Today we are at episode 166, and recording this intro live in a meetup here in Shenzhen marketing meetup. I have on the intro, Cherish Liu – who is working on the team of our guest today at Amazon Sellers Lawyer. She’s been a listener for years, came to our Cross Border Summit and i’m so happy she is making big moves as this law firm expands to China.
So this guest is a great interview – CJ Rosenbaum shares insights on how to prevent, as well as deal with the Amazon FBA gods come down and destroy your life. He doesn’t hold anything back and shares tips and insights on how to deal, let’s listen in!
Topics Covered in this Episode
Intro CJ Rosenbaum
Could you please start with by telling our audience a little bit about yourself?
Career in Law
You have been a lawyer for , like 21 years. Tell us why made you decide to stick with law as your career.
When did you started your amazon seller’s lawyer company? What made you decided to help Amazon sellers to regain their suspend account?
Can you briefly tell our audiences main reasons why their accounts get suspended by amazon? And what to do when their account get suspended?
Could you tell us more about the common mistakes that Chinese sellers make that caused amazon to suspend their account.
Chinese vs American Sellers
Are there any differences between the problem that Chinese sellers and American sellers face when they come to your service?
How long does it usually takes to process different types of cases? Are there anything sellers can do to minimize the lost during the suspension.
It seems like counterfeiting products is a Chinese amazon seller will face, Tell us a little bit about trademark cases that you had dealt with?
Advice to Sellers
In what cases do sellers have to pay close attention to it. Any suggestions for sellers?
How can people reach out to you and your business?
Advantages Chinese sellers have for having multiple accounts than US based sellers
People / Companies / Resources Mentioned in this Episode
√ Amazon Sellers Lawyer
√ Wechat – amazonsellerslawyer
Episode Length 33:36
Thank you CJ – and so cool we had Cherish here at the meetup to do this intro and outro recording. Cherish, you just went to NYC last month and watched a polar bear swim? These crazy foreigners are nuts. Lol, but next year when you go back you’ll be jumping in, right?!
Thanks everyone for listening today – and of course – Cross Border Summit getting close – april 21-22 here in Shenzhen, China. Cherish will be here again Cross Border Summit .com is where you can get it!
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“If you’re suspended and you’re submitting a plan of action, don’t admit that you’re doing something wrong if you didn’t do anything wrong.”
Welcome to the Global From Asia podcast where the daunting process of running an international business is broken down into straight up actionable advice and now your host, Michael Michelini.
Mike: Okay. So, we are live. We have with us, Cherish Liu. How are you, Cherish?
Mike: Great and we are live in front of our audience. We’re preparing for the Shenzhen marketing meetup. Zach is over there checking over checking people do. That is awesome. Cherish, what do you do?
Cherish: I worked for law firm. It’s a law firm and half I’m a seller (blurred) account.
Mike: Okay. Yeah, he’s actually our guest today, CJ. So, I thought it would be cool that she came to our meetup and were doing a meetup about content creation and were creating content for everybody. Maybe could say hi. Could you just make a yell hi? It’s audio.
Audience: Hi. (clapping)
Mike: Okay, cool! They are on the podcast, too. So, this is episode 166, it’s got to be online on Tuesday, March 14th gobalfromasia.com/episode166. We have CJ Rosenbaum and actually Cherish was just in New York City. We talked about it on the interview. So, how was CJ? Jow was New York City?
Cherish: He’s cool, he’s awesome.
Mike: He said that you saw that polar bear swim.
Mike: So there was a whole bunch of people jumping in the cold water and that was her first time.
Cherish: First time. Next year, I promise I will try it.
Mike: Oh, you didn’t go.
Cherish: Yeah, I’ll do it next year.
Mike: Oh, next year. Chinese people think that foreigners are crazy, right?
Cheris : Yeah and it is crazy.
Mike: So, the whole bunch of foreigners jumping into cold ocean water in New York in February?
Mike: And that was your first impression of New York? Well, so, Cherish helped to set up this interview with CJ and were going to talk about account suspension on Amazon and ways to prevent it and he really does dive deep into information. Normally, we get people on the show that hide information or hold things back but he would just answer every question I had and he’s really giving really good advice for sellers. So, definitely listen in and if you want any links on show notes, go to globalfromasia.com/episode166. Alright! Cherish let’s go.
