How Suspension Crashed My Amazon Sales From $50K To Zero

Car Crash

This post is by James Amazio, a veteran online marketer, web designer, and developer. He is also the founder of Feedbackz, software which can automatically email Amazon buyers with follow-up requests for seller feedback and product reviews. This post was first published in two parts on the Feedbackz blog: Amazon Success Story and Amazon Horror Story.

I am writing this long-overdue story about my journey on Amazon FBA. I’ll try to get into some good stuff from humble beginnings to month 8.

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First Trimester: From $0 To $500 – Month 1 to Month 3

James Amazio
James Amazio

Ahh… yes, I’ll start here. I kind of jumped late into the Amazon game, well at least I believe it was late. Like anything in life in hindsight; I wish I had known about Amazon in around 2011 so I could be a BIG DOG before there was any comp. Wouldn’t that be lovely. Truth is: I actually didn’t start pursuing Amazon until May of 2014.

The first time I heard Amazon FBA mentioned was at a internet marketing conference in San Diego around January 2014. It was the biggest internet marketers in the world there, and I got invited out to a mastermind session. Well in this session, Amazon FBA kept coming up amongst other money making things on the internet, and I shrugged FBA off. No one mentioned any amount they were making, so I just thought:

“Oh great, another eBay, nobody is gonna make legit, long-term money more than couple hundred a month except the few fish… I don’t have time for that.”

Also, that was back when I didn’t even think about private labelling… but the pre-conceived notion in my mind was that all Amazon sellers were “re-sellers” because that’s all I saw shopping on Amazon for years.

Then I grabbed coffee from the conference with a person I just met there, they mentioned they broke $5k in sales and they just started 2 months ago. They were in the beauty skin care niche. “Oh, cool” I thought. “Still not worth it, I could be pursuing million dollar ideas, not Amazon.”

Selling on Amazon actually didn’t quite click yet in my head until I heard a podcast a few months later about this guy doing a million a month. That caught my attention.. too many mentions and for the first time, I heard millionaires could be made without having to “re-sell”. Jumping from store to store looking for clearance products wasn’t my cup of tea. I know in order to make real money, you have to disassociate a dollar amount to an hour of your life. Passive income, as much as possible.

With private labelling.. I knew this could be achieved. I jumped in head first… WITH A MEAGRE $500.

Did You Start Before The Competition Grabbed Hold?

When I first started, it was already saturated (so those of you just joining, don’t side eye me! haha). The big guys and products were already ranked 1,000+ reviews in and established. So it’s not much different than it is today, there were a bit less (what I coin) TIER 2 and TIER 3 private label products… those are probably the majority of us:

TIER 2: Ranked 1st page, 50+ reviews, steady selling 20-30 units per day, but not quite beating out the top two dogs.

TIER 3: Ranked 2nd+ page, 25+ reviews, selling 5-20 units a day, but ranking up quite quickly. Fighting to gain traction against Tier 2 guys.

So yes, the competition has gotten much stiffer, but not something to be scared of. BECAUSE DOMINATING NICHES IS A WIDE OPEN BALL PARK ON AMAZON. Get in the gold rush while there’s still gold in the rivers.

With $500 in my hands… and a few years experience on running online businesses. The name of the game is: speed to market. Launch. Get a product up. Prove it sells. See if volume and everything else on your checklist is actually viable. Perfect things later.

Tip: You can’t sit and research and research and research. You’ll never get anywhere. You’ll simply remain a want-trepreneur. One who talks a lot, does nothing. The only true way to know if something sells is to sell it and see how it goes. (Doesn’t mean completely disregard basic viability checklists.) But out of 30+ products I’ve launched, I have come across 6-7 gems aka keepers. It’s only when you get these gems that you hunker down and try to rank the sh*t out of them.

With this in mind, I wanted to get 4-5 products up. Perfect labelling and packaging? Forget that… I went to Office Depot, got some clear return address labels, printed my logo on there and slapped them right onto the product. Enough to legitimately sell as a brand and new listing.

My first product ideas came directly from stuff I found around the house. I looked around at what I used, what I bought in the last months, anything.

Some products in my initial list:

  • body fat callipers,
  • body measuring tapes,
  • jogger pants,
  • dog shock collars,
  • led dog collars,
  • and three more products (that I still sell today).

I wrote them down; I thought… how many of these sell in the world a day? Hundreds? Cool… on the list. Were they difficult to make/ship/package? No, cool… on the list. A few more filters, and off to AliExpress.com I went.

AliExpress… not Alibaba.com. Want to know how to waste a huge amount of time and money on a product you may or may not even be able to sell or sell well or (insert million other disadvantages). MOQs alone turned me off because I needed to prove these products first.

AliExpess, I can buy them individually. Would I profit? No… no I didn’t. Did I break even? Barely. But I got something much more valuable: proof and traction. I bought 4-5 of each product on my final list. Used free shipping via EMS. Got my products 2-3 weeks later. Create my listings, slapped some labels on, sent them into FBA. A couple weeks later selling with live products, I found out if:

  • They sold? At what price? How many moved? Conversion rate?
  • How much they sold compared to my rankings and what the top dogs might be doing
  • Was it a pain in the a** to package/prep/ship/etc.
  • Is it actually providing value? How was the return rate? Were folks complaining left and right? Could I fix it?
  • Guesstimate how far I could take this product if I ranked the crap out of it and with X amount of reviews and optimized the listing even better.

Enough yes’s… and then that’s when I hit Alibaba (and even AliExpress again if MOQs was still too low for any good margins) looking to make the first initial 100-300 unit bulk order. I put this purchase on my credit card. And paid it off as soon I re-made the money.

Second Trimester: From $500 to $5,000 – Month 3 to Month 5

Money Stacks

So I bought around 100 more units of jogger pants, dog shock collars, led dog collars, and three more products. I dropped the body fat callipers and body measuring tapes.

That’s when I started drilling down into the meat of ranking. Luckily, I’ve had years and years of experience with SEO and online startups, so I’ve seen and done it all; and directly applied it to Amazon and what I thought and observed things to work. (BTW: IMO Amazon’s search is a version of Google in 2008. More on this later.)

Three major improvements I attacked first:

  1. More reviews.
  2. Optimize the listings better (better pics, better keyword research and applying them into the listing anyway possible, better copy writing).
  3. Make the packaging and labelling more legit.

More on these tactics later… but a general overview:

More Reviews – Hustle, hustle, hustle. I hit up all my family and people I knew I wanted to share what I was selling (without feeling too embarrassed haha). I also started hitting up forums and started giving them away for free. I hit the major forums in each niche where people that would use the product hung out at. Many of these forums are gated, so a lot of times my post threads got deleted. The ones that stayed and flew under the radar paid off in big dividends. I would repeat this process of giving away product on forums until I reached 50+ reviews.

Optimize Listings – I sat for hours and went through things I bought on Amazon over the years… what made me purchase what I did and why? The subconscious stuff, the things I didn’t realize I did at the moment. It was mostly around reading reviews. And when I say “reading”… I mean more like “skimming” reviews of products. Good pictures was another trigger. Most times, I was looking for something small or specific and many times a picture just so happened to have it in there. Well, enough in the picture that I could put 2 and 2 together and assume the product would probably fit my needs. Same thing with copy text in the description: there were subtle things I was looking for. Many times, I had multiple tabs up and most of the products were the same exact… but there was something specific I was looking for. Most times, if you aren’t a user of the product yourself, you wouldn’t even know it made that big of a difference. I call this ST Factors (I’d eventually like to get big enough where I can start coining terms and people actually use them! Maybe even get credit for?)

ST Factors = Subconscious Trigger Factors

With hawk-like vision, I hunkered down on why I bought the products I was selling. What were the ST Factors? Truth be told, many of the ST Factors are actually sitting right in your face… read through reviews on your competitors and you’ll quickly realize what those things are. And you need to address those that aren’t in the listing.

Once you find them:

  • List them on the product titles (especially if it’s major ones)
  • Address them in bullet points up top.
  • Address them in the description.
  • Show them in your product images.

Oh, another tip on ST Factors:

Don’t just read the negative reviews on your competitors, read the good, positive ones. And thoroughly… Many times, the good ones are good because they are re-confirming a ST Factor that the product listing missed, and (most times get upvoted by others) because they assure the potential buyer that this product fits that specific ST Factor.

Take for example: I was buying a new basketball, a Wilson Composite ($50+ basketball). The listing had tons of reviews, etc. etc. but it didn’t list the exact size. Like any person in this century, a quick Google search brought up that they come in junior and regular size. Well, this listing didn’t say either. And with the price being way below anything you’ll find offline, one would think it’s the cheaper junior size, right?

Well… guess what one of the top reviews was? Someone saying… “hey guys, took the risk… the ball is actually the regular size and not junior FYI.” Anyone selling the same ball with the size in the product title… I guarantee you their sales would kill that one.

After optimizing, conversions were sitting at a whopping 15% to 20% on all of my products. Even ranked at 8th or 9th on the 1st page, more people were choosing to buy mine. That’s how I moved up… Amazon likes to rank those that sell best and generate them the most revenue in the shortest amount of time (go figure).

Packaging and labelling – No more Avery labels with a simple logos. I moved onto more custom size labels I bought off eBay that fit the box or packaging better and more crisp. I took the time (thank God I can graphic design as well) and designed completely new labels to make sure these things looked like a legitimate brand. I’d go through stores and look at actual products and their packaging and how they did their branding and design, then added my own remix to my products. I re-did the product pictures with the fancy new labels and updated my listings.

Also to add, it was during this phase when I was gaining epic growth. Products were moving fast… and more and more I was gaining traction and catching up.

Last Trimester: From $5,000 To $50,000 – Month 5 to Month 8

Yeah… you read that title correctly. $5 to $50k… a big damn jump huh? My growth at that point was exponential… I hit that part of the bell curve. Even with dropping most of the listed products (due to various reasons)… 80/20 rule. 20% of the products I had listed up were making 80% of the money. So I cut off the other 80% of the products, focused on ranking the 20% and finding more 20%’er products.

The only thing at that point I was messing up on was inventory issues. Keeping products in stock. Cashflow. Timing my inventory purchases so that when I ran out, I got xx,xxx units arriving from China a few days before to pack/label and ship out to FBA centers.

Through my ranking tactics and techniques; I had:

  • Three products ranking in top 3 for main volume keywords for the niche and ranking #1 for lesser volume keywords.
  • All others ranking minimum page 2 of search results.
  • My lowest revenue product was moving 30 units a day, most were hitting 50+ units a day.
  • All my products had over 50+ reviews.
  • Three of them with over 100+ reviews (they were coming in organically… big factor here).
  • One with 175+ reviews.
  • All had video reviews ranked at the top.
  • All of them super optimized with ST Factors.

