, make sure it’s not all worn out. At the front, it has a big fancy scriptive front and that’s a big deal for people you buy these type of items. He spent USD$120.00 for this item but he knew he can sell it for around USD$220.00 – 250.00. 

Kat and Tim talked about Homerun item #201590354094, the (61) Pcs Oneida Deluxe Rushmore pattern Stainless flatware set USA made Nice. Tim stated that he paid USD$15.00 for the whole set and it was sold for USD$177.50 with 9 bids. All the estate sales have flatwares and most of them are good flatwares form 50’s and 60’s. This has a good pattern, so patterns come into play, the fancier the better. When he first started this, he couldn’t figure out all those patterns. He went to a few websites to hunt for the patterns. Take the time to find the pattern and put it in the title and you’ll do good.

Kat and Tim spoke about Homerun item #201590354523, New Old Stock Vtg 1964 Fender Bass Guitar Flatwound Strings nice. Tim said he found this in swapme and thought it was good because it still has the receipt from 1964, so he bought it for USD$5.00. He sold it for USD$159.50 with 8 bids. 

Kat and Tim explained about Homerun item #311620970025, Vtg 14K Gold Filled Parker 51 Fountain pen & Mechanical pencil set W/ Case nice. Tim said that he was at an estate sale and found this with a USD$10.00 sticker and saw that it was Parker 51, so he put it in his pile and bought it. It was sold for USD$155.50 with 15 bids. Tim added that he put “used condition” in the description because he’s not sure if it wasn’t used and it shows a little indication that it was used. He used to put “excellent condition” in the title but Tim said he doesn’t do that any more and instead just put “used condition” and let the buyer decides. Since then he is getting better feedbacks.

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In segment Three, Kat and Tim talked more eBay Homeruns

Kat and Tim spoke about Homerun item #201592207962, Fitbit Surge Fitness Watch W/ Heart Rate Monitor size Large Black nice. What happened was, Tim said, his friend got a fancy new Garmin GPS watch and Fitbit 4, his friend gave it to him to sell for his friend. It was sold for USD$147.50 with 6 bids. It’s a consignment item. He charge 25% plus fees for consignment. Kat added that people should be careful doing consignment but at the same time people can learn a lot of things from it.

Kat and Tim explained about Homerun item #201594683457, RockShox Reba 26″ Mountain Bike Fork 110mm. It was sold for USD$129.50 with 2 bids. Tim said he knows about mountain bikes, it’s a good quality front fork for mountain bike. He found it in swap me, there’s a guy selling it for USD$70.00 but Tim wanted it for only USD$50.00, so he walked away. After a few days Tim saw the guy again still with the fork and asked him if he still want to buy it. He bought it for USD$50.00.

Kat and Tim discussed about Homerun item #311624141994, 14m Windwing 14 Rage kiteboarding Kite W/ backpack Kitesurfing. Tim said that he’d sold these things before. He was at swap me and saw this and asked how much. The guy said USD$20.00, so Tim took it and sold for USD$129.00 with 3 bids. It’s so low priced that you can’t miss.

Kat and Tim talked about Homerun item #311618569177, Large Rhythm Small World Clock Wall Clock (15) Tune W/ Crystals Japan made nice. He saw this is an estate sale and thought it looks like a fancy clock. Tim looked it up and it’s selling for USD$120.00. It had a USD$50.00 price tag and Tim wanted to get it for a little less, he got it for USD$30.00. It was sold for USD$123.85 with 3 bids.

Kat and Tim spoke about Homerun item #311618659020, (53) Pcs Oneida Ltd / 1881 Rogers Floral Queen silver plate set Silverplate. Tim said that this one is Silver plate and the other one is Stainless steel that’s why it was sold cheaper. It was sold for USD$122.50 with 12 bids. 

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In segment Four, Kat and Tim talked more eBay Homeruns

Kat and Tim discussed about Homerun item #201590354005, (19) Pcs Yamazaki Andersen Japan made stainless flatware set Anderson nice. Tim stated that it’s a very good flatware quality. It’s only 19 pieces but was sold for USD$113.50 with 5 bids and he got it for USD$10.00. Flatwares are easy to ship, Tim added.

Kat and Tim explained about Homerun item #311624123182, Jackson Auto dimming Welding hood / helmet model Boss Nice. Tim explained that before he’s an eBay seller he was a welder for 7 years, so he knows about welding. He got this for USD$30.00 and sold for USD$102.75 with 6 bids.

Kat and Tim spoke about Homerun item #311618659743, Vtg 1979 Bell helmet Motorcycle Yamaha USA made size large nice. Tim discussed that Japan is crazy about these things and they are always looking for a specific brand Bell. He found this in swap me for USD$15.00. He bought it and sold for USD$102.50 with 14 bids.

