How to recover a suspended Amazon account? Ah. That great unknown.
Today I’m going to talk about a situation that happens from time to time to some Amazon sellers. It is what they call, in a euphemism that I don’t see any need for, “withdrawing your selling privileges” when in fact it is a full-fledged account suspension or ban.
Why was my Amazon account suspended?
The short explanation is that Amazon is a private company that is run with (more or less) strict rules and that you have started to sell there and maybe you have not read all the conditions well or, even if you have read them, internalized, printed and underlined the most important paragraphs, there has been some problem that in a somewhat discretionary manner has meant that you do not comply with the policies. This was the short explanation.
The long explanation is a bit more complex because it involves going into the main reasons that lead to the withdrawal of seller privileges at Amazon (am I the only one to whom this sounds like “friends with rights”?). When an account is suspended, Amazon notifies us and also tells us more or less what the specific reason is and the products involved. The main ones are usually:
Low performance or performance
You know that Amazon is obsessed with the customer and therefore gives a lot of importance to all its sellers to fulfill their commercial commitments as effectively as possible.
The data is on the table as for them all that exceeds these numbers are potentially at risk of suspension for a performance issue:
– ODR (Order Defect Rate): the percentage of orders that have suffered bad reviews, warranty breach claims from A to Z or customers who have asked for a refund of the purchase amount on their credit card. The ODR must be below 1%.
– Pre-fulfilment Cancel Rate: the rate of orders cancelled by you as the seller prior to shipment for whatever reason that is attributable only to the seller. The PCR must not exceed 2.5%.
– Late Shipment Rate: the number of shipments that have not been confirmed on time divided by the total shipments in a given period. The LSR should never be higher than 4%.
All these factors influence what is called Seller Performance and are the basic metrics that Amazon uses as a reference to evaluate us as sellers.
The good thing is that you can know the health of your account at all times through the Customer Metrics tool that you can find when you log into your account, it is not an unimportant issue so I recommend that you monitor it very carefully.
Selling unauthorized products
It is often said that Amazon sells everything. Well it is not exactly like that, Amazon sells everything that Amazon allows to sell. There is a fairly extensive list of products that we could call prohibited and restricted, if Amazon detects any of these in our listings we have a problem … or several.
The first thing is that they reserve the right to suspend the account, but also, in the case of FBA can destroy all our stock stored in their facilities without us seeing a turkey and even reserve the right to take legal action in the event that our products violate any law in force in the legal regulations of the countries to which you sell. A laugh.
What are these restricted products and categories? Well, since there are so many and they depend on a lot of variables, the best thing to do is to read the list and see for yourself. It is as complicated as, for example, you can sell human skeletons for medical and research purposes or human hair to make wigs, but you can not sell organs or other human fluids (goodbye niche, well maybe precisely the niche can be sold but there are many loopholes).
Violation of sales policies
Selling policies also influence both the rules of the community and the performance on the platform itself.
When you create your account you commit, for example, to maintain a cordial relationship with customers and to keep your business and account information up to date and truthful. In fact, many times when an account suspension occurs, sellers try to open another parallel account and that, dear friend, only makes things worse and means that we are already violating the sales policies.
The list of violations is also long and involves a lot of factors. From the intention to get the customer out of Amazon to buy in your store, direct communications with the customer that are not strictly necessary or requested by him to those related to intellectual property or trademark rights. Read it, lest ….
Types of Amazon account suspensions
There is really only one type of suspension: you are either suspended or you are not. What is true is that there are several states within it:
– Suspended: you can’t sell on Amazon. That they won’t let you, that you’re kaputt, that you’ve met your maker, that you’re an ex-seller, that you’ve kicked the bucket, bent the strap, expired for Amazon’s purposes, gone… at least for now because you still have the option to ask for a reconsideration.
– Denied: you’ve submitted your reconsideration with its corresponding action plan (now we’ll see in depth what this is) but they don’t quite see it clearly so you can still try to work it out.
– Banned: now you really are: you can’t sell on Amazon. That they won’t let you, you’re kaputt, you’ve met your maker, you’re an ex-seller, you’ve kicked the bucket, you’ve bent the strap, you’re defunct for Amazon purposes, you’re gone… and there’s no going back.
How do I find out?
The most obvious thing is that you stop selling. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to realize that something is wrong.
Then because Amazon notifies you in a direct way that your benefits as a seller have been suspended. This notification also tells you the reason (typically any of the three mentioned above) and the list of ASINs within your listing that have caused the suspension.
How do I get my suspended Amazon account back?
The first tip sucks but I have to give it to you: don’t lose it. Seriously, there are a lot of variables and things can happen that you don’t quite control, ok, I know. But whatever is in your hand, whatever you can control, don’t let it.
Review the policies well and keep your seller metrics clean but, if you still receive a policy breach notice (not to be confused with suspension) prioritize the solution of the problems that you are putting on the table without rushing the 60 days they give you to do so.
When it’s too late and you’ve already been hit with a cigar, it’s up to you to get your act together. You have to be as agile as possible in the measures to be taken and present a detailed and solid action plan. Firstly, because if you fail the first time you sell again quickly and secondly, because we are not guaranteed a second chance to clarify or complete the documentation. Sometimes you go from suspended to banned.
Preparing the reconsideration document
The first thing I tell you is that this is business and that you should take it that way. Crying to heaven, swearing, asking for revenge, sending a picture of the kids with a sad face or requesting a foil duel behind the cemetery wall is not an option. Don’t get too emotional because it won’t work and can only make things worse.
In the notification you should be pretty clear on the reasons for the suspension so it’s best to review them and do some self-criticism.
If you still consider that they are not right in the slightest… bad luck because you will have to give it to them. Amazon is a private company, with its own rules and that reserves its right to choose who wants to sell there and who does not, it has no obligation to you and you better take this into account when writing your action plan and choosing the tone to use.
It’s up to you to keep your ears down and recognize what you are being accused of. Always put the emphasis on the customer and take responsibility. It is important that you demonstrate a commitment and a willingness to fix the situation.
You have to present concrete actions, so an ethereal reflection is not enough: “I have been bad and I will not do it again”. If your problem comes from many negative criticisms about logistics, stock problems or incorrect handling of the items, you can propose them to switch to FBA for example, for sure that even if it means a lower margin, it also has its advantages (and more if you are basing your business on Amazon, which I would not recommend you for things like this).
They are not very specific as to what they want so it is somewhat at our discretion to present something actionable and that represents an immediate solution to the problems that have led us to this point. Try to solve it the first time so as not to delay the solution in time.
As for the format, don’t complicate it too much and try to be concrete and synthetic. Sending them 30,000 characters is not going to make them take you more into account, in fact I would dare to say that it would be counterproductive.
I’ll open another account and fuck Bezos.
I want to close this post making clear that this is not an option. I’ve made it clear before that opening a new account is a direct policy violation and don’t think that no one has come up with the brilliant idea before.
If you open a new account that matches the trademark, the account number or even the IP… you will get busted so you better not even waste your time.
Getting your Amazon account suspended can be a serious problem and getting it fixed will take a lot of time and energy. My main advice on all this is still the same crappy advice but the best possible: don’t mess it up and you’ll avoid problems.
The good thing is that we are clear on the rules of the game, the important metrics you need to keep track of. Take them seriously and keep them in check at all times and you’ll avoid stories.