2023-04-01

Talking to an AI would be easier than Amazon

I have rarely had to deal with Amazon seller support, and every time has been a challenge. And don't have a go at me for even using Amazon - they have proved useful, sadly.

They seem to work by the message you send being picked up by a person at random, and replied to, hours later. But the replies seem to only consist of stock paragraphs. They seem unable to to answer basic questions in simple English.

So my challenge this week was simple - we (A&A) sell a few PCBs, and I wanted to mark them with the brand "AJK" rather than "Generic". When you make a listing, they ask the brand, and will not accept "AJK".

Just to explain, "AJK" is a brand I have, a registered trademark even, for PCBs, and is in gold plated metal actually on some of the PCBs (space permitting). I think that makes it a "brand", which I own. Obviously I have authorised A&A to make and sell PCBs using that brand.

The process starts simply - you try and type AJK, and it directs you to create an application to use a brand, and that has some moderately sane requests - pictures of product showing the brand, letter authorising manufacturer to use the brand, simple things I was able to easily provide.

I thought this would be easy. It is deceptive. This started a 4 day journey that was driving me round the bend to the extent that I was replying to one message at 2am even.

The biggest problem is they would ask for things like :-

Well, that is all pretty easy. I supplied all of that at the start though. And every time they ask this, I supply the image they want. This issue is that if they (new person each time) perceive I have failed in some aspect of that list, they won't say what, they just repeat that whole request. I never found out what was missing/wrong.

On two separate occasions when they requested something over and over again I added arrows and labels to the picture I was sending covering every thing they asked for.

At one point is was an issue that Andrews & Arnold Ltd were not "related" to the brand. This is crazy as step 1 was including a letter, from me personally as holder of the trademark, to Andrews & Arnold Ltd, authorising Andrews & Arnold Ltd to make and sell products using the brand. That took a lot of replies. One oddity is they say they will not accept a GS1 certificate - which makes no sense, what is the point of such certificate if they won't accept it. It seems they did however accept that Andrews & Arnold Ltd were allowed to use the GTIN/EAN we were using but they did not see how it related to AJK brand. Well, FFS, the letter, at the start, linking the two. Arrrg!

It got to the point they complained I was sending the same image. Well they kept asking for the same stuff. This was the request for the packaging image.

They also asked for all of the details of the product listing. This is an annoying thing as they could maybe have not stopped me making the listing at the "brand" stage and I could have sorted them all. But again, I answered all of those questions - several times.

Somehow, eventually, after I took 20 images of me holding the package, opening it, removing the PCB, and zooming in on the "AJK" logo on the PCB, they accepted we could list items using the "AJK" brand. I did not send a video, that would have been the next step I think.

So, next was the brand on the listing. In desperation I made a listing as "Generic" brand (I should register that as a trademark now). It may be partly what got the whole thing approved, I don't know. But now I have two PCBs listed as "Generic" and want changed to "AJK". One of these has the AJK logo clearly shown in the listing in gold plated metal on the PCB itself. Both have it on the packaging image.

At this point, I can make a new listing and use AJK, just typing in the brand box, but changing an existing listing, even just made the day before, is complicated, it seems.

This is the same list they sent the first time, and I said "we are the manufacturer and I am telling you this is the brand". But no, it is "policy". Thankfully I only need one of these, and web site was easiest. So I added to the web site on circuit boards that they were branded AJK. Simples.

Nope.

So apparently they don't just need the site to confirm the requested change (brand name, which I did) they want more. Why not say that in the first place, FFS. And somehow the "About us" page needed to be involved, that was new too, and crazy.

So this is where we are now. The A&A "About us" page has this...

Will it work? - no idea, but I can change that wording to be whatever they want, if only they will actually say what they want. If all else fails, when stock is sold, I delete the listing and make new ones with the AJK brand. That or I try and register a trademark for "Generic" (perhaps in some stylised text) and cause them havoc by saying "why are so many things listed using my brand/trademark?" - he he.

Failed! [They know I am brand owner and the UPC (actually GTIN/EAN) owner too]

So why ask me for the web page, etc, if they are not then going to do it...

P.S. They have now circled back to asking for web site / manual showing the brand, it is crazy.

Having circled back to that, I tried again, similar (less sarcastic) item on A&A page, and got this.

My reply: "I am the brand owner, so you can make the changes now, yes?". We'll see. No chance is there?!

They finally accepted that, and then said "you can't change the brand". So why the fuck string me along in the first (sorry, second, or third) place. Arrrrg!

So now I have got to the detailed explanation of how to delete and re-create my listings (why the fuck?), and my reply asking how that impacts the FBA stock, and, well, silence.

3 comments:

  1. This is not a joke, but send an email (or pretty much this blog post) to jeff@amazon.com. It's an unofficial escalation path. We had an issue a few years back with our address being in a different location to what their computers said, and this was how we got it sorted.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a business that sells online. I considered Amazon as an additional outlet.

    For one of my product ranges I am a reseller for a larger EU manufacturer, and went through the process of becoming approved to list for their brand etc. I listed some items that hadn't been on Amazon before.

    Unfortunately when doing this, I thought "Qty" meant how many I had to sell, when it actually means how many are in a pack, so it wanted me to sell the product in packs of 20.

    Despite much effort and back and forth with Amazon, over the course of weeks, it's impossible for them to correct their catalogue as "they have a source saying it is 20" (me).

    I gave up in the end, and just sell via my own site. Their fees were horrendous anyway.

    ReplyDelete

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