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While the fees involved with selling via Amazon can be pretty steep, the sheer amount of site visitors combined with Amazon’s conversion and shipping techniques make it an incredibly lucrative sales channel for businesses.
Unfortunately, there is one caveat:
To sell on this marketplace and benefit from these extra sales you, of course, need to adhere to some very specific and strict guidelines.
Amazon is incredibly strict about these rules and have no qualms whatsoever about suspended your account for what may seem to you like the tiniest of violations!
It gets worse:
Some of these suspensions are completely automatic based on previously defined triggers.
Even if some of these triggers are set off mistakenly, getting your account up and running can take some time.
For many sellers in this situation, there is a lot of revenue on the line, which can make it easy for emotions to take control and cause us to write an angry email blaming Amazon instead of taking responsibility for the issue at hand.
This is the last thing you want to do and can lead to Amazon not even bothering to look into the situation properly.
Luckily, we do have a solution for you:
While every suspension is different and there are no guarantees, there are a few pointers we’ve picked up in our years working with a variety of Amazon partners.
If you’re currently dealing with an Amazon seller suspension yourself, worry not, because we’ve assembled everything you need to know right here, and following these steps is the quickest possible way to get your account up and running again.
Let’s look at the first things first:
Look Into Their Reasons
This is the first step but the most important because if you miss any details, your appeal will seem to Amazon to be irrelevant to the issue and more than likely be ignored.
Amazon does provide notes on why your account or product has been suspended in the original suspension message but they are typically very vague and technical, often giving a reason such as “Seller Policy Violation” without any hints as to which policy has actually been broken – something that’s very frustrating when you believe you have done everything correctly and have no idea what the issue is yourself.
A good idea at this stage is to look through everything in your Seller Central account to see if anything has been flagged up without you realising.
There have even been cases of sellers being suspended because a product in their account that had been inactive for a long time was technically breaking some policies, even though the product wasn’t live, they had no intentions of selling it ever again and likely forgot it was even there.
Below are some of the most common reasons for an Amazon account suspension:
Seller Performance Issues
Be sure to read up on Amazon’s seller performance guidelines.
Even if your account is currently up and running just fine, this is all stuff you want to know like the back of your hand to prevent any issues.
Performance issues Amazon can suspend your account for include:
- Consistent negative reviews
- Regular late deliveries
- Too many cancelled orders
So be sure to keep your business running like clockwork and take action on any negative reviews at the earliest possible stage.
You can keep track of how you’re doing with this by going to the Account Health summary, but Amazon does publish these minimum targets that you need to do everything in your power to stay within:
Going above one of these targets puts you at high risk of suspension and going above more than one means you can definitely say goodbye to your account.
Luckily, these guidelines are based on Amazon’s data of what a good seller should be able to achieve.
This means if you put the effort in to perform within them as well as you can, issues you can’t avoid such as delivery issues on the courier’s behalf won’t happen often enough to lead to a suspension alone.
If you are a little sloppy with it though, and regularly dispatch orders a day or two late, this will keep your average down and mean one or two of those unavoidable issues could be all it takes to bring your account down.
Here’s another common one:
Violating Amazon’s Seller Policies
As mentioned above, the breaking of policies or agreements is one of the most common causes of suspension and is easy to do by mistake.
This is why you should get as familiar as possible with all of the policies before you even sell anything, and keep checking back every now and then to make sure none have changed and to refresh your memory.
This also includes checking your account every now and then for any flags and making sure your product details are all within the rules.
The more acquainted you are with the rules, the easier it is to understand how Amazon like things to be done and to stay within them.
If something does happen, detailed knowledge of the rules will also make your appeal more effective and signal to Amazon that you are absolutely willing to work within their policies, which can only be a good sign.
The last one is perhaps the most obvious:
Selling Restricted or Counterfeit Products
Another Amazon resource to acquaint yourself with is the list of Restricted Products.
Some of these restricted products are banned entirely, and some just have specific rules around their sales, so click into the specific products you’re planning to sell and read up on what you can and can’t do.
