Imagine the scene: It’s Friday and you’ve got that pre-weekend vibe, but before you switch off you log into your Seller’s Central account to check yesterday’s sales. That’s when you realise the unthinkable has happened.
Amazon has suspended your Seller’s account. 😵
As panic sets in, you turn to Amazon support. But if you think they’re going to be helpful, think again. When they’re not giving you incorrect and inconsistent information, they’re outright ignoring your message regardless of how successful your Amazon store is.
Now you’re left without income, a warehouse filled with stock, cash in your Seller’s account you can’t access, and bills approaching fast.
Sadly, scenarios like this have become more frequent as Amazon widened its catchment for sending out the dreaded ‘Your Amazon.com selling privileges have been removed’ notice to include random to downright outrageous reasons.
Even the big players aren’t exempt, and losses incurred by these sellers can breach six figures.
It may feel like an Amazon account suspension is an impossible task to deal with. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. In this ultimate guide to Amazon account suspensions, we share some must-know tips and tricks to help pry your account out of Amazon’s grip.
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Amazon Account Suspension: What We’ll Cover
- Why Does Amazon Suspend Accounts?
- 7 Odd Reasons for an Amazon Account Suspension that Have Actually Happened
- How to Appeal an Amazon Account Suspension: A No-Nonsense Guide on the Dos and Don’ts
- Can’t Get Your Amazon Seller Account Suspension Lifted? Here’s What to Do Next
- Navigate the Uncertain Road of an Amazon Account Suspension
Why Does Amazon Suspend Accounts?
You’ve paid your subscription fees, followed the rules as best as possible, and are working your fingers to the bone to keep customers happy. And let’s not forget the steady flow of cash you make each month.
So, why do they insist on halting your progress?
The short answer is because they can.
With takings of $87.44 billion in 2020 alone, Amazon is the most popular kid on the eCommerce block, and boy do they know it. They’re on a mission to maintain their #1 spot by providing unbeatable customer service—anyone or anything that can be perceived as getting in the way of this goal will be cut loose at lightning speed.
7 Odd Reasons for an Amazon Account Suspension that Have Actually Happened 🤔
Amazon wields all the power in deciding who stays and who goes—and you’ll find the list of reasons for Amazon account suspensions is as long as your arm.
Here are few reasons Amazon snatches accounts:
- You changed your bank account details: Yep, you read correctly. You can get suspended if you change your bank account. Not only does Amazon impose a freeze on money transfers when you switch, but it can knock your site out altogether because of this simple task.
- You’ve gone from solopreneur to entrepreneur: For whatever reason, Amazon is known to freak out when you take the big, bold step of switching from sole proprietorship to a limited company. Proving it’s a legitimate switch can take months, and sometimes sellers are unsuccessful in reconciling the change.
- An unauthorised account or three: Having duplicate accounts without the go-ahead from Amazon is a big no-no, even if it was an error. Amazon regularly sweeps accounts to find these rule-breakers. Sharing the same interest as someone with an Amazon Seller account has gotten people suspended too.
- Bad customer reviews (including the fakes): If Amazon’s customers aren’t impressed with your products, you’ll soon find yourself in Amazon’s bad books. But here’s the kicker: some sellers buy heaps of their competitor’s product, then send them back and post negative reviews to mess up their account stats. Amazon is aware of this, but if they don’t catch on to it, it could be your neck on the line.
- Out of stock issues: This reason ties back into the overarching theme of customer satisfaction. Amazon is desperate to please its money-makers. So, if you drop the ball and go out of stock, it means customers will have to wait around or go elsewhere, which makes Amazon mad. (Want to know how to get and stay in stock? Check out our must-read post on Amazon Out of Stock.)
- Tech mishaps on Amazon’s side: All it takes is a slight adjustment of Amazon’s algorithm for it to go on a crazed suspension spree. Perhaps the algorithm is too sensitive or an undercover tyrant. Either way, sometimes Amazon gets it wrong, and sellers pay for it with their accounts.
