The Business Agreement: A Guide for Sellers
Suspension season is in full swing. The noises on my colleagues’ phone were so incessant, we screamed at each other and worked in separate rooms. All day. 16 hours. Talking to Amazon sellers who just got their accounts suspended. This time, it was a tidal wave of Intellectual Property complaints. Trademark, copyright and brand issues across the board. Some sellers even got suspended for products they swore they’d never sold.
Alarming? Without a doubt. Surprising? Not in the least.
I picked up a frantic call from one seller, a good friend of mine. He’s been playing with fire for months now. We told him a million times: stop selling Samsung. Stop selling Apple. Those AirPods are not okay. You’re gonna get suspended. So when I answered the call, I laughed. All I could do was laugh.
Why? Simple: Amazon sellers get suspended because it is quite easy to thrive on the thrill of disbursement day. Generally, Amazon sellers either refuse to acknowledge the power of the corporation that’s making them millionaires or simply remain blind to this truth.
Amazon sellers are outraged when they receive a notice of suspension — even when they know very well they have violated Amazon policies. It’s not fair. It’s not a valid suspension. It’s not something Seller Performance warned me about before.
Sellers are just innocent bystanders caught on the front lines when a brand like Samsung fires off a mass takedown. Right?
Wrong. Sellers are making millions thanks to Amazon.com. How do online sellers begin their Amazon business venture? Simple: by opening a seller account and signing the Amazon business agreement. This is where all the problems start. This is why, from the very beginning, Amazon.com places every single seller in checkmate.
About the Amazon Agreement
The Amazon business agreement is a document over 50 pages long. Every seller must sign off on these policies immediately upon registering for a professional selling plan. The fatal mistake that almost every seller makes: not actually reading the document. Failure to read the fine print.
The Amazon business agreement is flawlessly constructed and rife with hidden messages. It seems like no big deal at first glance. What sellers fail to realize is that these clauses add up to one single bottom line: no matter what, Amazon will win.
Section #12 of the Amazon Business Agreement reads, verbatim: Force Majeure. We will not be liable for any delay or failure to perform any of our obligations under this Agreement by reasons, events or other matters beyond our reasonable control.
Force Majeure. By law, it means circumstances that keep a party from upholding their end of a contract.
For sellers, this clause literally states that Amazon cannot and will not be obligated to carry out their part of the deal. This is just one of the many short phrases that every Amazon Seller agrees to from the day they open their seller account.
In writing, every marketplace seller has actually agreed to allow Amazon complete relief of any liability. “Reasonable control” is a dangerous phrase when it comes from a corporation of Amazon’s size and status in today’s industry