During this time, I had to tap into a Kabbage loan… twice. I was on fire. I started looking to add more products and did just that. Same process… same bootstrapped process from AliExpress.

Moving that much product; I could start testing out what factors I thought Amazon was using to rank products in their search results. I learned a lot. I went after reviews and other things like a mad man.

Life was good. Life was passive. Money was rolling in. Took a few (3 to be exact) trips out to Vegas in 1 year.

As mentioned before; I was adding more products to my portfolio. Diversifying as much as possible across completely different niches.

Then… Amazon suspended one of my accounts. Held $xx,xxx’s in deposits, froze all my listings.

Which leads into my two-left-footed dance with Seller Performance.

How Suspension Crashed My Sales

No Entry Sign

My Amazon account got hit with a suspension that nearly wiped out all of my sales. I know there’s some pressing questions:

  • WTF did you do?
  • Are you back?

I’d like to first spoil the story by saying, yes, I am back selling on Amazon with my account back in good standing, but unfortunately, I was forced to delete my listings which meant I had to drop a lot of my high flying products. I am not quite back to my old numbers but closing in fast.

Second, I’d like to also address that… to this day, I still really have no clue or idea as to why I was suspended and my listings had to be deleted. There was in no way any foul play or black hat (term coined in online marketing world as illegal or shady tactics) used to get those product listings going.

Out of my many years of online business, I learned quickly: you play with fire, you get burnt. In this case, I knew selling on Amazon was (and still is) too much of a gold mine to be playing around with the BanHammer, so I kept and still keep everything 100% legit.

Besides if you sell a quality product and optimize the listings in a viable niche, the nearest competitors have a couple stock images and poor descriptions; your product is gonna eventually make it to the top anyways without gaming.

Unlike Google, where you might get ignored or worse case slapped back down in rankings for “black hat” tactics, Amazon will boot you and everything tied to your social security, slam the door, flip the CLOSED sign in the window, and you walk home… alone… to never come back… ever.

With that said, I know this may strike some fear in you:

  • WHAT THE HECK IS LEGIT?
  • WHAT IS CONSIDERED BLACK HAT?
  • WHAT IS CONSIDERED GREY HAT?

With that out of the way, let’s jump into the story!

The Gut Wrenching Suspension Email

Around noon on one of the worst Mondays ever, I read an email off my phone that I had to re-read five times. Was this for real?

KNOW I was playing by the rules… so how could this happen?

Every product I had/have was private labelled and completely (logos, website, packaging, Amazon brand registered, etc. etc.) created by me so no way any counterfeit, authenticity, conditions, etc. could bite me in the butt, right?

Outside of the products itself, I was totally white-hat… didn’t do any crazy Illuminati review pyramid scheme, no fake sales, no fake reviews… nothing. I was sleeping at night confident I was building a real brand and real business.

But sure enough… this was in my inbox:

We are writing to let you know we have removed your selling privileges, cancelled your listings, and a temporary hold has been placed on funds from your Amazon.com sales. Any new selling accounts you open will be closed.

We took this action because it has come to our attention that you have continued to list items which violate our Condition Guidelines and/or our policies regarding product authenticity.

A quick back-story: due to stupid, low life, unethical competitors, I’ve actually had times where I had some product listings suspended due to false counterfeit or authenticity claims. Of course, I got all that straightened out without trouble because I could easily prove I was the one and only manufacturer, distributor, and retailer of my brand(s).

But I’ve never had my total account suspended. This was a different beast. You can kind of imagine how my day went since I got that email: confused, destroyed, anger, sadness, extreme worry, etc. etc. Worse yet; on top of all this, I’m an expecting dad in the next months. I quickly thought about what my cash flow would be like when the little one arrived… if I could even get my cash flow back.

When they suspend your account; they:

  • Hold any deposits you have due back for 90 days! (totally messes up your cashflow and future inventory schedule)
  • Cancel out all your precious, self-made product listings.
  • Many things on Seller Central are restricted so you can’t make edits, check data, etc. etc.

My one glimmer of hope:

APPEAL THE SUSPENSION TO SELLER PERFORMANCE…

This must just be some big misunderstanding, right? The email clearly states that it’s related to either misinformation on the listing or authenticity issues.

I mean… I’ve done it before successfully with the false accusations on my listings.. and those were “misunderstandings” too. I was optimistic.

The Most Painful Dance/Fight Ever With Seller Performance

amazon-suspension-appeal

Cool… so before you read on. I must warn you… nothing makes sense. Which is why I’m still kind of dumbfounded as I write back on this. (I moved on… I had to.) So if you’re looking for some magic hoo-rah where James Amazio comes back like MJ in the 4th quarter type thing… it doesn’t happen. BUT… it’s nice to know how I played my cards versus if you (hopefully not!) ever find yourself in the same position.

A few facts to know about seller performance:

  • They can only be contacted via email.
  • They take their time to respond (anywhere from 3-5 business days as I’ve experienced to horror stories of them taking up to a month).
  • Get straight to the point. They do not empathize with your sob story nor have time to read through any sugar coating.

A few guesses and observations about seller performance.

  • A different person reads your appeals depending on who’s on shift. So one time you might get told one thing and then something completely different the next. There is not one person assigned to your case.
  • They are a rogue SEAL Team Six department. There is no checks or balances in this branch.
  • Email jeff@amazon.com? Good luck.

Submitting My Official Appeal

So I hit the first thing anybody would do: Google. I come across an article by Cynthia Stine which gave some titbits on how to structure your appeal like:

  • Be short and to the point.
  • Don’t write about your personal losses and hardship.
  • Take full accountability.
  • Offer an action plan on how you plan to solve the problem.
  • Address that your problems affected Amazon’s customers.

So within a few hours of thoughtful crafting; I jump onto my seller central and submit my appeal.

My whole logic behind this appeal submission was to try to:

  • Get a bit more information on what the actual, specific violation was so I could fix it directly.
  • Reiterate that all my products are indeed fully owned and sold by my company.
  • Reiterate that I take full responsibility for any violation and any harm caused to Amazon’s customers, in addition; I am trying to build a legit, long-term business on Amazon.

Things I wish I could of done better in the appeal:

  • Make it much shorter, it was too long.
  • Added in a bunch of stuff that wasn’t needed? (Even though I didn’t even know what exactly to appeal so I was throwing darts on what I thought was the violation from previous email.)

The Following Back And Forth Responses

Seller Performance Responds To My Appeal
They ask for three things: an action plan, copies of my receipts/invoices, and my suppliers information. Cool, I thought… they just want to make sure that I am indeed the owner of my brand and that they just need to verify. Must of been too many flags on the account for false authenticity accusations on my listings; maybe I had hit the tipping point and they needed credentials. I was optimistic.

My Response
I totally comply and send them back all the information they want and need.

Seller Performance Responds:

Hello,

Thank you for writing regarding your account that was recently blocked. We have reviewed this situation, and have decided not to reinstate your account.

As we have indicated in our previous warning to you, listing generic or off-brand items against detail pages for specific brands is against our terms of service. Sellers are asked not to deviate from the format or product listed in our retail catalog. As stated in our policies, sellers may not list items against detail pages for different products.

Then I was hit with the WORST NEWS EVER… A denial on my appeal. My heart and stomach sink into the absolutely worse feeling ever. I just didn’t understand?? I just complied with everything asked of me. What made it worse was that: I had absolutely no idea what the problem was. So the first email they sent states that there was a “product authenticity” issue, and now they are saying pretty much saying my listing descriptions don’t match my products?

My Response
Confused as ever. At this point, I just went into a straight emergency mode. With zero idea of what to fix. I just decided that with the money they are holding from my deposits and importance of me having seller privileges long-term again, I would remove all listings and never sell these particular products again. I was desperate; that was the only real way to comply with it all. I couldn’t afford the time to go back and forth with seller performance (if they would even entertain or respond to any more of my emails since they denied the appeal) to try to figure out what the real direct problem was… it was all or nothing at this point. How will I get rid of all the extra inventory? I’d have to do it offline or other marketplaces like eBay… problems I will worry about later. So I prayed and prayed and sent another action plan (and prayed some more, hoping they would respond).

Seller Performance Responds
They respond! Whew… at least they are giving me a shot to continue my appeal. But now I’m more confused as ever. I send them an action plan and they send this:

We appreciate the information you have provided. However, a review of your account indicates you have listed against detail pages that do not accurately describe your items or are not in accordance with our Condition Guidelines.

My Response
Huh?
Oh… kay? So in my mind; I am thinking okay, they liked my action plan but they needed to see some action. So I go through and start executing through them, and send them an updated response.

Seller Performance Responds
Same exact response as before.

My Response
Okay? I must of not done enough of the action plans yet to satisfy them. Between doing removals and other things, I did about 9 out of 10 of the action steps and send a response.

Seller Performance Responds
Same exact response as before.

My Response
Uh… okay? At this point; it’s been over a month or so since my suspension. I am finally at a point where I just delete everything, listings, etc. and send them back my response.

Seller Performance Responds
Finally a different response. They state that my account is under review! And a few days later I get a notification that my selling privileges have been reinstated. I got my deposits unfrozen and everything else with the reinstatement.

It was the most bitter-sweet moment in a long time. On one hand, I lost a lot of my products and everything I built up for them. Completely gone. On the other hand, I am back in good standing with Amazon and can sell again.

Present Day And How I Am Doing Now

Although I haven’t completely recovered from what I was bringing in before, I am closing in fast. Luckily, during that time, I was building more brands and more products so I had a couple under the wings just about ready to launch. I was just either waiting on samples from suppliers or had already put in my first bulk order. So my recovery didn’t take that long. Thank God. But it did mess me up cash flow wise pretty badly. Most of my money was tied into inventory; I had to liquidate the rest of that inventory offline and other marketplaces. Had to juggle a bunch of things to pay off a Kabbage loan on time while waiting on the money, etc. etc.

So… there it is folks. There’s my suspension story.

What did I learn from it? Oh, man… A LOT. Mainly:

DIVERSIFY YOUR CHANNELS AND INCOME. As soon as you possibly can.

You are playing in Amazon’s play ground; they own the rules. You are riding shot gun, you are not driving. Peace of mind is a very underestimated feeling and emotion.

Hope you enjoyed the article. If you have a suspension story you want to share, I’d love to hear it in the comments!