Most of them are obvious such as drugs, ammunition, and explosives, but there are some pretty strange ones there too so definitely take the time to check the list in detail.
There are also issues around international law, for example, Amazon allows ammunition that doesn’t contain gunpowder such as BB gun pellets or air rifle pellets, but these are illegal in some countries and as such can only be listed for sale with delivery to certain countries.
Here’s the kicker:
It’s commonly known in the industry that Amazon can be very liberal in flagging these restricted products, and receiving a flag when no rules have been broken is not a rare occurrence.
Because of this, it’s crucial you stay on top of any flags and investigate them immediately, hopefully heading off any misunderstandings or unnecessary ASIN suspensions.
Now that we’ve covered the most common reasons for suspensions, it’s time to look at how to appeal an Amazon suspension, but first:
Stop and Think!
If you’ve had an ASIN or your whole account suspended and you believe this to be a mistake, it can be tempting to jump straight onto Amazon’s support page and send an angry email.
But, hold your horses!
Not only does this decrease your chances of having the suspension lifted, but it can also lead to misunderstandings about why the suspension actually happened.
Take your time to do your research, analysing Amazon’s policies, especially the one they say you’ve broken, and go through your Seller Account in detail.
When planning your Amazon suspension appeal, it’s important to get it right first time.
Appealing Your Suspension
In order to appeal your suspension, go into Seller Central and click Performance>Performance Notifications>Location Suspension Notice>Appeal.
Before doing this, you should write a detailed plan for your appeal and be sure you’ve covered all the bases.
In order to appeal your suspension, you will need to complete the following steps:
Coming Up with Your Recovery Plan
Amazon will want to see a complete, detailed plan of the action you plan to take in regards to addressing the issues they’ve raised.
They maintain a list of recovery plan examples so go through it in detail.
Since these are straight from the horse’s mouth, you should definitely pay attention to them and take the recommended action, but it’s not a bad idea to go above and beyond that too, in order to make your appeal plan stand out amongst the others.
The main thing they want to hear is the measurable steps you are going to take to prevent this from reoccurring, but it’s never a bad idea to throw in a bunch of your successes too and mention a couple of things you think you do right.
After all, Amazon is a business and if you provide value to them as a business, it can only help your chances.
Your main aim is to get the person reading your appeal on your side, so don’t play the blame game or speak coarsely – just make it clear what you do well, and how you are going to make changes so that this can never happen again.
Selling on Amazon is a privilege, not a right, and this means you have to play to their rules.
Show clearly that you accept and understand this, completely acknowledge the reasons, and take full responsibility.
Contacting the Transaction Risk Management Team
Once you’ve sent off your appeal through Seller Central, we recommend also sending a plan of action to the Transaction Risk Management Team.
This department’s main aim is to protect Amazon’s customers’ interests and so you should frame your whole POA around how it will benefit customers and how you always put them first.
You should make this plan as formal and professional as possible by using the following tips:
This last step has had some incredible results and has allowed many sellers, including some of our partners, to overturn suspensions that had previously had appeals denied.
With this said, it isn’t a magic technique that is guaranteed to work, just an extra strategy that’s definitely worth trying.
What if My Appeal Fails?
If you get denied or asked for more information, and you have more information you believe may help, by all means, try again.
Be careful to ensure there is a substantial and significant amount of extra information though, as submitting a similar appeal again with small differences will be considered spamming them and could lead to permanent account closure.
In the last resort, you can consider hiring a team experienced with Amazon’s internal teams and the suspension appeal process to help you get the message across more urgently.
If you have any contacts at Amazon, now may well be the time to call on their help too.
Can We Help With Your Amazon Suspension Appeal?
Unfortunately, we don’t currently offer a package to help with an Amazon appeal letter or plan of action. We do however help our Partners with any issues that may arise, so consider joining our limited Partner programme if you would like our help with this or any other issues you may have.
You can, of course, avoid this risk entirely by letting us manage your Amazon account. If this is of interest to you, get in touch via our proposal form.
Keep it locked to AmazonSEOCOnsultant for more regular dives into how Amazon works and how you can succeed on the platform in 2019!