An Overview of This Guide:

Part One: Investigate Amazon’s reasons for suspension
Part Two: How to appeal against your suspension
Part Three: Tips for creating an effective plan of action
Part Four: Plan of action template
Part Five: General practices for avoiding suspension
Part Six: What is the difference between suspension, denied and banned?

Part One: Investigate Amazon’s reasons for suspension

You can’t hope to do anything about your account suspension until you know why Amazon took this action.  Amazon are always quick to tell you that your account is suspended and will give you a generalised cause.  However, there will be few specifics shared in this initial communication.  They are, for instance, unlike to cite which of the Amazon policies you have violated.  Even if they try to explain, Amazon’s language can border on incomprehensible, as it favours technical speak over clear English.

The start point for your investigation should be to preview your Seller Central.  Here Amazon will have flagged potential violations.  Of the many reasons to suspend your account, some of the most common are explored below.

 

Poor Seller Performance

Your seller performance will be monitored closely by Amazon.  It is in the sites best interest to weed out potentially ineffective sellers who lessen the reputation of the selling community as a whole.  Amazon set minimum standards you need to meet – and it is always best to try to exceed these targets with some comfort to avoid surprises.  The minimum standards are:

Order defect rate: < 1%

Pre-fulfilment cancel rate: <2.15%

Late shipment rate: <4%

These are pretty tight numbers.  It is always best to stay well within your means of delivering to make sure you can perform effectively.

 

Seller Policy Violation

In the perfect world you would know Amazon’s policies inside out before attempting to become an Amazon seller.  Sellers should also commit to regularly reviewing the information provided to make sure they are not violation any of Amazon’s requirements – sometimes they change.  It is the seller’s responsibility to make sure they know this – and can be penalised if they do not.  In short, ignorance is not a defence.  The penalty for not knowing the policies could be a prompt suspension of your ability to sell on the site – so putting in the homework is important.

 

Selling/ displaying restricted products

For quality assurance reasons, Amazon have tight regulations on the products in your inventory.  If you are identified as someone not aspiring to Amazon’s ideals you could have your account suspended.

 

 

Part Two: How to appeal against your suspension

So, step one in responding your suspension is to fully investigate across all your accounts your activity in recent times.  You should pay special attention to any ASINs where there has been a policy warning issued.

Then, read through the suspension notice carefully.  You will need to work hard to decipher the language of the policy violation – but there will be a justification in there somewhere.  The first place to start is your Seller Central Performance metrics.  If nothing shows up immediately then you will need to open a ticket with support in order to clarify the details.

When commencing your appeal make it clear you understand the reason for your suspension and acknowledge the potential harm done to customer trust and the customer experience.  Make sure you acknowledge that you respect Amazon’s desire to maintain the highest standards of user experience and that you understand that this quality process is there to protect all sellers.  There is no point criticising Amazon for the policies they set – they do not have to let you sell on the site and to be honest if you are difficult they will be happier if you don’t.

Once this preamble has been complete you should offer a thorough Plan of Action based on your own findings into the violation.  The more thorough the plan, the more likely the appeal will be successful.  In your plan of action, you should consider:

  • why the customers have complained
  • the solution to this issue, so the same thing will not occur again

It is particularly important to suggest alternative supply if the product was seen to be inferior from your original source.

 

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Part Three: Tips for creating an effective plan of action

Here are top tips for the most successful plan of action.  Although it is not guaranteed that your account suspension will be lifted, these tips will offer you the best chance.

 

Tip 1: Stay professional

Do not complain about Amazon or become abusive because of loss of income and revenue caused by the suspension.  There is also no point in telling them about the heartache and stress caused.  Keep to the point of what has happened and how you will put it right.

 

Tip 2: Keep to the facts

You should avoid overly complex explanations.  Keep your points simple and keep to the facts of the situation.  The operative reading your appeal will not know you nor will they wish to get to know you.  They want to be furnished with enough details to make a reasonable judgement on your behalf.

 

Tip 3: Use bullet points and numbers

The best way to ensure quick and clear communication is to write in bullet points and numbered lists.  Long exposition will make it difficult for the operative to pull out the most salient points to make a decision.

 

Tip 4: Include a brief introductory paragraph

This paragraph should acknowledge the problem and your desire for a solution.  This should make it clear very quickly what the query is about and how t can be resolved.

 

Tip 5: Avoid over-explanation or irrelevant detail

Do not go into a commentary on the account review process or wider contextual issues that impact on your selling status.  You need to stick to the details that Amazon will care about – even if you care about so much more than their policy violation.

 

Tip 6: Don’t blame the consumer

It is not in Amazon’s best interest for sellers to see the consumer as the problem.  Therefore, even if there are legitimate reasons for complaint against the customer – avoid this and just focus on the lessons learned and how you will seek to perform in the future.

 

Tip 7: Address all violations

Make sure your plan of action addresses each and every violation noted in the suspension email.

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Part Four: Plan of action template

Here is a template you could adapt to help you in your appeal.

Dear Amazon Seller Performance Team

I appreciate this opportunity to appeal my seller suspension from Amazon.  Please find my plan of action, which presents the solutions for resolving INSERT REASON/S FOR SUSPENSION USING AMAZON’S OWN LANGUAGE.

The issues that have been identified include:

  • IDENTIFIED ISSUE
  • IDENTIFIED ISSUE

The actions I have taken to resolve the issue/s include:

  • ACTION AND ANTICIPATED OUTCOME
  • ACTION AND ANTICIPATED OUTCOME
  • etc

Thank you for taking the time to review my appeal against suspension.  I look forward to hearing from your soon.

Yours sincerely,

INSERT SELLER’S NAME ATTACHED TO SELLER ACCOUNT

 

 

Part Five: General practices for avoiding suspension

It is always best to avoid suspension in the first place.  Here is some important advice for avoiding the stress and loss of income from an account suspension.  Much of this advice focuses on knowing and understanding Amazon’s policies – there really is no shortcut here.

Tip 1: Check your Amazon Reports on a regular basis

Tip 2: Make your shipping metrics the most important – have your orders shipped as expected?

Tip 3: Keep up-to-date with the listing descriptions requirements – these will change.  Your listings may start to violate policies upon the initiation of such changes.

Tip 4: Download the Amazon seller app – this means you will receive notifications and communications quickly

Tip 5: Take all the support from Amazon you can.  They will keep you updates about rules, especially if you sign up for notifications.

Tip 6: Invest in an inventory management system

Tip 7: Document everything that relates to your supply chain

Tip 8: Pay close attention to service issues.  In other words, stay on top of your complaints and communication from buyers.  Respond quickly and decisively – particularly to requests for returns.

It is worth noting that electronics is the biggest category to suffer suspensions.  Another point – sellers have had a lot of trouble selling Apple products due to aggressive tactics by the brand.  Therefore, it may be a good idea to avoid Apple products to avoid suspension.

amazon feedback tools

 

Part Six: What is the difference between suspension, denied and banned?

There are three levels of sanction imposed by Amazon.  These sanctions increase with seriousness.

Suspension

This means your ability to sell has been stopped.  However, it also means you have the chance to appeal the suspension and give details of the action you plan to put in place to avoid such situations in the future.

Denied

Denied means your appeal has been rejected.  This is not the end of the world – it just means your plan of action was not detailed enough or seen to offer enough assurance that the same wouldn’t happen again.  You will need to submit a new plan of action.

Banned

This is the most serious scenario you can face.  This means you will no longer be able to sell on Amazon.  It is likely that you have appealed more than once and now Amazon will refuse to respond to your emails.

 

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