Amazon Account Suspensions: Myths and Facts

Chris McCabe blows up some of the biggest misconceptions that sellers have about Amazon’s suspension and reinstatement process

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com. ecommerceChris shows Amazon sellers how to keep their accounts healthy, or, if the worst should happen, how to get their account back from a suspension.

UPDATED January 2018: this second edition has been completely reviewed and revised with four brand new myths.

Amazon account suspensions are still very common, and happen frequently – fact. Either temporarily or permanently, sellers are losing cherished ASINs and seeing their accounts suspended at a rapid clip. It could be due to policy violations, code of conduct violations, suspected bad behavior, or simply having poor metrics.

Given my Seller Performance background at Amazon, I do my best to guide sellers through the root causes of their account suspensions. However, I’m seeing more and more sellers coming to me with misconceptions about suspensions, or posting incorrect advice on social media and seller forums.

I don’t know where these sellers are getting their information from, but it could potentially harm their chances of being reinstated. So, in this post, I will be addressing four common myths to help sellers develop a clearer understanding of the account suspension and reinstatement process.

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Myth #1 – Suspensions are easy to reverse if you know the right people inside Amazon

The primary concern of Amazon’s Seller Performance investigators is to reduce, or eliminate, the buyer complaints that Amazon is receiving against your account. They are far less concerned about the commission which their company will lose by removing you from the site.

So, if your Plan of Action is considered less than adequate, you won’t get back on any faster just because you happen to “know a guy who knows a guy”. That’s just not how Amazon works. No matter what you’ve heard on a group thread, Amazon requires sellers to follow a proper appeals process.

Does it help to have a connection to a higher-up who can initiate an internal escalation for you? Of course it does, providing they do it the right way and are actually connected to the teams that took action against you.

At the same time, are there loads of VPs, managers, and other executives globally who have internal stature, but no ability to help you whatsoever? Of course there are.

You need to evaluate your internal contacts individually, based on what they do, what they can do for you, and who they can talk to for you. One way or another, they need to either be on, or communicate on your behalf with, the Policy or Performance teams – nothing else will work.

Anyone accumulating item quality complaints is susceptible to an account review, which could, in the course of a manual investigation, lead to an account suspension. Having a high level of annual revenue may not make much of a difference, even if you have an Account Manager.

You may have a manager still connected to your account who no longer has the same role, or their replacement may not be familiar with Policy or Performance team processes. They could get inside intelligence on specific causes, or guidance on what you may need to do next, but don’t expect it to be substantially different from what you already know. There are no shortcuts nor free lunches on Amazon.

Myth #2 – Don’t poke the bear, or Amazon will take you down

Amazon teams are not sitting around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for emails to come in and spark investigations so that they have something to do. If you email them replying to a recent warning, identifying particular solutions to the problem and asking for an account annotation, they won’t spend the rest of their day trying to find ways to take you down. This myth is a gross misconception of how those teams operate. They don’t have time for that.

In the course of investigating your account for a reported violation, prior to sending out a performance notification, they may look around and see other violations or more of the same type. And yes, they may take action on those, too, citing those ASINs further down.

If you’re aware of anything else that could attract account warnings from Amazon, you need to move to correct those shortcomings. If you don’t, the prospect of an investigation looms large every time a reported violation comes in.

Additionally, I’d hope that you’ve corresponded with Amazon teams to get your account annotated with all those wonderful improvements that you’ve initiated. Why? Because you’re not taking a huge risk and flagging yourself when you’ve alerted them to implemented improvements. Your goal in messaging Amazon preemptively is to prevent repeat warnings and show them that you’re taking responsibility for what went wrong.

Amazon’s internal teams review accounts looking for signs of action. If they see a problem but no indication you’ve addressed that problem, all they have to go on is poor metrics or a report from buyers or brands that you’re causing something to go wrong. They have no account annotations showing any solutions you’ve put in place to rectify it.

The “Pre-POA” concept launched recently, where Amazon asks for a Plan of Action before issuing an account suspension, attests to the fact that Amazon wants you to act, not shy away or stay silent, when gaps or missteps occur. The Pre-POA system represents an attempt by Amazon to help sellers prevent suspensions before they happen, so the last thing you’ll want to do is look away and pray. Hoping for the best by staying off of Amazon’s radar won’t help you if you’re showing up on their radar anyway!