165 comments on “How Suspension Crashed My Amazon Sales From $50K To Zero

  1. I wish I could say that this story of suspension/ban was unusual, but it is not. Glad you are back in the game, James! Thanks for the link. I’m glad the article helped you. A lot of sellers are getting caught up in Amazon’s new approach. I call it the “Rise of the Robots.” A lot of my clients don’t even know why they are suspended. There are good sellers who should have never gotten suspended who can’t get back on and then others who violated a lot of polices who get approved easily. It is crazy.
    Cheers,
    Cynthia

  2. Thank you for sharing the information. However, you were very short on what happened that caused the suspension in the first place. You stated you played by all the rules, but Amazon thought you were doing something nefarious – did you ever find out what it was that caused the problem or was it just a random thing?

      1. Amazon is just trying to get your supplier so they can compete on your product from their end. They are basically competing with you. Because they see so much money from your product if they can sell it by themselves by buying them directly from your supplier.

        1. Sam,

          While that could be true, my experience with suspended/banned sellers shows that the products in question are not necessarily that popular or selling fast.

          Amazon doesn’t need access to our suppliers – they can just go straight to the manufacturer who will gladly tell them how to buy their product 99% of the time.

          There is a huge problem with sellers trying to undermine other sellers by making false claims and policy violations to get their competitors suspended/banned.

          In addition, there are reasons for every suspension it is just that most sellers can’t figure out what they are on their own – like James. I have clients who are NOT suspended who hire me to conduct an assessment on their account so they can discover potential problems before they get in trouble. It is not obvious and Amazon will not give you all the reasons you are suspended. You just get a form letter with some (not all usually) ASINs to look at.

          1. Yep, It’s called monopolizing the market and Americans have forgotten that there are laws protecting them from such actions. The government has not exercised the Clayton or Sherman act in decades and has let the large enterprise monopolies take over…

        2. this is very true, amazon is all about amazon and uses dirty tricks to obtain supplier info and cut out any middle men..Faster and higher you rise more attention you bring to yourself and they will try their best to obtain the rights to sell your item directly themselves.

  3. Are you using a USTPO registered trademark to sell the duplicated private label items? The words FAKE and counterfeit in any customer, AZ customer service messages, reviews or feedback will trigger the autobots, legit or not. EVERY one of these notifications must be appealed.

    I went thru this exact scenario this weekend. Customer claimed fake to CS agent on phone to get free return label. Third world CS agent types in all caps.

    I an the owner of the registered trademark. I immediately fired off to the executive office of Jeff Bezos. Took 12 hours to resolve.

    I am the only seller of this niche and hold the patent, and Amazon makes considerable bank off my product. Amazon has tried multiple times and ways to acquire my product. It was pretty easy to convince them they were shooting themselves in the foot over this asshole customer.

    Amazon recently offered me a 100k+ loan and their wibbly wobbly seller killing policies like this make me afraid to partner I generate a thousand times more income than the off his meds crazy full moon customer and third world, third grade customer service agent with their fake fake report ever will.

    Amazon is about to create the same mistakes as eBay if they don’t wake up and realize the 3P is also a customer.

    1. Nope, all my stuff I own the sole rights to including any TM’s, etc. These are products/brands I built from scratch.

      I agree completely about Amazon needing to do much better in treating 3P as a customer; hence why the survey polls on Seller Central have been very specific these past months.

  4. James, you mentioned “DIVERSIFY YOUR CHANNELS AND INCOME. As soon as you possibly can” have you been able to do that yet? If you would like to work with me on a private label project to help diversify I would gladly pay you a fair fee.

    1. Hey Perry,
      I mean diversify away from Amazon in general. There’s levels of diversification, you can go after another niche, etc. but your eggs are still in Amazon’s basket.

      1. Hey James, I already have a 7 figure AZ business just trying to grow it my thoughts would include a passive income on your side for royalty’s of sales as well as diversifying from your personal AZ account as we can take advantage of your knowledge of private label as I can increase my chances of being successful and you can keep on growing without the day to day of having more products. If I have a horse that is running fast I would never pull back the reins I am not interested in the coaching but I am interested in making us both money.

        1. I think there’s levels of diversification. I wouldn’t waste time on eBay much to be honest, because Amazon FBA is the 800 lb gorilla. I would first diversify across other products in completely different niches, then either build an ecommerce website to sell your product and/or go after a completely different business than ecommerce.

          1. Its posts like this that make me glad I have made it big on eBay because you are only killing away any competition I would have in the future. eBay is a free for all with generally harshes rules than Amazon. Anyone who can get PayPal verified can entered it no problems and you can sell a lot more products you would be restricted in amazon. Seller support is much more better than Amazon and are willing to see it your way as long you can show proof and evidence.

            James is right – you should NOT be focusing on amazon to make every single penny because something like what happen to James might happen to you. He made the mistake of relying solely on Amazon and that was his downfall.

            Plan: Aside from changing products, you should focus on selling on other channels, ect eBay, If one channel kicks you out at least you have money coming in the next channel. Easy to get right? the problem is that every channel is different, one more profitable than others, it all depends how you manage them and make them work.

            According to Amazon rules, you cannot link your site or other sites not already in the actual product (say you list an Apple Laptop and the apple link is there that is okay) this mean you simply cant add your outside of amazon store there. This causes problems but you can already see how this is fixable. Make your logo big and bold, something catchy something that will make the buyer google you up. Optimize your site so it can be the first to appear. I have done this on many products that I buy and often find the same product on the sellers website. Slowly begin to diverse your stuff to other channels and see if its profitable there.

            From my experience, I began selling books on amazon, getting little reviews is among the reasons why I stopped there but I was selling and making a lot. The most profitable day, it was around close to $4000 sales, as soon I started real money I began to research eBay, saw that there were multiple sellers already selling my own patented product. This actually made it easier for me because by then I had already established reputation on Amazon and my product was the superior one. All I did was list my products on eBay, added “The ORIGINAL X product ” on the listing, shipped from the USA, Priority free shipping on the first few months, and bam, eBay sales started coming in. Amazon FBA selling was still making me money but then I got suspended. Why? customers were getting products that were clearly already used. After so many returns, Amazon contacted me and ask me what was going on. Similar story for many sellers, well I realized what was happening, when items are returned to Amazon, they are evaluated and if they are in like new conditions, they are listed NEW again. After too many of this, it was the final nail to get me off Amazon FBA. Recalled all of my inventory after my suspension, got my money after getting un suspended. Now I am trying to move away from eBay and adding links to really lead to the manufacture (me) website regarding additional information and warranty, this website also happens to me my personal selling website so all the customer has to do is browser outside the warranty page. eBay contacted me about this telling me it wasnt allowed but I made my case that I was really trying to link them to the product warranty page, additional details and couldnt make it outside of my store website. They allowed this and now I include a warranty card with a link to my site to claim a warranty. This has greatly improved my sales outside of eBay or amazon, I am not making nearly the money I make on other channels, but its slowly building reputation

    2. Hey Perry I am about to start selling private label products on amazon, I like the idea to create my own brand and products,I would like to work with you on private label projects to help diversify and grow my business,please contact me as soon as you can my email is beyonda@live.nl

      I hope to hear from you soon .

  5. Hey James,

    Great write up!

    I wanted to ask you about the “DIVERSIFY YOUR CHANNELS AND INCOME.” statement you made also.

    With this, do you mean create a website yourself selling your products, getting your own traffic etc? Meaning your not reliant on Amazon?

    But wouldn’t this mean when a customer goes to the shopping cart on your site, they are simply being forwarded to Amazon as it holds all your inventory at their FBA warehouses?

    Cheers
    Amit

  6. Hmmm, I did a seach for these types of suspensions and it’s only a few people who are getting suspended for obviously failing to list their products properly,misleading copies,promoting items which are featured in a different edition to prejudice sellers who are selling the exact product and selling counterfeit products (especially DVDs).I think Amazon made it pretty clear in their letter why they suspended you [As stated in our policies, sellers may not list items against detail pages for different products.] Basically,your description was not exact or specific and it seems you were trying to optimize the description for not one but a group of products.A vague and misleading description is viewed as a counterfeit because it gives a wrong expectation to the buyer (even if you are selling a genuine product).This thread makes it clear how some people end up getting suspended https://sellercentral.amazon.ca/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=223245&start=0&tstart=0&sortBy=helpful

    1. Only an idiot or inexperienced person would state these things. I have received two “does not match listings” on my own products the last 3 months. It happens all of the time. Amazon needs to overhaul their practices.

    2. DG – it is not a “few” people. It is hundreds and hundreds of third-party sellers all at once. All of us who offer reinstatement services are swamped and working 12-15 days to handle the load of suspended and banned sellers. Amazon takes days to weeks to get back to you on your plan of action because they are overwhelmed.

      1. It makes you wonder with all these suspensions and with holding of thousands +? Dollars for a month or more, is this a shady move on Amazons part to gain interest while funds are in their bank accounts. There just seems to be more to it.

  7. I read a lot about this problem…….Why didn’t you create your own listings? Sorry to sound cynical, but you are hopping on other peoples listings and skimming off their hard work getting their ranking up, and you swoop in with your own brand? Clearly a violation, of not being an exact product as the listing, and is stated in Amazon rules.
    What is the point of having your own brand if you are listing on someone else’s product? Unless I am missing something, Amazon was correct in suspending you.

    I love the riding shotgun part…..describes our life perfectly.
    Thanks for your story.

      1. Then you are not being clear enough in your post. If Amazon is sending you :

        a review of your account indicates you have listed against detail pages that do not accurately describe your items or are not in accordance with our Condition Guidelines.

        says you are listing on already established listings

        1. The articles clearly stated that these listings were created from scratch with new UPCs and my products are 100% my own brand. You cannot hi-jack a product listing that is your own.

          It says it’s established because technically it is established after I created it and sold on it.

        2. James did an outstanding job clearly explaining his situation in this article. I went through EXACT same thing last month… I, too, received exact same emails, same timeline, and reinstated about a month later. BTW, my account was suspended because a claimed she received a counterfeit product. EVERYTHING I SELL IS AUTHENTIC. I also believe another seller made the claim because I have most ‘buy’ boxes and my volume is fairly large. This experience left me utterly drained that I am now looking for another business that doesn’t require selling on Amazon.

          1. Wow KH, thanks and exactly! I had to fight so many fake negative reviews and claims, it’s crazy. It very well may have been a third strike type of deal..

    1. It seems like to me this is something more like keyword spamming. Saying that it is similar to product XYZ when it is not that product. “Esteben” got in trouble for saying his guitar picksups were similar to Fishmen, a trademarked item.

