Opening Multiple Amazon Seller Accounts: The Facts.
Let’s face it. Selling on Amazon can be nerve-wracking..
If your sole account gets suspended—or worse, banned—it could destroy your online business.
But what if you had another successful Amazon seller account to fall back on?
Amazon’s Prohibited Seller Activities article clearly states that this practice isn’t allowed unless you truly need a separate account:
Operating and maintaining multiple Seller Central accounts is prohibited. If you have a legitimate business need for a second account, you can apply for an exception to this policy. From the bottom of any page in your seller account, click “Contact Seller Support”. Select your account, then select “Other Account Issues”.
Amazon sellers who want to operate more than one Amazon account with Amazon’s permission, tend to be more successful at obtaining Amazon’s permission if:
- They have been a successful Amazon Seller for a prolonged period of time before applying for permission to operate more than one Amazon Seller Account;
- The products that will be sold on the additional Amazon Sellers’ accounts are different;
- The products for the multiple Amazon Accounts are different branded products, and;
- The applicant for multiple Amazon Accounts owns Trademarks.
Business Decision: Take on extra risk of getting caught with more than 1 account versus lacking diversity…. a tough call.
Vincent Famularo, Paralegal at Rosenbaum Famularo, PC, strongly feels that the risk is too great for Amazon sellers:
“Do not open more than one Amazon seller account or you will lose everything.”
CJ Rosenbaum, Esq., Amazon Sellers’ Lawyer, says:
“Many Amazon sellers operate multiple accounts and do very well. Can you open related accounts and not get caught? Are you OK with the additional risk in exchange for diversity? This is a very individualized business decision that each Amazon seller needs to make for themselves.”
CJ Rosenbaum, Esq., one of the law firm’s founders has a different perspective on Amazon sellers having more than one Amazon account… with or without Amazon’s permission. CJ states that it is, “purely a business decision that an Amazon seller needs to make. Can the seller operate multiple accounts without getting caught? Can the Amazon Seller be 100% careful never to use the same computer, IP address, phone, staff, products… An Amazon seller considering opening up multiple Amazon accounts without Amazon’s permission must be 100% careful 100% of the time.”
This seems straightforward. However, the term “legitimate need” is difficult to decipher for many sellers. What if your reason is simply to diversify your business on Amazon and reduce the risk of suspension? First, you have to determine if you fit Amazon’s account requirements.
How To Legitimately Request Multiple Amazon Seller Accounts
Amazon provides clear directions for requesting multiple seller accounts:
In your request, provide an explanation of the legitimate business need for a second account.
To be considered for approval, you must have the following:
- An account in good standing with excellent Customer Metrics
- A separate email address and bank account for the new account
- No intention to sell the same products or services in both accounts
- Intention to sell in entirely different categories
- The inventory sold in each account must be different
- You’ll receive a response to your request within 2 to 3 business days.
Once you submit your request with all of the above information (assuming you fit the requirements) you may be able to diversify with a new account.
This is the safest way to expand your business on Amazon.
But what if you don’t match the requirements above and you get denied?
The Pros & Cons of Opening Multiple Seller Accounts Without Approval
At the end of the day, it’s about making choices for your business that make good business sense.
The risk of opening multiple Amazon seller accounts without approval is obvious—you’ll get one or all of your accounts shut down by Amazon if you’re caught. If you do not get caught, then you have the added value of diversification. If one account gets shut down for an inauthentic or IP issue, the other Amazon account can continue to provide you with income.
This is a serious risk, as Amazon won’t just ban you. They will likely also keep your revenue on hold indefinitely, so Amazon-only sellers will suffer.
2018-2019 Update: Regardless of Amazon’s reason for refusing to release your money, Rosenbaum Famularo, PC can help to try and get your money back via arbitrations against Amazon.
November 2018 Update:
“If you violate Amazon’s policies, open a second account without Amazon’s permission, get suspended, and Amazon refuses to release your money, you are not impotent. You can take Amazon to binding arbitration and seek to settle the case or seek an Order from an arbitrator directing Amazon to release your funds.
Why should Amazon be able to seize your funds? Do not allow Amazon to keep your money. Under your contract with Amazon, you gave up your right to take Amazon to court but gained the ability to take Amazon to binding arbitration. If Amazon is trying to keep up to $10,000.00 and you win, Amazon will have to pay the costs. If you need to get an Order to recover up to $75,000.00, you can use the American Arbitration Association’s “Expedited Program” and the case will be relatively cheap and fast. If you need to get an Order compelling Amazon to release your funds over $75,000.00, you can still use the AAA… only it’s not as fast or inexpensive as it should be… BUT, you can get your money and sometimes more.” CJ Rosenbaum, Esq., Founding Partner, Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C.
However, the reward is that your Amazon business would be diversified and therefore more stable. If only one of your accounts gets shut down, you will still have a revenue source.
If you look at it from a business perspective, even Amazon is diversified. They’re in multiple verticals, feature a wide array of vendors and products, and have infiltrated international markets from India to the UK.