In Amazon-land, action trumps inaction. If you don’t adhere to this principal you risk appearing as an unserious, or worse still, an oblivious seller.

Myth #3 – Suspensions can be avoided after a warning, if you remove all offending inventory and listings

Ignoring performance notifications by deleting the listings attached to those warnings is a sure-fire way of attracting more trouble. Instead, you must respond, demonstrating that you’ve reviewed past causes of these notifications and explaining the current solutions that you’ve put in place. This should be done using Plan of Action-style correspondence.

At the bare minimum, you should inform them that you’ve investigated the item’s quality both within your inventory and with your supplier. This way, you’ve ensured the item really was “as described” on Amazon and an investigator will then annotate your account indicating that you have addressed the matter. If you’re prompted to send invoices in to prove authenticity, make sure those invoices are as detailed as possible, save for the pricing information.

When Amazon sees multiple complaints linked to your account within a certain time frame, their standard operating procedure requires them to take action. Every suspension is annotated with details on the complaints that you’ve received, which means you are largely at the mercy of how good the investigative skills are of the person scrutinizing your account. You should always assume they’re going to be good and make your Plan of Action as professional and focused as you possibly can.

Myth #4 – Suspensions only happen if you’re deliberately breaking policies or trying to game the system

Let’s get one thing straight – suspensions definitely happen if you’re caught trying to game Amazon. If you’re seen manipulating product reviews or filing false Notice claims against other sellers then prepare to face suspensions for Code of Conduct violations. Abuse teams are in abundance at Amazon now, and for good reason. Sellers increasingly believe they can get away with things simply because they know someone else who got away with it last month, or last year.

Unfortunately, you can lose your account for many other reasons that have nothing to do with intentionally abusing policies. People list and sell brands that infringe upon intellectual property rights, trademarks, copyrights and, of course, some brands use these Notice claim forms simply to bump you off their listings. Racking up enough of these claims will get your account suspended for sure, as we saw throughout last year.

Amazon also receives safety complaints, which can lead to account reviews and suspensions, after buyers complain of injuries, health hazards, and overall bad experiences with your products. Sadly, some buyers will make these complaints frivolously, simply because they dislike the quality of your items and don’t feel they got value for money.

In Closing

As I mentioned at the start, there are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to Amazon account suspensions. We’ve covered the primary ones that I’m seeing, but I’m convinced there are more.

This means it is increasingly important that you filter through the information that’s out there and find out what’s correct – the fate of your account may even depend on it.

Make sure you talk to people who understand how Amazon’s internal teams really view account suspensions, and what Amazonians expect in a proper appeal for reinstatement.

Anything else will simply waste your time, and your cash, without forward movement.

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Investigation Specialist for Amazon’s Seller Performance team and founder of ecommerceChris.com.

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The best tools for your Amazon business
Automate pricing, request feedback and reviews, improve your marketing & SEO and a lot more. Amazon consultants help with difficult issues like suspension, or help grow your business. All in the Web Retailer directory.
View Amazon Selling Tools Now

60 comments on “Amazon Account Suspensions: Myths and Facts

  1. What steps is Amazon taking to protect sellers against fraudalent / false buyer claims?

    1 – Buyer buys item, changes their mind and return it as defective

    2 – Buyer buys item, doesn’t know how to use it, returns it as defective

    Or are they assuming the ‘customer is always right’?

    What is stopping me buying items from a competitor and nuking their account?

    Furthermore, do they have any appreciation of manufacturing defects or do they just assume the seller is doing something they shouldn’t?

    Products are sometimes faulty.

    It happens and short of testing every product we buy (thus making it used / open box) it is impossible to guarantee a 0% defect rate.

    If Amazon applied their seller rules to their own sales, how long would they be allowed to sell for?

    Anyone who relies on Amazon for their busines is walking on thin ice. Sooner or later it may crack.

    This article just confirms that viewpoint.

    1. OnlineMerchant: Fully agreed. Provided the use of black hat tactics are well planned, you’re careful about IP addresses and what account you use (find someone on fiverr, for example), or open dummy accounts with pre-paid credit cards, etc, you can completely torpedo your competition.

      The system Amazon employs is understandable given the that cult of Bezos gives no quarter to it’s it’s marketplace users. Much like an online Walmart, it seeks utter domination of the market, even at the cost of profits and the health and safety of it’s workers. Satisfaction of even it’s most unreasonable and petulant of its customers is part of that strategy.