Mike: Alright. Thank you everybody for tuning into another Global From Asia podcast. We have with us the Amazon sellers lawyer, CJ Rosebaum. Thanks for being here, CJ.
CJ: Hey, thanks for having me, Mike. I’m really looking forward to our talk.
Mike: Yeah, I’m really looking forward, too We’ve been working again together for a while and I’m excited to have you. So, you’re based over in New York generally, right?
CJ: Yes, we have office in Manhattan and my team works out in one of the suburbs of Manhattan.
Mike: Okay, cool. I used to, I lived in Laurice side and also I lived in little bit in Manhattan back in my other life. So, that’s a great city, so my favorite city for sure. So, do you mind maybe give us a brief intro for the listeners about you CJ?
CJ : Not at all. I’m practicing law a little bit over 20 years. I can’t believe how fast the time is gone. Ever since I graduated law school, I got my license, I’ve always represented entrepreneurs in various business dealings. And in addition to that, I’ve been doing a lot of trial work and I’m one of few lawyers that actually tried hundreds of cases.
Mike : Wow.
CJ: And a certain point in my life, I was going through some life changes, a divorce and some simultaneously with that a great client of mine had purchased in Amazon based business and I helped them evaluate the business years before and so he buys the business but hundreds of thousands dollars down. And within few weeks, he got suspended. So, he called me up and he’s just like every other sellers that come to know that is in panic. The account is down, they’re holding tons of money and they were no lawyers out there to help them. There was somebody, consultants out there who didn’t really trust, one of the consultants pretends to be a big time seller and she really never was. A couple of other consultants out there say they work in Amazon and exerted special sauce. But people seller performance and product clouding and no longer even located in the US. I start looking into it and I just love it. I love working with entrepreneurs. So by basically stop what I was doing, started studying Amazon, going to Amazon events, learning the platform, hiring people, we reviewed every case we could find that Amazon has been involved in over the last 20 years in the road of books Amazon law life library. And fast forward ‘til today, I’m with the number law firm I believed in the world helping Amazon sellers with their suspensions both not intellectual property suspension, we do a tons of authentic and you sold as new at AtoZ claims. Also can handle intellectual property issues which the non-lawyers really have no business handling. And I learned from the sellers and I love it. I love to travel and I love working with entrepreneurs in the world and here we are.
Mike: Yeah, that’s great. So, this is like your niche now for sure, right? Remain practices helping Amazon on sellers?
CJ: It’s pretty much all we do. Suspensions, intellectual property rights and non-intellectual property rights suspension, that are about 80% of the practice. We reinstated just about every day of the week. And we get the intellectual property right, every day of the week, it’s great and I really like what we do.
Mike: Very, very cool. We’ve kind of connected one of your team member, Cherish who’s a listener, she’s a great person here in China. I’m sure you worked with a lot of Chinese sellers or do you want to share, of course we don’t want to reveal a specific client. I think a lot might be based in China or is there some kind of percentage of, is it of locations of the sellers that are having issues or is it?
CJ: Probably, I would say that 20% of our practice is helping sellers who are located in Mainland China. Mostly Shenzhen, and I got to tell you Cherish if you are out there, I am blessed to have Cherish. She is absolutely awesome. She came to New York few weeks ago and we did some real intensive training and have it over with my wife and my children. She’s smart, dedicated, and hardworking and I’m just, Cherish, I am blessed to have you on our team.
Mike : I’m sure she’s listening, she’s definitely great. I think Chinese sellers especially need a lot of help, well any sellers like you said earlier in our talk, is a nightmare. I mean, I was just chatting with somebody else on WeChat last night and he’s not having a problem now. But of course sometimes he goes to sleep at night, afraid that he might get an email from the seller’s central team or something. He’s really paranoid, paranoid ‘coz, we had earlier on the podcast on the past, trying to have other channels, coz it’s a little bit scary to just be independent on Amazon purely, right? But there’s blog posts I’ve read that make me cringe. Maybe what’s the main reason is you know, I know Amazon sometimes doesn’t even help people. But is there some common trend you see?
