Listing and Account Suspensions, Hijackers and Brand Violations (Interview with CJ Rosenbaum)

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Our guest on the 11th of March, 2019,  on the sellerboard show was the founder of CJ Rosenbaum.

CJ is a lawyer, who specializes in helping Amazon sellers to deal with suspensions and all kinds of legal issues. We talked about listing and account suspensions, hijackers and how to keep them away from your listing, and lastly, brand violations and what you can do to prevent these things from happening.

Watch the full video here:

Watch the full video here:

Speaker 0: Hi everybody and welcome to the next episode of the sellerboard show, my name is Vladi and today I am joined by CJ Rosenbaum from Amazon sellers lawyer dot com.

Speaker 0: CJ is a lawyer who specialized in helping Amazon sellers deal with suspensions and all kinds of legal issues and we talk about listing the council’s pensions and how to stay out of trouble and be aware of hijackers and how to keep them away from your listing vault I. P. issues and issues but also about things like our Brand violation what you can do to prevent these things from happening. So please give us a like if you liked this episode to make sure you subscribe underneath this video and before we start a quick word about our sponsor. sellerboard  is a financial analytics tool for Amazon sellers and we’re on a mission to build the world’s most precise and most accurate profitability still so if you want to see your profits by units by variant by SQ you buy brand by market place on every single day or in the period of time like a week or months. And do business intelligence basically explore your fees and drill down to all expenses and every product to make sure that every single one that’s profitable and act on the unprofitable products then you know go check out our free trial we have a one month free trial and after that it’s only nineteen dollars a month and a half of that you’re going to get basically a profit loss statement in real time and different forms of visualizations and a ton of other cool features and now let’s start the show.

Speaker 0: Hello everybody and welcome to the next episode off the starboard show my name is Vladi and today I’m joined by C. J. Rosenbaum, hello CJ.

Speaker 1: Vladi thank you very much for having me on really great to see you. 

Speaker 0: Thanks so much for coming so CJ tell us please about yourself what are you doing.

Speaker 1: Well  I’m the founding partner of a law firm in New York that does nothing but focus on Amazon sellers we write the best plans of action if you stop or listing suspension already counts this pension we DO intellectual property right issues whether you have your own brand they need to protect it or you receive complaints from others and we also represent sellers when Amazon refuses to release your money to you we can take Amazon to arbitration and get an order ordering Amazon to give sellers their money returned their inventory and all sorts of the things that you know when they were when they refuse we can get an order overriding their refusal.

Speaker 0: Nice well that’s interesting so I’ll definitely I’m going to ask a couple questions about that so tell me what I see your L. in the background that’s Amazon sellers lawyer dot com right.

Speaker 1: Yep this is us.

Speaker 0: We have the largest depository of information from any website around the world we’re up to like two or three thousand posts and we’re putting all of our books also online so we give out tons and tons of free information we have hundreds of videos for sellers and it’s all accessible through the website for free I’m a big believer of giving people the information that they need to do better.

Speaker 0: Awesome cool so tell me like how did you decide actually to focus on Amazon sellers how did you.

Speaker 1: Know like a lot of sellers it just sort of happened I was a trial lawyer in New York for like fifteen years and I went through a divorce I went through a really nasty custody battle.

Speaker 1: And the judges at that time didn’t get a raise for like twelve years so they weren’t trying any cases and one of my clients was an entrepreneur came into his account got suspended and he needed help and it was nobody out there who was a professional.

Speaker 1: So I looked at it and I start studying Amazon studying plans of action and I I thought this was a great market working with entrepreneurs that I love and personally it was a good time for me to make a change I studied for about a year and then we launched a website and now fast forward multiple years later no we are the number one company in the world helping Amazon sellers we have staff in both close to China we are staffed in Europe we have staff in Australia so we can help sellers you know twenty four hours a day about five and a half days a week.

Speaker 0: Well that’s awesome so you also don’t like you’re you’re also working in China and those can result in Europe as well right.

Speaker 1: Yeah our work in China there are tons and tons of dollars in China so we help widget amid sellers in China it also helps us when you have Chinese hijackers have boots on the ground yeah I can go and meet with these business owners to explain to them what they’re doing wrong and to work out resolutions to get them off your listings.

Speaker 0: That’s awesome actually let’s start with that so tell me because I know from our listeners the type checking is that it’s a big problem is you’re doing private label business took our product which is similar to other products or sometimes the hijackers I’m even go ahead and change the images and change the text and then it keeps keeps selling your product and the customer start complaining that’s not what I bought so let’s talk a little bit about that so what what can the seller actually do if I check.

