Managing the sale of products is a fulltime job for the owner and is made more difficult when there is an unauthorized seller to deal with. It is always the goal to eliminate unauthorized sellers and even though the task may be daunting, it is not always possible to do so, but it is possible to manage them.
There will always be attempts to hijack and counterfeit products by unscrupulous entities as the listing pages—especially on Amazon as they are theoretically open to anyone who wants to make use of them. It is possible to deal with unauthorized sellers even though they will always look for other avenues to game the system.
Let’s discuss several methods that will help you deal with stubborn unauthorized sellers.
Become a Member of the Amazon Brand Registry
When selling products on Amazon, it is always in the product owner’s best interest to apply for the Amazon Brand Registry. The program is easy to apply to, and even though it will not stop others from taking advantage of your intellectual property for their own gain, the registry will identify the genuine owner of the product. Being part of the registry allows rightful owners to take the appropriate steps to deal with unauthorized sellers and stop unethical practices.
Issue a Cease and Desist Notification
Sometimes a sternly worded letter to an unauthorized seller is enough to make that person back off. The letter should always be delivered in writing so there is documentation of the action. If a phone call is made to the offending party, it should always be followed up with a written account of the conversation. The verbiage used should be forceful and strong, but not offensive in nature.
Always Have a Distribution Program in Place
It is essential to have a formal distribution agreement in place for all products. The agreement will be issued to all interested retailers and should always include a copy of the Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy and what the minimum price will be. Product owners will have to be vigilant about the agreement to make sure unauthorized third parties are not finding an open back door and taking advantage of a chink in the system.
Monitor, Monitor, Monitor!
When selling online, it is more than essential to always monitor the program. It is nice to think that once a platform is set up it will reap financial benefits for the owner, and it will if the owner performs their due diligence and monitors the program regularly. No matter how small the infringement may seem, if it is not dealt with immediately and effectively, it will cost the owner money. Continual infringements must always be dealt with to the full extent that is allowed and action should always be taken. Catching violations in real time and taking immediate action is the most effective way to discourage violators.
Take Legal Action if Necessary
For those unauthorized retailers that simply do not get the message, there may be no other alternative than to take legal action. The action must be prompt and swift to help get the message across that unethical behavior will not be tolerated. As unpleasant as it is, being relentless in the pursuit of stopping unauthorized retailers from hijacking products and watering down prices is sometimes the only way to help the matter. It is an unfortunate part of the retail business, but one that must stay on the radar.