This post is by Chris McCabe and and Leah McHugh. Chris is the owner and founder of ecommerceChris, an Amazon seller account consultancy, and Leah McHugh is a consultant for ecommerceChris.
When something goes wrong with your Amazon account, the first thing most sellers do is call Seller Support. The majority of the time, this doesn’t achieve much, and causes even more frustration – unless you find their hold music soothing!
If only there was a guide to Amazon teams. Who should you call, and when? Can you even call the right people?
Well, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together your crib notes on the Amazon teams – what they do, what they don’t do, and how to reach them.
Amazon Seller Support are the “customer service” department for sellers. They are there to answer your questions about listing and selling. They can possibly give you information about internal annotations on your account, but only in roughly 1 out of 100 cases. They occasionally give you information that is not visible to you, either on the account itself or in the messaging. For this, they are worth an attempt to contact and gather info on your “what is missing in my account” appeal issues.
For anything else, they are not going to contribute to any solutions around Seller Performance and Product Quality team actions. You’re better off investing that time into quality correspondence.
They also do not have the authority to review escalations for you, or advise you on how to appeal a restriction, even though they do attempt to at times.
Also, if Seller Support gives you bad information about what you may need to do following a suspension, and you take it at face value, you may lower the odds of acceptance for your next Plan of Action. Keep in mind that some information which they pass along about your account may be generic, and not specific to your particular situation. In other words, they often tell you something because they have to say something, not because it actually fits the bill. Take it all with a grain of salt. If they advise you poorly and you follow it, you’ll still be held responsible for whatever mistakes result, even if you have their advice documented in writing.
Catalog are the tech support team for listings. If you’re having an issue with uploading or updating listings, the Catalog department can troubleshoot. They do not have the authority to authorize your listing practices, but they can make suggestions to you on the proper listing procedure and advise on some policies. Catalog cannot be considered the “last word” on what is compliant and what is not – they are only a source of assistance when it comes to understanding guidelines, and for resolving technical errors.
Make sure each detail page you list against complies with all policies, as it will not help you to explain that you listed against a page you did not create. If there are image violations, for example, and it’s not your image, you could still receive a warning for copyright infringement.
This team assesses your performance and takes actions to approve multiple accounts, block individual listings, or suspend your account entirely if an investigation warrants it. They can only be reached by email, unless they reach out to you about an appeal or Plan of Action (POA) you’ve submitted, to indicate what else might be needed.
This team is responsible for the lion’s share of non-automated suspensions. They examine reports of policy violations, including listing violations and forms of marketplace manipulation, like ASIN variations or any attempt to circumvent established policies. They enforce item quality on behalf of buyers and investigate any instances where a seller’s product listing against a detail page conflicts with what the buyer says they have received.
Executive Seller Relations
Emails to Executive Seller Relations (formerly led by Scott Kubicki) are meant to divert many of the “Jeff” emails that Amazon receives daily. In a sense, this helps localize the email escalations in the proper place, away from all the various Jeff emails that come in about other matters, and also, within the proper part of the company.
On the other hand, Executive Seller Relations is not in charge of Seller Performance, nor Product Quality, and that is often where these escalations need to go. In theory, higher-level investigators work on these. In practice, the replies tend to stay the same and the information included in any follow-ups (when they don’t reinstate) lacks detail or quality. It’s very hit-and-miss.
Jeff Bezos Escalations
These are the most overused type of escalations. People tend to write to Jeff and his team prematurely, or in the wrong situations. This is often because they expect immediate replies, or only favorable replies, back from Performance and Policy teams. In past years, emailing Jeff and asking for someone higher up to take over the review of your appeal, represented the only way to get someone other than Seller Performance, or Product Quality, to read your Plan of Action.
If you’re that desperate, and cannot wait a day or two for a reply to your Plan of Action, due to impending financial destruction, then yes, by all means lob whatever you have at them and hope to get lucky.
For anyone who understands the process of escalation, and what you need to submit with an escalation, this is the wrong move. You may have only one true chance to get Executive Seller Relations to review your account again, and make a final decision on the merits of your Plan of Action. If they annotate your account indicating that you’ve had that last chance, then you’ll have a tremendously difficult time trying to get their attention. Even with a strong Plan of Action, or better written appeal further down the road, time and again we see sellers struggle to be heard by that point.
If you’re warned for an IP, trademark, copyright or patent infringement, the Notice Teams remove your listing and advise you to contact the rights owner to resolve the dispute (and get the complaint retracted).
Many sellers tell Amazon that they will not list the items anymore, and have removed the inventory, but this is not good enough in Amazon’s eyes. You, or your attorney, need to reach out to the complaining party and have them contact Amazon directly, in writing, to absolve you of the past infringement. Only then can it be considered truly resolved on your account.
If you determine with your attorney that an Amazon warning was due to a false infringement claim, or that the rights owner email address does not truly exist, then you can dispute a Notice with this team.
You must remember that disputing a Notice means more than simply complaining that you consider a claim made against you to be baseless. A true legal argument is required, making your case that the complaint came from an unreliable, illegitimate source.
It can be tough to navigate the arcane processes and labyrinthine internal teams of Amazon’s marketplace.
So, if you have any questions on who does what, or even why, please don’t hesitate to ask someone who knows. You’ll be glad you did when it makes the difference between a successful email, and lifted restrictions, versus silence or mind-numbing auto-replies.
This post was by Chris McCabe and and Leah McHugh. Chris is the owner and founder of ecommerceChris, an Amazon seller account consultancy, and Leah McHugh is a consultant for ecommerceChris.
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Amazon’s Internal Teams: What They Do and Why They Matter to Sellers