Speaker 1: I totally agree with you private label selling is the future so if you’re a seller right now start thinking about developing a private label brand it’s vital for the future you develop something that you own so let’s say you develop a product you have your private label brand okay you should absolutely have a trademark a hundred percent if you haven’t done it yet it’s really easy you don’t have to hire a lawyer you can do it yourself but get a trademark then you want to get brand registry and that makes it really easy to address hijackers you could not come off this selling counterfeit products and even if they’re selling the same exact product that you are selling you can build something into your product a hijacker cannot deliver we’ve all whole list of things you can build in that we can help sellers make the what they deliver to the customer different than what a hijacker delivers and that is the key to sweeping hijackers off your listing that you deliver something that nobody else can.

Speaker 0: Okay I get it so I guess there’s some homework from listeners to do yourself first of all registered trademarks. 

Speaker 0: Tell me quickly how does this work in the in the U. S. in case somebody doesn’t have it trademark yet.

Speaker 1: All right it sounds really complex but it’s not all the if you go to U. S. P. T. O. dot gov United States patent trademark office USPTO dock of the website looks like it was built in like nineteen ninety six.

Speaker 1: For guys our age it’s really easy to use.

Speaker 1: What what you want to file is just the name of your brand that’s it you don’t need the fancy drawing you don’t need your logo just do it yourself file for your brand name and either will get approved or you’ll get back what’s called an office action but either way you can do that first step yourself I think it’s two hundred and fifty dollars. 

Speaker 0: Well.

Speaker 1: Classification per type of goods.

Speaker 0: Can anyone listening to this they can do it themselves you don’t have to pay a lawyer we can’t do it form what you can do it yourself.

Speaker 0: Do you like need a company registered in the U. S. to do this.

Speaker 1: No anybody anywhere in the world can file with the U. S. P. T. O. dot gov and get the mark in fact the largest number of sellers the largest number of people that file located in China by far.

Speaker 0: Well that’s interesting okay got it so I’m assuming I filed an offer for a file that trademark I have my trademark then I deal with a branch registry I guess I believe there’s a form that you have to fill out on Amazon right then you got approved.

Speaker 0: So in the third thing you said was we need to build some differentiator which a hijacker not necessarily put into the product what do we do if we still get hijacked.

Speaker 1: Well what you doing even without wasn’t even without a trade mark sellers can build certain things into their product that other people can’t deliver like a certain warranty that says you’re going to repair it at the same place it was built up participating in recall notices that there’s something wrong with the product providing future services well for that product or like future newsletters or trademark or copyright material so even if you don’t have a mark you can build a lot of things to our product get rid hijackers so let’s say you’re doing all this you have the tools that you built in already dire hijackers we suggest that you first contact the hijackers.

Speaker 0: And ask them to stop selling.

Speaker 1: You don’t have to do this but we think it’s smart because six year seventy percent that of the seller will just get off the listing okay we also think prevents animosity it prevents like seller versus seller kind of dirty tricks.

Speaker 0: Yeah.

Speaker 1: So that’s what we recommend you do first try and work out amicably and then if you can’t then you make a complaint on Amazon and the form is so easy to use what we really think that sellers to try and work things out amicably and not like needlessly hard another seller.

Speaker 0: Okay got it so I’ll write an email and I’m do you have like a tip where are where we can find a good text or you know how does this look like a little seller please stop selling my product regarding.

Speaker 1: Liz that you want to send an email if you look at our website run a search I know we have articles on this on our website you know to go to Amazon sellers lawyer dot com the search bars on the top right.

Speaker 0: In like.

Speaker 1: I. P. complain or something like that and that will give you the language or just email me and I’ll I’ll personally give you the language it’s really easy.

Speaker 0: Well. 

Speaker 1: You’re basically pointing out that they’re violating your IP rights the consumer is not getting the same thing and could they please stop selling.

Speaker 0: And.

Speaker 1: So you don’t have to make a complaint.

Speaker 0: That’s awesome I think that’s actually also the bit the easiest way because if it works and it would cost to just one email and then you’re done all right got it okay so what if things get more serious you mentioned listing suspensions and the council’s best let’s talk about listing suspense what what what’s that.

Speaker 1: Okay when Amazon has an issue with you either from Amazon itself for a customer they are either going to suspend your account or suspend that individual listing okay which an individual listing what you need to do is draft what’s called the plan of action okay and we do that the sellers all over the world that identifies what the cause of the problem we called the root cause. 

Speaker 0: Well.

Speaker 1: Identifies what you did to try and make that seller happy right away which is usually giving them a refund.

