Decoding the Amazon Fair Price Policy
This is a guest post by SellerEngine.
Adriana is one of SellerEngine’s Amazon Business Development team members. Her main focus is helping sellers understand Amazon’s intricacies and helping them get things rolling on the platform. She believes that approaching things with calm and honesty solves 50% of the issues you may be facing with Amazon.
Price gouging on Amazon is becoming a major issue during the COVID-19 lockdown. So much so that the company put out a statement on Day One to say it won’t tolerate it. In it, Amazon pledges to “aggressively” remove “bad actors and offers”, in line with Amazon fair price policy.
The blog claims thousands of U.S. seller accounts were suspended for taking advantage of the current crisis. But even so, it seems that sellers on the forums are confused. What do they mean by “excessive” price or shipping charge, and what gets an Amazon account suspended?
But Amazon’s stance is clear. Even if a pricing policy isn’t wrong in the eyes of the law, it can still be grounds for price gouging suspensions. To understand your risks and avoid getting your Amazon account suspended, please read our tips below
Here’s how to avoid triggering a suspension for price gouging on Amazon during lockdow
5 Facts About Price Gouging Suspensions on Amazon
Here are 5 things you should know about price gouging suspensions:
⦁ They have been around for years, and so have Amazon’s rule. The COVID-19 pandemic is just one of many crisis situations where Amazon had to ramp up suspensions.
⦁ They are not limited to essential items. Emergency state law and Amazon policy are two separate things. Amazon’s policy covers all items offered for sale on its marketplaces.
⦁ They override legal benchmarks. Just because you’re in California and you hiked your price by less than 10% doesn’t mean you can’t have your Amazon account suspended.
⦁ They can come in waves. In the months leading up to Prime Day, Easter, the winter holidays, etc. Amazon steps up account reviews and policy violation checks.
⦁ They can be unwarranted. Sometimes bots flag up a price. Sometimes customers complain. And heavy-handed decisions can take down good sellers. But that’s what an Amazon appeal is for – proving that you didn’t break the rules intentionally.
3 Amazon Policies Against Price Gouging
To stay in Amazon’s good graces, you must always comply with these three rules:
- Amazon Fair Price Policy (don’t put up a price that’s misleading or unreasonably high).
- Minimum and Maximum Price Validation (prices can’t be more than 6 x recent price).
- Seller Code of Conduct (don’t manipulate or “game” the buying or selling experience).
10 Rules About Price Gouging on Amazon
Vague as they may be, the policies above discourage dishonest sellers from trying to find loopholes. And rules are rules. So, at times like these, when sourcing cheap products and speedy shipping services is challenging, it’s important to remember the 10 simple rules below:
⦁ Don’t inflate your MSRPs to make your offer look like a bargain.
⦁ Don’t raise prices to 6 times more than the recent selling price (or $200, if higher).
⦁ Don’t sell multiple units in a pack for more than you’d ask for them individually.
⦁ Don’t hike up shipping price (e.g. charge more for domestic shipping than for the item).
⦁ Don’t lower your price to less than referral fees to offset a high shipping price.
⦁ Don’t raise the asking price (shipping charge included) after the order is confirmed.
⦁ Don’t overprice because your competition is weak or absent.
⦁ Don’t overprice just because everyone else is doing the same.
⦁ Don’t let your automatic repricer decide your pricing strategy for you.
⦁ Don’t let your repricing software apply your pricing rules unchecked.
The rules also apply to out-of-stock or inactive listings, and even to vacationed accounts.
If you break these rules, you’re very likely to have your Amazon account suspended. And when it comes to price gouging suspensions, your Amazon appeal must be airtight. So, to stand a chance of reinstating your selling privileges, your best bet is an Account Rescue specialist.
If you think you’re likely to have your Amazon account suspended due to overpricing, check the Product Policy Compliance section in the Account Health dashboard. Listing policy violations will be displayed there, and they may include selling policy violation reports from buyers.
Bear in mind that you can be suspended for selling policy violations without being reported. Your offense can always be upgraded from a Fair Pricing violation to a Seller Code of Conduct violation, if Amazon thinks you didn’t “act fairly” and tried to “game” the system.
7 Ways to Avoid Having Your Amazon Account Suspended
Here’s a list of 7 easy ways to prevent price gouging on Amazon. So, make sure to try all these fail-safe procedures to comply with Amazon fair price policy, protect your business, and avoid having your Amazon account suspended:
⦁ Blacklist price gougers.
⦁ Ignore overpriced offers.
⦁ Focus on competitors who play fair (e.g. SBA and FBA sellers, vendors).
⦁ Set pricing rules that forbid from hiking prices when there’s no competition.
⦁ Set your ceiling prices.
⦁ Set your prices based on MSRP to keep your price within limits when a gouger inflates it.
⦁ Group and manage essential items separately in your inventory.
In our post titled How to Use Sellery to Avoid Amazon Suspensions During the Lockdown, we touched on the basics of setting up Sellery, the Amazon real time repricer, so that price gouging suspensions are not an issue. Follow our easy tutorials, and save yourself the trouble of drafting an Amazon appeal.
To recap, sellers need to ask themselves not only what the law says, but also what constitutes price gouging on Amazon. If you’re cherry-picking statements from the Amazon fair price policy, selling guidelines, and code of conduct, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Price gouging suspensions are part of the Amazon seller experience and always have been. But with lockdowns under way, the risks of having an Amazon account suspended are even greater if you don’t follow the rules.
And if you’re in serious trouble, don’t hesitate to give our Account Rescue team a buzz. We offer free no-obligation assessments, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. And we can even help draft a personalized, and effective Amazon appeal letter.