An online business is a great way to make money. You can sell everything online, from books and pizza to houses and insurance. With a great number of convenient eCommerce platforms all over the web, it seems like starting a business online is a piece of cake.
Unfortunately, the process is not as seamless as it seems to be. Sometimes you run into problems that require taking legal action. If you are running a business on Amazon, you might be interested to know how to start an Amazon class action.
- 1 The Introduction to Amazon Class Action Lawsuit for Sellers
- 2 8 Steps to Filing A Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon
- 3 Examples Of Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon
The Introduction to Amazon Class Action Lawsuit for Sellers
Interests of a large group of people may coincide. If you have someone who shares your experience encountering fraud or illegal activity, it is natural to try to join forces to achieve the expected results.
A class action lawsuit against Amazon is a process that unites dissatisfied sellers who have solid reasons to demand satisfaction. There is nothing pleasant about it, but it is something every online entrepreneur needs to know about.
Filing a class action lawsuit against Amazon for customers is pretty tough, too. However, the sellers always have more issues to deal with and do not have any guarantee of the results of their effort.
In an Amazon class action lawsuit, one seller represents the interests of a group of people that have official business relations with Amazon. Take note that the representative should be a member of the above-mentioned group. The process originated in the US, but recently Canada and some Western European countries modified their laws to allow organizations to represent the interests of their members.
A class action is normally seen as a positive phenomenon. It allows uniting the claims into a single lawsuit and thus saves time, money and effort, and increases the efficiency of the process. Besides, it excludes repeatable claims.
The situation with Amazon is as follows: the company is engaged in several cases that include harm and rights violation. If individual issues were not resolved or there was no appropriate response to complaints, the sellers join forces to get compensation. This scheme works well for many industries and helps the plaintiffs to protect their rights.
A class action is characterized by the following features:
- It may only start if there is real proof that individual appeals will be impracticable;
- The issue must be identical for all members;
- The claims must be related to the field of the class activity;
- The chosen representative is obliged to protect the interests of the whole class in the best way possible.
Take note that a class action suit against Amazon is not easy to file. It is a well-known fact that in many cases the court allows Amazon to dismiss claims simply based on the agreement all sellers sign. The terms and conditions of cooperation with Amazon must be studied well in order to avoid invalid claims.
Amazon has foreseen a lot of possible issues and taken measures to protect itself from potential claims as much as possible. However, the number of groups that have filed a sellers class action lawsuit against Amazon is growing and attracting attention. Generally, the issues concern refunds and returned products, but there are also many other common unsolved issues.
8 Steps to Filing A Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon
Vendors that face the necessity of filing a lawsuit need to follow a defined step-by-step guide in order to get their claims accepted and the losses reimbursed. Here are the actions you need to take.
1. Make sure you can access the class action
Business is a tricky thing. There are times when you win or lose. It does not mean that the issue you encountered was caused by illegal actions of your business partner, but it is possible that a company is simply unaware of its rights and responsibilities or is too busy to reimburse a certain amount of money. Besides that, Amazon processes are slow, so it’s possible that you may yet get the compensation.
What this means is that a law being broken isn’t a reason a class action is going to take place. You need to make sure that Amazon violated the rights of a large number of vendors to start the process.
The final question you need to consider is whether the result is going to be worth it. Are you sure the lawsuit will not cost you more than what you will get as compensation? The process will take time, money and take a toll on your nerves, so make sure it’s worth doing.
2. Find a reliable lawyer
A class action is a specific phenomenon that requires the participation of a qualified, skilled lawyer. Even though there are many specialists who provide such services, it can get quite difficult to find one that has experience with cases similar to yours and whose services will not cost you a fortune.
Ask your potential attorneys the following questions:
- Do they have experience with class actions?
- What was the experience like?
- How many of their lawsuits were connected to class actions?
- What do they think about your case?
- What strategy would they suggest?
If you do not feel like this person fits your needs, keep on searching.
3. Work with complaints
After you’ve chosen a skilled lawyer and started working together, it is time for some paperwork. The lawyer gathers all the information about your case and creates legal documents. Those documents will be your best assistance in court. Now it is time to decide which court to choose, whether it should be a state one or the federal court.
Filing a case is pretty hard but with a reliable lawyer, you can get it done quickly.
4. Analyze your opponent’s strategy
There are 2 possible methods defendants may choose to fight your complaints:
- the defendant argues and tries to prove that no rights have been violated,
- the defendant provides arguments to show that this case cannot be considered as a class action.
After identifying the defendant’s strategy you can proceed with planning your own steps.
5. Certify your class action
If Amazon was unable to prove that your complaints can’t build up a class action, it is time for certifying. This is done by the court. Additionally, a definition is assigned to the certificated class.
The parties send their notices to the class (those participating in the action) by standard mail or using e-mail services or specific websites. Each notice contains a short description of the case, what the process looks like, and the status of the settlement. The notice is the actual right to stay a member of the class, leave it or file an objection. Your attorney has been hired for a reason, so ask as many questions as you can to avoid making mistakes in the process.
6. Discovery stage
At this stage, the parties may ask each other questions in written or oral form. Some important documents may be requested as well.
The discovery stage is crucial. This is a breaking moment when you can either choose to keep on fighting or stop the process. You can estimate your strengths and weaknesses, conduct comprehensive research, have a detailed discussion with the attorney and arrive at a clear decision.
7. Settlement approval
The court decides if the results of the class action lawsuit would be fair for all members. The decision making takes part after fairness hearings. The preliminary hearing determines if the settlement is fair, and the final fairness hearing is the basis for the final decision. The court takes into account the results of the notices: how many people stayed in the lawsuit, how many people excluded themselves, plus other issues.
8. Financial part
After the final decision has been made, it is time to pay your attorney. At the very beginning of the process, the members of the class need to agree on an approximate sum they can spend on the attorney’s services. In most cases, the exact sum of lawyer’s compensation is decided by the court. The time the lawyer spent on the case, the risks and the final results all help with making this decision.
Examples Of Class Action Lawsuit Against Amazon
As you can see, the whole process is quite complicated. At the same time, many class action lawsuits have favorable results for the plaintiffs.
Let’s take a look at some notable cases:
- The case of Amazon securities
The members of class action postulated that Amazon’s representatives made fraudulent statements to multiply Amazon securities. According to their complaints, Amazon sold securities to the class action members at unreasonably high prices. The court allowed Amazon to dismiss the claim for lack of proof. The goal was not achieved.
- Anti-trust violations
In this case, the reason for the lawsuit was the violation of the Sherman Act. The court decided that the claim was plausible. The class action members achieved the desired result.
- Computer fraud complaints
Back in 2011, Amazon was the defendant in a case with computer fraud. Del Vecchio represented the class action, but the claim was not satisfied because of the lack of facts to prove the harm.
- Privacy violation by Amazon
A privacy violation lawsuit brought against Amazon was granted and got a federal class certification.
We chose four different cases on purpose: two of them ended successfully for the class action members, and in the other two cases, court allowed Amazon to dismiss the claim.
Starting a lawsuit like this, you can either reach your goal or end up with nothing. How to increase the chances to get your claim granted? First of all, deliver this complicated work to professionals who know how to help customers achieve the desired results.
You will need to devote a lot of time and effort to dealing with the task.
AMZ-Expert team is here for you to answer the tricky questions and deal with the issues of your partnership with Amazon. Give us a quick call or send us a brief description of your case, and we will help you get rid of the worries in a matter of days!