Kat and Tim talked about Homerun item #201594702821, Sony DCR-TRV530 Digital 8 Hi8 Video8 Camcorder Transfer Player TRV530 nice. This is another swap me item, Tim said. People buy these cameras to transfer their videos to their computers. This one was sold for USD$100.00 with 4 bids.

Kat and Tim explained about Homerun item #201594969887, Slide Anchor Small Box Anchor nice. It’s a boat anchor and he got it for USD$20.00. Tim said that this is a USD$200.00 anchor but it was sold for only USD$97.00 with 16 bids, so the buyer got a good deal from this. 

Kat and Tim explained about the FedEx Smart Post. If the package is too big and heavy, it’s better to go just regular FedEx, but if it’s a low-weight package, people can choose FedEx Smart post, it’s cheaper.

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eBay Store: www.HomeRunSecrets.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/timdchapman


How to keep your online business running while schools out

When you operate an online store from home and your kids are suddenly out of school for the summer, you are probably facing the next couple of months with a bit of apprehension. You love having your kids around, but now there are a lot of distractions that can keep you from getting anything done.

Of course, how big of an issue this is for you, more than likely depends on how old your kids are. It’s a whole lot easier to stay on track when your kids are in middle school or high school than it is when they are in grade school.

So, what to do?

Find some balance

Accept that your schedule is not going to be the same as it is the rest of the year when the kids are in school. Take some breaks throughout the day to spend time with your kids. Once again, depending on the age of the children, you might read them a short book, play a game with them or take snack time together. If they are older, running them to the mall or taking an afternoon to do something together can give you some family time. Not only will this re-energize you when you get back to work, but it will make your children know that you’re not ignoring them.

Put your kids to work

A lot of children love to help mom and dad out around the office. Tess, a mother of three who often sells toys and puzzles, lets her two younger girls play with the toys and make sure they are in working order. Her son, a sixth grader also helps out by sorting items and finding the items that have sold and gets them ready to ship.

Enjoy the great outdoors

The invention of laptops and other portable electronic gadgets has made it super easy to create an office almost anywhere. Tim, a stay-at-home father often takes his kids to the park where they can play while he creates listings. He says that although he still keeps a watchful eye on his kids, he enjoys being outside and is often able to still get a lot done while his kids are playing.

Lower your expectations

Although you may think that you can continue to work at your usual pace even with the kids around, you need to accept the reality that you simply can’t. If this is your first summer with your kids home from school, lower your expectations and realize that you may be working less than you want to for a while. Once you are able to see what kind of schedule you will be able to have, you can then adapt a new routine to accommodate your kids being at home. In some cases, you may even find that splitting the shift and working in the morning and then again after your kid’s bedtime can help keep your business on track.

5 tips for getting the most out of Instagram

Last week, we discussed SnapChat and how it was the hottest social media app to use if you wanted to reach out to millennials. This week, we are going to look at another popular social media app that sellers can utilize to help with their branding and advertising.

Instagram is somewhat similar in a way to Twitter (and you can even connect the two), but while Twitter users typically post sentences, Instagram users communicate with photos and the photos get comments. To say Instagram is popular is actually a bit of an understatement. The social media website has 400 million active users per month and the site shares around a billion photos. This should give you an idea of just how popular it really is.

When getting started with Instagram, the most important thing to concentrate on is your profile. It’s the first thing that members see when they find you through a search and when you add a comment, Instagram allows users to tap on your username and it takes them right to it.

So, how is the best way to utilize Instagram? Here’s some tips you should know:

Let members know who you are right away

Although your photos will give members a strong hint about who you are and what you do, you want to make sure that you tell them in your profile as well. As an example, you could post something like: eBay, Amazon, online seller.

Make it more personal

In addition to telling them who you are, you can also add personal quotes or something about your likes or interests. This would make your profile look something like: eBay, Amazon, online sellers. Believe and succeed.

Provide your other social media info and email

Instagram gives you the option to promote your other social media sites, so in addition to saying who you are and your life philosophy or tagline, you can also add that you can be found on Twitter, Snapchat or wherever else. This is where you want to provide the information about your store and contact information, such as an email address is good too.

Use a strong clear image for your profile picture

If you are established across other social media platforms, you will want to use the same image on Instagram that you are using elsewhere. If you’re just getting started, your company logo or a professional looking headshot is the way to go.

Promote your Instagram account on your other social media platforms

The more followers you have, the more “street cred,” so it helps to ask people to follow you on the other social media platforms you belong to. This means that if you’re on Twitter, ask your followers to follow you on Instagram and make sure to invite people to follow you when you send out emails and newsletters too.