- You took reviews into your own hands: While in eCommerce, it’s a common (and controversial) practice to give away products in exchange for an honest review. Yet Amazon frowns upon this tactic heavily and has started to file lawsuits against sellers who tinker with reviews.
Other more feasible reasons include if you:
- Sold restricted or counterfeit goods on Amazon.
- Poor performance.
- Breached Terms of Service (TOS), i.e, syphoned customers to your website.
- Infringed copyrights and intellectual property.
All these reasons place a great onus on you to ensure you do the right thing, watch your company’s back, quickly report any issues, and keep evidence on file.
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How to Appeal an Amazon Account Suspension: A No-Nonsense Guide on the Do’s and Don’ts
We know how frustrating an Amazon account suspension can be. All your hard work, rankings, and cash are gone in a flash with seemingly little recourse.
But getting suspended isn’t the end of the road. Be prepared to fight for what is yours.
To get your store back on the road, focus your energy on getting through to the powers that be at Amazon, rather than despairing on the couch with ice cream for weeks on end (we’ve all been there 🍦).
To give you the best possible shot at recovering your store, here are some do’s and don’ts to follow:
✔️ The ‘Do’s’ of Reversing Your Amazon Account Suspension
- Take a deep breath and dig for answers
To get through this stressful Amazon account suspension and come out on top, keep your emotions in check, lead with a well-thought-out strategy, and avoid making costly mistakes that could make your Amazon account irretrievable.
Get into investigator mode to figure out why Amazon has stripped selling privileges (you’ll usually receive an email and notice in your account) and whether you’re guilty of the accused crime(s). This info will help refine your recovery strategy and prove you’ve rectified the issue. Plus, it’ll help you avoid these mistakes in the future or spot the issue before it explodes.
- Ace your plan of action
To appeal your Amazon account suspension, you need to put together an impressive POA.
A POA is a 4-part document in which you set out the reason(s) for your suspension, the action(s) you’ve taken to put things right, and how you’ll make sure it’s the last time these issues occur.
Let’s break each section down:
- Introduction: Provide a short description of what happened and how you rectified it. Be sure to highlight your speed and precision in dealing with the matter.
- Part 1: Address the issues: Describe all the areas where you went wrong
- Part 2: Your strategy to get back on track: Explain the steps you’ve taken to rectify the issue(s)
- Part 3: How you’ll stay on track: Detail how you’ll stop the issue(s) from recurring
- Conclusion: Provide a summary of the steps you took to resolve the issue, along with an explicit request to have your account back to wrap up your appeal.
For example, let’s imagine you sell faux leather phone wallets, and Amazon has suspended you for having a high return rate. Your POA should include information (with evidence) like:
- The reasons for the suspension – i.e., product quality issues. The phone wallets you sold were too small, and some had tears in their fabric.
- The improvements you’ve made – i.e., to solve the problem, you’ve communicated with suppliers, ordered new and improved stock, and will pull the old stock from Amazon’s warehouse.
- Your preventative measures – i.e., you’ll double your product inspections and use a verified company to conduct them before shipping goods to Amazon.
You also need to include photographs, receipts, and evidence of correspondence to back up your statements.
Be sure to read Amazon’s POA requirements in their entirety before you start writing, as your POA is ‘make or break.’ You may not get to resubmit your POA if your first version fails (Amazon gives 17 days or 2 appeal attempts, whichever is shortest).
Take your time to craft a POA that proves you’re serious about selling on Amazon and providing superior customer service. Keep your POA brief, understandable (bullet points are your best friend), and factual, not emotional. Finally, support every claim with hard evidence.
- Stop and think before you react
It can be nerve-wracking to wait for a response from Amazon, so we understand if you want to get the appeals process over and done with.
But to avoid confusion and speed up Amazon’s decision, there a few things you should do:
- Resist the urge to send emails requesting updates on your case.
