Amazon Account Suspended: What actions to take?
First of all, turn off panic mode.
You have a chance to recover, but you need to be patient. Amazon rarely reinstates an account after the first appeal. Unless it’s a very minor violation, the process may take weeks, or even months to be rectified.
There are 3 levels of suspension
- Suspension – means you have a chance to recover your account by appealing. You must create and submit a plan of action.
- Denied – means your appeal was rejected, but you still have a chance to submit a revised plan of action.
- Banned – Your appeal has failed more than once, and Amazon will no longer accept your appeals.
Reasons for Suspension
Low seller performance
Amazon are obsessed with clients. They want to handle a competitive marketplace that values above all, great customer service.
Non-compliance with these metrics leads to a potential high risk of being suspended:
- Order Defect Rate (ODR). This is a performance metric to rate different seller’s customer service and product quality according to Amazon standards. The ODR calculation is based on orders with bad reviews, A to Z guarantee claims as well as refunds requested on that item after shipping. The rate should be kept under 1%.
- Pre-fulfilment Cancel Rate (PCR). This is the rate of cancelled orders by seller before shipping. The PCR should not be higher than 2.5%.
- Late Shipment Rate (LSR). The rate or number of Late or unconfirmed shipments should not be greater than 4%.
One good thing is that you are able to see the health of your account at any moment when you login to your account. Access this by selecting “Performance” and then “Account Health” to keep track of these important rates and metrics.
Selling restricted products
There are a lot of prohibited products. Restricted products depend on many variables. It better for you to read the lists individual entries and check through the categories articles yourself. But If you have ignored these guidelines for any products in the categories below, you have a chance to get a suspension!
- Animals & Animal-Related Products
- Art – Fine Art
- Art – Home Decor
- Automotive and Powersports
- Composite Wood Products
- Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
- Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
- Dietary Supplements
- Drugs & drug paraphernalia
- Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
- Export Controls
- Food & Beverage
- Chilled and frozen foods
- Gambling & Lottery
- Hazardous and Dangerous Items
- Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
- Jewelry & Precious Gems
- Laser products
- Lock Picking & Theft Devices
- Medical devices and accessories
- Offensive and Controversial Materials
- Organic Products
- Pesticides and Pesticide Devices
- Plants, Plant Products, and Seeds
- Postage Meters & Stamps
- Recalled Products
- Recycling electronics
- Sex & Sensuality
- Subscriptions and Periodicals
- Surveillance Equipment
- Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
- Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
- Other Restricted Products
Other Restricted Products
Jordi Ordóñez shared by his experience: “First of all they reserve the right of suspending your account, but they even, as in the FBA case, could destroy all our stock storage at their warehouse without us even seeing a buck”. This is Amazon’s policy when it comes to dangerous goods and it can happen. So make sure what you sell is authorised!
Violating Amazon policies
When you create an account, you agree to maintain Amazon selling policies. As they own and regulate this marketplace, you have to play by their rules. Amazon doesn’t like when sellers violate their policies. The list of infractions is long and implies a lot of factors.
Things to NEVER do after an Account Suspension
Don’t open a new account
Once a seller account is suspended, the worst idea is simply to create a new account. This delays reinstatement and may damage an appeal process should you most likely, be found out.
Amazon has many ways of linking seller accounts by activity. They will easy discover your original account. Once they discover the truth, there is no chance of getting either account reinstated. Don’t risk it!
Creating a new account is only possible in the case of a fully banned account. A new name, legal data, bank account should differ from your previous old account. Of course you need new IP addresses, emails.
Focus on preparing the best appeal for your account, and don’t waste the time trying to circumvent the Amazon appeals team, they are experts at finding rogue sellers trying to pull one over their investigators.
No calls to Seller Support
Seller Support has no ability to impact the results of a suspension. They only provide basic customer support. Their advice is based on generic patterns.