      However, it is flawed, Amazon holds no appeal to my business model, I do not wish to devote the majority of my time to a marketplace that commands the highest fees of them all, nor do I wish to engage in a race to the bottom with other competitors using Amazon’s repricing tools, only to get booted off Amazon because Amazon itself out-competes me or, as mentioned above, my competitors get me kicked off using black hat tactics.

      Unless I am certain I can achieve price supremacy at a reasonable profit, I will steer clear of Amazon. Amazon offers volume, but little other incentive to join. Indeed Amazon expects you to treat Amazon as if they were your customer, even though you pay them, it is by far the worst marketplace for online sellers..

      1. I totally agree. It’s madness that they lose my stock/under compensate me in the region of 30% less than I paid for the items and they delay payment to me and all for 6-10% above the fees of eBay and other competitors.

        Get a calculator out, work out the contribution amazon is giving you against spending some of that money on SEO/website and other tactics.

        Quit the race to the bottom. Leave that to those willing to survive on wafer thin margins.

        The only winner here is amazon. It always will be.

    2. The buyer who submits a complaint regarding item quality will get a good hearing from Amazon, especially if there are past, other different item complaints against your account. There are clear false positives that result in warnings, but buyers making any complaint of fake, counterfeit, not as described on the site or not in the described condition will result in an automated warning, if nothing else. Amazon wants to encourage dissatisfied buyers to submit complaints so they have a basis for taking item quality actions against bad sellers, but the system does not allow for unclear, untrue or overly aggressive complaints against good sellers. Amazon has problems of scale to address in the marketplace and chooses the easiest and bluntest option. If some sellers are wrongly cited, they should be able to prove easily that they have legitimate items, with invoices, and background about suppliers, but by then you’ve already been warned. It’s a jungle out there.

      1. A shampoo and conditioner set shipped FBA arrives with shampoo leaking. Seller review includes “Bottle arrived open”…Amazon Artificial intelligence, ( machine learning) drops a policy violation on us as “sold used as new”…. two weeks later listing is still down because Amazon then rejected our invoice. Not even using common sense that the bottle was damaged in shipping, nor that we sent two pallets of this item, and sold 200 in last 30 days. No common sense…. and a combative tone of “invoice not credible”…

        #1 Not only should we not get a policy violation, we should be reimbursed for Carrier Damaged!

        #2 Some $6.00 an hour employee in India or Costa Rica is passing on the credibility of US commercial invoices?

        In another case I had a seller performance rep say that our invoice was not credible because …I quote: “The invoice has different Font Sizes”

        If Amazon or anyone thinks that this system is weeding out the bad.. its not. Its a nightmare. I spend almost 30% of my time on problems created by Amazon.

        I cringe every time I get the seller support emails that end with:

        “WE LOVE OUR SELLERS”….

        ummmm, no, you don’t. Not even close.

    3. Yes it does confirm that viewpoint. I was “permanently suspended” after my account was nuked in a particularly nasty and sustained assault – (something I still find very odd incidentally, why not just close the account instead of suspending it?) – this after a six-month running battle with scammers who were DELIBERATELY targeting me, with tricks like A-z claims stating the item had not been received, for items that were being returned to me by the postal service with “Not known at this address” labels on them, other claims posting false pictures of fake items claiming that’s what I had sent them, and the usual tricks of leaving negative feedback.

      I’m not talking a out one or two incidents, I’m talking about all of these things happening on a daily basis on an account that had maintained 100% feedback for several years, with a 5-figure feedback score and an average of one A-z claim a YEAR! I went from that to 50 negative feedbacks, 30 A-z claims and various other reports about my account that I didn’t get to see. These were coming from competitors, and there were several markers they were leaving which made it obvious for a five year old to see their claims were false – for example, a parcel returned with “Not at this address” yet the buyer was claiming I had sent him a fake item.

      These were almost all from a certain ethnic group of people shall we say, all from the same part of the country. It was a constant, time consuming battle to get each A-z claim and feedback removed, not always successfully, having to try to work with clueless Amazon staff who often couldn’t see that the buyer could not possibly have received a fake item from me if he hadn’t received it!

      I even sent in receipts and obtained letters from my suppliers and manufacturers confirming authenticity of the goods, but in the end I was suspended for selling fake goods.

      How the hell do you work to put something right when there was nothing wrong in the first place? I wouldn’t have minded so much but most of my stock was at Amazon FBA centres, so they could have checked and inspected any of it at any time.

