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Amazon doesn't understand minifigure sales

I've been listing a lot of minifigures on Amazon lately. I always pull them from new sets, separate the minifig pieces into small plastic bags without assembling, and have a little blurb explaining this in my listings. I list them as new, just as everyone else does -- it's impossible to sell most minifigs without opening the original packaging.

Today, Amazon removed one of my listings with the following explanation:
Hello from Amazon.

We have removed your Amazon.com offers listed at the end of this message because your listing comments indicate that your items do not meet the criteria for the condition you selected.

Our policies require all sellers to classify their items in accordance with our Condition Guidelines.

We want to call your attention to this policy because violations may result in the removal of your Amazon.com selling privileges. To learn more about this policy, search "Condition Guidelines" in Seller Central Help.

Thank you for selling on Amazon.com.

Best regards,

Seller Performance Team
www.amazon.com
Though they don't explain the precise reason, I believe it's because I say in my listings, "Pieces pulled straight from the set right after opening". I just put in a little explanation to explain to buyers that the minifig is as new as it can possibly be; I don't even assemble them.

I'm concerned about this now, because all my listings have this verbiage. I'll probably have to tweak this for all my other current listings, and hope that the revised version passes muster. You have to guess at these things with Amazon, because their customer service for sellers is pretty much non-existent. Seriously... there is no way to get ahold of a real person, it's all robo-replies. I wrote an email response explaining the situation, but got an immediate canned response, and I don't expect anything more from them.

If my listing violates their condition guidelines, every single listing for "new" minifigures (save special promos like Martian Manhunter) is in the same boat. It's frustrating that my listing was pulled just because I provide a more detailed explanation to buyers.

Comments

  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
    I understand your mini figs are new and not played with. But unfortunately once you open a box, bag, whatever they are then classed as Near New or used. New is only for those items that are sealed. This is what I have been led to believe through eBay and I am sure Amazon are similar.

    You can write in your description that it is new just removed from a set etc, to clarify what condition they are in. That's really all you can do.
    tedward
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    They need to be listed as collectable-very good.
    Toys can only be listed as new or collectable.

    Read the condition guidelines and the forum.
    You will get more help in the forum then from seller support.

    I would remove the verbiage ASAP.
    People have been banned for less.

    Hope this helps.
    John



  • DadsAFOLDadsAFOL USAMember Posts: 617
    The other issue you have is that minifigures by themselves are not "products". Are you creating fake UPC codes to get them listed? If you were to take the figures, and repackage them in your own packaging including your own legitimate UPC codes, you'd be more in compliance with Amazon's rules. But if you do that, then you run the risk of getting noticed by trademark holders. Just be aware that Amazon may shut you down and ban you anyway even if you change the wording in your listings.
  • aaronkaaronk Member Posts: 12
    The thing is, what I'm doing is hardly out of line with other minifigure sales on Amazon. Everyone sells them as new. To see just a couple of examples, look here and here. This is also in line with Bricklink's usage of "new" for Lego pieces that haven't been played with. I know, different site, different rules... but it seems to be understood what "new" means for a Lego piece or minifig.

    Half my point is that Amazon just needs to be consistent. If I can't sell these as new, no one can.
  • aaronkaaronk Member Posts: 12
    DadsAFOL said:

    The other issue you have is that minifigures by themselves are not "products". Are you creating fake UPC codes to get them listed? If you were to take the figures, and repackage them in your own packaging including your own legitimate UPC codes, you'd be more in compliance with Amazon's rules. But if you do that, then you run the risk of getting noticed by trademark holders. Just be aware that Amazon may shut you down and ban you anyway even if you change the wording in your listings.

    With my status as an "individual seller" I cannot create new products on Amazon myself. But those who pay up for the higher tier status can create products. Most minifigs are represented on Amazon shortly after they're available; see the two I listed in the previous post.
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    ^ Amazon is policed by bot's.
    I think the word "removed" and the "set number" is what they picked up.
    Just list the parts like the other sellers and you should be fine.