More over, Payability mentioned that Seller Support getting involved may sometimes damage an appeal process by providing unreliable advice. As the advice is coming from an Amazon department, sellers believe it to be credible and trustworthy.
The only department that can assist you is Seller Performance. You can’t pick up the phone and discuss with them the issues. All communications with this team are handled through email.
Communicate only with the Seller Performance team, if your account is suspended.
Don’t immediately contact Jeff Bezos
Sellers are desperate to get reinstated right away and expect a quick reply from Seller Performance. But there are some out there who can’t wait and attempt to contact Jeff Bezos.
Whilst Jeff Bezos may read emails personally. He won’t read those emails with complaints. Two executive escalation teams handle Bezos’ communication for him. One team responsible for customer complaints and the other for seller complaints.
But keep in mind, it’s not an official appeal. It’s a last resort, because if you go over everybody’s heads to the escalation teams and then they don’t rule in your favor. That will be the end of the road for your appeal and your business. That’s why it might be a much better approach to exhaust all options with the Seller Performance team first.
If all else fails and you have nothing to lose anyway, you can try out an email to the man himself, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go your way.
Don’t Send multiple letters after the first appeal
Once the first appeal is submitted, panicked sellers send the next. It can often happen because the Seller Performance team doesn’t send a confirmation on receiving an appeal. This makes many sellers nervous. They think that Seller Performance hasn’t received their appeal, or has ignored their appeal.
Submitting more than one appeal will delay the reinstatement. It is best to wait up to a week before submitting any additional information. Due to the volume of appeals that Seller Performance receives on a daily basis, you will not get a response straight away.
Seller Performance will reply once they have reviewed the appeal on their end. Just sit tight!
Do not threaten Amazon with legal action
Many sellers reach out to an attorney for help. Then an attorney contact Seller Performance on the sellers’ behalf. But it’s always a bad idea because Seller Performance wants to deal only with a seller during an appeal process.
An appeal process can be delayed as soon as an attorney is involved. Amazon may even ignore them, until the seller contact them personally.
No modifying or fabricating requested documents
Most of the time, this method doesn’t work, and it damages the case completely. Even the slightest modification can result in delays to reinstatement. The risks outweigh the benefits in this case.
Amazon easily spots fake or manipulated invoices and other forged documents. Amazon has a team of specialists whose sole purpose is to identify and reject fake or forged info. Any manipulations or changes to official documents bring you extra “forged/manipulated” strikes. This makes your seller account much harder to resolve and reinstate.
It’s better to stick to the truth here and state how you’ll resolve the issues moving forward.
Don’t be emotional
Get rid of your emotions. It is not going to work and will only make things worse. Focus on creating an air-tight appeal.
Be polite and use business language to Seller Performance. Sellers are so upset at the time of suspension that it can be easy to forget about business ethics and use inappropriate language to Seller Performance.
Once a seller sends this type of message, the reinstatement process definitely delays and pitches your company in a bad light to the people who are making the decision to let you keep selling.
Suspensions are part of doing business with Amazon. Keep a cool head and focus on creating a plan of action to get an account reinstated. Amazon wants to know what changes you are ready to make in order to keep their customers happy.
You have to seriously advocate for yourself and your companies’ ability to avoid the cause of the suspension in the future.
How to appeal against suspension
Reinstatement is a process, and your Plan of Action requires some time and thought to be accepted. Don’t send an immediate response by clicking the “Appeal” button. Take a deep breath and make sure that you prepare the most effective appeal before submitting anything to Seller Performance. But don’t delay implementing the new best practices whilst the account is suspended.
The first step is to figure out where you went wrong. Amazon wants to know that you recognize why you were suspended, that you have corrected the problem and that you have taken steps to make sure it does not happen again. Generally, this process involves a few back and forths with Amazon, but ultimately, sellers who take good faith measures to resolve their respective account issues, and who cooperate with Amazon, are reinstated in good time.
