Reverse Amazon Suspension and Get Reinstated
When it comes to Amazon account suspensions, there is no “one-size fits all” solution. With a whole lot of vague guidelines and policies (Amazon.com Help: Policies and Agreements) Amazon is weeding out sellers left and right with suspensions.
Each account suspension is unique and must be handled according to a vendor’s individual situation. There are, however, some overall practices that have been known to work when you are attempting to get your account reinstated. Which tactics would be most beneficial to you rely heavily upon for what were you suspended for.
Common Reasons for Amazon Seller Suspension
1. Selling Prohibited Items.
Amazon outlines all prohibited items in their guidelines – somewhere. It is quite difficult to find a concrete list of banned items. Regardless, some known prohibited items include the following: drug paraphernalia, illegal things, certain brands of health and beauty products, particular brands of toys and much more. If Amazon catches on and learns that you are selling prohibited items, you will be banned.
2. Selling Counterfeit Items.
Counterfeit sales on Amazon are a big problem. This issue often arises with movies and DVDs, electronics, beauty products and many other categories. Even if you believe your item is direct from the manufacturer, your account will be banned if anyone states that you’re selling counterfeit products.
Important Note: Counterfeit and inauthentic items are not the same. Counterfeit items are fake / imitation products. Inauthentic products may be “real” in theory, but are not qualified for sale on Amazon because of where they are purchased. If a product is purchased from another source besides the original manufacturer, that makes it inauthentic in the eyes of Amazon.
3. Negative Feedback.
Customer feedback – it’s every sellers’ worst nightmare. Your customer metrics depend heavily on feedback from your buyers, and if even one or two of them are anything less than thrilled, you better offer a refund and more ASAP or risk account suspension.
4. Duplicate Accounts.
If you think opening a second Amazon account is a good idea for any reason, think again. Amazon uses a complex, intricate, and extremely detailed algorithm to catch sellers who do not abide by the regulations. You can’t have two seller accounts. Do this, and you can pretty much guarantee yourself a suspension.
5. Opening a New Account after Being Suspended.
It’s understandable that dealing with seller performance after being suspended is no fun – but do not try to open another seller account after Amazon has closed your previous account. Trust me, they will know, and that account will be shut down as well. Chitagam Saluja, paralegal at Rosenbaum Famularo, PC states, “It’s always best to resolve issues that
caused the first account to be suspended as opposed to just opening another account because there is a significant risk that the Amazon Seller gets caught with Related Accounts and both get suspended and the seller can get completely banned from selling on the Amazon platform.”
In addition to these common errors, I often come across these additional reasons for seller account suspensions:
- Late Shipment Rate
- Used Item Sold As New
- Incomplete Item
- Not as Advertised/Wrong Item
- Expired Items
I hope this list enlightens readers of the myriad of policies Amazon has that if violated, will guarantee you that dreaded email all Amazon sellers have nightmares about:
Oh yeah! If you have ever received this email before, your stomach is turning right now. Essentially, this email appears in a sellers’ inbox stating that their business has been shut down, the funds from their prior sales are frozen, and they have lost their ability to make a living. “But hey, if you want to shoot us an email back letting us know how you won’t ever screw up again, we will have an account analyst spend 3 minutes reviewing your appeal and let you know if your professional life is doomed or not.”
Seller Performance Team will never get on the phone with an Amazon buyer or seller. Once your account is suspended, a carefully crafted appeal that contains a plan of action is your only hope. For every variation of the reason for being suspended, there are minor methods one should take when writing their appeal plan.
For the sake of this answer, I will provide a general outline of how to handle the MIB of Amazon.
1. The first thing you need to know about Seller Performance is that they do not care about your sorrows, your personal issues or your sales volume.
This information is irrelevant to them. By including this in your appeal, you are consuming a part of the crucial 3 minutes the account analyst has to review the areas of your plan that actually matter. Sean Law, Paralegal at Rosenbaum Famularo, PC states, “The employees at Seller Performance must be incredible pressure to review appeals somewhat quickly. When filing your appeal, be quick, be concise and your Plan of Action or Appeal must be persuasive. Amazon does not care about how profitable your account is; their job is to not care about that.”
2. There is not one seller on Amazon that is not expendable.
Amazon’s focus is on their customers. I have seen sellers who have some impressive selling metrics get their accounts suspended and are astonished. If you are selling one book per week for $10 or if you ship 10,000 items per day, step on Amazon’s toes, and they will lay the same hammer on any and all sellers.
3. The purpose of an appeal is:
1) To show Amazon that you are acutely aware of why they have suspended you, 2) Admit to these violations, and 3) Provide a plan of action that convinces Amazon that the policy at hand will never be broken again.
4. Amazon knows much more about you than you think they do.
If you are engaging in any tactics that might not be viewed as the most innocent practices, come clean. Chances are, they already know about it.
5. The words “Plan of Action” are somewhat deceiving.
If I make a plan to go to the beach on Tuesday, I have made a decision that I am going to do something in the future. If you take nothing else from my answer, please understand this. Amazon has no interest in what you “plan” to do. When reviewing your appeal, they are asking themselves “Has this seller acknowledged his/her mistakes and have the implemented the needed (things) to ensure that they are not at risk of repeating their mistakes. Paralegal Jason Powell reminds, “Selling on the Amazon platform is a privilege; it is always good to remember to follow Amazon policies and metrics closely, especially when filing a Plan of Action, an appeal or a Jeff Bezos Escalation.”
6. Speak in the past tense.
Do not give them any wiggle room to find flaws in your plan of action. If you acknowledge your mishaps and lay out all the steps you have taken to ensure that it is next to impossible for the same issue ever to arise again, you will get reinstated.
Of course, creating flawless appeal plans is an art in itself, especially when dealing in certain categories. I can assure you, though, if you follow the above steps, you will be back to selling in no time.
For those who have failed to get their account reinstated after multiple appeals, have legal issues involved in their case or simply value their Amazon seller account too much to leave it to chance, there are other options. Certain situations call for certain experts and one should research any services they may choose to aid them thoroughly.
This is the reason I founded Amazon Sellers’ Lawyer. There are far too many people and businesses getting shut down by Amazon every day. They are left helpless, hopeless and broke. I do not believe these events align with our American morals and values.
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