Just want to start off by saying that I am not to be considered legal counsel on this matter. Should you have an issue, please consult with a licensed attorney.
The question I am frequently asked from new and old clients alike: Do you need to have a manufacturer or authorized distributor invoice to sell something on amazon.com?
Legally speaking, not possessing an invoice does not mean you cannot resell goods or that the goods are fake. The only time an invoice would come into play is if there is substantial proof against the goods you are selling. The party making the claim would need to prove beyond doubt that the goods you are selling are fake.
However, Amazon runs an independent market. They are not bound to follow the legal system when determining your eligibility to sell products. They can decide they don’t want you to sell for any reason or no reason. They can come up with any additional restrictions they want, at any point, and for any reason. If you sell on Amazon or any other marketplace, you need to understand that you are at their mercy for selling privileges. They do not owe you any liberties in selling your products on their platform and can remove you without any due process or reasoning.
Now, Amazon wants to battle fake merchandise and therefore preemptively “gates” certain products. What they are really looking for you to provide is proof that you didn’t go out and make fake stuff. They want to see that you are getting product from a legitimate supplier, with a good reputation, and knowledge of the wholesale market.
To this end, many suppliers will be able to get you approved on Amazon for gated products or brands. And in turn, you can make plenty of money. But, with making money, you need to take risk. One of those risks is that Amazon may want to go to the next level.
Authorized Distributor Invoice
Amazon can reject an invoice from a supplier that is not an authorized reseller of the brand. In this case, you would need to appeal to the supplier you purchased the goods from. For those situations, many suppliers will not be able to provide you further documentation.
It’s unreasonable to expect a small wholesaler to be working directly with massive brands. Most wholesalers you will be purchasing product from would be second or third hand from the brand. There is a layer of distributors, and sometimes other wholesalers involved. Brands do this to keep costs down. They use large distribution companies to house and sell their goods instead of doing it themselves. All this means to you as a reseller, is that there would be no way for you to get an authorized distributor invoice without purchasing £$100,000’s worth of goods at a shot. At that point you can rest assure that the brand or one of the larger distributors will work with you directly.
Not being able to supply an invoice that Amazon will approve is not a crime.
You can safely assume that any reputable source you purchase goods from is selling you genuine goods. Innocent until proven guilty is the law of the land. If you want to go ahead and only buy from sources that can provide you with authorized distributor invoices, you may find yourself dealing with very few vendors, very high pricing, limited selection, and having to invest heavily into a single product. Most of the large distributors have no interest or need to work with individual amazon sellers.
Furthermore, even if a supplier did have an invoice that is coming straight from the brand, they may not want to release it. Whether it may contain sensitive information regarding their suppliers, or some other reason. No supplier is bound to supply you with their sources or any other information regarding where the goods came from.
MANY Brands don’t like Amazon Sellers
There are many brands that go out of their way to try and get people off of Amazon listings by claiming their items are fake. The reason is simple - Amazon sellers cause price wars that lead to erosion of product value and brand image. Brands will stop at nothing to protect their company and will many times remove wholesalers that they suspect of selling their products to amazon sellers.
There is no way for you to ever be 100% safe when selling on Amazon.
You are always running risk. Even if you have a invoice directly from the brand, you can still have issues. Even if you are the brand, you can still have other issues. As with ANY other business, you will always run risk.
Wish you best of luck finding those good products to sell. Keep in mind, not having an invoice is not a crime!
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