Start by checking all Performance Notifications in your account. Review your suspension notice carefully to understand what the reason of suspension was. Conduct a thorough assessment of your account, check your Seller and Shipping Performance metrics, pay close attention to any specific problem ASINs. Perhaps there are policy violations or warnings concerning those items.
When talking about the method of solving it, do not make it complicated and try to be precise in your language.
Get started on an appeal, otherwise known as a Plan of Action to Amazon
1. Recognize your faults. This is an extremely important point – Amazon needs to know that you understand the problem and are ready to take responsibility and make changes for your actions.
2. Offer clear and actionable solutions on every issue stated in your suspension notice. For example, if your problem stems from many negative reviews for your logistics, stock problems or for their incorrect use of the products, you can opt to go over to the Amazon FBA program for example, suggesting their own delivery services in response will make a good case for them keeping you on. Present a prompt solution to the types of problems that had arisen.
3. Reaffirm that you are committed to provide the best customer service possible and understand that it is a privilege to sell on Amazon. If contacting buyers and responding to customers is an issue, state on what measures your have taken to handle customer queries going forward.
4. Keep it simple and stick to the facts. Try focusing on policy issues and not metrics. Whilst making sure to address the issues in your businesses process, if its packaging orders incorrectly, state what change to your service you have brought to solve that.
Plan of Action Template
CrazyLister provides a Plan of Action template which you may use for your specific issues:
Dear Amazon Seller Performance Team,
I want to start off by thanking you for allowing me to appeal my Amazon account suspension and would like to lay out a clear-cut Plan of Action which will include all of the issues you generously brought to my attention and how I plan on addressing each and every one of them immediately and with no delay.
[Write the issue stated in your suspension notice]
[Write your directly actionable/applicable solution]
I want to reiterate that I am fully committed to providing the best products and customer service possible to my clients on Amazon.
I appreciate the time and effort it takes to review my case and look forward to hearing back from you soon and to working with Amazon again in the near future.
[Insert your name here]
When you are ready to submit your appeal, go to Seller Central, select Performance, then click Account Health.
At the top of the Account Health page, click Reactivate your account. Enter the details of your plan of action in the form provided, outlining the steps you will take to correct the problems you identified.
By providing a precise plan of action that effectively addresses the problems, you improve the chance that your selling privileges will be reinstated.
Click Submit to send your completed appeal to Amazon.
Wait for a response from Amazon. Note that Amazon officially claims to give a response within 48 hours but in practice many sellers report that it can take as long as 60 days and even longer in some specific cases.
Suspension can happen, even to good sellers with high metrics of seller performance. The most frustrating fact is that you can’t pick up the phone and speak to someone to resolve the issue on the day.
The process of reinstatement takes weeks or months for sellers. All you need to remember to do is to be patient and have a clear understanding of the suspension. So take your time to revise and make some self-judgement on the ways you can truly stop this being an issue within your account.
It’s obviously a better idea to prevent your account from being suspended in the first place. As prevention is better than the cure.
If Amazon sends you a policy warning or your performance metrics take a dip — this is the time to fix it and tell Amazon what you’re doing to rectify the situation.
You should check your Amazon reports on a regular basis. Daily if possible!
Keep a close eye on your Returns, Imperfect Orders and Negative Feedback reports to see what your customers are saying about you and your account. Also, keep an eye on A-Z claims and your messaging to customers to make sure you are not missing any key customer requests.
Pay attention to shipping performance, ensuring you ship on-time and your goods are properly packaged with clear labeling. Lost or late deliveries can hurt your account and Buy Box percentage.
Pay attention to the listings you manage. Ensure you label new products as “new” and used products as “used”. Examine your items carefully to confirm you choose the correct condition categories.
By staying on top of the issues before the suspension arises you can save yourself countless man hours in process time and most importantly stress, by constantly checking your process and adjusting to new technologies. You can be safe in the knowledge that this safeguards your account from the dreaded “Suspension” message.