Letter: Amazon Seller Battles Erroneous Information On Listings



The following letter was recently sent to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos by an Amazon seller who would prefer to remain anonymous. The letter has been edited for publication.

Dear Mr. Bezos,

I have been a professional third-party seller for more than 15 years. I sell a variety of products including some liberal bumper stickers. I have come to hate Amazon more than anything in the world!

The latest series of problems has been very distressing. I will notice that one of my products that once seemed to sell well has stopped selling. I go to the listing page and often find that Amazon has added erroneous information to the listing description.

For instance, a flexible magnetic sign that is correctly described as “clings to steel” will also inexplicably state that it is made of steel when it in fact has no steel in it! Or an adhesive sticker type sign will be erroneously described as “Wall-mount”.A sticker is designed to adhere to smooth surface, like steel – not to a wall.

In the latest incident, a bumper sticker bearing a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. has been altered to include erroneous age-related information (designating the item as for “kids”).

These are my listings! I know you may think they are your listings to do with as you please, but I created them one by one using up hours and hours of my life. It is so distressing to have Amazon then come in and destroy them with erroneous information! I have begun to wonder if someone at  Amazon is out to get me by purposely adding erroneous information to my listings. This would not surprise me at all given the current political climate and that I sell many liberal bumper stickers.

When I try to get help from Amazon seller support, usually by e-mail, it is invariably a nightmare. The first response(s) from Amazon invariably seem canned and formulaic and wrong. It is only after repeated e-mails to Amazon seller support – sometimes three or four messages – that my problem is finally resolved, if it ever is.

My latest case, involving the Martin Luther King Jr. bumper sticker, was finally closed by the Amazon rep after several useless messages back and forth without any resolution. The rep kept referring me to a style guide for the correct age-related attribute when I just wanted the age-related attribute completely removed from the listing. The rep never told me which style guide to use. The one that I looked at (Automotive and Powersports) makes no mention of age-related attributes. The rep also did not give me any reason why an age-related attribute would be required for a bumper sticker, though the rep insisted it was required. I plan to open another help case in an attempt to resolve this issue but I am not optimistic.

Here is some advice:

Do not make changes to sellers’ listings. Sellers know their products and know how to describe them.

If you are going to make changes to sellers’ listings, notify the sellers immediately so that they can verify that the new information is correct and contest any erroneous information.

Stop trying to automate every %$*# thing! I don’t think I have ever seen an automated response from Amazon that was at all helpful.

Hire native English speakers. I’m tired of dealing with reps who can barely speak English, let alone write it. Since they can’t write in English, they may be more likely to fall back on canned and formulaic (and wrong) response templates. Their broken stilted English just adds to my confusion and frustration.

Hold your support reps accountable for the accuracy of their responses. I am tired of having to send repeated e-mails to Amazon and continuously getting wrong information. In one recent case, a support rep referenced an ASIN that I do not sell and that was never part of my support case! It was some other seller’s product that I had never heard of before!

Thank you for your help,

Post-script: After I sent the above letter to Jeff Bezos, I continued to attempt to correspond with Seller Support. Seller Support continued to insist that I must provide the correct age attribute and that an age attribute was “mandatory.” Then I got a response to the above letter, not from Bezos, but from a member of the Executive Selling Partner Relations team. The member had managed to remove the incorrect age-related information from the listing. I was thrilled, though I wish I did not have to go through so many hoops to correct an error that should have never have been introduced to my listing in the first place.

This is not the first time that I have been able to get a problem resolved by writing directly to Bezos. (His e-mail, Jeff@Amazon.com, has been widely publicized. I doubt Bezos himself has ever seen my messages.) Writing to Bezos does not always work, but as a last resort, it is certainly worth trying. I try to use this option sparingly, so as not to wear out my welcome. If you do write to Bezos, I suggest you do so from the e-mail address that is your primary seller account e-mail. Be sure to include your registered business name and your seller support case number if you have one.

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