The BEST Way to Remove and Deter Hijackers from your Amazon Listing

The BEST Way to Remove and Deter Hijackers from your Amazon Listing

how to remove hijacker amazon

You’re successfully selling on Amazon, one day your sales slow down but why? Upon inspection of your listing, it appears another seller is selling YOUR unique product causing you to lose the buy box. You’ve been hijacked! This guide will show the best way to remove and deter these hijackers for good.

Full guide with action steps and email templates below however, in short:

The best way to remove hijackers from your Amazon listing is to firstly, contact the seller and issue them a Cease and Desist letter (template below). If this doesn’t work, buy the offending product, take pictures and file an infringement or counterfeit claim with Amazon.

What is an Amazon listing hijacker?


Having a listing hijacked or piggybacked most commonly refers to someone selling a counterfeit or similar version of your product without consent. An enormous benefit of private labelling is having your own unique product and thus product page. Consequently, you are the only seller on the listing and always ‘win’ the buy box.

Hijackers will often undercut your price to steal the buy box from you and thus steal your customers.

Additionally, the unsuspecting customer will receive a counterfeit product which often results in negative reviews on YOUR listing! If not caught immediately, this can completely ruin your listing. This particularly affects new listings with a small number of reviews. Here one or two, 1-star reviews can really have a dramatic effect on the overall rating.

Most hijackers on my listings are new sellers with Chinese business addresses, offering shipping times of 30 days or longer! This is absolutely not what we want.

Here’s some other Amazon FBA guides to get your teeth into:

How do you know when your listing is being hijacked?


The first sign of a hijacker will likely come in the form of reduced sales or increased negative feedback and reviews. If you notice this, log in to Seller Central and check all of your listings. You want to make sure that you are the only seller.

If you see more than one seller like in the picture below, you’ve got yourself a hijacker.

Click on ‘2 new’, to see who the list of other sellers.

Ok, so we’ve established what a hijacker is and how to know if a listing has one. So how do we get rid of them?

How to remove listing hijackers


Some methods are more effective than others with varying degrees of work required. Consequently, I’ve ordered them in the sequence you should use from my own experience. Here’s a quick infographic with the order and rough removal success rate you can expect with each method.

Step 1: Cease and Desist Letter – 80% removal success rate

Issuing the hijacker a C&D notice is the easiest and most effective way to get them to remove their product from your listing. I particularly like this method as there is no requirement to directly involve Amazon. I think it’s always advisable to keep your head below the parapet where possible.

I find the best way to do this is to message the hijacker via their seller profile. This can be found by clicking on the name of the seller on your listing. For example, in the below picture click ‘FishOaky’.

Once on their seller profile, click the box on the right-hand side that says, ‘Ask a question’.

On the next page, select ‘An item for sale’ and ‘Product details’. This will bring up a message box where we can paste the Cease and Desist letter, as shown below.

Cease and Desist Letter Template UK

For your convenience, please find below a copy of the Cease & Desist letter template I use for UK Amazon FBA with good effectiveness. You can tweak and adjust to your marketplace if different!

‘Hijacker Company’ Representative,

It has come to our attention that your Company is using MyProduct® and/or MyCompany® name and trademarks to sell products on the Amazon.co.uk marketplace, in violation of multiple international and national criminal laws, as well as civil laws regarding trademark infringement and unfair competition.

Our company, MyCompany® are the exclusive distributors and the owners of the brand. We have never granted permission to your company to sell our brand, nor have we sold you inventory for resale.

This will serve as your Legal Notice to Cease and Desist all further actions described above, including any mention of our products/company on your listings on any marketplace, websites or marketing efforts.

You are hereby instructed to comply with this letter immediately or face legal sanctions under applicable International (International Bureau of WIPO located in Geneva, Switzerland), Federal and State law.

I have also reported your trademark and copyright violation to Amazon Seller Performance. You have 24 hours to comply or we will take further legal action against you.

Sincerely,

Dom Haines
Owner
MyCompany®

In roughly every 8 out of 10 times, sellers will reply within the timeframe stated with a ‘Sorry it’s removed’ or similar response. Great, that’s usually job done and the end of it. The seller will likely move on to another listing which seems easier to hijack and less hassle for them.  

If that doesn’t work…

Step 2: Report a violation with Amazon – 20% removal success rate


If the seller doesn’t respond to the Cease and Desist notice, we can try reporting them for a violation using the ‘Report a Violation’ tool in Seller Central. To find it use Amazon Help and search for ‘violation’ or ‘report a violation’.

The best chance you’ve got to persuade Amazon to remove the hijacker from your listing is to align your complaint with the guidelines below, for a product not accurately matching a listing: (Source: Amazon Help pages).

Matching product offerings inaccurately:

When listing items for sale using an existing product detail page, the product being offered must be listed on a product detail page that accurately describes the product in all respects, including (but not limited to) the following attributes: manufacturer, edition, binding, version, format or player compatibility. Sellers should not match their item to a detail page with a different ISBN, UPC, EAN or other external identifier.

Make sure to describe exactly how the product is different to yours (if you know). Also explain that you are the sole distributor and manufacturer of the product, and that the other seller has not been licenced to retail your design.

Make sure to tick the urgent box and include your phone number so the issue can get resolved as quickly as possible.

Note, I have had limited success with this step as they will likely ask for proof of your claims against the product from the hijacker.