Speaker 0: Well.

Speaker 1: And offering to let them keep the product for free and then the third section is how you make your business better in the long term so that Amazon doesn’t have problems with you in the future I’ve just resemble sections and if any of your listeners want me to send them a free copy of our book on how to avoid suspensions and how to write your own plan of action no I got I got about a thousand extra copies.

Speaker 0: Okay right next to me.

Speaker 1: But I can also send a by pedia usually if they are in the domestic United States I’ll send a hard copy of their outside the U. S. I’ll just send me a copy for free by pedia.

Speaker 0: That’s cool so what do we need to do to get a free PDF copy.

Speaker 1: Just shoot me an email should email to B. C. J. at Amazon sellers lawyer let’s see J. at Amazon Amazon sellers lawyer dot com and I’ll email the copy the book also the hard copy.

Speaker 0: Okay that’s that’s cool thanks okay got it so tell me.

Speaker 0: Mmhm like what can we do with sellers to prevent listing suspension I mean of course you don’t.

Speaker 0: Like don’t do evil and don’t send a little fake products or broken product that’s clear but I guess that might also happen to somebody who’s doing everything right what what what would you recommend. 

Speaker 1: Well the most of the most common reason for your listing or an account suspension.  Is either what Amazon calls an authentic.

Speaker 1: Our intellectual property complaint so if you are buying and reselling goods and you are getting an authentic we wanted to just have all your invoices ready to go as you source your products save those unorganized waste you can send them out right away.

Speaker 1: You will well what I do suspension you really wanna do some research on the forums to see which brands are giving sellers a hard time right Amazon is terrible Amazon makes complaints all the time the complaints are mostly baseless but there’s no reason to get into Amazon no reason to get into selling apple gets just gonna draw our problem and the brands that are starting complaints change week to week like last week lego right lego toys made a tonic complaints so you just want a little bit of research who what is problematic and stay away from.

Speaker 0: Okay so it’s mostly for a like on the arbitrage sellers in wholesale sellers are selling known brands right.

Speaker 1: Yes.

Speaker 0: Yes okay okay not all right so what what what about the council’s pension what what’s the most common reason for discounts special.

Speaker 1: It’s either an authentic use all this new or an intellectual property issue what what what sellers really want to avoid also the last month or so is getting on listings they don’t actually have the inventory.

Speaker 1: Online arbitrage for retail arbitrage where you’re sourcing the products once you have the order.

Speaker 0: Yeah.

Speaker 1: The days of jumping on a listing and finding the goods afterwards I think those days are over you just putting yourself at risk so I would definitely not get involved in getting on listings unless you actually have the inventory you know in your hands.

Speaker 0: It’s interesting okay in the like you mentioned ideas just like what’s that.

Speaker 2: That is when a brand accuses you of selling counterfeit products. Claiming that you’re not delivering to the customer the same thing were using like their logo and then I’m taking like the Nike logo to having your own half made up.

Speaker 0: Little.

Speaker 2: Trademark violation. Copyright violations when you somebody else’s pictures or you cut and paste the verbiage and heightened issues are when you’re copying someone else’s product maybe their design patent.

Speaker 0: Yet.

Speaker 2: Or utility those intellectual property issues.

Speaker 0: Okay let’s start let’s start with the patent because the thing that’s that the hardest thing to to find when when you’re sourcing a product and I know this from from a couple of friends sometimes you find a cool gadget on the Alibaba you’re like oh that’s that looks cool they don’t sell it and it might be actually paid it right and some some country so. How do I go about researching if something is bad and it’s.

Speaker 2: Well it depends on how much money you’re investing right. Let’s see investing like five hundred dollars or a thousand dollars a two thousand dollars U. S. you may just in one do the research yourself because you’re taking a risk okay yeah but you could give yourself protection by doing the research yourself you can do it Google patents is a really easy way of doing it or get going to U. S. P. T. O. is pretty easy to do also and you got to do a search if you’re investing let’s say more than five or ten thousand dollars you can get like you know a container full of two containers all products. 

Speaker 0: You know then you want to have an IP lawyer like us or somebody else check the research for you because the Chinese factories the Chinese middlemen often tell sellers there’s no patent on it a lot of times there is.

Speaker 2: Yes book we put big box into something you know you want at least get someone who can knows how to do the research and they can tell you it’s totally safe its wholly violating someone else’s rights or somewhere in between so that you can then make a good decision.

Speaker 0: Okay all right so.

Speaker 0: First I guess with respect to the pictures we shouldn’t just use somebody else’s pictures but like sometimes you have something maybe something else on the picture which might violate the.