Sometimes, it could be a good business decision to follow the procedures. It will keep you safe—that is, potentially until the next round of Terms of Service updates.
But if you could make hundreds of thousands staying within Amazon’s policies, and millions by breaking them, what would you choose?
November 2018 Update:
“Multiple Amazon seller accounts are very prevalent in certain geographic areas. In Brooklyn, New York, many Amazon sellers have 5-10 accounts without Amazon’s permission. In Shenzhen, China, many Amazon sellers have 50-100 accounts. In both areas, there are very high concentrations of Amazon sellers. In China, sellers with multiple accounts without Amazon’s approval also benefit from the Great Fire Wall, common addresses because the Chinese government builds and supports ecommerce office parks and other factors that help hide multiple accounts.” CJ Rosenbaum, Esq.
There is a way to create multiple Amazon seller accounts without approval, but it must be done the smart way.
How To Create Multiple Amazon Seller Accounts Without Approval
Sellers get caught daily for creating multiple accounts. Mistakes such as logging into your separate seller accounts from the same IP address can be fatal.
The key is to treat these accounts like entirely separate businesses, the same way you would if Amazon had given you approval initially.
Here are the most important things to keep separated:
- IP addresses
- Points of contact
- Staff members (with limited access to accounts)
- Tax ID numbers
- Entities (LLC, etc.)
- Domains and hosting companies
- Phone numbers
- Email addresses
- Physical locations
- Warehouse addresses
- Product spreadsheets
If this seems excessive, keep in mind Amazon’s algorithms are very advanced. It may not be a person who catches your account — it is more likely that their bots will flag you first.
Even just one instance where you (or your employees) forget and use the same computer or upload the same product information spreadsheet into both accounts, you drastically increase your chances of getting into trouble.
Carelessness is the leading cause of losing that additional account. If you have a single login where many employees access your account, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint who set off the alarms.
This is why we suggest entirely separate staffs and separate locations for each of your companies. There should be zero crossover.
This includes you. Do not be the point of contact for both businesses; hire someone you trust to be the POC for your other company.
CJ’s Side Note: If you are going to open and operate multiple Amazon seller accounts and do not want to get caught, you need to, at least, treat each account like an entirely separate business. Never use the same computers, never sign on from your phone, never use the same router or cable / internet connection, do not sell the same type of goods, do not upload via spreadsheets, use different staff… do not let anyone to have… or even know about… the multiple accounts. These are just a handful of ways that we know you can get caught. We do NOT know all of the ways Amazon catches people with more than one account.
The Importance of Immaculate Account Maintenance
If you want to diversify and protect yourself against erratic suspensions, you have to be careful to maintain those multiple accounts.
It’s crucial to stay on top of account performance issues. This means that your Amazon selling activities cannot be a part-time job, and you must have trustworthy and diligent employees in place. It also means that your products must be above reproach—no prohibited items, nothing counterfeit, and nothing low-quality.
Pay special attention to Seller Performance Notifications, particularly:
- Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate: This is an overall metric of account health. It shifts based on your other customer-facing metrics. Aim for less than 25%.
- Late Shipment Rate: This is easier to control if you use FBA. Aim for less than 4%.
- Contact Response Time: If you are a 3P seller with thousands of ASINs, a dedicated customer support staff is essential. Aim for below 24 hours.
- Order Defect Rate: Private labels and brands have the advantage here. Ensure you have good quality control in place. Aim for less than 1%.
What happens if you drop the ball in one of these areas and one of your accounts is suspended—and Amazon discovers you have multiple unapproved accounts?
What To Do If Caught With Multiple Amazon Seller Accounts
Even if you’ve covered all of your bases, it’s possible Amazon could still find out you have multiple unapproved accounts, and suspend or ban all of them immediately.
This isn’t the end of selling on Amazon for many sellers—particularly those we work with. Frequently, we’re able to reopen the first account you started with, and we’re getting accounts reinstated faster as time goes on.
This is partly because our team is experienced with the appeal process, but we also suspect Amazon has increased the reinstatement staff to deal with recent upticks in suspensions and subsequent appeals.
If you choose to make an appeal on your own without the help of a trusted Amazon sellers lawyer, learn what Amazon really wants to see in the appeal letter before you start.
The Bottom Line
As we mentioned before, it’s time consuming to manage multiple unapproved Amazon accounts. The expenses will be just as demanding.
That’s why we don’t recommend this for brand new or average sellers. Only advanced successful sellers should attempt to open multiple Amazon seller accounts without approval.
If you are able to do this successfully, you’ll be rewarded with a more stable business and multiple revenue sources—meaning you won’t sweat future Amazon TOS changes quite as much. That alone could make it worth it.
Have questions about opening multiple accounts?
GET HELP NOW: The staff at Rosenbaum Famularo, PC are required by law to assure you 100% confidentiality. As a law firm, we protect your privacy under the Attorney-Client Privilege. We keep your information secret by law.