No joy? Next step!

Step 3: Buy the offending product – 50% removal success rate


In my experience, hijackers are aware that in most circumstances, Amazon will request evidence to support your claims against the hijacker’s product. This is understandable and best done by acquiring both your own, and the hijacker’s product. Take pictures showing the differences to prove your claims to Amazon.

However, by just ORDERING the hijacker’s product, I’ve found they will often remove themselves from your listing rather promptly. No further action is then required.

I can only guess this is in anticipation of an impending claim against them and they’d rather avoid that by just removing themselves in the first instance.

Whatever the reason is, it’s effective.

If the hijacker still doesn’t budge, simply take the comparison pictures and report the violation again.

However, if your product is unbranded or easily replicated with no trademarks, Amazon may refuse to take any action on the basis that they can’t prove which is the authentic product.

If this is you, you may be stuck with your hijacking friend. The only way to escalate is by using Brand Registry. For this, you need a registered trademark (definitely worth getting if you are selling moderately well).

Already got a trademark?

Step 4: File a trademark infringement with Amazon Brand Registry – 100% removal success rate


Getting a trademark and signing up for Brand Registry can be a lengthy process. I would advise anyone to do this BEFORE running in to hijacking problems (or at least further hijacking problems!). You can sign up for Brand Registry here.

Once your brand is approved. File a violation using the link from the Brand Registry home page:

On the next page, search for your listing which is being hijacked. Select it with the tick box and on the right-hand side select the type of complaint (Trademark infringement).

On the following page you can select the registered trademark that has been infringed. Additionally, there is a box to confirm that you have ordered the offending product to confirm its illegitimacy. However, if you follow the steps you should have it already and be good to submit the violation.

This last step has successfully cleansed my listings of any hijackers with a 100% success rate. However, I hope that you were able to send the hijacker packing with one of the previous steps requiring less effort, money and time!

How to deter listing hijackers


Now that your listing(s) are clear of any hijackers – Here’s some considerations to help protect your business in the future.

1. Monitor listings regularly

You should check your Seller Central once a day at the least if you’re a ‘hands off’ kind of Amazon seller like me. But while you’re at it, make sure to check your individual listings for any hijackers too.

This is more important for products that are selling really well. Hijackers will start to appear on those listings like blood sucking leaches. If you find one, take a big sigh and just follow the 4 steps above again.

2. Increase brand authority

Large brands like The North Face are less likely to amass blood sucking hijackers compared to smaller brands. I believe this is because hijackers may perceive larger brands to have better security and monitoring, making them harder to target for any length of time.

Build your presence online through social channels, a brand website and professional looking product imagery. Try to appear as large as possible to any hungry leaches.

Additionally, creating multiple sales channels outside of Amazon is always a great long-term strategy (read: do this regardless). You can start by referring traffic from your external website to your Amazon listing. When you are ready, you can use Shopify for example to run a completely separate channel with 3rd party fulfilment. But that is a discussion for a different article, back on topic Dom…

3. Increase product differentiation

Simply put, the harder your product is to replicate, the less hijackers it will appeal to. But what if your product is simple? Use branding in the form of logos, labels and awesome branded packaging to differentiate.

This will also help your customers to easily recognise that they have been sent a counterfeit item. Potentially, helping with reducing the needless negative feedback.

Make sure that all the branding is heavily showcased in your Amazon listing product imagery and copy.

If I was a hijacker and I had the choice between two listings of similar products. I’m going to attack the product and listing that looks the easiest to copy. Don’t let that be yours!

4. Trademark your brand or product

Trademarking is the only fool proof method of protecting your brand and listings. This one’s a no brainer for me, trademark your products as soon as possible. Amazon respects registered trademarks, trying to convince them which product is authentic with no hard proof is often fruitless.  

5. Register with Amazon Brand Registry

Once you have your trademark registered. Apply for Brand Registry, its free and will grant you a higher status in the Amazon system. You will need to provide a company website in the application process that relates to your brand. I recommend buying a suitable domain name and hosting with JustHost, I haven’t found anyone cheaper for the great level of service.

Then, make a quick website with the classic WordPress (can’t go wrong), or Shopify if you are looking to sell on the website in the near future.

Finally, with your brand registered with Amazon, it’s FAR less likely that anyone will mess with your listing without consent. Furthermore, if anyone attempts to hijack your listing, you can have it removed quickly.

Parting thoughts


Again, I rambled for quite a long time there, I hope you are able to fix your problems with these instructions – they work well for me. I don’t enjoy dealing with hijackers, but it is a necessary evil of using Amazon FBA. Success will always attract leaches who attempt to ride your coattails. Some key points:

  • Hijackers are common, don’t be alarmed when you get one or two.
  • Send a Cease and Desist letter.
  • Report a Violation.
  • Buy the offending product.
  • Trademark then use Amazon Brand Registry and report a trademark infringement.
  • Deter future hijackers with brand authority and trademarks.

Take care,

More helpful (hopefully) Amazon articles:

Summary
The BEST Way to Remove and Deter Hijackers from your Amazon Listing
Article Name
The BEST Way to Remove and Deter Hijackers from your Amazon Listing
Description
You’ve been hijacked! This guide will show the best way to remove and deter Amazon listing hijackers for good. Cease and Desist letter template included!
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