What is the Amazon Services Europe Business Solutions Agreement?
The Amazon Services Europe Business Solutions Agreement is an agreement between Amazon UK and you, as a seller, which sets out the key terms and conditions governing your use of the Amazon marketplace platform.
Below we summarise the key provisions of the Amazon Services Europe Business Solutions Agreement that all Amazon sellers need to be aware of.
Intellectual Property (IP) licence
Sellers should be aware that they are required to grant Amazon UK a broad licence in respect of their business’s intellectual property (including trade marks and designs) when selling on the platform.
Term and termination
Amazon may terminate (ie end) the agreement without cause by giving a seller 30 days’ notice, or immediately in circumstances where an Amazon seller has materially breached the agreement and has not fixed the breach within 7 days (eg if the seller fails to pay Amazon its service fees or engages in fraudulent behaviour).
You, as the seller, must indemnify Amazon UK in relation to any claims made against it that relate to your non-compliance with relevant laws, failure to pay applicable taxes, or claims made against you by a third party.
If your business makes £4,000 or more per month for three consecutive months, Amazon UK requires you to take out public third-party liability insurance (at your cost).
In most cases, Amazon UK will provide at least 15 days’ advance notice of any changes to the agreement. However, Amazon may also change or modify the agreement with immediate effect in certain circumstances (eg for legal, regulatory, fraud and abuse prevention, or security reasons).
It is crucial that you stay up to date with any recent changes to avoid breaching the terms of the agreement and being slapped with a suspension or ban of your Amazon account.
In addition to the Amazon Services Europe Business Solutions Agreement, Amazon UK also has several policies that Amazon sellers should be aware of, and comply with, when conducting their business on the platform.
The Amazon UK Selling Policies and Seller Code of Conduct are both in place to ensure that all sellers act fairly and honestly on the Amazon marketplace to maintain a safe buying and selling experience for all.
Failing to adhere to these policies can lead to an account ban or suspension.
Which business structure is best for selling on Amazon?
Importantly, Amazon UK does not require its sellers to operate under a particular business structure. Choosing the right business structure when starting an Amazon business in the UK can be a daunting process. But with a little planning and guidance, the process can go very smoothly.
There are 4 main types of business structures for Amazon UK store owners to choose from:
Each of these structures has its pros and cons, so it’s important to understand the key differences before making your choice. For more information on the different business structures, read Choosing your business structure.
How can I protect my IP on Amazon UK?
Like any business, your Amazon store (and brand) will carry significant value and you should take steps to protect it. The best way to protect your intellectual property is by registering it with the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).
For example, if you use a logo or colour scheme that distinguishes your brand from other brands, you should consider registering this as a trade mark. For more information on the registration process, read How to register a trade mark.
If you are selling your own unique products on Amazon UK, it may make sense to protect the design of those products to prevent others from copying them. You can do this by registering your design. For more information, read Design rights.
What is consumer law and does it apply to Amazon businesses?
Consumer law protects the rights of consumers (ie private individuals) when they buy goods or services. This includes purchases made online through marketplaces like Amazon UK.
Consumers are protected from a wide range of unfair, misleading, and deceptive business practices. Consumer laws also provide consumers with certain remedies if a business breaches relevant consumer rights. For example, consumers may be entitled to a refund, repair, or exchange in relation to a product or service.
As an Amazon UK seller, it is essential that you understand your obligations under consumer law to make sure you are complying with your obligations when selling your products on the Amazon UK marketplace.
What legal documents do I need for my Amazon business?
The specific legal documents needed for an Amazon business will depend on several factors, including the type of business you have and the types of products you sell. For example, if you are sourcing products from a manufacturer or supplier, it makes sense to have a Distribution agreement in place to protect your rights.
Some other legal agreements you may need for your Amazon business include:
commercial lease agreements – if you are leasing office or warehouse space you will need to enter into a Commercial lease
finance agreements – if you require capital to grow and fund your business, you may consider making a Loan agreement or another type of finance agreement
Before you sign any legal agreements, make sure you seek legal advice and don’t feel pressured to sign anything until you’re comfortable doing so.
Sounds great, how do I become an Amazon seller?
The first step you should take is to read through the material on the Amazon UK site to make sure starting an Amazon business is the right option for you.
If you have any questions or concerns about starting your Amazon business, do not hesitate to Ask a lawyer for assistance.