25 Jul-2016

Account Suspensions: How to Prevent Them & How to Get Reinstated – By SellerEngine

SellerEngine article pic1

Sellers with a proactive approach to their selling privileges can avoid an account suspension. Being diligent saves a lot of paperwork, effort and company resources in the long-run. But a suspension isn’t the end of the world. Here are some tips for preventing or trying to tackle an account suspension:

How to Avoid Amazon Account Suspensions:

  1. Make every announcement, notification and warning message from Amazon a priority. Investigate the reasons behind them as a matter of urgency and don’t underestimate their importance just because other Amazon sellers do the very same thing you were asked not to.
  2. Set your own performance standards, and monitor those indicators closely. You don’t need new indicators; simply be more demanding with the existing ones, like ODR (Order Defect Rate), cancellation rate and valid tracking rate.
  3. Know your supply chain well, and don’t hesitate to switch suppliers if the current ones don’t provide all the information and documents you need to comply with Amazon’s policies, including itemized invoices.  From manufacturers and property rights owners to authorized dealers, make sure you know everyone involved in trading your products.
  4. Opt out of commingled inventory if you don’t want to share responsibility over products that are stored in fulfillment centers together with your competitors’. It’s always safer to choose the Labeled Inventory Option.
  5. Learn from buyer testimonials. Ratings, feedback, comments in emails and product reviews all help as you investigate notifications and identify bad sources or items likely to be problematic.
  6. Check your listings, and keep up to date with changes to Amazon’s guidelines and restrictions. Check random listings to make sure their descriptions fully correspond to what you have in stock. Check product reviews to see if you need to add any information to your existing listings and consider creating new pages for items that don’t match current listings.
  7. Outsource only as much of your business as you feel comfortable with. It pays to check the items yourself before sending them to the fulfilment center or the end customer. Pack and ship orders yourself to avoid quality complaints.


What to Do When Your Selling Privileges are Suspended

To begin with, you should resist the urge to write to Amazon immediately. Even if the suspension is a very obvious mistake, Amazon will still expect you to be able to show that you will take steps to avoid it happening again, and that you’ve used this hiatus to improve your selling performance. But by all means, start working immediately on the 5 steps that are essential to any appeal: 

  1. Find the Cause

Some of the most common reasons for a suspension are: used items sold as new, expired product, inauthentic items, intellectual property right infringements, items not as advertised and the most recent common reason added to the list: safety incidents. Read your notifications and warnings, and pin-point the specific reason(s) Amazon gave you.

As for the underlying cause, most suspensions are carried out automatically. When a bot detects a ‘blacklisted’ word in a listing, when your performance falls below a certain level, or when there are aspects of your feedback, product reviews or buyer-seller communication that draw the attention, this can trigger a suspension.  

  1. Address the Issue

Once you’ve identified the reasons, correct whatever you can. Change listings, ask buyers to retract negative feedback, resolve any issues with orders that have not yet been delivered, remove and check your inventory, contact suppliers and brand owners for their support.

  1. Identify Preventive Steps

There may be ways to prevent your account from being suspended again. Consider changing suppliers, hiring more Quality Control staff, wrapping your products in different ways or using better packaging, assigning metric monitoring duties and/ or enforcing tighter safety checks for listing matches.

  1. Prepare a Plan

You may be able to persuade Amazon to give you another shot, but only if you prove that you have a practical, long-term plan and that you won’t repeat any mistakes. Having found corrective and preventive measures for every one of the issues you identified earlier, mention them in your plan of action, and show how they tie in with your internal operations and your prospects for the future.

  1. Write your Letter of Appeal

Put together a coherent and well-structured letter revealing the issues you’ve discovered. Then describe in detail the actions you’ve already taken to address them, as well as any follow-up steps needed. Then draw up your list of preventive steps, and mention how you plan to enforce them in the future. Finally, attach any supporting documents, if required, including invoices, manufacturers’ letters of approval, product safety certificates, etc., and submit.    

If you find any of these tips helpful, you can download SellerEngine’s handy infographic on the safety guidelines that help keep your account safe from suspensions.

Note: Allow some time for Amazon to review your case, and be prepared for some back-and-forth conversation if your letter of appeal isn’t complete. If you decide you’d like to pass everything on to a seasoned expert in account rescue, remember that SellerEngine is standing by to help.

This article is a guest post by Elena, a member of SellerEngine’s Business Development team. As an expert in Amazon account rescue, Elena would like to share some tips on account suspension and reinstatement of selling privileges.