      As if losing my 6-figure income account wasn’t bad enough the bastards then charged me PER ITEM to send all my stock back to me, much of which were small items, and deducted the £2000+ fee from this from my final disbursement. The stock all fit in 8 boxes and would have cost them less than £100 to send. The rest of my payment was suspended for 6 months, and even two years after my suspension they were still trying to take money off me for A-z claims that were apparently still coming in (tip – cancel your credit card and remove any bank accounts if this happens to you, that way they can’t take any more money off you).

      At the end of all this I wasn’t even given a reason for my suspension, but after pushing them on the issue for a while I was eventually told by a manager that it had become more hassle than it was worth for them to maintain my account, though he admitted that he knew that the claims against me were fake.

      I was also told that many sellers who have their accounts suspended don’t get their goods back and don’t get their final payment. How much money have Amazon scammed out of people by doing this? It has to run into possibly tens of millions – I’ve heard stories of people who lost 6 figure sums.

      What happened to me was disgraceful and shows how ruthless business can be, but I solely put the blame at Amazon’s door and they’re worse than any competitor I ever had to deal with.

      Incidentally I did manage to open another account and have another go at it a couple of years later, on a smaller scale, but abandoned the idea a couple of months in after they allowed a scammer in Germany to claim his money back for a £600 item after refusing delivery, filing an A-z claim stating that it hadn’t been delivered, then rebooking the delivery thus ending up with both the goods and his payment refunded. Amazon flatly refused to reimburse me so I reclaimed it the hard way by selling £600 worth of goods and withdrawing the funds but not sending the goods. I didn’t steal anything from anybody, Amazon would refund the buyers who claimed and they have zero chance of getting that money back from me.

  2. Amazon has become a frightening place for third-party sellers. One look at the seller forums and you realize there’s an overwhelming consensus that no matter what you do, it’s only a matter of time until you make an unintentional mistake and are suspended.

    But the most concerning thing about the current wave of suspensions if the fact that Amazon has dished out so many in recent months that they can’t begin to keep up with the appeals. Yet, they still tell suspended sellers they will hear back within “24 to 48 hours.” Instead, suspended sellers are LUCKY if they get a first response in 3 weeks.

    Meanwhile, legitimate businesses are desperately trying to pay vendors, make payroll, and keep employees busy and hope they don’t have to lay them off during the waiting game.

    If sellers ignored their buyers for 3 weeks, they’d be canned by Amazon just for that alone. Yet Amazon seems to have the arrogance to believe they don’t have the same responsibility to respond to and evaluate seller suspensions in any sort of reasonable amount of time. Their lack of professionalism is mind-boggling.

    Why doesn’t Jeff Bezos spend a minuscule portion of his billions to hire a few dozen more Seller Performance agents in order to keep up with the new flood of seller suspensions?? The fact that this department is completely unreachable other than via email with a 3 week response time is absolutely unbelievable when people’s businesses are on the line.

    I don’t attempt to make any excuse for suspensions that are well deserved. But after reading the seller forums recently, it’s very clear that Amazon is taking the approach of killing a gnat with a hammer. So many of these issues could be quickly (and far less destructively) resolved with direct communication with the seller. And it would sure take a load off the obviously understaffed Seller Performance appeal queue.

    It’s high time Amazon re-evaluated the way they are handling suspensions. They’re breeding an environment among third party sellers that’s frighteningly similar to what the New York Times article exposed about the corporate culture.

    1. It’s true that at least these days there appears to be a wide net cast over both good and bad sellers. The catch is then sorted out into good and bad after the fact, when some additional checks are made and more information pored over. But by the time you get your favorable response, you might be off the site for a couple of weeks. That is a lot of business to lose. The gnat/ hammer point is well taken. Hopefully, processes will be refined and SOPs fine tuned in the near future.

  3. I’ll probably come back and make a more thoughtful comment with my own anecdotal experiences. But I wanted to make this more philosophical contribution now.

    Qualifier. I’ve sold over 20 million dollars on Amazon since 2011. I’ve sold in every category with the exception of books, jewelry and fine art.

    My Comment:

    Until Amazon see’s and treats sellers as Customers, it will always be tough sledding to sell on Amazon.

    During the last two quarters, 43% of what Amazon shipped did not belong to them. 3rd party revenue , margins and profit greatly exceed their retail side numbers. Amazon is not a retailer, they are a product search engine, that also offers marketing, logistics and fulfillment services.