CJ: Yeah, the largest source of suspension are this non-sense called you know authentic? Which is where Amazon wants to see where you’re getting your products from. It’s not that they’re accusing you of selling fake products, is that they just want to see the distribution chain from how you obtain your products and that’s a significant portion of the suspensions. When it comes to specifically the sellers that are located in China, the intellectual property right complaints that are made against the Chinese sellers are just off the chart. The truth of the matter is, they practically never a basis for these complaints, okay? Because in the United States, you can buy a product as long as it not counterfeit, you can sell that product. You don’t have to be authorized by anybody, you don’t need the manufacturer’s permission, if you can buy it, you can sell it, for the most part. And so we did a lot of that. It’s definitely seems a bit more difficult for the sellers who are located in China, even with just Asian names. We’re very successful, I got a lists of successes here in front of me to talk about some case studies.
Mike: Sure, I definitely want to talk about history to makes it great. So, maybe, we could jump into cases. Maybe, I’m wondering, does it come from Amazon, or is it sometimes I know in Chinese E-commerce, even before Amazon was such a hit eBay day, website days. Sometimes brutal, very competitive to each other at the times, I think even Chinese sellers listening or any seller would agree that they’re little bit kind of, coming from competitors trying to sabotage their business or is it Amazon themselves that police or the customer, do we know like any ideas or where is it coming from?
CJ: It’s kind of all of the above. There’s definitely the significant portion of complaints are made by competitors just trying to knock their competition out. That’s a portion. You certainly have Amazon kind of playing both sides of the bands ware, whether they’re coming to China and they’re going to the factories, soliciting business. But then they’ll do their own sweep when they knock people off selling particular brands with no rhyme or reason. And just to come in and knock people off. And then you also have the brands who are stepping in trying to enforce, they’re trying to falsely maintain their prices and they kind of using flaws in Amazon system to get their competition, your listeners to get them suspended. You don’t have a valid intellectual property right complaint. But they use the ability to make the complaints as a way of knocking people off on the competition.
Mike: I’m a little bit nervous. A few year ago, even I wasn’t actually selling it, I’m actually not currently acting selling myself, but I’ve had few different E-commerce businesses in the past and I’m a US citizen and that day, brand sometime somehow, well it happened for me I have staff that worked for me and I have an about of space with their name. And of course these brands are searching those persons name, this is actually not from Amazon a little bit different but these brands. Yeah, they got a huge teams just trying to haunt people down because they sent subpoenas to my house in America, subpoena me for information on this person and it’s a little bit, scare my parents because it goes to my parents address. And they open one mail and they’re freaking out. Actually people, they got serve in person to my parent’s house. They were asking for me. They are freaking out. The neighbors are looking out the door and stuff. Yeah the brand I don’t want to reveal the brand but they’re pretty vicious, I think. I guess that’s what they’re job is, right? To protect their clients and the brands, so they will really do whatever they can to like you said to maintain pricing or control their market.
CJ: I’ll tell you, I think there’s right and wrong way to do everything. So, if this is a brand, let’s use Nike for example and someone’s taking the Nike shoes and they’re sticking on their own shirt, their own hat. And then I think Nike has every right to try and shut that seller down because they are really violating their right. On the other hand, if you have a distributor who’s selling a few palettes of real Nike sneakers and Air Jordan to somebody else. You know there no violation there as long as you’re selling the real deal. okay? As long as you’re not copying. There’s no violation and Nike, Apple, Samsung, all these made of brands, and they know better. But what they count on is that the sellers are got to stand up to them when they’re not got to get a lawyer. So I can tell you, practically all the complaints that we deal with, we get the brands to withdraw their complaint. Because once a lawyer stands up for the seller and you’re on equal button, they back down coz they’re wrong. Sometimes if the brand is right back down, because there’s so many other interests just like, no brand wants to be known as someone who could have a family out of work. Or people to be laid off. So all you have to do is, if you’re a seller and you got knock off and the complaint is baseless. You got to stand up and you’ll get your listing back. You’ll get your account back.
Mike: Very cool. Yeah, I’d love to get some case studies. I know, we could make a little bit generic or not, of course can’t reveal names or anything. But do we have some, can you give us some examples?