A Woodstock for Internet Retailers By Cliff Ennico

cliffEver since 2008, when eBay stopped doing its annual “eBay Live!” trade show, Internet retailers – people who sell merchandise either from their own websites or on one of the large online platforms such as eBay, Amazon and etsy – have been looking for its replacement:  an annual event, conveniently located, where retailers can learn about the latest marketing and management strategies, meet companies that provide goods and services to help Internet retailers become more profitable, and (hey) just have a heck of a good time meeting and schmoozing with other retailers from around the country.

For the past few years Internet Retailer magazine (www.internetretailer.com) has filled the void with its annual Internet Retailer Conference and Exposition (IRCE) in Chicago.  I was privileged to speak at this year’s IRCE conference last week, and my head is still spinning.  If you sell merchandise on eBay or Amazon, are serious about building your online business, and can attend only one major conference each year, this is the one (www.irce.com).

As always when I attend a trade show, I spend a fair amount of time wandering around the exhibition hall looking for small companies with unique or different solutions to the problems Internet retailers commonly face.

Here are some companies and solutions I learned about for the first time at the show:

Don’t you wish you could get more favorable reviews for your products on Amazon?  Heck, don’t you wish you could get ANY reviews on Amazon? Snagshout, a SellerLabs application (www.sellerlabs.com/snagshout), does it all for you: you list your products on Snagshout, shoppers purchase your product and test it, then write an honest review.  There’s no guarantee the review will be positive, but reviews generated through Snagshout stand a much better chance of being taken seriously as it’s clear nobody is trying to “game the system.”

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes consumers really want to buy anything?  For years I thought it was all about fears and passions (see my YouTube video on “How to Sell Just About Anything to Just About Anybody”), but it seems Meclabs, a service of Marketing Sherpa (www.meclabs.com) has come up with a mathematical algorithm that analyzes the statistical probability of someone buying something from your Web store.  Their formula is:

C – 4m + 3v = 2(i-f) – 2a

where “C” is the probability of conversion, “m” is the motivation of the user (when they will buy), “v” is the clarity of the value proposition (why they buy), “i” is the incentive to take action, “f” is the friction created by the sales process, and “a” is the consumer’s anxiety about entering the information.

Got it? Well, I didn’t get much beyond algebra myself, but their equation may just have solved one of the oldest riddles in all of business.

Need to send a package to Kazakhstan in a hurry?  Shiptor (www.shiptor.com) provides expedited shipping services to all of the former Soviet republics, as well as a lot of other places you can’t pronounce.  And no, the CEO’s name isn’t Borat.

Do you hate processing merchandise returns, and dealing with customers who refuse or are unable to follow your returns policy?  Returnly (http://returnly.com) takes all the hassles off your shoulders, helping you manage your time and avoid customer complaints.

Somebody is looking for something on your site but you don’t currently have it in stock.  NChannel (www.nchannel.com) will automatically search 75 Internet platforms and post other listings of the item on your site, enabling you to “drop ship” the item so you don’t lose the sale.

Do you want to create a dynamic Internet marketing strategy but you simply hate – hate – having to write ad copy?  BKA Content (www.bkacontent.com) is a copywriting service that specializes in Web retail campaigns.

Looking for “one stop shopping” in a digital marketing agency?  A company that can handle anything from content marketing to search engine optimization (SEO) to paid search to social media to lead generation to mobile to whatever is coming down the pike next?  With a team of 25 professional digital marketers, Web Talent Marketing (www.webtalentmarketing.com) is poised to take the traditional “Internet marketing” consulting services to the next level.

Are you thinking of sourcing merchandise in India but have no way of finding out if the goods are counterfeit?  Valley Point Technologies (www.valleypointtechnologies.com) can not only track down the manufacturer or distributor in India but will check the merchandise in person and give a “seal of approval” if the product is genuine.

Let’s say you have a website offering all kinds of shoes.  If a customer visits your site looking for sneakers, they don’t want to see all the dress shoes and stiletto heels offered on your home page.  Don’t you wish you could automatically change your home page based on the customer’s profile so it contained only listings of sneakers (and then snap back again when the customer leaves)?  Wait no more.  That technology now exists, and is offered by Retail Automata Analytics (www.retailautomata.com).

Cliff Ennico (cennico@legalcareer.com) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series ‘Money Hunt’.  This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state.  To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com.  COPYRIGHT 2016 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO.  DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.


Oh, Snap! Can using Snapchat help sellers connect to millenials?


Do you promote your items on Snapchat? If not, maybe you should. Snapchat is similar to Instagram in that it allows users to share images and videos with their followers. Since it is so similar to Instagram, however, you may wonder why you need yet another social media account.