    3rd party sellers are their customers. When Amazon begins to be “customer-centric” for all its customers, whether on the buy or sell side, things will improve. Until then, Amazon is an awful company to be in business with.

    When Jeff Bezo’s responded to the NY Times piece with “I don’t know the Amazon described by the NY Times”…. My first thought was , “Jeff, You need to get to know your company”.

    Because the Amazon described by the NY Times is the ONLY Amazon that I know. Ruthless, Cruel, Arbitrary, Punitive, Unilateral and Unprofessional.

    I appreciate Chris McCabes effort to make some sense of what they are currently doing. But you can’t put lipstick on a Pig and call it pretty. Amazon is a disgusting entity.

  4. Couldn’t have said it better myself re: these comments. There’s no protection for sellers and it’s sad. Amazon is a great place to start until you get a separate eCommerce site/store running.

  5. Amazon suspended me after about a year of selling claiming that my photos were in violation only every time that I tried to reach out to them for help to determinw which ones were in violation, I was left to figure it out myself.
    It turned out that I was indefinitely suspended for not capturing the whole view of a men’s dress shirt, only the front folded up view in which Amazon was doing the exact same thing on there own items. This is a pretty ruthless company to sell for from my own experience. If they choose to get rid of you, they will find a way.

  6. I hate to say it, but it is plain to see. Something bad, really bad is becoming more and more likely to take place; by an unstable disgruntled individual.

    you can’t @#$% w/ people in such a way and not expect repercussions.

  7. Lets be honest and clear… There is a cost to performing the Amazon online marketplace, serving customers, and Amazon shifts certain costs to sellers, so they can make more profits. Until there exists a significant competitor to Amazon, then nothing will change. Amazon also shifts many burdens and costs on to their workers. Welcome to an abusive capitalist system.

    1. Item quality work that covers the entire marketplace will be tricky to arrange, and it’s hard to have enough capacity to cover all of the potential emails on all the relevant warnings. Buyer complaint vetting is an area they will need to improve upon, but the task is enormous, to be sure. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Chris

  8. It seems Amazon could improve their system and have a seller funded service at the same time, heck they could even make a profit. How many sellers would pay say $250 per year for Account Insurance. This could entitle you to a detailed assessment of issues, phone contact with a dedicated resolution agent, that would batting for you, including them contacting the customer/s with the complaint to have the item returned to agent for inspection. When they receive the product back they could also request random samples of your stock from the warehouse to check it was ok. Make it a guaranteed 7 day resolution period. If each resolution agent could handle say 10 simultaneous cases you would have personalised service. Imagine if only 10% of sellers did this it would generate a good amount of revenue for Amazon and a win for sellers.

  9. This article overlooks the fact that some of these complaints are not generated by human beings at all. Their possible effects on the health and metrics of a seller’s account, however, are very real.

    We’ve been an Amazon seller for over ten years, with a solid customer approval rating and zero history of complaints. Two weeks ago, we received an email from Amazon claiming a customer had lodged a complaint against us.

    No such thing ever happened. Amazon’s own software generated this “complaint”.

    The customer had written with questions about an item. We replied in detail and sent photos. The customer ordered the item (a book). The listing was automatically deactivated in the normal course of events. An email notifying us of a “complaint” came less than 12 hours after we had confirmed shipping. The (already delisted) item was then “flagged” as being potentially “inauthentic”. Obviously, the complaint had been generated well before the customer could possibly have received the item. The entire incident literally made no sense. Then we realized: Amazon’s bots had scoured our emails with this customer for certain keywords. The “complaint” had been generated automatically.

    A few days later the customer received the item and wrote of her own accord to thank us for our excellent service.

    We explained the matter to Amazon. They have not responded. We are still waiting for an assurance from Amazon that they have not recorded this as a black mark against either our products or our service.

    1. My reference to the auto-warnings generated by buyer complaints was meant to cover the non-manual actions that are often taken against seller accounts. False positives result from certain words or phrases used in the buyer complaint, and auto warnings are sent to the would-be offending seller. When these pile up, trouble results.

      I’ll be clearer about the nature of the warnings and how they’re created in the future. Thanks for the feedback.

      Chris

      1. I would really really love to know how these buyer complaints are generated.

        I was recently suspended, I sell ladies hairpices – my return rate is quite high, people just buy things try them on (or wear them out), Then invent some reason for a return.

