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Unauthorized Sellers: Identify Violators and Protect Your Brand

Amazon, Walmart, and other online marketplaces are a competitive hotbed of brands and resellers. It doesn’t take much to create a seller profile and start listing products online. The challenge for brands is managing those sellers—and preventing any unauthorized sellers from causing problems. 

For instance, your brand can sell on Amazon. You may also have several authorized resellers on the marketplace. However, you may have noticed a few unknown sellers recently. They could be counterfeiters, unauthorized resellers, or an authorized reseller on the wrong marketplace. The problem is that you just don’t know. And these unauthorized sellers could be violating your MAP policy, hurting your brand reputation, siphoning your sales, and much more.

Brands can only enforce MAP when they know who is behind the violation.

Why It’s Hard to Identify Unauthorized Sellers 

It’s relatively easy to spot unauthorized sellers. Getting them to stop, though, is an entirely different challenge.  

One common scenario is a seller listing your products well below your MAP. If you monitor marketplaces for MAP violators, this seller will appear in your list of sellers and stand out due to the MAP violation and the unknown company name. At this time, you have several options that highlight how difficult it can be to enforce MAP violations from unknown sellers. 

You can: 

  1. Manually track down the seller, perhaps buying from them to get an address. However, many unauthorized sellers use P.O. Boxes.  
  2. Research the seller online, but there’s a good chance they don’t publicize accurate addresses and contact information.  
  3. Enlist a third-party provider to help with online enforcement and policing.  
  4. Do nothing and let unauthorized sellers continue to operate.  

The bottom line is that unauthorized sellers hide their identities, use false or inaccurate information to register, or continually change their names to remain in business. 

Buying on laptop from unauthorized sellers

What to Do to Stop Unauthorized Sellers 

As noted above, you have many options to address unauthorized sellers. However, few will work if you cannot get in contact with the seller in question.  

One option is to go through the marketplace. Amazon has a few services that can benefit brands in these instances. One is the Brand Registry, which allows you to register your brand as the owner of your products and services. When confronted with an unauthorized seller, you can report them to Amazon and, as a registered brand, can clearly prove that the other party is not authorized to sell on the marketplace.  

You can send a cease-and-desist letter to the unauthorized seller’s address and hope that it is accurate. Perhaps the seller is legitimate and is simply violating MAP. There’s always a chance that the company is not concealing its identity online.  

Or, you can leverage a tool such as Wiser’s Unauthorized Seller Investigations. Wiser’s private investigator finds the contact information behind any unknown third-party seller, unauthorized or not. Wiser will work to provide the names and contacts, phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, and more when possible.  

This solution is particularly valuable for any brand currently monitoring their MAP policies, as this step is a crucial part of enforcing MAP and online brand compliance. You can only enforce when you know who to contact, and an unauthorized seller investigation can allow you to act on your compliance data.  

Connect with us today to learn more about unauthorized seller investigations and brand compliance. 

Matt Ellsworth

Matt is the Director of Marketing at Wiser Solutions, a retail analytics provider with an emphasis on data quality, data accuracy, and holistic in-store and online solutions.

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