Well, it’s because Snapchat is hot, or what you might call the current next big thing. According to Motley Fool, it has an active daily user rate which surpasses 100 million and its users watch more than 7 billion videos each day. Yes, you read that right – that’s billion with a “B.”

Although Snapchat is a great way to generate buzz about your items and more importantly your brand, keep in mind that it’s not for everyone. Not yet, anyway.

Snapchat is geared toward Millennials, or rather, those who are between the ages of 18 to 35. It also is widely used by what it referred to as “Generation Z,” pre-teens and teens who are between the ages of 12 and 17. If you’re items appeal to these age groups, Snapchat is a great place to connect with them. If you sell items that appeal to an older group, however, you may want to stick to other social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

If you’re trying to target 35 and under though, Snapchat really is the place you want to be. It has so much attention on it right now, if you use it correctly, you can not only give members a behind-the-scenes look into your business, you can create relationships that will have buyers coming to your store to make purchases time and time again.

So, how do you get started?

Well, the first step after you join is to look for members that have already bought from you in the past. Just like Twitter, members tend to follow those who follow them and since they already know who you are, they are a lot more likely to follow you back when you follow them first. Keep in mind, the site is heavy on pictures, so you want to use your best item photos when you post something.

While it will take a little finesse to win them over, if done correctly there is a huge opportunity here for success. Just remember you’re marketing to the under-30 crowd and you’ll need to keep your material fresh and innovative to keep them from moving on to someone or something else.

Do you use Snapchat? Leave a comment below.

EBay: The mysterious case of the missing item specifics


In a move that has mystified some eBay sellers and puzzled others, the online marketplace has apparently decided to run a test that has some people simply scratching their heads. It seems that the test removes product attributes from listings, or rather, it takes away the item specifics that are generally seen at the top of a description. Since it is this description that tells buyers exactly what it is they are purchasing, removing it on purpose has most sellers stumped.

Although some sellers who had signed up for a test run of the Promoted Listings Beta program initially thought that the missing data was a glitch, it soon became apparent that something else was going on when others who weren’t part of the testing noted they were having issues with it as well. Although eBay was initially silent about the change, one seller noted on the eBay community forum page that there was an update from eBay that stated in part:

Update on reported tech issues:

NOTE: eBay is currently running a test of item specific display on listing pages. This is not a bug. Some listings may not display their item specifics during the duration of this test. These listings are still searchable by item specifics (search refinements) so that buyers can find them. There is no opt out for this test.

As someone else on the forum board stated, it is a bit of a mystery as to why eBay would choose to do this as they have previously been quite adamant about the importance of adding detailed descriptions. Some sellers have even noted that it is actually hurting them since with over 300 listings, buyers can no longer see relevant specifics that make their listings stand out from other similar listings made by other sellers.

Interestingly, some sellers have noted that the item specifics seem to appear (or not!) depending on what version of Microsoft and what type of browser you were viewing the listings from. As an example, it appeared item specifics would not show up on Windows 10 if you were using FireFox, Edge, or Chrome, but would appear on Windows 7 if you viewed it through FireFox.

How all of this will play out is anyone’s guess. As of June 7, 2016, the testing has been going on for about eleven days now, so hopefully eBay will shed some light on all of this soon.

Have your item specifics disappeared? Leave a comment below.

Amazon cracking down sellers using fake product reviews


Although Amazon has been going after reviewers for posting fake reviews about products for quite a while now, the online marketplace took a bigger step this week when it filed lawsuits to sue three sellers who allegedly used “sock puppet” accounts to create fake reviews about the products they sell.

Amazon had previously attempted to stop the buying and selling of reviews on their website, but according to TechCrunch, this is the first time that Amazon has actually went after the sellers themselves. They state that that the sellers used fake accounts to leave positive reviews on their own products. The fake reviews allegedly spanned about 30 to 45 percent of the sellers’ total review history.

Rather than sue the three sellers through the court system, however, Amazon has instead opted to file the three cases with the American Arbitration Association. The lawsuit accuses the three third-party Amazon sellers of creating and/or paying for false reviews that were made-up about their products. Known as sock puppeting, the accounts were created with the false names of made-up people for the intention of providing positive and often glowing reviews of various types of products sold by the sellers.

Up until now, Amazon had chosen to only go after the people who allegedly sold and provided the fake reviews for sellers, but recently Amazon decided to start going after the sellers themselves who actually paid for the reviews. Amazon states that they feel the only way to eliminate the problem is to eliminate any incentive for sellers to participate in review fraud by shutting shut down the system that provides it.

While Amazon maintains that it is only a small minority of their third-party sellers that are participating in fraudulent reviews, an independent investigation conducted last year by Geekwire showed that there were over 1,000 people sued last year for offering positive reviews via the website Fiverr.com.