Instagram accounts have been shut down at a very fast rate lately with zero recourse to the user. To understand why this is happening, who’s behind it and how you can take these simple steps to be more “compliant of Instagram’s TOS, we’ll break everything down for you below.

Why does this keep happening and who is actually reporting your account?

There are rules to Instagram and if not followed correctly, you can lose your years of hard work in seconds and it will be an uphill battle trying to restore your account, if you even get that option.

While the brands themselves are technically behind the reporting of your “violations” it’s not actually them doing the heavy lifting. They hire companies who’s job it is to scour the internet and then report to the platforms whether or not they feel you are in “compliance” with the brand they are representing. Does this make sense? Not really.

First off, there are a couple of terms you should familiarize yourself with.

The Lanham Act: The Lanham Act is the primary federal trademark statute of law in the United States. The Act prohibits a number of activities, including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising. Read more on Wikipedia

The First Sale Doctrine: The first sale doctrine, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 109, provides that an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner. Read more on Wikipedia

Basically and while the First Sale Doctrine is more geared for copywriter’s works, it is still applicable to trademarked goods.

“The first sale doctrine allows the resale of items bearing a trademark, such as a logo or brand name, after the trademark owner has sold those items, unless this is likely to confuse or deceive consumers.” Bona Law

In 2021, Chanel filed a lawsuit against a seller of re-purposing their hardware into jewelry in the case, Chanel, Inc. v. Shiver and Duke LLC et al. We won’t get into the whole case but there is one point that Chanel made that helps you to understand why they have Instagram accounts shut down.

We’re paraphrasing here but basically what the lawsuit boils down to is, YOU as a reseller can never give your potential customer the “experience” of shopping in a Chanel boutique. That and the trademark infringement of using things like Chanel buttons and repurposing them into earrings which Chanel never did (use buttons).

Now, it’s true you cannot recreate the Chanel experience and that’s not what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to make a living and build a business by reselling things You just happen to land on the best of the best and through the First Sale Doctrine, you have every right to.

Will this protect you? No, but there are things you can do to hopefully protect your social media accounts.

Steps to keep your Instagram safe

  • Never tag the brands – The last thing you want to do is draw attention to your account from a brand who may be in the process of jumping into the resale market. Alerting them to the money they are losing our is never a good idea.

  • Use Hashtags Instead – This is how people find you. Always use appropriate, relevant hashtags for what you’re posting and keep them consistent to your brand.

  • Dress up your image – No more white plain backgrounds, style that bag, wallet or earrings. Refer to the below.

  • Always use the word Pre-Owned – Even if the bag os brand new with everything, the second it leaves the store it’s now used, just like a car so make sure you have that phrase in every single post.

  • Include a disclaimer on every post – See example below


Instagram is a visual platform so when creating content of the bags you’re selling, no longer will a simple image of the bag (shoe, jacket……) work anymore. You need to look at each post as a work of art that you have created. Here me out here!

If Instagram is visual and the brands are worried about their trademarks and the companies hired to report have zero clue whether an item is authentic or not, the old disclaimer of “The trademarks belong to their respective owner” won’t cut it.

This is the disclaimer you need to use on every single post on Instagram and we’re using Marque Mentor in place of YOUR business name:

“Items are sold as is. All items are preloved unless otherwise noted. Please look at the photos and description thoroughly as all sales are final.

Marque Mentor is not associated or affiliated with the brand. All images posted on this account are original images on behalf of Marque Mentor.

Picture is an original work of art by Marque Mentor.”

Now that you have the disclaimer down, let’s move onto your images.

Your Images

The Wrong Way To Post

By just having the bag itself on a plain white background, while some may consider it art, it is not.

The Right Way To Post

By adding in a small plant and candle, you have now created a “work of art” and adding your logo is key to ownership of that original image.

While we cannot guarantee that you will never have any issues with Instagram, by adding that specific disclaimer and treating your images like a work of art, at least you can take the steps to keep your account safe.