        I checked through the messages and returns for the 10 ASINs mentioned in my suspension letter and apart from the one nutter there were no sales that stood out.

        I cant believe anyone actually calls Amazon.

        These complaints must be genetated by Amazon themselves by a bot most likely from the messages?

        Chris,
        perhaps you can reveal how to avoid their evil eye.

        Simon

        1. Hi Simon,

          Unfortunately, Amazon will not be changing their approach to these complaints anytime soon. Most will result in an automated warning and you won’t always be able to find evidence of a complaint in claims or buyer messaging if they never file a claim, or never contact you. People definitely do contact Amazon about their orders if there’s anything off about an item or they have any sort of complaint, and Amazon will always listen. They’re using the buyer complaints to gauge 3rd party seller item quality, because it’s the only way to scale the work into who is selling what exactly and if it matches what was listed on the site.

          Buyers, on their end, are trained to complain on amazon. They think they will get some degree of satisfaction by reporting things to Amazon, whether material or otherwise. It’s going to stay this way for a while because that system works well for both of those parties.

          Chris

  10. Thanks for your reply,

    I think the complaints are mostly from difficult buyers – I very much doubt that the complaint was about the actual item. Although I think Amazon turned them into that.

    So mostly I think its a customer service issue. I have adopted a very passive no arguments policy with my buyers, no matter how unreasonable there request is.

    Do you think this will help?

    And do you think moving to FBA would solve all these worries?

    Simon

  11. Amazon had suspended me after one buyer tried to pull a fast one. I got a negative mark and weeks later a suspension notice. Sent every email imaginable to get it reinstated but they didn’t budge.

    I contacted Auction Essistance, but they said it is like eBay where reinstatement is nearly impossible.

    But do you think it is a good idea to open an Amazon account under an employee to sell?

  12. So my company had an Amazon sellers acct which we were using while we tried to increase sales through our company ecommerce site. Back in May I began generating lots of Amazon sales and filling them quickly. Then out of the blue after I placed an order for some supplies through an Amazon seller, I get a note from Amazon saying my sellers acct has been suspended and any sales will be cancelled. Well I kept receiving orders (lots of orders). I was locked out my acct so I couldnt fill them if I wanted to. Still trying to figure out why a suspended acct was still generating orders. Fast forward to this week, I’m receiving A-Z complaints from customers because they havent received their order. I’ve been trying to contact Amazon but it’s like you cant. I did manage to send them a request to close my acct..well they did and they also closed my son’s acct (smh). So now he cant purchase off of Amazon. I also keep getting messages as if they dont realize they have suspended my acct or closed it. I dont care about inventory being low…my acct is closed. Worst idea ever becoming an Amazon seller.

  13. I have been suspended because I was selling Ikea products and they claimed that I was selling inauthentic products.
    I only have receipts but not invoices because I bought that a few months ago. I decided to stop selling them but I forgot to remove the listings.
    In my case, is it fine if I attach the receipts from ikea and just tell them that my products are inauthentic?
    Because I know sales receipts are not accepted and Amazon only needs to see invoices.

    Please advice because I am really confused as what should I do. I asked help from a lot of blogs yet none replied 🙁 . I am lost.

  14. You need to have proper documentation for anything you sell on Amazon, if there’s only store receipts and they ask for supplier info, you won’t have anyone for them to contact — no email addresses or phone numbers for your sales or distributor contacts. Not sure what you mean when you say “just tell them my products are authentic ” — they won’t take you at your word. You will need to show them, not tell them.

    Chris

  15. Hi Chris, what’s the current time frame of the seller performance team to respond to appeals? please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Frank

  16. The range is anywhere from a few days to ten days, from what I can tell. Some people who have sent in numerous failed appeals but keep sending in more never get an answer, they’re considered “final worded.” So it depends where you are in their appeals pipeline.

    They’re extremely backed up right now, and there’s little sign that they intend to cut down on the backlog anytime soon. Also, sellers are sending new appeals in before a reply comes back to the old, creating more confusion. Between the account suspensions, listing restrictions, account compromises and other goings-on, I think it will take awhile before they meet SLAs again. Sorry to say.

    1. Also, how serious is the suspension that is related to an item that’s not permitted on Amazon? The item was initially in Amazon’s catalog and then they decided to remove it and sent everyone who listed it a “Notification of Product Removal” but unfortunately my account ended up in suspension. How serious is suspension regarding “Notification of Product Removal”?

