Amazon's fraud detection algorithm is so good that it even bans legitimate sellers from the platform. This is what happened to Chukar Cherries, a farm-to-table company that has been selling on Amazon for nearly two decades.
Banned Because of False Connection
Chukar Cherries received an email, saying their selling privileges on Amazon.com have been removed and that they have held the company's funds. Amazon claims that the ban was because their email was linked to a China-based business DBING that has been deactivated for policy violations.
This surprised Chukar's founder and CEO Pam Montgomery because they aren't even connected to any China-based business. They employ local workers and use US ingredients.
Upon examination, it was found that DBING wasn't selling anything related to Chukar Cherries' products. In fact, it seems like it's not even a legitimate seller. Six out of the measly nine reviews it had were of customers saying they didn't receive what they ordered.
Chukar Cherries had been asking Amazon to reinstate their account for more than two months to no avail. That's two months of no sales on Amazon!
The company's founder and CEO Pam Montgomery said she couldn't get any explanation or feedback from Amazon that cleared the matter. After sending in all kinds of information that disproved the connection, she kept on receiving the same automated response: Amazon had “received your submission but (did) not have enough information to reactivate your account at this time.”
It was only when news outlets pressured Amazon that the e-commerce platform finally looked into the matter and reinstated the account.
Smarter Amazon Algorithms, More People Needed
Montgomery says she wants Amazon to have smarter algorithms and an actual human to be involved in finding a solution. Sellers who have had their accounts suspended can relate to the frustration of receiving automated responses that don't really do anything.
To this, Amazon says that with millions of third-party sellers on the platform, it has to employ automation to help catch sellers who are violating their policies or worse, the law.
Earlier this year, it released its first Brand Protection Report, boasting of the 6 million bad actor attempts it was able to prevent. It also suspended at least 50,000 Chinese sellers who used fake reviews in their listings.
Not the First Time
This wasn't the first time that Chukar Cherries' account was suspended. They fought to stay on the platform because no matter how frustrating getting suddenly suspended is and although they sell on other sites, Montgomery believes that Amazon will help bolster their brand.
This is the dilemma that third-party sellers have to face. Amazon provides a place to create and grow million-dollar businesses, but they're always at the mercy of the platform.
Chukar's account had been reinstated only after a public reproach. Unfortunately, not all sellers will receive this much attention when their accounts are suspended.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Protecting Your Brand on Amazon