As an Amazon seller, getting your seller account suspended can be a terrifying experience. The process is opaque, unaccountable and it is not possible to talk to anyone. In my opinion it is a manifestation of Amazon’s unaccountable monopoly at its very worst.
For now there is no point in moaning about it, as sellers we just need to suck it up. We have had our accounts suspended multiple times for various reasons and in this post I will share some of what I have learned.
Sometimes easier said than done, but the best way to deal with suspensions is to understand what causes them and avoid this. In this article I cover both how to avoid suspensions and how to respond to them.
(If your account has been suspended and you are looking for help, contact us)
Reasons for suspensions and how to avoid them
Account performance or product issues
Account can get suspended due the missing one of Amazon performance targets. In my experience the only one which really matters is the order defect rate which is the sum of negative feedback and filed A-Z claims, with each order only being counted once. If you ODR goes over 1% your account is in trouble.
Sun Tzi said that in every battle someone has already won and someone has already lost, and I think that this very much applies to account performance. General advice:
- Stay on top of feedback. Sorting negative feedbacks as you go along will put you in a better position if you get a negative feedback Tsunami. Remember Amazon will remove ‘product review’ feedback.
- Identify the causes of A-Z claims and try and prevent them in future
- Make sure the the contact details in you account are currently. The appeal will go to the main account email, not to the CS email.
- Escalate the problem to management. Don’t leave it to your CS operative who my not be used to doing this.
In my experience performance based suspensions are fairly easy to fix by writing a well worded response (see section below).
If Amazon links your account with another account which it feels has broken its rules, then it will shut down both accounts. This can be really difficult to fix.
- Be really careful opening more than one Amazon account. This is probably something to avoid. Inform Amazon first if you are planning to do this.
- Don’t open accounts for other companies. These account will then become linked by IP address and if the registration fails both account can be suspended
- When opening accounts provide high quality documentation. Also ensure that all the information you provide is consistent i.e. the address on your documentation matches the your company address EXACTLY.
If you do get in a pickle, the first thing to do is to establish what the offending account is. If you ask seller support they should be able to give you the first 3 letter of the account name. The only way to fix a linked account issue is to get the problem account reactivated first.
If you have contacts within Amazon, ask them for help. You may need to be persistent.
If you do manage to get a linked account unsuspended, you might want to close it completely which can be done from Settings > Seller info.
Tips for writing a good appeal
For someone with good writing skills, writing an appeal is straightforward. Here are some rules to follow:
- Respond to the suspension a timely manner
- Be polite
- Take full responsibility
- Follow the format requested by Amazon
- Don’t make excuses
- Keep going – multiple responses may be required
True as they may be, avoid any mention of mitigating circumstances. Your dog may have died, but cold hearted Amazon won’t give the first shit.
An appeal typically has the following components:
- What went wrong. Show you understand the problem e.g. Our account received too many negative feedbacks. This was caused by delivery performance being below standard due to a using a untracked service.
- Show the problem has been fixed. e.g. We have contacted all unhappy customers to ensure that they have either received a full refund or have definitely received the problem
- What you will do to stop the problem occurring again. e.g. In future we will be sending all order using a expressed tracked service to ensure deliverability.
Should I use a specialist appeals company?
The preceived difficulty of answering appeals has created a whole industry of companies guaranteeing to get your account sorted. As far as I know these companies do not have privileged access to Amazon and so can’t do anything you can’t. What they can do is write a well structured appeal, but that is not rocket science.
If you have good writing skills there is no reason not to do it yourself. If you find writing hard then perhaps outsource.
We don’t claim to have any special access to Amazon seller support (but then nobody does). We have however written a lot of successful appeals and not how the system works. If you need help please drop us a line.
If you require inspiration, I’ve created a folder containing appeals we have written.