      1. Hey, I agree you can get in trouble referencing or using other copyright/trademark/big brand names for sure. In my case, it wasn’t.. I used nothing but my own brand.

  8. In your article you mention: “Amazon suspended one of my accounts”, how many accounts do you have? Do you have permission from Amazon to have multiple accounts?

  9. I do have one question. Did Amazon send you any previous warnings about your listings? They say “you have continued to list items which violate our Condition Guidelines and/or our policies regarding product authenticity.” It sounds like they maybe sent you warnings that you ignored?

    Thank you so much for sharing your ups and downs with FBA. My one and only private label product was doing pretty well until I received an email from someone saying they had a patent on the product and asked me to stop selling it. It may or may not have been legit, but I didn’t want to take any chances so I deleted the listing.

    Something I learned from your situation is that even selling used books on Amazon could potentially cause an account close down. There have been times when I’ve looked up a book I wanted to sell and can’t find any listings that are the exact description, like it might be a third edition and there are only other editions. I’ve been tempted to list it anyway and just say in the comments that it’s a third edition or whatever. That would be listing against the product description, which is against their terms. I hadn’t really thought of that before, but now I understand and will be sure not to do that in the future.

    1. Thanks.. honestly Amazon can kick you off for anything they want to. It’s their playground. Enjoy the ride while it’s hot and while you can but don’t depend on the income solely for putting food in front of your children.

      Yes, they sent me warnings before. Not for the same thing, but after awhile; I think a warning in general falls in the same bucket as a number total instead of a specific issue.

  10. James, I truly appreciate the information, it really seems that there is something missing here. If you were doing as much business as you say you were, and were working to get your listings back up or sell on Amazon again, I would have pursued it continuously to figure out what I did wrong and not just let it go. You want to avoid the same mistakes again. You just let it go? Are you sure you didn’t use something that referenced another product? Say if you were listing a guitar under your brand name and used Strat Style (or Stratocaster Style) instead of “S-Style”? A post such as this is a lot more helpful if show people how to avoid the situation.

    1. Thanks Jack! Yeah; I wish I could of done that. At that point, after all that back and forth.. cash flow is king here. It would of been months before and IF things even resolved. In months; I could create and sell more products, better value of time imo.

      1. Forgot to answer your other questions.. if I knew what I did wrong then I could help show how to avoid lol but I don’t. None of the listings ever referenced any other product.

    2. Part of the problem, is Amazon has scaled their business to the point that they really have not got the time or personnel to “finesse” problem solving, just based on the sheer volume of sellers, daily new listings, and the “disreputable” sellers who cheat and talk smack to Amazon about competitors.

      Amazon’s SOLE purpose, is to protect their buying customers.

      They DESPERATELY need to have a “time selling/seller performance” algorithm, that gives more consideration to folks who have proven they are trying to do right by the customers.

      If they can manage to provide pre-approved loans based on sales figures and high SP scores… surely they can tell who deserves a bit more finesse in resolving “suspendable offenses” .

      Many many sellers don’t fully appreciate how unwieldy the size scale of Amazon makes dealing with smooth functioning of the Seller Central system.

      To be clear… not saying they did right here… quite the contrary, in fact.

      Of course, that’s why your advice about diversification is so SPOT ON.

      IMHO, Amazon is within 12 to 24 months of having good sellers seriously look at alternative channel building, at a much higher rate of “exit” off Amazon, than they are seeing at present.

  11. Hi James,

    Congrats on being a new father BTW. I sent you a FB friend request.

    Amazon’s notices are very vague and are triggered by the words I mentioned, contained in reviews, feedback and any communication.You may not even want to use those words on your side of the conversation.. Do an f3 search on your reviews, customer feedback and messages and you may be able to pin it down. I can tell you, it was caused by one of your buyers and then they lumped in all the past resolved violations in there too.

    This is pretty much a repeat of the eBay Vero problem. With VERO it was important to respond to every VERO complaint with a counter-notice or it counted against you and three strikes you were out.

    If you have a USTPO registered trademark, that should trump claims of authenticity or counterfeit.

      1. that is why the owner of the e commerce wbeiste lfet amazon, because of all the false complain of sellers who weir jelous of her success and look at her now she is the proud owner of a 100 million dollar company do you really thin kshe could have becoem so big if she had stayed with amazon ? I think amazon need to really check if the flase complain against that seller is true before they take actions against that seller.

  12. James,

    Thanks for taking the time to outline your experience with Amazon. I am glad that you have pointed out that success on Amazon with Private Labels is not a “set it and forget it” model, as many of the gurus who are selling FBA training kits would have you believe. You experience with SEO and web-based properties helped your success here.

    The story is scary for any FBA seller though, as your conclusion is always on the table….AMAZON IS IN CHARGE, NOT YOU. We would all be well to remember that.

    If you ever decide to coach individuals on how to get this level of success and what things to you to sustain it and not meet the account suspension person at Amazon, please contact me, I will be your first paying client!

    1. Thanks Michael, yes.. I fully agree with you!

      I get alot of requests for coaching, I just don’t have the time to dedicate right now as I feel like I would half “ass” coach with my current load and that’s not how I would want to be coached… if I do something; I want to fully dedicate and do it 110% focus!

      Feel free to email/message me help@feedbackz.com or James Amazio on Facebook.. I may get a bit more freed up sometime this year. =)

      – James

    1. Yeah, me either Walt. Either is anybody that gets suspended with those same words. Not even the people at Seller Performance knows because they all give different answers or generic replies.

    2. Keep in mind that ASIN’s get collapsed all the time. Requests for ASIN colapsing can also originate form Sellers or your competition. If an ASIN you created get collapsed into another ASIN, you are potentially now using a “detail page” that does not match your original listing.

      There is software available to notify you when one of your ASINs collapse into another…

  13. Hi James,

    The solution to your problem is to have multiple Amazon accounts. When one is shut down you move all your stock to a 3rd party warehouse, then have the stock sent back to FBA under another Amazon account. For people who will ask “but how do you set up another Amazon account” – Google it, it’s top secret!

    1. Nice advice Gregg! I found myself with two accounts at the time of suspension; I think they go based on your IP and social security number so everything was a lock down for me.

      1. Your other accounts need to be completely separate, different IP’s, different entity, different bank account, etc

    2. Hi James – Problem with that is: A. It costs you .50 per item to remove, b. The FNSKU is tied to the original Amazon account, so all of the items would need to be restickered, C. If your using the Comingled-Stickerless FBA inventory option (which nobody can use going forward), that’s probably what got you in trouble in the first place!

          1. Hi Gregg –

            The solution is to change FBA option off of Stickerless co-mingled Inventory in FBA Settings, re-list the items in the inventory manager, convert them to FBA skus insuring that an FNSKU is assigned, and to sticker new inbound shipments created against the FNSKU, and to let the Stickerless co-mingled inventory sell through, and then let that sku die.

            You could also create a removal request of the Stickerless co-mingled inventory to expedite the conversion process, but you’d have to weigh the financials vs. just letting the Stickerless co-mingled inventory sell out.

            Unfortunately, Amazon will not let you transfer existing FBA inventory to a new sku.

  14. HI James,

    Great article, thanks for sharing. I’m in the ‘research and research’ stage that you are talking about. Question about your initial labels for PL – you simply whacked on a clear sticker with your logo on a generic product? Say for products that have boxes (e.g. a stapler), would you print a whole new box with your logo etc?

  15. Hey Alycia,
    Thanks.. if you are using a generic box, go to Staples and get some 4×8 labels, or whatever ones will fit nicely on the box and get your labels laser printed. It will due for the time being to market test the product.

  16. It was probably bad kharma as you were selling shock collars for dogs… and how do you private label something that has been around for years? Make collars that shock HARDER or LONGER than previous ones? Did you ever try one of those out on yourself? Just wondering.

    Also, you are far too young to have “years and years” of experience in SEO and online startups. This seems like marketing for coaching to me.

    1. 1. You can private label just about anything: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+private+label
      2. I have 9 years of web design, SEO/inbound marketing, and dev experience.
      3. I don’t offer coaching.
      4. Cool story bro, you sir win the internet. Matter of fact, you won the internet so hard that I must give you the lifetime ignore hammer trophy. Kudos to your incredible self control of inner mixed emotions… Have an awesome day.

    2. Wow. What’s with you people that seem to be upset with someone else’s success?

      There have been several of you in this comments section that wouldn’t surprise me if you are one of the other sellers out there buying your competitors products and claiming counterfeit.

      Lose the narcissism and get off your ivory tower. You aren’t the best seller that ever existed.

  17. James, thanks for sharing this “nightmare” experience…I am really so happy that you got back your seller account but at the same time scary as I am a total newbie (((
    btw wish you all the best with your baby!

  18. James thanks so much for sharing your story. It is a great help, and I know I speak for a lot of FBA sellers, when I say that hearing other peoples stories, good and bad, are a great help. Thanks again!

  19. Hi James,

    you gone through hell and made it, realy congrats on that! but you say you realy never reached the level you was befor suspension. Can you share what it takes you to get so such high level. I know and read about alot sellers just througing away bunch of free samples just to get reviews, it cost money alot of it. How much you think you need to reach the high level you was befor?

    and one more question, the problem was mentions here befor but realy never get an answer on it.

    Its reagarding selling dublicated brand itesm with own brand name registred trade mark. I mean if you sell items that enjoys the rights of registred prdocut creation, for example special simple product with unique design, can you just simple duplicate it?

    or how you check if it is a a design of registred trade mark? i know you can check the brand names if they are already registred etc. but with special design or unique product is different?

    Thanks
    Dimon

    1. Hey Dimon,
      Some loaded questions for sure! Giveaways in exchange for reviews definitely work.. I can’t go into too much detail due to time *sorry!*

      But
      1: Its not about upfront money, or bullying your way to the top with money. It’s about finding a good product and optimizing as much as you can. Ranking tactics come second and can’t live/thrive without the first.

      2: Yes, it’s called private label/white label, as long as it isn’t trademarked/patented/etc.. you can create a generic version and brand however you wish.

      3: Search the USPTO website database or even a quick Google search for basic, prelim

  20. Really enjoyed your story James! Great details and insights into this Amazon craze. A point of clarification for my understanding of private label, etc….

    You can take an existing product and sell it under your own brand. Businesses have been doing this forever, it isn’t new to Amazon.

    So, when you say you were selling your own trademarked products, etc., do you mean these are products you designed and had manufactured and are 100% unique (possibly similar to another, but with different features)….

