Another Amazon Seller Controversy?

Amazon is shaking up the ecommerce world yet again. No, it’s not another smart phone or expensive investment. This time, it’s something only the loyal sellers see. In a letter sent to sellers, Amazon announced it’s restricting the selling of DVDs on the marketplace – and it’s already ruining their Christmas spirit.

According to Amazon, the new restrictive guidelines regarding the sale of DVDs were done to prevent counterfeiting and (perhaps most importantly), maintain Amazon’s reputation. Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh says it’s about protecting the customer. “Customers trust that they can always buy with confidence when they make purchases on Amazon. In order to preserve this trust, we have implemented listing restrictions on certain DVD items that may have a higher risk of authenticity issues.” This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Amazon coming down on DVD selling policies. They’ve been increasing restrictions over the past two years, many of which resulted from ongoing lawsuits between Warner Brothers and Amazon sellers regarding counterfeited items.

Effective November 16, the new policies will require sellers to apply for pre-approval to sell DVDs. To sell DVDs now, a seller must-

  • Be approved to sell any DVD with an MSRP (suggested retail price) of $25 or greater.
  • Have a Professional Selling account.

Additionally, sellers who use FBA must create a removal or disposal order of any DVD products that have not been approved by November 17th. Amazon will waive fees for stock that sellers have submitted removal requests for until January 16th- but the seller will have to pay for shipping. They’ll also be left to figure out what to do with all that stock.

That’s another thing – what are sellers who already ordered inventory in preparation for holiday selling supposed to do with it now? Ecombytes asked Fairleigh what he had to say to sellers who are now swimming in stock they can’t sell. In response, he laid out the new law;

“If existing sellers would like to sell DVD items with an MSRP of $25 or higher, they may apply to sell in the category. Existing sellers may continue to sell on ASINs which have an MSRP lower than $25. Existing sellers are also able to list new offers on ASINs with MSRP of $25 or higher to sell-through remaining inventory until November 16, 2014.”

In other words, if you haven’t been approved, it might be time to start adding new marketplaces to your arsenal. If you are currently selling DVDs on Amazon, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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About the Author

Tiana Byers

Tiana is a content marketer and writer. Her favorite author is Oscar Wilde and she is a self proclaimed Etsy addict.

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Tiana ByersAnother Amazon Seller Controversy?

Comments 2

  1. Declan Patrick O'Rourke

    We originally sold 6 DVD titles through our (Professional Seller) store on Amazon. Four of them were special interest DVDs with a main focus on special category flight training. These four DVD listings were one among many, competing for sales with many other Amazon sellers. We elected to sell off our inventory of these four titles and focus only on the remaining two, both military documentaries with AV8America (us) being the only seller. We sold these DVDs for many years in our brick-and-mortar store prior to becoming an Amazon seller. These DVDs sold for $19.95 and $29.95 respectively. Currently we sell only the $19.95 DVD, having been denied “ungating” by Amazon seller support. We provided extensive documentation, all that was required, plus a letter from the DVD producer confirming that we do, and always have, purchased this DVD directly from the producer and offered to speak to anyone at Amazon to confirm that this is, in fact, “the real deal” and not an unauthorized reproduction. Even that wasn’t good enough. We were denied again, but when asked for an explanation as to the reason for the denial, we were told that, “we can’t tell you why, but you can reapply.” After six tries, we elected to sell the DVD elsewhere. Amazon “seller support” is a joke. Whether a seller requests help via email or by telephone support, calls are invariably routed outside of the US, most times to India, to “support” personnel whose command of the English language is marginal at best, and who are at the “bottom of the food chain”, being unable to provide any actual support. However, as of January, 2015, new restrictions have appeared. Here’s the full list of product categories that require prior approval:
    3D Printed Products;
    Automotive & Powersports;
    Carrier-Branded Locked Cell Phones;
    Cell Phone and Accessories;
    Clothing & Accessories;
    Collectible Books;
    Collectible Coins;
    Entertainment Collectibles;
    Fine Art;
    Gift Cards;
    Grocery & Gourmet Foods;
    Health & Personal Care;
    Independent Design;
    Industrial & Scientific;
    Luggage & Travel Accessories;
    Major Appliances;
    Sexual Wellness;
    Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses;
    Sports Collectibles;
    Video, DVD, & Blu-ray;
    Holiday Selling Guidelines in Toys & Games.

    1. Post
      Tiana Byers

      Wow, so sorry you have run in to so much opposition when trying to list your DVDs. To the best of my knowledge the new restrictions were put in place to protect buyers from the one or two “bad seeds” who might sell bootlegged or illegally obtained DVDs. I think it was also as a precaution for Amazon, who may have feared production studios coming after them with legal action. I am surprised that with all your documentation proving authenticity and prior approval from the producer you were still denied. That is really unfortunate. Where are you selling them now, if you don’t mind me asking? Just in your B&M store or on another sales channel?
      I was not aware of all of the new restrictions, thanks for letting me know. That’s a lot of categories! Curious to know how other sellers are doing with the new policies in place. Do these restrictions apply if you are already selling in one of those categories, or only if you are a new seller in that product? Very interesting.
      Thank you Declan for writing in. I may do a follow up post with this new info regarding policy changes. Wish you continued success!

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