This post is by Chris McCabe. After several years evaluating seller account performance for Amazon’s merchant assessment teams, Chris left Amazon to apply those skills as a merchant account liaison. If sellers need help communicating with Amazon or navigating its occasionally opaque processes, he intercedes and facilitates solutions. This post was originally published as Amazon Plan of Action (POA): What to Include to Get Your Account Back.
If you are suspended from Amazon, you will need to provide concrete steps addressing what went wrong with your seller account in order to be allowed back – known as a Plan of Action or POA. You only have so much space to make your case. As it is, investigators will go through several emails like yours every day.
Under normal circumstances, it’s great to tell Amazon how much you love selling there because it sounds positive and upbeat. Unfortunately, you have no added chance of getting reinstated simply because you find Jeff Bezos irresistible.
DON’T send an immediate response by clicking the “Appeal” button
I have read many several POAs that simply vented aggravation and offered no new steps taken to correct inventory, supplier or operational problems.
I’ve seen sellers lay out convoluted appeals that were difficult if not impossible to read; I knew full well that no one on the other side would bother trying to understand what they meant. I have seen terrible punctuation and grammar that was just as difficult to follow. I have read begging that had no information other than pleas for help because of how many employees were involved.
None of these emails included real Plans of Actions or addressed any factors behind their suspension. None led to reinstatement until I intervened to help those clients write a real POA. Lay out an actual case that motivates Amazon to reinstate your account. In other words, think things through before replying.
DON’T waste their time offering commentary about Amazon processes
Nor should you comment on the slowness of their teams, or tell them how disappointed and heartbroken you are to have lost the account. Don’t give them an excuse to rush past the content of your POA.
DO keep it simple and give them facts
Focus on policy matters, and not performance metrics.
DO use bullets or numbers
Lists are better than paragraphs to communicate your understanding of the root causes of what went wrong, including all of the wonderfully efficient steps you’ve taken to correct each.
DO include a short introductory paragraph
This instantly shows the reader your overall grasp of what happened and how you already resolved it. Indicate that you flew into action immediately after the suspension notice came in. Instead of reacting angrily against Amazon, you took time to pull together causes and solutions.
An overwhelmingly pro-Amazon outpouring of love for the company or selling in the marketplace is nice, but it won’t help any more than lashing out will. Get practical and concise, and stay that way.
DO ask yourself how much you really know about the operation of your account
Can you be 100% sure that all of your listings not only match the products you send in to FBA, but they also match Amazon’s listing policies? Do you have a designated compliance employee who keeps track of Amazon policy changes and ASIN changes? How well do you know your suppliers?
DON’T blame buyers
Many sellers who receive suspensions after too many “Not as advertised” warnings, different item condition warnings, inauthentic items, or “used sold as new” policy warnings, go straight to pointing fingers at buyers who don’t want to pay for return shipping.
The usual reason of “the buyer made it up!” only goes so far or covers so many complaints. I recommend looking deeper into what caused some of these complaints. Start by assuming that there must be a legitimate reason behind the complaint and work your way backwards.
DON’T include extraneous information
I have seen sellers include copies of their meeting minutes or screen shots of their great Feedback or their overall Account Health. If you are suspended by policy teams, not Seller Performance, then your performance metrics are a sidebar. Focus on specific information related to your big fixes.
DO compose a detailed analysis
Specify very clearly the “root causes” of the warnings and resulting suspension. Make sure these are easy to read and specific.
DO address all the elements
Make sure that the POA covers all the factors that led to the suspension.
You don’t need to go ASIN by ASIN, but do include solutions that you’ve implemented to fix these problems on all your inventory.
DON’T write the longest letter you have ever written
It’s easy to get carried away. Make sure that the most important information (e.g. your Amazon Plan of Action bullets) are front and center, not way down in your email.
Understandably, all kinds of ideas run through your mind the moment you discover Amazon suspended your account. Temptations abound to dive right in and counter each and every warning as soon as possible, as if you can force your reentry onto the site all the faster that way. Resist this urge and focus on what you can change, and then how you can communicate the effectiveness of those changes to improve your account for the future.
Take a systematic approach and present a plan of action that shows holistically how you’ve created a better path forward. You’re selling Amazon investigators on the correctness of bringing you back into the marketplace, so sell this plan hard! Make them think they have no risk at all in doing so because you’ve implemented each new step already.
If you need any help with this POA, don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for it. Everybody needs an Amazon account expert sometimes.