    Or are your products the more common PL style.. an existing product with your brand / packaging. Yes, you own the brand in this case and have your own listing, but the product is the same as sold by another brand.

    I’m not judging here… just wanting to understand the specific details on this point and learn from your experience. Thanks bro!

    1. Thank you! Yes, I mean the later. So my product is slightly different in that the quality here or there is much better but it has my brand name embossed, labeled, stitched, etc. into the actual product. The packaging of course has my stuff on there as well.

  21. Great article, I really enjoyed reading this. One question tho, creating these new listings, how did you initially test launch these products with no product reviews, professional pictures or past sales? Is it 100% based on SEO ?

    1. You buy a small sample set, and create the listings from scratch. Make the pictures via iPhone or whatever you have. It’s not 100% SEO based imo; it’s just making a better listing than anything else out in that niche to start.

  22. That’s CRAZY! I’m also selling on Amazon private label products, I’m doing that since november 2014 and already sold over 100k with 3 products… What i didn’t really understand is this:

    “Hello,

    Thank you for writing regarding your account that was recently blocked. We have reviewed this situation, and have decided not to reinstate your account.

    As we have indicated in our previous warning to you, listing generic or off-brand items against detail pages for specific brands is against our terms of service. Sellers are asked not to deviate from the format or product listed in our retail catalog. As stated in our policies, sellers may not list items against detail pages for different products.

    They don’t want new private labels? they want just resellers? or they saw that your supplier from china is making generic products?

    wow, this got me really really confused…

    1. That’s a great question. I initially thought the same; I was like ‘whattt?? are private labels banned now?” which I think is not the case as 3P make up a huge revenue for Amazon in general and they invested too much into FBA warehouses, etc. I would probably say it has something to do with my listings not matching the product in some way than a policy on the “type” of product.

    2. Lynn,
      I’m not suer if you are aware of how the Amazon catalog works, or is supposed to.
      Every product for sale is assigned an ASIN, or an Amazon DetailPage. Once a detail page is created in Amazon, anyone and everyone is allowed to sell that exact item, by listing an offer against that ASIN.
      When you create a new verion, brand, etc. of a product, you may not list it as if you are selling an-other (pre-existing) ASIN, you need to get a New Product DetailPage added to the amazon catalouge with a new ASIN.
      That is how the term “may not list items against detail pages for different products”, is interperted. So they are claiming that you sold your private label against an ASIN of another label, which is just a similar item. It’s not the actual item described in that listing/ASIN.
      The big problem being experieneced by sellers is that we see no evidence of such behavior, when Amazon insitsts we are engaged in such practice. The guesses mentioned in this thread so-far are that amazon’s software is picking it up in reviews, feedbacks, communications.that when amazon cleans up / consolidtes ASINs they might be erroneosly combining 2 different ASINs. If your ASIN is one of the 2 in such amazon action your listing can endup lookin as iff, yes, you…. The worst part of this second guess is that suchh ASIN merges are likely caused by som knock-off trying to lst their cra* against your well preforming ASIN.
      Good Luck!

      1. Hey Guys,

        thanks for this article and discussion it is very informative 🙂 I have one question, Amazon doesnt see that this merging ASINS is a big problem? How they can ruin this whole concept by doing this? I dont understand it… Didnt they fixed it somehow from that time? 🙂
        And how can somebody just force Amazon to merge your ASIN with another ones just to sell against your?

        1. Another seller can’t force Amazon to merge ASINs unless they prove that the products are the same. Usually ASIN merges are initiated by Amazon not by sellers. Their algorithm tells them this is the same product and they merge it. Other sellers are given a chance to dispute ASIN merges which is why it is so important to keep on top of those ASIN changes messages we get from Amazon. That may be your best chance to dispute a suggested change. Otherwise you have to go talk to the catalog people and convince them that the ASIN should be un-merged.

  23. Excellent excellent write up, James. Thanks for the time… as well as follow up attention, that you put into this article.

    Warm regards, DY

  24. James, I agree with Dave, above, excellent article. Chris just reposted it in his SP group on FB. That’s a heck of a recommendation. At any rate, just got my own dreaded letter on Sunday, after finishing my 100th new ASIN for shipment, just before I pressed the print label button, bam, no account access. Now this would have been ok, but I just took out a huge Kabbage loan to buy inventory, and now it sits, packaged, ready to go. Amazon promised me a reply by Monday 8/3 4:27 pm, but they blew their own escalated deadline. I’ve got to make good on the loan, and experts are telling me initial response time is at least a week, not the 24-48 hrs. the site promises. Moreover, I hear EVERYONE gets the auto response that you got back initially, none of our first appeals are read by a human. So this is a bit insulting as I just spent the last 48 hours composing follow up documentation. I’m a very new, small seller. I’ve not recovered initial inventory costs because I chose toys and that doesn’t make money til Q4. So from Jan. til Aug. I shipped inventory in advance for Q4, hoping to recoup. Now, to learn they don’t even read our appeals? Darling Cynthia charges $500 to help. This is not within reach for new FBA seller who never recouped initial inventory costs.
    Any suggestions?

    1. Hey Terri,
      Thanks.. I’m sorry; I’m bad with acronyms.. Chris from SP?

      Regarding your account; unfortunately.. I think you’re going to have to play damage control. The first priority is finding a way to “delay” that Kabbage loan. Hustling and finding a way to transfer money somehow to cover a couple months of the Kabbage payments until you get back on your feet with Amazon. Two, unfortunately; it’s just a waiting game with them right now. I’d play it safe.. email me at help@feedbackz.com

      – James

  25. I’m in the same boat right now- except I’m down from $300k a month in sales- but I know we both feel the same. I am so jealous you are back on.

    I just paid Cynthia Stine $1500 to do an appeal for me – I hope it works- thing is tough when amazon says they will get back to you in 1-2 business days for me it was 12 business days for the 1st and only response so far!

    I am on day 22 and only got one response from amazon last week asking for a better appeal – I hired and sent in Cyntia Stines $1500 appeal I really hope it works. I will let you know if she is the cure all.

    I’m with you on diversifying your income streams but would probably not have a great answer on where else to go. I sell on ebay as well but they are about 12% of the revenue amazon gives me.

    Getting desperate at this point and thinking about hiring a new employee and making them in charge of amazon sales with their own account—- really trying to find solutions where ever they are.

    You do seem like a better seller though – I had several policy violations but didn’t give them anywhere near as much merit as I now know they deserved. All of my seller metrics were exceptional and always seeing that my seller account was in good standing was merely a mirage of self confidence thinking my account was in great standing.

    I know now policy violations are soooooo important. I learned such a big lesson and the longer the appeal process drags out the deeper the lesson and scar this is. I really hope they let me back on. I really would do anything to make things right with jeff bezos at Amazon— even go gay for the day if I had to as my professional life is really in limbo hell.

  26. Thanks for all the info and help James. I am truly freaking out! I am also in the same boat as my account was suspended on Aug 6. I was shocked to get the email that my account was suspended because I have 100 seller performance and I have 100% positive feedback. I was really freaked out and thought it as an error and shot off a stupid appeal without researching it as I didn’t think it was really for my account. The I read that I will get a reply in 24 hours so I shot off two more emails letting them know how great a seller I am and could they tell me what I did wrong. I was thinking they were going to have this fixed in 24 hours so I better get the emails off asap as I didn’t have much time.
    From what I have read the three emails I sent can be a problem as they were not very good and they can just ignore them of send me a final decision notice. Did I kill myself with the three emails (not very good ones) sent within that first 24 hours? I am now afraid to send them another better appeal letter.

    I am in the wallpaper business and have about 1000 listing and maybe 30 FBA ASINs But, the 30 FBA items make up 75% of my Amazon sales. I too have loans, not from Kabbage, but from Amazon Lending which is also freaking me out. When you borrow from Amazon you state that you will use the money to grow your business and I did exactly that and purchased more and more inventory to send to FBA.

    I too don’t really understand the problem as my letter said
    “Complaint Type: Not as advertised product/Wrong product ”

    I think buyers use that to send back items they don’t like. Again I am in the wallpaper business and wallpaper can look different in person than in real life. But my refund rate is between 3% and 4% which is great in my business.

    I have been selling on Amazon for 3 years and truly have all my eggs in the Amazon basket and Amazon represents all my profits as my other sales just support the basics like rent and employees.

    What I am asking your opinion is when should I send then a better appeal letter? What do you think, now or when I get a reply? Should I start pulling in all my FBA inventory? Should I delete all my times and have not inventory? In the email it lists four ASINs only three actual SKUs as Amazon listed the same ASINs twice. (my three best sellers) should I have them returned to me.

    I am just freaking out and have not slept in days. any advice would be great. I am afraid to do anything and don’t want to email Amazon. I am just stuck as I don’t want to make mistake again like emailing Amazon three times in a row.

    1. Yes, I actually had already decided to use her company/services when I made my post. But, I just wanted to get a persons view on the problem from someone that has been through this. What I have learned more than anything is that it does not pay to grow your business on Amazon. I wish I would have invested in other ways to grow than on Amazon. With the fees I paid Amazon I could have paid google for advertising and had a nice ad budget.

      1. Oh, yes. I can understand.. I lost alot of sleep through my suspension and stress of loans, etc. It’s hard, but patient is about the only thing that can be done at this point. Possibly email’ing Jeff himself but I wouldn’t bother the SP team too much until they respond. As far as the biggest lesson.. I got the same take away. Diversify. Which one of the many reasons why I started Feedbackz amongst a few other apps in the works.

  27. Update- For me right now it is a massive waiting game- oddly though – Amazon let me back on Monday after being suspended for 20 days— for almost an entire day – and then they re suspended me saying they needed a better plan of action. So weird as Cynthia Stine wrote me a killer plan of action that I have 100% followed for $1500.

    So my account is suspended again- I have 100% positive feedback – no new policy violations – no idea why they took my selling privileges away again.

    It has been such a bummer as I was sooooo excited to be back on– the crushing blow of being taken back off so quick almost felt like a joke as I really couldn’t believe it.

    Anyway – I got some recommendations from cynthia stine – she even had me message jeff bezos- which I am sure is a 1 in a million shot. She did update my appeal letter really quick and she was very accessible and has been great. — Not sure if she is going to be my cure all though.

    I resubmitted my appeal on monday hoping amazon would reply in the 24hr reply time they talk about. It is Now friday – no word – no hope

    I will update you on my success or lack of it. I would pay so much to be back on amazon now as I have really based my whole business around it- I really am a great seller.

