How to Handle an Amazon Seller Suspension
For any e-commerce business, an Amazon suspension has the potential to cause irreparable harm. Unfortunately, most e-commerce companies rely on regular Amazon payments as their main source of income. With Amazon’s stronghold on US retail, this dependence is unfortunately inevitably for most sellers. Getting regular Amazon disbursements are a luxury many sellers fail to place a high value on until an account suspension occurs.
What Happens When an Amazon Account is Suspended?
A suspended Amazon account can (and will) bring even the most reputable e-commerce operation to a screeching halt. When a seller account gets suspended, Amazon then places a hold on any funds currently in that account. Their reasoning for frozen funds during a suspension is reasonable, yet a serious issue for merchants who rely on their payouts to survive: by holding any seller funds that haven’t been released, Amazon can cover any suspension-related damages, refunds, and other issues caused by the suspension by funding it all directly from the violating seller’s account balance.
Amazon’s seller policies are notoriously complex. To make suspensions even more confusing, these policies are updated on a regular basis without notice to the sellers. As a result, sellers routinely violate TOS simply because they haven’t refreshed the policy pages that day.
Contrary to many threads in the Amazon seller forums, suspensions do not get sprung at random. Amazon is a company that prides itself on customer satisfaction, to the point where the first Amazon Leadership Principle is Customer Obsession. The buyer experience is more important to Amazon than anything else, and regulations regarding what constitutes a seller account suspension are based on there dedicated to preserving marketplace integrity.
Buyer-Centric, Seller-Critical Policies
Unfortunately for sellers, the buyer is always right on Amazon. This is why there are over 60 million Amazon Prime subscribers worldwide. This is why online customers love their Amazon shopping app, their convenient one-click dash buttons, and their handy A-Z Guarantee. This is why Jeff Bezos and Amazon.com have reached an unfathomable level of success.
The Amazon marketplace seller is always held responsible for any buyer concerns via the five community policies:
- Honor your commitment to buy or sell.
- Maintain current account information.
- If we have removed your selling privileges, you may not open a new selling account.
- Do not misrepresent yourself.
Seller Suspension: An Algorithmic Process
Amazon is an algorithm-based marketplace. Suspensions occur when these algorithms detect anything at all within a seller account that does not match up with the rest of the platform. These inconsistencies trigger a red flag. Once a flag is raised to seller performance, the concerns are brought to their team for review.
When it comes to account suspensions, it’s important to note that seller performance is not hyper-focused on one seller account over the rest. It’s complex as a process overall, but when broken down, it’s quite simple: Sellers who violate the terms and get caught will be suspended. Sellers who violate the terms repeatedly and get caught will be banned completely.
Suspended vs. Banned Accounts
The difference between a suspended seller account and a banned account on Amazon is simple: Suspended sellers may submit an appeal, while banned sellers may not. Suspended sellers receive only frustratingly vague responses from seller performance agents, while banned sellers cannot even contact the agents. Once an account passes to “banned” status, the window of opportunity for reinstatement is closed. Although it is a loosely enforced window, generally suspended sellers have 17 days to submit an appeal to Amazon.
Seller performance agents abide strictly by their manager’s guidance. The managers abide strictly by Amazon’s standard operational procedures. These SOPs are common knowledge to seller performance, but the agents are still notoriously vague when they respond to suspended sellers. Seller performance makes the process of writing an Amazon appeal plan quite difficult for sellers, who are going through the potential loss of their business. Seller performance is only breezing through another day at work.
Your Amazon Appeal Plan
Sellers who must deal with the task of writing the perfect appeal plan are faced with more frustration by the lack of disclosure about the reason for suspension in the first place. Why was my seller account suspended? The lack of disclosure about the reasoning behind your account suspension is beyond frustrating. This is an optimal time to call in elite assistance. Our seasoned consultants have successfully reinstated thousands of seller accounts. Get in touch with us now to find out how to achieve a quick reinstatement.
As Amazon works to expand its anti-counterfeiting policies, we see more and more instances of blocked ASINs every day. Warranted or not, blocked ASINs can become a serious hindrance for any seller. All too often, sellers find themselves in a seller performance nightmare. Our team is available for swift, efficient ASIN reinstatements in every product category.
In the early days of Amazon, suspension cases were far less common. Now, as the marketplace continues to evolve and expand, it seems that an Amazon seller suspension occurs every minute. In the past few years, Amazon seller account suspensions have become even more complicated. Amazon is rapidly growing, and in turn, they are catering far more towards major brands and major sellers.
Types of Suspensions
Though we come across a curveball every so often, there are still several major reasons for Amazon suspensions: intellectual property violations, inauthentic complaints, listing errors, pricing errors, item condition, inaccurate item details and linked accounts.
This is a major problem for sellers all over the world. As we stated previously, Amazon is now turning their focus towards big brands. These brands can take down listings of unauthorized third-party sellers with the click of a button – even if the seller isn’t aware they may be infringing on someone else’s copyright, trademark or patent.
What makes an item inauthentic? An item is inauthentic when it is not purchased from an authorized supplier. Inauthentic suspensions happen because a seller’s inventory includes a product that’s not quite counterfeit – but still not quite up to Amazon’s standards. The inauthentic issue is still evolving daily.
Amazon has established MAP pricing to avoid price wars with other platforms. Amazon policy states that no product may be offered at a price that is not in line with MAP guidelines. The A9 algorithm constantly scrapes the entire web to establish the most competitive price for any given item so they can adjust accordingly.
Item Not As Described
Buyers are so accustomed to the convenience of one-click ordering these days, so it’s natural that a customer may skim over important details on your listing. This happens, either way, so checking each listing for accuracy is an essential precautionary measure. “Not as described” are three deadly words for an Amazon seller, and all too often, these situations lead to an account suspension.
Amazon’s fulfillment centers are enormous, with an average size that equals dozens of football fields. “Used sold as new” suspensions might happen because your inventory was mixed with another seller’s. The best way to avoid this is by performing thorough damage control before you receive this type of suspension. Keep every invoice, monitor your metrics daily, and be ready to stand up against any issue related to your item’s condition.
The final and perhaps most difficult type of Amazon seller suspension is linked accounts. Amazon’s policy states a strict rule against having multiple seller accounts. Regardless of the reason, if the algorithm links your current seller account to another account, you will be suspended. These suspensions are not impossible to fight – but it is a detailed, lengthy process.