‘Your account has been suspended!’ Well receiving this mail from Amazon is nothing short of a mini heart attack. All your months of efforts and hard work from product search to importing and catching up on sales and rank, all goes down the drain with this single alert. Every other day, there are hundreds of similar hard working and honest, small and big sellers who receive such emails. In this post, we have made clear the reasons, appropriate steps and tips to deal with this catch 22 situation.
But first… some facts you must know
- Amazon seller suspension alerts are routine affairs, thanks to Amazon’s stringent regulations.
- You are not alone. There are many others trying to remove their suspensions.
- There are many ways to respond, but not all are the best.
- Being a big seller can’t excuse you from getting the suspension alert.
- Amazon takes from a single day up to 40-60 days to recover accounts from suspension.
Procedure followed by Amazon
Amazon doesn’t straightaway fire its erring sellers a suspension message. It follows a thorough process, as listed below:
It’s the first piece of communication from Amazon to the seller, concerning a violation by the seller. It is the most optimal point in time to respond back to Amazon that you will improve and you must actually do so to prevent the suspension. The fact that most sellers ignore these warnings is what leads to suspension.
Accounted suspended! And now you have to submit a plan of action enlisting how you will solve the issue as well as prevent it from happening in future.
It refers to denial of your appeal against suspension. Here you have the last chance to file a revised plan of action.
This is the dead end from where there’s no going back. From the moment you receive the ban, Amazon will neither entertain your mails nor can you ever make another seller account with Amazon.
Common Reasons for Suspension
The Amazon suspension email does not contain the reason for suspension and that’s where many panic and ask- ‘why me?’
Well Amazon does inform you about the cause of suspension. All you need to do is open your seller central account and click on the ‘Performance Notifications’ section on the top left. This is where the reason of your account suspension is mentioned by Amazon. Amazon will also notify you a list of ASINs which were taken as ground for violation(s). The three reasons for account suspension on Amazon are:
1. Poor Seller Performance
The A9 is smarter than you thought, because Amazon continually analysis competition among and practices followed by the sellers. Having a consistently decreasing performance metrics could easily land you a suspension alert. These could include Order Defection Rate (ODR), pre fulfilment cancellation rate, late shipment rate, et cetera.
2. Seller Policy Violation
All sellers sign and agree to the Service Level Agreement (SLA), while signing up as a seller with Amazon. This SLA delineates a list of actions to be performed by the sellers, including, standardized packaging, timely deliveries, product quality and responding promptly to the customers. If the Amazon Selling Policy or any of the terms of the SLA are not adhered to, the suspension mail is more than likely.
3. Selling/Displaying Restricted Products
Certain products like illegal or unsafe products or those requiring specific selling license or those supposed to be sold only by prescription are treated as restricted products. Selling them will not only get you a suspension or ban but could also invite civil and criminal proceedings. It is important that before selling a product refer to the restricted products help page of Amazon.
As shown in the image above, Amazon has already broadly enlisted certain products in most of its categories that are not supposed to be sold on Amazon or those which require special selling privileges.
Suspended! Now What?
Firstly, suspension means, all is not lost yet and you still have the opportunity to get back on track.
- Find out the reason for suspension of your account.
- Understand that all Amazon seeks is highest possible level of customer satisfaction. So be humble.
- Identify what wrong you have done, intentionally or unintentionally.
- Take responsibility and accept your errors.
- Chart out a Plan of Action and appeal.
Analyse the reasons for your suspension
Though we have already shared that Amazon will inform you of the reason of suspension under the ‘Common Reasons for Suspension’ heading, there is more you need to know for drafting the Plan of Action. For this go to your Account Health dashboard, in your Seller Central Account. Here you will see three tabs with the headings:
- Customer Service Performance which includes Order Defect Rate, which further includes ‘Negative Feedback’, ‘A-to-Z Guarantee Claims’ and ‘Chargeback Claims’.
- Product Policy Compliance which includes ‘Product Authenticity Customer Complaints’ and ‘Product Safety Customer Complaints’.
- Shipping Performance includes ‘Late Shipping rate’ and ‘Pre-fulfilment Cancellation Rate’.
On this page, you get the opportunity to find out all your positive and negative metrics. Use the positives for credit and the negatives with preventive methods in your Plan of Action.
How to appeal?
Amazon will give you a 17 day window to make an appeal, to be sent at the link provided in the suspension email. Put all your time and effort and compose an outstanding Plan of Action. Though every Plan of Action is individualistic, we have listed below a few tips for you to follow while writing one for yourself.
Don’t rush up:- Calm down your nerves and take your time to understand the situation. Gather and analyze all the data you need, from those relating to your account as well as products, but with respect to the reason of suspension. Remember it’s all about business, so words like ‘honest’, ‘best seller’ mean nothing and there’s no need to mention them. Keep it factual and to the point.
Admit your flaws:- This is because most of suspensions are due to seller’s being actually fault. Without wasting time on arguing, identify the reasons, accept them and let Amazon know that you are concerned and willing to improve. Clearly communicate with them about how you are planning to prevent the situation from happening again in future. If it’s the case of trademark violations, delete the product immediately and ensure that you won’t commit such violations again.
Make appeal, don’t defend:- However unfair your suspension seems to you, do not defend, do not put the blame on Amazon, since Amazon has already made it clear that you are at fault and that is it. Accept and move on to the plan of action.
Be plain and smooth:- Amazon doesn’t have all the time in the world for just one seller. They have hundreds more like you. So, keep your Plan of action, simple, easy to skim through, with no extra blah blah… so that it’s a smooth 2-3 minutes read. Though Amazon promises to review each appeal carefully, larger texts could end up being unread or half read and bring back an unfavorable response from Amazon.
Go FBA mode:- It is one of the best possible solutions for suspensions due to performance issues like shipping and late deliveries. Plus it’s a step most favoured by Amazon itself.
If you are unable to or are unsure of how to chart up your Plan of Action, do not hesitate to hire an expert. After all, a wrong appeal could get denied and that leaves little hope for the second appeal to workout. For any kind of assistance with respect to your Amazon selling practice or to know more about what to do for dealing with suspension, Click here and contact us for the most convincing Plan of Action letter. Amazon Ranking Expert has years of experience with the Amazon platform which we can easily convert into your successful Plan of Action. Moreover, by hiring our services, you can stay safe from getting such notifications from Amazon in future while focusing on improving your business.
Take precautions against future suspensions
Make it a point to regularly analyse your monthly seller reports, especially those factors that are negative in nature, like your returns, negative feedbacks, and all other selling practices like shipping, product listings etc. Make Amazons priorities your own priorities, the top most being happy customers.
Be consistent with your listings and follow the approach of calling a spade a spade. If in doubt, what we mean is, all the products and respective information you provide in your listing must be accurate, so that the customer doesn’t get a chance to complain. Be consistent with your practice too.
Do not break rules. Read and follow all the guidelines, rules and regulations. Taking shortcuts for some quick bucks could land you into a long term trouble.
Every seller must always treat Amazon’s policies, rules and guidelines as of paramount status in their business. Keep on the positive side of the law. Grasp that Amazon’s top priority is customer satisfaction and retention. Don’t let down Amazon on this front and your sail shall be safe and smooth.