    James you are spot on when you call it a Dance/ Fight with Seller Performance- it really is – and it is sooo ambiguous of a process that I can not tell what is going on at all.

    1. Ronald, your post has really crushed my hopes. I still have not received any reply from Amazon about my suspension and it has been a week. Nothing from them at all.
      How long did it take them to reply to your first appeal?
      After they let you on did they give you a reason when they suspended you again?
      I am just starting to work with Cynthia’s company and I am waiting on her for a plan of action. But, still I have nothing from Amazon.
      I have not slept more than 4 hours a night since this happened.
      I am truly worried that this could put me out of business. I am afraid to recall all my inventory hoping that Amazon will open my account back up. But, I need the inventory to try and sell it. Worst of all is that I have a loan from Amazon that I am having to pay on and no money coming in.

      1. It is not worth sending back – if you sell your products some where else you can still have amazon send the inventory to your customer. Just got to the manage FBA section – select the product you would like to send and click start fulfillment order 🙂

        Any word yet on a response from seller performance? It is still crickets here for me

  28. Charles- It’s definitely a tough not straight forward process like James Amazio is saying. It took 11 days for Amazon to give me my first response. I have no idea why they reinstated me for 18 hrs to take me right back off—- If that happens again I may go with the authors solution of deleting all of my listings and starting from scratch — I’m hoping I do not have to do that as I have put so much effort into getting my products on the first page of amazon search. Can you sell your stuff on Ebay as well to keep your cash flow going? — Hang in there- hopefully you can find productive things to do instead of worrying- like the author says use this time to diversify. Keep in mind I am 20 days into the suspension – the author of this blog took over a month to get back on so you are really may still in the early stages of the ball game unless you get lucky with a quick response. I’ll give you good news as soon as I get it to give you a yard stick as to how long my next response time is from seller performance.

  29. Still no reply from Amazon, nothing at all! I am at least hoping to get a reply this week but I have never had anyone contact me back in freelance to my suspension. It has been 12 days

  30. I’m in the same boat- I think I’m just going to take the kids on a mini beach vacation as Amazon is giving us so much free time- hopefully I’ll hear from them while I’m there.

    Anything to get my mind of Amazon sounds like a good idea to me as this is torture

    🙁

  31. Hi James,

    Sorry to hear about your problems with your accounts.

    I was wondering if you were able to look at the listings regularly and they were not getting remapped to some other ASIN?

    If they all were on the pages you started was anyone selling their items on your pages even if they were not getting the buy box?

    Any new competition selling your exact items maybe with a similar item?

  32. Finally received my first reply from Amazon after 13 days. Emailed stated I need a better plan of action to fix my problems. I only wish I understood what I did wrong.

    I was told my items are ” Not as advertised product/Wrong item” My high volume sellers are FBA so it isn’t the wrong item part and not as advertised is because it is wallpaper and people don’t like it when they see it in person. They use the not as advertised to get shipping refunded.

    Ugh, stressful and frustrated

  33. Charles- I have found that people post their appeals on amazons forum and lots of people help edit appeals

    you can post yours here

    https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=6&start=0

    you will get lots of feedback from people who have been there (suspended)- many will flat out tell you what you have done wrong and the direction you need to go with your letter.

    I am noticing people on the forum are complaining about a very long wait time right now for a response from seller performance- take your time making an amazing appeal as you will probably be waiting a couple of weeks for a response so get it right the first time

    Good luck! Thanks for posting your update here – the response is good news so you can get to the next step

    1. That’s awesome to hear Ronald! The next few months; walk carefully as there’s a probationary period… oh, btw: I’d love to have you be a Feedbackz user when the smoke clears and you get a chance. =)

  34. Charles… if what you say, about the wallpaper is true… the next obvious question, is, how high quality are your Product Page images?

    If they are not absolutely top quality… well, I would probably return product as well, if the photos didn’t do a great job of representing the wall paper.

    You may want to also consider re-engineering your customer support… so customers feel much more care from your side about their “process of doing business” with you.

    I regularly hear “Best customer support on Amazon” from my customers… and there is a reason for that… it’s true.”

    Amazon is a 100% customer satisfaction driven system…

    We can presume you are ALREADY using Feedback Genuis, or another system, to work with/reach out to your customers, yes? If not, why not?

    Best of luck to getting back up and running!

    Dave

  35. Whoops… my bad…

    Charles… I meant Feedbackz!

    Having an automated way to set customer expectation = PRICELESS!

  36. We have been waiting now for almost a week for a response to our appeal. So completely frustrating. Thankfully we have only been selling for 2 months, so we don’t have hundreds of thousands in inventory, but we’ve been selling over 10k/mo. Do you know anyone who is teaching how to read the metrics on our site and where to look to make sure we are staying compliant? We have great customer ratings and no major complaints. For some reason, Amazon notes that we do have complaints, although we can see them on our dashboard. It’s hard to respond to a complaint that you haven’t been made aware of. Very frustrating time…

  37. Hi James
    Thank you for all the nuggets of information you lay out. I have been suspended for nearly a month now and I have received only one email from Amazon asking me to appeal in greater detail which I did same day. That was two weeks ago. No reply yet. Reason was POLICY VIOLATIONS and one of them was that I am selling a counterfeit product. I have been in business for 30 years and buy only from manufacturers. And I have sold hundreds of the product in question on Amazon. Surely Amazon can see that there have never been complaints before this by other buyers. however, I admit I did ignore earlier notifications but I honestly thought that no response was required because they did not ask for one.
    How long does Amazon usually take before they make a decision ? How are other sellers able to build inventory with confidence after suspension ?

  38. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this story.

    what I am missing is that if you didn’t know what is the reason for that suspension then how could you know how to start all over again? you could repeat the same error after all. I’ll be happy to know what you’ve done differently on your second round.

    Thanks,

    1. You’re right.. I “could” but that’s just the risk you take as an entrepreneur. I didn’t do anything different.. I believe I did nothing wrong in the first place and was a technical-ily issue.

    2. Avi,

      Most of my clients don’t understand why they were suspended, not really. Part of this is because Amazon doesn’t give us metrics for product quality. Nor did they tell their sellers when they updated the product quality algorithm. There is no dashboard to refer to and they don’t tell you the reports that contain the evidence they are using for your suspension.

      That is why I wrote my new book “Suspension Prevention: Get Reinstated and Protect Your Amazon Seller Account.” In the book I teach sellers their new metrics and how to avoid suspension. I share how sellers can proactively clean up their accounts before the Amazon suspension ‘bots take them down. I explain what all the terms mean and how “counterfeit” doesn’t necessarily mean counterfeit, for example.

      If James will let me plug here, you can find more information at: http://suspensionprevention.com

      Cheers,
      Cynthia Stine

      1. Cynthia you are your team saved me and my business. The only issue was that I didn’t hire you sooner. I wasted two weeks with no replies from Amazon. After I sent in the appeal your team prepared for me I was back on Amazon in two days!
        What my question is now is that I would like your hard copy book. I see an Oct 1 date but I dont see where I can purchase the hard cover book. Is it out yet?
        Thanks for all your help and Lesley was amazing to work with.

          1. Thanks Cynthia,

            I look forward to getting the book. I am not worried about the new Return Dissatisfaction Rate and the Customer Service Dissatisfaction Rate metrics. Do you have a plan set up for helping small Amazon accounts like mine say “clean” ? I am always worried about being suspended again.

  39. I have been in a similar position where I had all of my listings suspended and my account shut down. Really destroyed most of our income. However, we were able to find a company called Auction Essistance that helped us get back on within a week or so.

    So far so good. Right now, we are more cautious in how we operate on Amazon since the suspension happened.

  40. James,

    thanks for sharing your story, I too was suspended – and i’ve still got no idea why.

    Recieved a cryptic bullsh*t email from Amazon talking about ‘item does not match description’.

    I have come to the conclusion it was from buyers calling Amazon to complain, becuase I wouldn’t roll over and die when it came to cancellations (things i had already sent) or returns.

    These customer issues somehow got turned into item issues.

    As you said develop those other channels ASAP.

    Anyway good luck.

    S

  41. I think Dave got it right back on August 3 when he referred to “disreputable sellers who cheat and talk smack to Amazon about competitors” and one could say the same about customers who are happy to trash a legitimate business just because they’ve changed their mind about what they bought and want their $20 back.
    Managing customers’ expectations, treating them overly fairly, pandering to them and giving them stuff for nothing is far cheaper and easier than trying to deal with Seller Performance (and a customer’s positive response is good for the soul). On all levels Customer Over-satisfaction is crucial. As for Seller Performance, Dave got it right again, Amazon “DESPERATELY need a new time selling/seller performance algorithm, that gives more consideration to folks who have proven they are trying to do right by the customers. The idea that you are unable to make sensible contact with Amazon’s secret police is Bizarre and is a matter that Jeff Bezos should put above his desire for 3M more third party sellers.
    Finally, it should be compulsory for all those “Gurus” out there making money, off innocents trying to start their Amazon businesses, to put Seller Performance (and avoiding Patent infringement for that matter) at the top of their agenda; and they should distribute Cynthia Stine’s book Suspension Prevention for free as part of the deal.

  42. Simon,
    Thank you for your kind endorsement of my book. I welcome all gurus who want to buy my book for their audiences. I’ll offer a bulk discount. 🙂 In seriousness, you are right about the need to think proactively about returns and customer satisfaction right from the beginning. It wasn’t like that when I started selling five years ago. I made mistakes then that would get me suspended today. They are much more punitive today. You would think it would be in their best interest to help sellers be better rather than punish them when they inadvertently make a mistake – which is what is happening to a lot of my clients.
    Cynthia

  43. James,

    Now that you went into other channels

    what percent of your revenue are you getting from
    1) Amazon
    2) Ebay
    3) Your own online store
    4) or any other ave. you have gone down.

    So curious as Amazon is 80% for me and I know I have to be smart and diversify

    Also are you 100% back with your revenue now on Amazon?

    1. Ronald,
      About 90% back. I only sell on Amazon channel.

      My diversity path is a bit different as I am more focused on Feedbackz than Amazon. I wanted more diversity than a portfolio of physical products, so software was the way to go for me.

      – James

  44. To Ronald,

    I was suspended from Amazon four months ago and we are back at about 75% of sales from before the suspension. I am not sure if this has anything to do with the suspension or just the slow down in my industry in the fall. I am selling at about 5% down from last fall but Amazon had being growing every month for me until the suspension.

    Amazon is about 25% of my business. You need to diversify ASAP. No way should you let a third party control your business. It would hurt to lose 25% of my sales if Amazon shut me down but I would not be out of business.

