The Art & Science of Appealing an Amazon Suspension
Amazon is a powerful sales tool and one of the most profitable platforms for many multi-channel retailers. Amazon also implements strict policies, algorithmic suspension, and very specific guidelines, which work to protect buyers and provide a quality experience. Sellers who fail to follow these guidelines may find their accounts suspended, even with no idea of what they’ve done wrong. Amazon regularly suspends accounts, often automatically based on triggers, and they make it very difficult to revoke a suspension.
If your account has been suspended, you cannot sell on the platform, and Amazon will often immediately find and suspend any subsequent accounts that you open. Your best bet is to open an appeal, which takes time, patience, and research.
Recognizing Why You Were Suspended
Recognizing why you were suspended is key to writing a suitable appeal. Amazon’s Seller Performance Team is in charge of reviews, and they are frequently contacted by people who know they have done wrong, yet lie about it. They can see everything on your account, and they know what you did or did not do. Your best bet is to adopt a policy of direct honesty.
Review Amazon Policies – Take some time to brush up on Amazon’s seller policies. You can also take the time to read the Participation Agreement available on the page. If you can go over what is and is not allowed, you can compile a list of anything you might have done wrong, even if it isn’t listed in your suspension notice.
Some of the most common reasons for suspension include very low sales, having duplicate accounts, selling counterfeit items as genuine, selling prohibited items, consistently shipping items late, being inappropriate in email, or having too much negative feedback. Even having product information that doesn’t meet Amazon’s standards can result in a suspended account. Amazon will suspend your account if your order defect rate is at 1% or higher, your pre-fulfillment cancel rate is at 2.5% or higher, or your late shipment rate is at 4% or higher.
In many cases, Amazon will tell you why your account has been suspended, which means that you can tackle those issues, but you should still review to make sure that there are no other problems. If there are, or if there are issues that you could improve on, you can tackle those in your appeal.
Why It’s Important Not to Open a New Account
Unless you have a new address and a new business name to go along with your new account, Amazon will find out if you open a new account. And, if they find out while you’re trying to appeal your old account, they will definitely deny your appeal. Amazon uses your company data as part of your account which means that it is very difficult to open a new one without raising red flags.
Creating a Plan of Action
Submitting an appeal means asking Amazon to reconsider your account’s suspension. To do this, you have to explain what your problems were, how you are going to fix them, and how you are going to ensure that it won’t happen again. The first and most crucial element of an appeal is to admit to your mistakes.
Amazon actually encourages sellers to appeal suspended accounts, but they don’t promise anything in return.
A Plan of Action – Create a list of any problems that your account might have, and anything that may have violated Amazon’s seller policy. Then, write down why that happened, and how you can solve it. Create a plan of action around those solutions, and list tangible or concrete steps that you can or will take to solve the problem, and meet or exceed Amazon’s minimum standards. Write this out on a separate document, and take some time to go over it to make sure that you have tackled all of the problems, that they are feasible for your business, and that your solutions are well thought out.
You can strengthen your appeal by making a list of the quality processes already used by your company. Outlining that you are a quality business with the capacity to make sales and earn Amazon money is in your best interest.
Once you have a list of problems and solutions, go over it again, and create multiple solutions to your problems wherever possible. This proves to Amazon that you have thought out the problem, that you have a plan B, and that it would be difficult for you to fail to meet Amazon standards with your new policies.
Problem: Late shipment rate is 4% or higher
Reason: Poor warehouse management, lack of warehouse staff
Solution: Implement warehouse management software and a 3PL shipping solution to improve organization. Hire new staff to handle daily processing and shipments to get products in the mail more quickly.
Solution: Implement Fulfillment by Amazon to ensure better shipping policies and practices.
Here, you tell Amazon that you understand the problem, and that you have two solutions that you can use to fix it. This is more difficult with issues like poor reviews, but you can solve those as well.
Problem: Negative Feedback
Cause: Customer Service is Slow, X Product is Lower Quality than Expected
Solution: Hire additional customer service staff, implement a training program for customer service to improve quality. Remove Product X from inventory.
Solution B: Integrate periodic reviews of customer service team. Review inventory on a per-shipment basis to ensure that all products meet expected quality.
If you can recognize issues, solve the problem and convince Amazon that you have a bulletproof plan to do so, they are much more likely to restore your account.
Contacting the Seller Performance Team
If your appeal is ready, then you can prepare to contact the Seller Performance team. As of writing this article, you could do so by going to Amazon Seller Central > Performance Notifications > Seller Suspension Notice > Appeal.
The first thing that you should keep in mind is that sellers are expendable. Amazon has over 2 million individual third party sellers, and that number expands by about 40-60% per year every year. As an individual, you are a very tiny part in their profits. This means that in order to be taken seriously, you have to be polite, honest, and sincere.
Language – Be formal, write as if you are writing to a business, and be clear in what you have done and are planning to do. Be polite, mention your pros, and try not to throw around sales data, Amazon can already see it. Consider having a friend, coworker, colleague, or editor review your appeal before you send it, or use a tool like Grammarly to ensure that there are no major mistakes. Your goal is to appear as professional as possible.
Creating a recovery plan means highlighting all of your issues, creating solutions for those, and describing how you intend to work those into your existing quality processes. Your primary goal here should be to show Amazon that you are fully capable of meeting or exceeding their minimum requirements for a seller account.
Amazon Solutions – Mentioning Amazon based solutions, such as Fulfillment by Amazon or Amazon Sponsored Products in your solutions can be beneficial to your appeal.
During follow up messages or emails, you should remain polite, provide any data or background information as-is requested, and put more thought into your solutions if necessary.
Appealing to have your Amazon account reinstated requires that you take immediate action to understand why your account was suspended, create solutions to solve those issues, and then write a convincing request for an appeal to Amazon. You may be contacted multiple times during this time, during which you should remain professional, polite, and understanding of the fact that they do not have to reinstate you unless you convince them that you will solve those problems.
- Do not create a new account
- Identify the problem
- Create a plan (or plans) of action to solve it
- Double check to ensure that you can solve all issues
- Open an appeal
- Remain formal, professional, and polite
- Use Amazon solutions if possible
Amazon encourages sellers to appeal suspended accounts, but it doesn’t always remove suspension. For that reason, it is important to remain patient, take your time with your initial appeal, and make it as impervious as possible before submitting.
This guest post on appealing an Amazon suspension was contributed by the Skubana team. Skubana is an all-in-one ERP system that seamlessly integrates with most e-commerce marketplaces, 3PLs, warehouses, provides state-of-the-art profitability and multi-channel inventory management. Skubana compiles all of your marketplaces on a single page to intuitively control and understand your entire business. Try Skubana free for 14 days, or feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!
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