Speaker 0: Copyright is that a problem like if I for example if I’m a little making the subset ling socks and I have a picture of somebody with a Nike shoe on just to show my socks is that a problem.

Speaker 2: No you selling the socks and the Nike shoe is just sort of a prop you may have a problem with other Amazon listing issue because only supposed to have the product itself.

Speaker 0: Who.

Speaker 2: But as long for the most part I’d say like ninety eight percent if you’re taking your own picture or you’re paying a company take a new picture for you you’re not gonna have a violation of anybody’s copyright yeah can you stop what else’s picture then you will.

Speaker 0: All right all that that’s interesting so guys take your old pictures that the guests on the recipe to stand off trouble and what about. The brand itself for the text like I was researching some brands actually also sellerboard is in Germany in the I fall it’s kind of hard to find a brand which doesn’t exist right because I’m I know you need to be like optically difference you need it needs to be different work and it and it may not at least your New York may not sound similar right so even if I fell I cried Nike in a different way N. A. I. A. K. Y. or something that that still might sound similar right so I kind of had the feeling of the safest thing to do is just to make up a brand out of random numbers and letters and then you have to trade barbs so.

Speaker 0: What what do you think about this how how do we actually invented a brand name which doesn’t violate somebody else’s right.

Speaker 2: Okay basically it all boils down to consumer confusion okay I’m only a lawyer in the United States I hope to be a barrister soon or not about a solicitor in the U. K. soon right now I’m only limited the United States okay but almost the law around the world is practically the same except for China where it boils down to whether or not that consumer is going to be can use as to what is the source of the product okay so even you spell Nike differently consumers can be confusing that would likely violate.

Speaker 0: Yep.

Speaker 2: If it’s something else right then it won’t you know it’s like apples use it well also if you use the word apple it can’t be in the consumer electronics right yeah because that would cause confusion but could you sell apple shoes for example and not violate apple computer companies writes a hundred percent as long as there’s not another apple shoe company.

Speaker 0: Has long it’ll start selling some marchers assembling this.

Speaker 2: Exactly exactly so as long as they’re not selling smart shoes and you’re not causing any consumer can fusion you should be okay but it’s really easy to double check it and I know what we charge okay so let’s say you’re going out you can order fifty thousand dollars of like you know this type of car right.

Speaker 2: Instead he’s spending a hundred grand I’m going blind we charge seven hundred fifty Bucks that’s it it takes us about a half a day we’ll go through it and we write an opinion letter whether you’re safe whether you should the disaster or somewhere in between war you can easily do it yourself if your you know your risk is not enough to spend the money.

Speaker 2: Check Google patents check U. S. P. T. O. dot gov and you’ll get a sense yourself whether you think it’s safe or not they balance you know risk versus reward.

Speaker 0: Yeah so so it’s seven hours fifty for a patent and rent check.

Speaker 2: Four four branch checks we can do basic patent research and tell you whether it’s clearly violating the patent bar in America is different it’s a totally separate organization out we have a pathway we work with but we can tell you whether it’s clearly violating.

Speaker 0: Okay.

Speaker 2: Clearly freeze the in between when it comes to patents I get a little bit tricky.

Speaker 0: Yeah okay that’s cool I would definitely do this so if you’re going to see recent about building a brand and I think it’s a good investment.

Speaker 0: So tell me.

Speaker 2: Like.

Speaker 0: When we’re in trouble if I hopefully nobody will get suspended but this happens right so.

Speaker 0: What what do what does the seller need to do right.

Speaker 2: Okay first don’t freak out okay.

Speaker 2: Don’t have a lot of tax don’t have a heart attack nobody’s dead it’s just a bump in the road like every other business has bumps in the road okay you want to look at what is the issue that Amazon is hitting me with okay and then you will identify what caused that issue immediately want to give the customer back their money in off from a free one give a treat the customer like they’re right even when they’re wrong.

Speaker 0: Yeah. 

Speaker 2: Let him keep it sent an actual one cinnamon extra to who cares. 

Speaker 0: Yeah.

Speaker 2: And identify how you can prevent that problem in the future when the goal for Amazon’s people reading plans of action is to be comfortable that they’re not gonna have more problems with you.

Speaker 2: So you want to identify that and give it to them.

Speaker 0: Okay so okay I are you actually broke by writing some like an emergency help in this situations in case someone does freak out. 

Speaker 2: Every day all day long I’ve got a team of thirty people in the room is behind me we work in a collaborative environment where we promised our clients a two day turn around on their plans of action and if there if it’s really an emergency they’re really stressed out we can often do it the same day what we want to do is you want to make sure that you’re giving Amazon a really persuasive plan of action that first time around.