    What I see as the issues that directly effects Amazon sellers is that I am seeing a higher percentage of growth in sales on Amazon than what I am seeing in my other sales channels. In two years Amazon will be 40% of my sales if the growth continues. But, my profit margin on Amazon sales is the lowest of all my other sales outlets.

    I am going to do my best to play by Amazons rules. I know nothing lasts forever. But until then I will do my best to keep selling on Amazon

    1. Charles! Glad you got back on!

      Can you impart some wisdom to where to sell other things so I can do a better job diversifying as well?

      My amazon sales are up drastically – are you using FBA? FBA increases sales so much though it does depress the profit margin

  45. Yes we use both FBA and does help but also takes a huge inventory load as I have to stock the product at Amazon and at my own warehouse for other sales channels

    We have Amazon, ebay, own site, and a brick and mortar store. Amazon has the lowest margins of all. But the volume is there so we are happy. It works for Wal Mart lol Volume over margin.

  46. Hey James, great article, can you explain little more specifically how you got rid off the inventory.

    Amazon blocked three of my FBA listings ( several hundred items ),one of them became more popular than amazon’s own.There are others but not popular as were mine.

    Seller-performance was ignoring me for 25 days, today got email saying to take it all out of their warehouses or it would be disposed.

    On Ebay has zero sales so far.

    Thanks

  47. James Amazio-

    When you got back on with your private label products did you make a new asin for them and rebrand them with a new product picture and description or did you literally never sell those items again?

  48. Great Post thank you for sharing your experience,

    In my case after a few years of selling on Amazon in November 2014, I finally was able to get a good volume of sales. I was averaging 4000+ a day selling computers and electronics. I ended up getting a loan in merchandise from one of my suppliers for the amount of $49,932.00 due in 30 days. On November 14 I was scheduled to be paid, but on the 13 they put my account on review and postponed my payment just because my sales volume had increased so I got 0 money! I was not concerned just yet, since I still had about 20 more days to pay for the merchandise. On November 27 one day prior to my next scheduled payment day they suspended my account then I realized I was in serious trouble!!!

    It was a very stressful experience, I spoke with my supplier and they had no choice but to give me extra time. After submitting a few appeals Amazon reopened my account. However, they held the funds supposedly while they review my account which still was at a 99% feedback and good metrics, with 2000+ sales, to make the story short before Christmas eve I was scheduled to be paid it had been almost 2 months without getting paid. I was happy my account passed the review and this time 2 days before the payment day a got 2 negative feedback the same day and they shut down my account!! This time permanently it was very painful!!! 2 months with no income in debt!!! Christmas!!!! Having more money than ever in Amazon and broke since I had no cash in hand, I had to complete 3 full month before they release the funds!!!!

    It was a very distressing Christmas and New Year. I still had a ton of inventory and no way to sell it. After and intense research and many tries and mistakes I opened a different account under a few of my families members and some relatives names, but they all got shut down quickly as well. Finally, by March I was able to figure it out. There are ways to get multiple unlikable accounts opened!! You can get more information below.

    http://backamazonsuspension.com/did-amazon-suspended-your-account/

    1. Two negative feedbacks will not get you permanently suspended. Late shipments, and failure to respond to customers and A to Z claims will get you revoked, regardless of 99% positive reviews. Also, encouraging people to open multiple accounts is a major no-no, you will eventually get caught and get your accounts revoked.

    2. You were shut down for product quality issues most likely, not performance metrics. For other folks reading this post, please know that getting banned is not always the last word. We have been able to get a lot of sellers reinstated who lost their accounts. It sounds like this person did not know exactly why he got suspended and – I’m guessing – his appeal was insufficient. We see this every day at my firm. Some sellers have been successful setting up new accounts – usually with a lot of trial and error – but it is against Amazon policy. That’s why I focus on reinstatement. I’d rather my clients not lose all their positive reviews and have to start over again. Also, if you don’t know what went wrong the first time, you’ll probably repeat it in the second business. We’ve seen that before, too. All this is to say, also, is that there are a lot of folks out there selling books and services who promise to make it easy to fool Amazon and re-start. It is NOT easy to fool Amazon and it is MORE than a technology solution. Getting a new IP address isn’t enough.

  49. Did you ever figure out why they banned you in the first place? How were your detail pages different from your items if you created everything yourself?

  50. 2013 my account was permanently suspended without any explanation.
    Account had good ratings. 2015 My wife tried to open his account, but without success. The appeal was sent several times, but without success.

  51. My account was permanently restricted just recently. I done everything I could to get it reinstated, but they wouldn’t budge.

    Does anyone know if Auction Essistance is a reputable company for Amazon seller accounts?

    Been looking for a solution to get back on.

  52. I haven’t even started selling. Granted I have gotten stuff from retail stores etc. but I haven’t mailed them in. In the beginning of the article and towards the end, I started having serious second thoughts. I am deaf so finding a good job is very hard for me even though I have excellent skills in many areas. Employers simply don’t want to hire a disabled person (sad to say). I would love to grow a business that I can hire deaf/disabled people to work for me. Towards the end I am reassured and thankful for people out there who are willing to help people get re-instated or do FBA analytics to see if there are any violations etc. I will be wise and will set aside at least $5,000 (once I start making money) and will put it in an emergency account for situations such as these. I also am planning to put a percentage for living expenses, a percentage for the business, and be prepared at all times for any type of catastrophes. Cynthia Stine, I haven’t gotten your book yet but I plan to and I have you noted as a contact source if anything happens to me!

    Being deaf, it is brutally hard for me to get any information esp via youtube or podcasts to learn more. I am struggling to find out any info for registering my business. I have looked into sole prop or LLC. I also looked up different companies who can do LLC for me (legalzoom) etc. I have looked up books but they give conflicting info. Is there anyone who comes “highly regarded” to help me set up my business properly? I have a business plan and outline.

    I’m willing to invest some money as I have a little bit saved up. I am serious about starting up. I also need help setting up a retail website too. Any kind of info would be SUPER helpful. You can also email me at: cuemommy@gmail.com Since I am deaf, I can’t do phone calls, but if you email me and prefer to talk by text, I can give out my phone number.

    Thank you James for posting this and I have learned a lot. I hope you continue expanding your business and find other sources to sell your products, not just Amazon.

  53. It was your self admitted aversion to “research” that led to your suspension. Had you invested the time to read and fully understand the complex rules and terms involved in selling on Amazon, you could’ve avoided all of this.

    Amazon purges thousands of newbie sellers every month whose only research appears to be watching YouTube videos selling them ideas on how to get rich today selling on Amazon. As you found out (the hard way) they will not tolerate sellers who fail to understand and abide by their rules. The fact that you still cannot understand why you were suspended says a lot, and tells us you’re destined to repeat it.

  54. You have a limited number of replies when appealing, so it is paramount that you get it right the FIRST time. They are notorious for rejecting appeals from sellers who fail to identify, acknowledge and describe in concise detail WHAT the problems were and HOW they happened.

    You need to understand they are testing you here. They have to be certain the seller FIRST understands how they’ve violated their policies. It’s the trademark of an amateur to try and tell them how great you think you are as a seller, or try to sell them on your metrics; that is irrelevant to their decision making.

    If you don’t understand why you were suspended, it’s really a sign that you’re just not at the point where you can sell on their platform. Amazon takes it’s reputation very seriously and has zero tolerance to anyone who poses a risk of tarnishing it.

  55. I was hit with a product defect rate. Amazon sent a notification that there was a quality issue with one of the products I was selling a small electronic that I had sold thousands of.

    Amazon claimed that my supplier I used to purchase the products was not a trustworthy enough company to list my products on FBA or the Amazon marketplace due to the defect rate exceeded 4%.

    After I sent in my purchase receipt to Amazon I did not get a reply from seller performance team they just removed it.

    I think they might have been embarrassed that the supplier they were tarnishing and claimed to have poor quality products had been Amazon. I purchased thousands of these items from Amazon when they had a good sale on them and held on to them for a month until the sale ended. I then sent them into FBA and flipped them.

    All I could say is WOW what happened to this company? It use to be a positive experience for both buyer and seller alike.

    Also I am now forced to purchase signature confirmation on every package to protect myself as delivery confirmation no longer prevents buyers who desire to steal from you from doing so.

    Delivery confirmation just makes you aware of how many items are delivered to the customer only to have Amazon remove the money from your account.

    It now gets even better with FBA. When Amazon sends your product to a buyer with FBA for you and the buyer claims they didn’t receive the item it isn’t Amazon out the money anymore it is YOU!

    I treat every customer with politeness and respect that I would like to be treated. Things are not changing for the better. You live in constant fear that one irrational person that may be having a bad day will leave you a negative review or call Amazon and destroy your livelihood, force your employees to lose their job, or take food out of your children’s mouth. This can happen even after 10 years of selling with perfect metrics & feedback.

    Yes this does happen. If it has not happen to you yet count yourself lucky.

    I know people don’t want to hear sob stories of how a decision by Amazon has harmed Them. The truth is they do.

    The suspension game is like a board game. You must guess what you did wrong and what will make it right. There is a secret list of branded products that you will 100% certainty get your account suspended if you dare sale them. Often FBA will even mix up your items with other sellers and you can get blamed for something you did not do nor had any control over. If you hear stories about workers at FBA are timed with a stop watch to find your products you can’t blame them for garbing the first one they can find even if it’s not your.

    I wish there was another option for selling items online as well. Amazon is the 100 lb gorilla and there is few other options that are as big. None with the same sales volume you can get from FBA.

    I’m planning to run for political office. I guarantee I will win and keep winning. Like an elephant I will never forget how I was treated.

    My number one goal is to push for an online sales tax for my state as I have seen the figures of what Amazon has gotten away with. We will certainly pass a claw back sales tax clause as well.

    There needs to be a level playing field for local business who honestly pay their fair share of sales tax as well as federal taxes. When Amazon is required to pay their fair share of sales taxes as well as other taxes local small business & local online businesses will once again thrive.

    1. It’s not Amazon or the local businessman who is paying the sales tax, it is the buyer of the item. The seller merely collects the sales tax paid by the buyer and remits it to the state. Amazon collects sales tax in the states in which they are required to do so. I sell on Amazon and have been collecting sales tax and remitting to my state for years now. It has nothing to do with Amazon at all.

