The Evolution of Amazon Seller Suspension
The other day upon sifting through some files, I stumbled across the very first Amazon appeal plan I ever wrote. It was an entertaining read to say the least, but what really astounded me was just how much the typical Plan of Action has changed in only 3 years. This POA was lengthy, wordy, and whiny — all the major things to avoid when writing your appeal. But it worked. Now, this wouldn’t be the case at all.
In the past, sellers were generally suspended for performance-based issues like late shipping, item condition, and poor customer service. Of course, intellectual property issues have always existed. But now, more serious violations regarding copyrights, patents and trademarks owned by major brands are at the core of most Amazon suspensions in 2017.
Amazon Appeals Then and Now
Some of the main major mistakes regarding POAs have always been using too many words, too much blaming, and too few sellers who are willing to accept responsibility. However, Amazon has become less open to POAs that include anything other than what they want to see: invoices, retractions, and hard evidence that the seller is right.
Intellectual Property suspensions on Amazon have increased as a result of Amazon’s gradual shift towards major brands and away from smaller marketplace resellers. By booting sellers who unknowingly list products they don’t have the rights to sell, the marketplace becomes more name-brand friendly. Counterfeiters are reduced and every product is authentic. It’s unfortunate that sellers have to see the ugly side of the whole e-commerce IP situation – but there are steps that can be taken to reduce chances of getting suspended due to an intellectual property complaint.
- Check Your Rights. Be 100% sure that you have the rights to sell all the items in your inventory. Some excellent resources are Trademarkia and the USPTO official website.
- Collect and File All Invoices. If you receive an inauthentic item complaint, the first thing Seller Performance wants is an invoice. You can do damage control before the damage happens by keeping every invoice for your products.
- If You Get an RO Complaint, Reach Out. The best way to work through a rights owner complaint is to contact them directly. Amazon should provide their contact email address in the notification — but if they don’t, you can still take steps to track down the individual and explain your situation. If they can agree to submit a retraction, the issue will be resolved quickly in many cases.
In hindsight, the reasons for Amazon suspension in the past seem quite simple compared to today’s cases. There’s one type of suspension that has remained near impossible throughout Amazon’s past and present: linked accounts. But as we know, the marketplace is constantly evolving – sellers have no choice but to evolve along with it.