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Suspended Chinese Sellers sue Amazon for withholding funds

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Earlier this year, Amazon suspended Chinese Sellers accusing them of soliciting hundreds of fake reviews. Now these suspended Chinese Sellers have filed to sue Amazon in a proposed class action claiming that the marketplace is illegally withholding funds due to them.

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The main problem these sellers have is that they signed up to Amazon’s terms of trading including their Funds withholding policy. It sets out that funds will be held for 90 days before they can be released and sets out further conditions for the future release of funds saying:

“If we find that you have engaged in deceptive, fraudulent or illegal activity, have abused our systems, or repeatedly violated our policies that protect our customers and sellers, we may withhold some or all funds in your account. Examples of deceptive, fraudulent or illegal activities include, but are not limited to: falsifying or misrepresenting your identity, violating Amazon’s anti-counterfeit policy or submitting forged documents to Amazon.”

Of the defendants named in the case:
Shenzen Shilezi Youkeji Youxian Co. Ltd has had $66,185.92 withheld
Huzhou Zhili Mengtong Beibei Fushi Youxian Co. Ltd has had $121,100.61 withheld
Shenzhen Shide Yixun Dianzi Shangwu Youxian Gongsi Co. Ltd has had $33,800.49 withheld
Shenzhen Chaosheng Wangluo Keji Youxian Gongsi Co. Ltd has had $19,627.03 withheld
Shenzhen Shi Ruike Dianzi Shangwu Youxian Gongsi Co. Ltd has had $236,700.00 withheld
Shenzen Shimi Yingtong Qiche Fuwu Youxian Gongsi Co. Ltd has had $30,590.10 withheld
Shenzhen Shi Tudi Keji Youxian Gongsi Co. Ltd has had $60,908.57 withheld

The suit asks for all sellers (they estimate over 50,000 sellers are impacted) who have had funds held for longer than 90 days to be included, saying:

“All persons or entities who opened a seller account with Amazon and have sold products via Amazon’s “Fulfilled-by-Amazon” program that have been terminated by Amazon for allegedly violating Amazon’s policies prohibiting incentivized reviews and have subsequently had the total amount of their funds withheld by Amazon beyond a ninety-day (90) period.”

It’s worth noting that in this suit, the suspended Chinese Sellers don’t deny that they solicited fake reviews. This case is all about whether it’s reasonable for Amazon to implement their policies and withhold funds. Guilt or innocence for fake reviews is not at issue, the case centres on whether Amazon are behaving fairly to the businesses they have banned from their marketplace.

Tamebay.com

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