      1. Yes the excuse companies like Amazon has always used is that it is the buyers responsibility to pay the sale and use tax at the end of the year rather than collect it at point of sale. They also claim it would be too hard and hurt small businesses to do so. The only reason they collect it in states that they have a physical location is that hey are required by law to do so. Could you imagine if every time you went into Walmart they didn’t collect sales tax and the buyers just had to send it in at the end of the year by the same self reporting honesty model? It would never happen people are both ignorant as well as dishonest about sales and use taxes. Typical collection from online transaction using this self reporting model is less than $800,000 in a state that should be collecting $300,000,000 in sales tax. Amazon can easily calculate and collect this state and city sales tax at the point of sale on their website. They do for states they are required to do so. Also a company like Amazon that makes as many billions of dollars a year and controls 6.7% of the worlds online sales transaction should be paying their fair share of federal taxes. Fair share not what creative accounting loopholes they are currently using. Corporations like Amazon have been fighting online sales tax in any state that has tried to implement them. They have a significant unfair competitive advantage over local small business and even large business with actual physical stores within a state with the use of this loophole and it is about time we close it. I’m sick of seeing our states sales tax revenue vacuumed out of our state by a multinational corporation with no ties or investment in our sate. As a politician I will certainly be advocating the collection of sales tax by these large online marketplaces. They are destroying small businesses with this business mode. With over 6.7% of all worldwide online commerce forcing Amazon to change will lead to changes in the sales tax collection industry wide.

  56. Some big sellers on Amazon been warning for quite some time to diversify. By taking your customers away from Amazon to your own ecommerce store. Amazon is sending letters to many manufacturers in the US asking to buy their products directly. I know a manufacture who was sent one of these letters. A friend of mine has increased his sales by 18% over the last 2 years to his ecommerce store. His sales really increased when he started using a opt in form on his website. He stated he knew Amazon would become problematic for any business. As Amazon does not like competition nor any large business. He then stated what Rockefeller said, competition is a sin.

  57. About every 6 months Amazon tries to take me down and after a month of wrangling put me back up. Not once did the reason they cited have anything to do with the truth. My product is doing very well and cannot be purchased from anybody but me. At first I thought it was an overzealous spider of some sort but after a few episodes,each with a different random excuse, I am concluding that Amazon thinks it is going to get my product directly and sell it themselves…problem is, they can’t unless they get it from me. Each time they have done this, not only did I lose a lot of money, but so did they, as customers came directly to my site instead of Amazon. Problem was, Amazon had a LOT of my inventory and would not allow me to ship orders through the amazon fulfillment center. I was loathe to have them send it all back as I figured I would then need to send it back to them when they reinstated me….and I think they have a policy that when we remove our inventory, we have to wait some months for them to sell it again…unless that was just to do with the recent “free” inventory removal offer–not sure. And another problem was that I was not equipped to do the massive amount of shipping it required of me. Agreed that we need alternatives to Amazon…any suggestions? I spend a lot of the money I earn shopping on Amazon but my feelings toward them are quickly souring. And I feel an urge to find not only another place to sell, but another place to shop. They feel like bullies to me. And as mild mannered as I am, I don’t respond well to bullies.

    1. Judy,

      “Truth” is in the eye of Amazon as beholder. My experience with hundreds of reinstatements has shown me that there usually is a reason why a seller is suspended, they just don’t realize what it is. Then they write plans/appeals that Amazon rejects because they’ve not answered the fundamental question Amazon is asking them. Amazon bases its reasons on buyer feedback. You may not be happy with that and think your buyer is wrong…but you still need to address it properly with Amazon. Normally Amazon lets you fulfill other channels through FBA while you are suspended and many of my clients sell on eBay, Craig’s List, etc., while they are suspended. If they didn’t let you fulfill outside sales then they suspect fraud, counterfeit or stolen goods…or perhaps you misunderstood the situation. If you sell your own product, then building up your outside website is wise and will help you continue selling if Amazon does this again. Online marketing and ad campaigns can be remarkably effective for this purpose. Good luck!

      1. Thanks Cynthia,

        I understand what you are saying. In my case, not once have they asked for a change of any sort. They just apologized and (eventually) put me (as a seller) or the product back up. One challenge with selling in on Ebay or even my own website is that I have to do my own shipping and that is too much for me. I wonder if there is a company that specializes in handling storing and shipping for a reasonable price.

        1. Judy,

          There are several prep and pack companies that also offer fulfillment for MF products. I work with Tony Patti of Texas Prep Pack & Ship. Tony.Patti@gmail.com. I’ve been to his facility and I’m pleased with his service. He MF my eBay and MF products. He gets notified when I have an order and takes care of it that day. It’s great.

          Cheers,
          Cynthia

  58. Hi!

    I need your help I started on Amazon uk, branched out to France and Germany then the USA. I got suspended on the USA .com about a year and a half go , never been allowed back on after a couple of try’s. I also got suspended from France and Germany but was on all European platforms including Spain and Italy however today I got an email from Amazon uk to state they had removed my selling privileges due to a customer complaints to Amazon direct not my feedback which is good as is my defect rate. Then an email from Amazon.com stating :
    Hello,
    Our records indicate that this account is related to another account that has been closed by Amazon. As a result, we have removed your Amazon.co.uk selling privileges.

    Due to the proprietary nature of our business, we do not provide information on how we determine that accounts are related.

    You can see your balance and settlement information in the Payments section of Seller Central. If you have questions about those, please send an email to payments-funds@amazon.com.

    If you want to appeal this decision, click the Appeal button next to this message on the Performance Notifications page in Seller Central (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/customer-experience/perf-notifications.html).

    Sincerely,

    I never knew Amazon.com was linked and would cause a threat to the uk? I was off Germany for a year but allowed back on and it never affected any other platforms ?
    I’ve emailed Amazon uk with an action plan , so waiting to hear back with responses to the issues all with explanations for example a customer claimed something was unauthentic which it wasn’t as they wanted a return customers state all sorts to get there own way and don’t care that there false alligations cause genuine sellers harm.
    My uk account made no reference to the USA account but the USA as you can see above does re the uk account

  59. Michelle,

    This could be your US account OR you may be linked to a completely different account. When you are suspended on one of the marketplaces, Amazon puts the “trace” on you (my term) and will shut down what it perceives to be new accounts you attempt to open. With the information you’ve provided it is hard to tell what is going on here. If you are suspended in Germany or the UK, for example, they may suspend your other EU accounts BUT they won’t close them. If you can get reinstated, the others come back online as well. So to close an account means Amazon perceives you’ve been banned from the platform before. In practice, this is normally marketplace by marketplace which is why you were still selling after being banned from the US. This leads me to think you may be linked to another seller’s account. If you are unable to resolve this issue yourself, we may be able to help.

  60. what happens to all of your stuff in fba after you deleted all of you item?

    did u have everything sent back or did u re-attach the listings to the product via stranded inventory to get your stuff back active for sale?

  61. This post is awesome and gave me lots of knowledge. Thanks to all! But, same obstacle came to my AMZ account last week. My account was suspended due to high pre-order cancel rate because of FBM fullfilment I started 2 months ago. Before I was doing FBA for 2 years and had no problems. With FBM you really had to observe metrics and ship on time. I think Amazon started to spy on my account when they put my product on review several times when still in FBA. Then they banned this product due to some new US law. But many sellers still selling it on Amazon and got it approved. I had very bad financial time and had to remove all my inventory to outside fulfillment center. Then I put it back on Amazon as FBM one day because I didn’t know how to sell-out and pay for my credit loan. I tried different channels (Ebay, Etsy, Shopify) but just couldn’t make it to sell… When one day my FBM inventory went low (was selling few per day), I accidentally canceled few orders. This caused my pre-ordered cancel rate went very high. To 17% and allowed is >2.5%. Also few days before my account was suspended, one customer calimed an A-Z guarantee and I think that was the trigger for my suspension.

    I have read all I can in FB groups and around on this topic and structured my appeal letter yesterday. So before I send it, can somebody who went through all this please read it and suggest me if it’s OK to send? This is my frist account suspension and I think I can solve it. I already took action and deleted all those FBM and FBA listings of this product causing me so much trouble. I fixed A-Z claim and responded to all other refund letters. I will have to liquidate my huge stock somehow but now I just want to save my account.
    I appreciate your thoughts!

    APPEAL:
    Hello Amazon,

    We’re very sorry about our high pre-cancelation rate. Reasons that causes this issue was our LTL shipment being late together with our fulfillment center taking too long to prepare products. We take ful responsibility for that and we immediately applied actions bellow so this won’t happen never again.

    • We closed FBM fulfillment due to high risk of ‘on time delivery’ with our current fulfillment center
    • We alerted our shipping agent about the delivery issues that causes us to run out of stock
    • We noticed all our suppliers about importance of on time delivery for us
    • We now daily check inventory levels and all performance metrics in our seller account
    • We will only use FBA fulfillment from now on – like we did for the past few years, so we won’t get out of stock again
    • We closed product listings that were giving us higher refund rate or delivery issues
    • We now daily check all trackings, return requests, negative feedback and other buyer issues
    • We authorized Automatic Returns to lower negative return feedback rate
    • We educated our team about importance of all those issues, fast response time and giving the best customer service as possible

    We strive to be great vendor who offers high quality products on Amazon and delivers great customer support. We took your warning very seriously and we hope you can forgive us.

    Sincerely,
    xxx

  62. Great information in the article. Amazon suspended me 2 days ago and it is becoming frustrating trying to get through them to reinstate my account. Now today, I just find out they won’t appeal my suspension.

    I came across Auction Essistance and their article on how to create a new stealth Amazon account. But am wondering, do you think it is safe to do?

    Would it be good to create a new account or buy one?

    1. Setting up another account is against Amazon policy and they are very good at finding sellers who do this and shutting them down within a few weeks if not a few days. Are you sure your account is banned for life? We are often able to help sellers get their accounts back even when they’ve been previously banned. Obviously it depends on the reason for the suspension in the first place. If you are adamant about setting up another account, make sure you do it right. The cheap guys give you what you pay for. At least that’s been my clients’ experience. If you’d like to talk over your options, you can find me and my website online. Cheers, Cynthia

  63. Hi James, Thanks for sharing your story.Lots of good lessons. I got suspended about 4 months ago and it was a really weird thing to have to go through, as mainly I wasn’t really sure what they wanted or why I got suspended. Thankfully I got things solved and back on Amazon.co.uk again. It took me about 2 months partly because I had to travel but what I realized is that suspension doesn’t mean you can’t get back on Amazon ever again. What they wanted is that I took the humble seat and confess I was wrong even though to be honest I wasn’t really sure what, and do what ever they asked and it’s no use trying to convince them they are wrong and I was right. Like you said it’s their playground and they make the rules. Take it or leave it..

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