CJ: Yup, how many, all those Chinese? Coz I understand that most of your audiences are located in China.
Mike: Yeah, usually in Asia.
CJ: You know, we recently got a suspended. So, the whole account was down because another brand alleged that their plumbing supply. I got to be kind of, I can’t identify exactly the product was, the attorney client privilege. So we have to keep everything in secret. Another plumbing competitor said they were counterfeiting their product and we have the patent. We have the trademark filed. We got the documents we needed for the United States patterned and trademark office. And we got that complaint withdrawn because when you have the competitors who’s making a complaint and when you can shell their complaint was baseless, you can get their accounts suspended. And just like your listeners can’t sleep at night about that email, the people who are making the complaints have that same worry. We reached out to them, we said here is our patent, here is our trademark, if you will not withdraw your complaint, well got to make a complaint about you and you got to lose your account and we get reinstated. And you know they withdrew and our client is back in business selling their number 1 product. We dealt with Chinese sellers who’s selling in the UK and in France and in Germany, Italy and Spain. It’s kind of same thing you know authentic in the US is same as authentic in France or Germany. And you put the receipts together, you make it really simple and persuasive and that’s plain of action, how we get the sellers you know reinstated. We also had success negotiating distribution agreements and licensing agreements for sellers who are located in China but selling in the US where a brand has made a complaint. And we negotiate a great deal for our clients, get those complaints withdrawn and then we get back to selling. We dealt with kitchen supplies, health and beauty and a whole host of products where this for authentic IP complaints, new complaints or maybe selling a product that might be in last year’s packaging. That’s were getting complaint that it’s a new product but they claimed you sold as new. And you just show it wasn’t you and it was just 2015 or 2016 packaging.
Mike: Got it.
CJ: There’s also ways, there’s a lot of ways that sellers can avoid suspension.
Mike: I think this will be great. Some of my listener talk about, I mean if they could be more confident that they’re doing right things, I mean a lot of times they don’t might not know, so sure i’d love to hear ways that they could reduce the risk.
CJ: A couple of things when a buyer makes a complaint, just give the product for free, give them back the money, send another one, just make that buyer happy even if the buyer is ripping you off. Keep your eye on the ball which is keeping your account live. So, if you have to let the client sort of, customer bitch out of a few box, let them have it. It’s better not to have a deal than losing. If you’re selling products where the packaging changes frequently, like a lot of products that are gear, like health and beauty in women’s products the packaging changes very, very often and so you’re selling a new product when it’s arriving at the consumer the packaging is different. So i think sellers are really need to be on top of the packaging and the products, what’s in the store and what is, their packaging look like. And if you’re packaging is a bit older or faded or outdated, put in on a different listing, put it as a used, you sold as new but you can put in the description that’s it’s never been open. But if you’re packaging is different you got to make sure that the consumer knows about it. You want to make sure the package properly so they don’t show up on the door steps and banged up. At least, these are the things that, once your suspended we are good to Amazon that you can change to make yourself a better seller. But you might also do an advanced, I think watching the forums and seeing where their trends are or staying in touch with my office through our email blast like if you’re selling NFL products right before the super bowl you had a significant chance to being suspended. So unless there was a large portion of your business you should have got out of it when majorly baseball comes back around and sometimes the world series, if you’re not making ton of money, don’t sell their product when it comes to the world series just bail out from them.
Mike: Got it. Very cool. So, this is very helpful. Thanks for being so open, CJ. Actually a lot of times, I’m really happy you’re sharing online with me and others. It’s really great. Thanks for that. Normally, so some are get suspended, they’re urgently contacting you and anybody that they could get help from, so they’re freaking out. What’s the normal time for me should but you now there’s some kind of arrange that you could tell somebody to prepare for or being down like having some downer.