Speaker 2: There are certainly times where they limit how many times you can write to them and each time they say now it makes it harder to win yes that’s why they don’t freak out and send them something right away that’s garbage.

Speaker 2: Take the time to think about it if you want to hire someone else to write it for you they’re getting a little bit of time to make sure they’re doing a really good job on that that first time we called at first we get the plate adverse action is really important if you want to get back quickly.

Speaker 0: All right cool so you mentioned arbitration at the beginning. What’s that you said you’re getting money back from that wasn’t in the in the court actually right.

Speaker 2: It’s it’s not court if you look at the contract between every salaried Amazon it’s called the business solutions agreement and in that agreement you agree to give up your right to take Amazon to court in exchange for resolving issues what attrition so when sellable foreman seller support policy jeans bays almost a legal team when all those clowns tell you in no they’re not going to reinstate and they refused to send you back your money will go.

Speaker 2: Up we represent those sellers in armored we file an arbitration against Amazon.

Speaker 0: Well.

Speaker 2: And what ever that arbitrator says Amazon does so if they over ride basin they override policy to use.

Speaker 2: You have to have enough money at issue that it’s worth the cost the cost at least seven to eight thousand dollars in order for the whole system to play out but let’s say they’re holding fifty grand a year money or a hundred thousand dollars of your inventory yeah and they’re refusing to give it back to you well you have no choice you have to go to arbitration to get it back and that’s what we do. 

Speaker 0: Okay cool interesting I actually didn’t know that that you can fight.

Speaker 0: The devil. 

Speaker 0: Cool.

Speaker 2: And every seller has the right to take a decision making right out Amazon’s hands also what we find is that this is a really big reason again not to sell my services but if you use a consultant or somebody else to write your plan of action and they’ve never handled in arbitration they don’t know what to do in the plan of action they don’t know what harm they’re causing because let’s say yes I can sometimes you there to admit to doing something wrong that you didn’t do.

Speaker 0: It right.

Speaker 2: You’ve just killed yourself in arbitration.

Speaker 0: Okay.

Speaker 2: You’re going to claim that Amazon screwed you and the first thing they’re gonna talk to you about is how you admitted to violating a policy also don’t admit to anything okay don’t get anything unless you did it and you know Amazon does it or else you should never admit your plan of action should be positive this is how I can do better this is how we changed our business you never want to write down that you violated a policy ever unless there’s no other choice and you know Amazon is aware that you did something wrong.

Speaker 0: Very cool thanks so much CJ was a pleasure having you here so guys through the mail , CJ at Amazon sellers lawyer dot com and get a free copy of the J. seven suspensions book I I can I can I do one promotion it’s not of me but like to promote something before you wrap it up.

Speaker 0: Absolutely.

Speaker 2: Okay it’s it’s not me okay sellers can choose to call us they can choose to do it themselves were happy to provide information okay but what I do want to talk about to sellers is that if you’re selling on Amazon you’re probably also shopping on Amazon.

Speaker 0: What.

Speaker 2: Have you shopping on Amazon Amazon has a killer program called Amazon smiles where if you buy through Amazon smiles you get to pick a charity Amazon donates a really small percentage of the sale to the charity of your choice our charities call the tie Lewis Campbell foundation I. G. Y. tai Louis Campbell foundation was started by a close friend of mine and his wife after they lost their son to cancer and the foundation raises money to find better treatments and a cure for childhood cancers so if you’re shopping on Amazon it cost you nothing it cost the seller nothing well please please please use Amazon smiles and please pick the Thai Louis Campbell foundation. 

Speaker 2: Because it’s just a great organization that just tries to help kids.

Speaker 0: Okay we’re gonna put the link on down below or above the name and the link is I believe smiled at Amazon dot com and then you can shop as usually that’s awesome thanks very much.

Speaker 2: Jackie means a lot to be so bloody thank you so much.

Speaker 0: Thank you have a great day.

Speaker 2: You too thanks to have me on.

Speaker 0: Bye Bye everybody.

Speaker 0: Thanks for watching I hope you liked it.

Speaker 0: Please make sure you subscribe to our channel and give us a like if you like this video let us know what you think in the comments below and go check our profitability tool, sellerboard is the world’s most precise most accurate profitability’s built especially for Amazon sellers we have a free trial one month after that it’s only nineteen dollars a month and we have a lot of extra features like a money-back reports which help you identify are lost and damaged in battery that the optimism basically all the money for thanks so much have a great day bye bye guys.