    Amazon is not fair. They flagged yours and that is cause for concern.
    They take listing and condition violations very serious.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    edited March 2014
    Your store probably just isn't big enough to flout the rules yet. Ordered a Bluray as "New" last week, turned up with no shrink wrap, clear shelf wear, and dust in the case and some marks on the disc, very clearly second hand. Contacted Amazon and they don't seem willing to do anything about it thus far, I even said I'd accept a partial refund for the difference between what I was charged for a new item that wasn't new, and their cheapest second hand copy on offer so I don't think I've been unreasonable.

    If they don't do anything I'll contact trading standards, seems odd that you're not allowed to sell stuff fresh out the box as new, but this seller is allowed to sell blatantly second hand goods as new, but they have over 10,000 feedbacks so I guess Amazon views them as too big to upset whilst a smaller seller like you is probably viewed by them as more expendable.

    I guess you need to keep your head down and play strictly by the rules for now until you grow yourself big enough then you can flout them however you want, even going as far as breaking the law it would seem, not that I'd recommend that of course because hopefully even if Amazon wont do anything trading standards will.
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    @Xefan‌
    Contact the seller and if they don't take care of it file an A to Z claim.
    You will get your money back and get to keep the item.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    Yeah that's what I'm trying, it didn't seem obvious what drop down item to select, but I haven't had a response from them when I selected wrong item or whatever it was that seemed closest so I tried to contact Amazon and they said I needed to deal with it with the seller. I'll give them a few more days to respond I guess for now.
  • JP3804JP3804 Member Posts: 332
    They are suppose to respond in 24 hrs or less. FYI
  • aaronkaaronk Member Posts: 12
    JP3804 said:

    @Xefan‌
    Contact the seller and if they don't take care of it file an A to Z claim.
    You will get your money back and get to keep the item.

    Yeah, I haven't really been on the buyer's side of the fence much, but I think Amazon's policies are pretty heavily on the side of the buyer. You should be able to get a refund, and the seller should get a pretty bad mark on their ratings if they ignore you.
  • aaronkaaronk Member Posts: 12
    The choices for online third-party sales just leave a lot to be desired; both Amazon and eBay have pretty big drawbacks. I'd be more willing to try eBay again, but listing items is just too much effort. I took a look at the listing process recently and it's still 20 form fields, take care of your own photo and description, etc.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,654
    Remember you are not selling official products though. Ones with barcodes, that can easily be catalogued. You are breaking up sets to sell off individual minifigs or parts, put together in a combination by you. You might sell a minifigure as the legs, torso, head and headgear, whereas someone else might include a weapon, or a stand, or a spare weapon, ... Do you really expect amazon and ebay to keep a catalogue of all possible combinations of parts? Especially for used items (ones not sold as the manufacturer expected). Would you really want to have to read whole descriptions just to check that you item matches the description already written?

    If ebay is too much effort, then online selling is not for you. It's not hard to take a photo and write a description. If it is too much effort (for the reward), then resell something with a higher profit margin.
  • aaronkaaronk Member Posts: 12
    CCC said:

    Remember you are not selling official products though. Ones with barcodes, that can easily be catalogued. You are breaking up sets to sell off individual minifigs or parts, put together in a combination by you. You might sell a minifigure as the legs, torso, head and headgear, whereas someone else might include a weapon, or a stand, or a spare weapon, ... Do you really expect amazon and ebay to keep a catalogue of all possible combinations of parts? Especially for used items (ones not sold as the manufacturer expected). Would you really want to have to read whole descriptions just to check that you item matches the description already written?

    If ebay is too much effort, then online selling is not for you. It's not hard to take a photo and write a description. If it is too much effort (for the reward), then resell something with a higher profit margin.

    Amazon is not the only place with that model, though. BrickLink is similar -- you sell against an item already in their catalog with a set title and picture.

    There's more to eBay than just a photo and description. There's also title, categories and subcategories, and a bunch of other fields and steps that I don't remember.

    If you do sell a full unopened set, the eBay sales process is still about the same.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,112
    aaronk said:



    There's more to eBay than just a photo and description. There's also title, categories and subcategories, and a bunch of other fields and steps that I don't remember.