- Only submit one appeal at a time to avoid delays.
- Be polite to Amazon Support staff if and when you do communicate with them.
You’ll get an answer shortly, so sit tight and remain positive.
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❌ The Don’ts of Reversing an Amazon Account Suspension
- Don’t be unprofessional 🤐
While Amazon notoriously throws its toys out of the pram way more often than it should, you have to skip doing the same to avoid any actions that can have a detrimental effect on your appeal.
For example, in your SOA and other communications don’t:
- Scrutinise Amazon’s policies.
- Blame customers for bad reviews and ratings (even if they did something shady).
- Protest your innocence.
- Insult support staff.
- Be emotional in your messages and/or calls.
- Threaten to sue Amazon.
- Open a new Amazon account.
Remember, this is Amazon’s show, and as a seller, you are a performer. It’s best to approach the matter as if you are dealing with your director—with respect, care, and the desire to improve.
- Wait around for Amazon to feel sorry for you ⏳
Amazon support is like Human Resources. They appear to be in your corner, but their primary role is to protect the interest of their bosses, the customers, and Amazon, not you.
Not only are they known for being unhelpful, but their track record is also less than spot-free. It’s helpful to keep these facts in mind as you navigate the minefield of an Amazon account suspension. Verify everything they tell you by conducting your due diligence.
Time is money, and as entrepreneurs, we can’t afford to wait while Amazon decides our fate. Ideally, you’ve already built a safety net of stores on other channels. If not, now is the time to get started.
There’s no set timeline or guarantee when it comes to getting your Amazon store back, so act ASAP!
- Throw in performance metrics in the hopes of boosting your case
Depending on why Amazon is less than pleased with you, you might think your performance metrics can help improve your odds of a successful appeal.
However, Amazon’s primary focus when reviewing appeals is whether they can be sure you won’t be a repeat offender.
The fact that you sold 10,000 hair straighteners in a month won’t help in your appeal. So, use your limited space to highlight that your mistakes of the past will remain there.
Can’t Get Your Amazon Seller Account Suspension Lifted? Here’s What to Do Next
Sometimes no matter what you do, Amazon refuses to bend. 😔
At this point, it’s time to turn to Plan B.
Consider calling in the heavies (a.k.a. lawyers) after your first unsuccessful appeal attempt. Alternatively, you could use a specialist service to help recover your account. While this may be an expense you’d rather not incur, you don’t have many more shots once Amazon rejects your case.
The stages of Amazon’s suspension process goes like this:
- Suspension from selling on Amazon.
- Denied appeal or reinstatement.
- Banned account.
As you can see, it’s very short.
You don’t want to waste any chances, so the return on investment of legal or specialist services may be worth it. Note, there’s no certainty lawyers or Amazon consultants will get your account reinstated. It could be useful to have someone more knowledgeable on the process take over the reins of your appeal or guide you through it to avoid mistakes.
Navigate the Uncertain Road of an Amazon Account Suspension
An Amazon account suspension is an emotionally-tasking, costly, and frustrating thing to experience.
Amazon’s list of reasons for suspension continues to grow, so it’s vital you stay up-to-date on Amazon’s Terms of Service and optimise your store to avoid facing its wrath.
The saying ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’ rings true for Amazon sellers. Amazon isn’t perfect and occasionally makes errors of judgment in account suspensions and appeals, so you need to be hyper-aware of your account’s health and ready to spring into action when things start to smoulder.
Be prepared to fight your corner with facts and humility, and hedge against an Amazon account suspension by expanding your business into other channels before you need it. These tricks will help dodge falling foul to Amazon’s hiccups and outbursts.
Remember, even a banned account isn’t the end of the world or the end of your entrepreneurial journey. Every business owner faces challenges that threaten to derail their progress.
As long as you respond with a positive attitude and fight to recover, you can do this!
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