CJ: I can tell you this, if you reach out to us and we think we can win and we accept you as a client, I guarantee you were got to draft your plan of action within 2 business days, usually the same day but always within 2 business days. I know there are other people out there, telling people 7 to 10 days and the whole time the seller’s out of work. So we do our turnaround 2 days. Now, how quickly Amazon response, that’s out of our control. There are sometimes you will got to get couple of hours, they are supposed to respond within 2 days. And I would say on an average, on any given suspension, if I have to average it out, you can count on being out of business for about a week you can have. Some maybe faster, some maybe slower. But that’s probably the average. Even though they are supposed to respond within 2 days. Because the vast majority of plans of actions you get back in email and saying, okay we received your plans of actions but can you give us more information about A or B, or can you tell us again, can you tell us how do you prevent this complaint from happening in the future. So you got the people in India and Ireland and Costa Rica, who are sort of checking boxes and more often than not, they want a little bit more information. So you end up doing a plan of action and then responding to another email or 2 or 3 giving on extra information.
Mike: It makes sense. And of course it’s not allowed to have more than 1 account. But I guess it’s usually ASIN that’s usually taken down more or is it the whole account.
CJ: Alright, I think this is a great topic, okay? Related accounts or multiple accounts, I can spend hours talking about this. Here’s the deal, okay, I think it’s absolutely insane that Amazon forces sellers to put all their eggs in one bag, in 1 basket. When Amazon is the most diverse company on the planet. But if you’re got to have related account, you’ll got to have multiple accounts, you want to avoid Amazon linking them up. You have to be really good and really organized and be really careful. Okay? You can’t use the same computer. You got to make sure you’re using a VPN, you can’t use the same phone, you can’t login from home. You want to make sure that your names on the account are different, if you can’t differ the addresses and then you got to be really careful about it. As it purely in my mind that the business decision, whether you’re going to get the extra safety of having multiple accounts that you’re protecting in case your 1 closes down. And then you got to compare that to the extra risk of Amazon linking to 2 accounts or 5 accounts or 10 accounts together.
Mike: Got it. Which would mean you shut them all down.
Mike: But I agree with you, It doesn’t make more sense, Amazon is little hypocritical there, they got their whole complex, multi jurisdiction global organization or they kind of play different games and they don’t let their own sellers do the same thing a little bit.
CJ : I think in this area when it comes to having multiple accounts, I think the Chinese sellers have a couple of advantages over the American sellers, okay? You know for one thing’s everyone’s using a VPN it makes a lot harder to track IP addresses. The vast amount of common Chinese surname makes it harder. The fact that Chinese businesses does have much more employees than American businesses of the same ties, you know makes it easier. So, I also from being there few times, I see that the Chinese sellers are so incredibly savvy and organized and really use technology to an extent that I don’t really see with American sellers. So I think there are a lot of advantage here that the Chinese sellers have in terms of maintaining multiple accounts that a lot of Americans that don’t enjoy.
Mike : Yup, I totally agree here. Yeah I’ve been here almost 10 years so I’ve been through a lot of different faces of e-commerce platforms. But my previous guests too saying Chinese take these, a lot of times Chinese sellers doing these like their side hustle or their secondary income or passive income. But I think Chinese are doing this full time job and this is like what they do. So they are studying this in a good way, they are studying deeply how to leverage everything they can.
CJ: Also, for what I’ve seen, Chinese sellers, guys are so focus. Where Americans you have other jobs, you have other things to that their doing. Where the Chinese sellers also seemed to be younger , more energetic, Much more focus solely doing the business, and they use the technology as mind blowing as compared to other places around the world.
Mike: Yeah, I’ve seen some operations here. Yeah, it’s mind blowing, it’s really crazy. So really cool, I appreciate you with the time zone differences and everything of sharing with us today. Any last kind of tips or advice for sellers, we’ve kind of, you give us such a great value. But is there something we can think of conclusion.