  17. You don’t write to Jeff unless you’re sure you have a great Plan of Action, and you expect the escalation to be favorably received. Waiting for a reply is part of their little game, they want you to have to wait when they fall behind, and they dislike the extra appeals sent in further clogging up the system. Of course, if you never hear back at all, you have to escalate. But not always to Jeff, that’s a Seller Forums and Facebook group misconception.

    Also, if you’re warned for selling restricted products and they show you one ASIN, they usually give you 48 hrs to remove all other restricted items in your inventory before they suspend you. This suspension covers for sellers who are told they have policy violations but fail to act, so of course it’s serious because those items aren’t allowed on the site. It’s not a good idea to tempt them to suspend, the 48 hours have to be utilized to maximum effect.

    1. Hi Chris,

      I have been repeatedly asked by the seller performance team to remove a listing which has already been deleted from my inventory and I have provided them with the screen shots of my seller account that show “You currently have no listings that meet this criteria.” They still keep sending me the same messages again and again. Do they really check the listing before asking me to remove something that’s not even there. Or are these just canned messages?

      Thanks again.

      1. If they’re just sending you the same thing over and over, you need to write a proper escalation and get the situation in front of the eyes of a senior investigator or manager. If you need help understanding the escalation process or finding someone to write this for you, let me know. They are pre-written messages but not canned in terms of automated replies, an actual person emailed you those. But they aren’t reviewing the account annotations or understanding your messaging, or perhaps both. They’re moving through those queues very quickly these days to catch up, as a result, there are lots of misses and mistakes on their side.

        That’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

        1. So, when they say “you action plan is not complete” they actually do not mean it and its just part of their “pre-written message”? Like I said, they rejected the exact same action plan twice and accepted it the the 3rd time without me changing anything at all. So just wanted to get a better understanding of what might be going on behind the curtains.

    2. Hi again Chris,

      They rejected my action plan twice as “incomplete” and the third time they accepted it despite not even a single word change in it. Do they even read through the action plans?

      1. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. The issue is, no oversight, no audits, and no training, or no real training. I’m not the least bit surprised. It’s fairly random at this point. Glad you’re reinstated.

        1. thank you very much Chris for all your insights. im extremely surprised by all the mess in Seller Performance Team dept.

  18. While you’re surprised I’m pretty embarrassed for them, as someone used to work there. The quality of work is quite sub par. No one aims to change things and make the work solid and reliable.

    We can hope things improve but so far there are no such indications.

    1. what worked for me was that i kept sending them the same action plan until i got reinstated…also i noticed that seller performance was responding after midnight which leads me to believe they are being outsourced to India which also explains the huge mess in this dept.

      1. Hi Frank, I think you got extremely lucky, normally sending the same thing over and over is a recipe for denial of reinstatement. I don’t recommend that to anyone. India has always worked on these queues, from the time that I worked there, and before, to more recently. These are also worked in Seattle. There’s no real way to “time” this to get one particular team to read these.

  19. You’re welcome, although it depends on what the $500 is for. Access to that kind of info on a site, or consulting services? For someone to help reinstate the account, $500 is a fairly modest fee. Usually fees that low are associated with consultants with less success, or weaker knowledge in this space.

    Good luck with the account restoration, it’s often difficult to know how to navigate all of this.

    Chris

  20. Yeah I hope they can help me. It’s amazon appeal.com I got them off you tube. I’m caught in limbo and keep getting the same messages. I think my POA is missing the root of the problem.

  21. I was suspended to just weeks ago with chance of appeal. I tried many of those appeal services, but none of them worked. After the last suspension service, I got a notice from Amazon that my account is shut down permanently. So I am totally lost now since Amazon makes a large portion of my revenue.

    Tried many ways to get back on, but Amazon kept suspending my account. Am at the point of buying an account if that is even possible.

    I came across these two sites: http://www.aspkin.com/forums and http://www.auctionessistance.com.

    Does anyone have some testimonial to buy accounts from them? Am at my wits end right now with not being able to sell.

    1. I am in an identical situation as you Wilmer where Amazon just doesn’t acknowledge my appeal. I also paid thousands to some of these so-called reinstatement services, but none of them got my account reinstated. So I am out of that money as well and am at a turning point where I don’t know what to do!