    If you do sell a full unopened set, the eBay sales process is still about the same.

    Really? eBay is that hard to list on? I do not think so. For anyone to say eBay is difficult to put up a listing has not tried IMO. I also have a hard time seeing how setting up a listing for a fig is that much 'harder' than putting up a listing for a sealed box set, I mean you still have to setup the listing which requires the same data you are reporting takes too long.

    eBay has templates. You can also sell something as a 'similar item' to a listing you already put up. If you are selling nothing but figures I have a hard time believing it takes that long. Filling out one listing entry (which really does not take that long at all), then saving it as a template, then using said template but changing little things like (perhaps category if you are selling SW figs and other theme figs), picture, title, and a brief change to what the item is you are selling, and price you are selling at.

    As for picture, I guess if you cannot splurge on a $50-100 camera, or use a cell phone camera then I guess you are out of luck, but if that is really what is hanging you up then I guess you are stuck with BL or Amazon and adhering to their policies.
  • aaronkaaronk Member Posts: 12

    aaronk said:



    There's more to eBay than just a photo and description. There's also title, categories and subcategories, and a bunch of other fields and steps that I don't remember.

    If you do sell a full unopened set, the eBay sales process is still about the same.

    Really? eBay is that hard to list on? I do not think so. For anyone to say eBay is difficult to put up a listing has not tried IMO. I also have a hard time seeing how setting up a listing for a fig is that much 'harder' than putting up a listing for a sealed box set, I mean you still have to setup the listing which requires the same data you are reporting takes too long.

    eBay has templates. You can also sell something as a 'similar item' to a listing you already put up. If you are selling nothing but figures I have a hard time believing it takes that long. Filling out one listing entry (which really does not take that long at all), then saving it as a template, then using said template but changing little things like (perhaps category if you are selling SW figs and other theme figs), picture, title, and a brief change to what the item is you are selling, and price you are selling at.

    As for picture, I guess if you cannot splurge on a $50-100 camera, or use a cell phone camera then I guess you are out of luck, but if that is really what is hanging you up then I guess you are stuck with BL or Amazon and adhering to their policies.
    I looked at it recently, and it still looked like a cluttered mess and a multistep process. Look at the listing page, it's a UX nightmare. A template would at least streamline it after the first one; I wasn't aware you could do that.

    The photo requirement was a dilemma because, aside from the additional time, I like to sell the minifigs unassembled. But that doesn't make for a particularly great photo.

    I remember post-sales management being a chore too (contact the buyer to thank them, then contact them again to tell them the item has shipped); I can't say if that's gotten any better as I didn't actually list anything recently.

    And yes, I have a camera.

  • roxioroxio UKMember Posts: 1,355
    edited March 2014
    ^contact the buyer to thank them? I've got 100% feedback from tons of sales with vast majority from lego sales and I've never done that.
    Notifying of shipping is a simple scan of shipping label with eBay app.
    Turbolister is very quick for similar listings.
    Once you have a routine (which bricklink/amazon sellers will also have), eBay selling is not hard.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,654
    aaronk said:

    CCC said:

    Remember you are not selling official products though. Ones with barcodes, that can easily be catalogued. You are breaking up sets to sell off individual minifigs or parts, put together in a combination by you. You might sell a minifigure as the legs, torso, head and headgear, whereas someone else might include a weapon, or a stand, or a spare weapon, ... Do you really expect amazon and ebay to keep a catalogue of all possible combinations of parts? Especially for used items (ones not sold as the manufacturer expected). Would you really want to have to read whole descriptions just to check that you item matches the description already written?

    If ebay is too much effort, then online selling is not for you. It's not hard to take a photo and write a description. If it is too much effort (for the reward), then resell something with a higher profit margin.

    Amazon is not the only place with that model, though. BrickLink is similar -- you sell against an item already in their catalog with a set title and picture.

    It's completely different.

    Bricklink is a lego reseller site, specifically designed to sell parted out lego sets. Virtually every lego item is in the catalogue, either as parts, minifigs, sets, etc.

    Amazon is a general retailer, where the majority of items in the catalogue are as packaged by the manufacturer.
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