CJ: I tell you Mike, my focus is on dealing with suspensions for the most part. This is what I would say, if they get suspended take a deep breath, okay and be very careful who you hire. When you hire an attorney whether it’s Mayo or another law firm, you got to hire somebody who is obligated to keep your secret’s secret and who has obligation to you. If you hire someone who’s not an attorney, they’re obligations are really to themselves, not so much to you like, I don’t sell anything because that would create a conflict with my clients. So you really want to be careful, if there’s some reason where you can’t afford to pay an attorney to handle this issues, I would stay away from people who would sell forms, okay because they sell the same forms hundreds and thousands of times so Amazon’s people have read those forms also. So you’d be better off writing your own plan of action than buying a form online. I would also warns sellers that if you see a certain site where they guarantee a 100% success rate, they are not telling the truth, nobody has a 100% success when it comes to Amazon, so you can’t believe everything that you read. Also, I don’t mind helping sellers help themselves, we get calls and emails and WeChat messages all the time. And we’re happy to give out some advice so you can help yourselves. So if you’re small seller and you just started and you really can’t afford the fees, give us a call, talk to us, will try to walk through the resolution. But certainly don’t buy the forms online, they don’t help and in fact they can make things a lot worst. I guess the left things out with is, if you’re suspended and you’re submitting a plan of action, don’t admit to doing something wrong if you didn’t do anything wrong, because that kind of sort of mess up the system as you work your way down the mechanism to get reinstated. So a lot of people think, I would admit to do it something wrong and you just don’t. You can write how can you be better, you can write how you got to improve your business, but certainly don’t admit to doing something wrong if you didn’t make any mistakes.
Mike: Very good. Yeah, that’s really great advice because sometimes they, Im not got to say Amazon specifically but of course a lot of times, people just want to settle right and accept, even if you see in some movies, right? They’re just trying to get you to trap yourself, but there’s always you saying, you have the right to an attorney, anything you can say can and will be used against you. So yeah, maybe saying less or definitely not admitting but maybe not also saying too much either and for professional advice.
CJ: Well, people used to think that just admitting to something wrong, take responsibility and then they’ll get you back on, and it’s not true because outwitting sellers a lot more. And that admission of doing something wrong especially if you didn’t is not helpful. At the end of the day, let’s say you got suspended, right. And you write your plan of action and Amazon says no, right? And then you write to a team says no, and then you write to based says no. You still have the right to go to arbitration and take the decision out of Amazon, if in the first set of documents you wrote that you made a mistake, you did something wrong. You curing yourself in the foot at the end of the day. Where if you write that you’ll just got to improve, you’ll got to do better, you can still at the end of the day get reinstated coz you can take them to arbitration. And were doing that for Chinese sellers as well.
Mike: Got it. Wow, this has been really, thanks CJ, it’s really great advice. So, how can people reach out to you? I know you guys have pretty website, you mentioned WeChat, what’s the preferred ways people can find you?
CJ: Our WeChat is Amazon sellers lawyer lowercase, no space, one word amazonsellerslawyer. The website is same thing amazonsellerslawyer.com. You could email me cj@amazonsellerslawyer. If you’re more comfortable with speaking and reading Chinese, at the top of our website there’s a button that says China or Chinese the entire website has been translated to Chinese. My assistant Cherish, she’s our Shenzhen manager is fluent in both languages and we are really committed to the Chinese market were opening up more offices in Guangzhou and Dongguan over the next few months or so.
Mike: Great! Very excited.
CJ: And reach out, we’ll get back to you. We’re trying to get back with everyone within the day or so. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer depending on how busy we are but if you write email, WeChat, do a case submission on our website, you will hear back from either me or Cherish or both of us.
Mike: Very cool. CJ, thank you and again we’ll link all this up on the show notes as always, so they could get to your website or WeChat or other details that we mentioned today. So, thanks again and have a great day.
CJ: Thank you, too.
Mike: Okay. So thank you CJ for appearing on our podcast. He did ah, do you know what time that was?
Cherish: 12 am.
Mike: She helps us set up the time. It was 11pm in New York. I’m using Philadelphia for a conference. He’s doing a podcast with me at 11pm. So, the time zone difference is different. I usually was hoping, I was trying to schedule this morning but he works out even at middle of the night. so thank you CJ for staying up so late and doing it from his hotel at the conference in Philadelphia and Cherish was great to help setting it up. And the Cross Border Summit is coming soon April 21st and 22nd. We get a lots of interest. We have people actually in the audience today that are coming and Cherish will be there, too. And she was there last year. I remember it was great that you came right into Shenzhen, where were you coming from?
Cherish: On Nanjing.
Mike: Nanjing, and you just moved to Shenzhen?
Mike: So you got to meet some great people and it’ll be great to see you’ve come so far and now you’re doing great work with CJ and thanks again.
Cheris : Thank you.
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