      I did here about Aspkin forums and Auction Essistance before, but my only concern is, if you get caught, the account is gone again.

      I don’t know what else to do. I want to buy an account, but then I don’t because of the risks involved.

      1. Hi Mimi. You said you hired services, plural. You hired more than one and they all failed? How did you vet the services for consultant help and likelihood of success? You don’t need to name them here, but what was/ is their background in reinstatement work? Had they worked previously at Amazon?

        You said they didn’t acknowledge the appeal, is that after you were “final worded” i.e. told they would no longer respond? I’d like to hear more details.

        Thanks, Chris

  22. OK Wilmer, seller accounts are not transferable or sellable. It’s against policy, completely. Businesses should not exist that sell amazon accounts, period. This must be my first point. Many sellers don’t know this, at all.

    In terms of hiring help — we don’t need to name any names here, but certainly you need to vet and “query” your consultant before you hire them, just like you would a supplier, or an business partner. You can’t read an ad or sales pitch, talk to them for ten minutes about how wonderful they are, and then jump into the work. There are too many of them now who pretend they understand these concepts. Many of them don’t. Did you hire someone who worked at Amazon itself? Good place to start.

    More to the point — what are the other “many ways”? What was the core of the appeal, the best one? Tough to answer without more specifics, and why are you suspended to begin with? More details if you have them. Thanks

  23. Wilmer, I feel your pain been suspended since May 15th and I tried everything to get nscn in. I haven’t got the official suspended permanently email however I know it’s coming. My funds are tied up and I’m not sleeping. Im sorry your going through this. I’ve already paid 2 different services and so far I’m out $1150 so don’t waste any money. The best thing to do is try to get an Amazon account in a family members name.
    Name, Address, phone, bank, everything must be different. Also with another device to be safe. Good luck xoxoxo I’m currently going through “SellerInsure”

    After amazonappeal let me down BIG TIME!

  24. Hi Michele,

    Can’t get a family member to register a new account for you, their tools will pick up the relations and close it. It’s pretty hard to pull off that evasion.

    No reason to say don’t waste money getting help, when the real issue is, how did you vet or investigate the consultants, before you hired them? Did you conduct due diligence? This is just like anything else, scrutinize them before you “buy” or use their services. There are answers to questions you should be asking, and if the answers don’t make sense, don’t use them. I’ve never even heard of AmazonAppeal, so….they probably just buy ad space.

    Seller Support does not write emails, Seller Performance does. Seller Support has nothing to do with appeals. Hope this helps.

    Chris

  25. Given that the author hasn’t worked for Amazon for at least 2 years, is it safe to say that his advice is becoming more speculative in nature? Once you’re out of Amazon, surely you’re out?

  26. Hi Anthony, thanks for writing.

    Actually, it’s been more than two years, with ten years working in the “Seller Performance” space total. But I have to disagree with you. While I can’t speak for other former Amazonians, the “once you’re out,” in my case, I’m the opposite of “out.” I’ve stayed in the know and kept in touch with colleagues who stayed, as much as possible. My advice is based on current activity. There’s plenty that updates in these areas, I know those.

    I began consulting and trouble-shooting a bit over a year after I left Amazon, and the main part of the work I do now involves assisting sellers with their Seller Performance-type problems. If I were truly “out” I would not have any success with it. Thanks again for reading.

    1. Hi, Chris,

      Is this the “final words”? I sent an appeal one week ago and still waiting.

      Hello,

      You have not sent us an acceptable plan to address the complaints we have received about the description or condition of your products. As a result, you may no longer sell on Amazon.

      Your listings have been removed from Amazon. If you have any funds in your seller account, they will be available after any amounts paid for A-to-Z Guarantee claims or chargebacks on your orders have been deducted. This usually takes about 90 days, but funds may be held longer.

      To appeal this decision, click on the Appeal button next to this message on the Performance Notifications page in Seller Central.

      1. Hi Matt,

        This is the message Amazon sends to anyone when the 17 days they give you to submit a “viable” plan comes and goes without success. They need to move your account from suspension status to closing the account on a permanent basis to start the clock running on the 90 days until you’ll receive final funds. This isn’t what you refer to as FW or Final Word messaging, that’s when Amazon says they may no longer reply to further messages. Instead, they’ve invited you to appeal with a stronger POA, see below.

        To appeal this decision, click on the Appeal button next to this message on the Performance Notifications page in Seller Central.

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