What’s Going on With Amazon? Company Sends Chinese Email to Suspended US Sellers


In midst of major ecommerce counterfeit issues in the last few months, Amazon has increased efforts to openly court Chinese manufacturers, resulting in a string of bizarre emails being sent to sellers, reports CNBC.

In 2015, Amazon’s ecommerce revenue topped $100 billion – the marketplace being a big driver, with sales from Chinese merchants more than doubling last year. Buyers love the cheap goodsand if a customer has problems with a product, they can simply contact customer service and get a refund.

Although counterfeit products have become a big problem, Amazon is benefiting from having Chinese merchants on board, with US sellers getting the bad end of the deal. 

Within the last week, Amazon sent emails in Chinese to a number of non-Chinese US sellers, whose accounts were suspended for one reason or another, telling them they can resume business. When put into Google translate, the email simply read: Your account information you provided was reviewed and we decided to allow you to re-sell on Amazon.com.

That was followed by a line telling the merchant where to find a list of seller best practices.

The growth of Chinese sellers on the marketplace has caused many problems with US merchants, who see counterfeits and manipulative tactics creeping into their listings.

A seller of mobile phone accessories forwarded the email Amazon sent to him on August 18 to CNBC.com on the condition that he and his company not be named. His account was suspended in late July after a few buyers of phone chargers complained the products were defective.

Amazon, which now counts on outside sellers for almost half of its retail volume, routinely shuts accounts after mounting customer complaints without giving sellers a chance to fight the claims. To get reinstated, merchants have to take measures that can take weeks.

This leads to sellers spreading out their products on different marketplaces, such as eBay. Suspensions can be tied to slow delivery times, alleged rights infringements or selling potentially unsafe products or expired items.

But the Chinese email is a first for Amazon and the problem was compounded when the sellers were again shut down after being reinstated. Making all the sellers re-appeal and go through this all again is a nightmare for them. 

A version of this appeared in CNBC on August 26. Read the full version here