Being an Amazon seller can be a very lucrative endeavor if you have the proper tools to navigate the website, its rules and its users wisely. Just like any other service, Amazon is careful to regulate its sellers, and you’ll need to intimately acquaint yourself with the dos and don’ts of building a successful reputation as an Amazon seller if you hope to make this your primary focus.
After all, you can’t very well rack up any sales if your Amazon seller account has been suspended, can you? That’s why we’re taking a closer look at what you can do if your account is on the line and how you can be proactive if you are facing suspension.
Amazon seller suspension is no joke. So let’s first clarify exactly what we mean when we say “suspension.” As an Amazon seller, you may encounter three variations of trouble with your account.
- First, you are “suspended,” which means you’re account becomes inactive until you can successfully appeal your case (more on that later).
- Once you do file an appeal, you could have your suspended Amazon seller account reinstated or be “denied” if your appeal was rejected.
- Even if you’ve been denied, you can still revise your plan of action or otherwise win back your suspended Amazon seller account. If you’re “banned,” it’s over and done with.
Don’t panic if your Amazon seller account has been suspended because there’s a lot of room to rectify that situation and get you back on track. Before you do take action, be sure to visit Seller Central for details on why your privileges have been revoked.
Some of the most common causes include:
- A dramatic decline in performance (i.e. customer reviews)
- A clear violation of policy
- The sales of a restricted item on the site
Now that we’ve established why your account has been suspended and, of course, what suspension means in the grand scheme of things, let’s look into the actions you can take to protect your account’s good standing.
Steps to Safeguard Your Amazon Seller Account
Naturally, the best way to keep your seller account in shape is to avoid suspension, if at all possible. In most cases, Amazon will give you ample opportunity to respond to notifications regarding your account’s status, and if you’re amenable to suggestion and respectful of the site’s rules, you’ll most likely be able to lift that suspension.
Being proactive counts for a lot, and whether your performance needs work or Amazon has reached out to you with a specific action item, you need to be ready and willing to make this step a priority.
Here are a few ways you can either prevent suspension altogether or to streamline the process of resolving your current suspension case:
- Mind your account details: Sorting out your account details — we’re not talking about your listings (not yet, at least) — is a best practice that will inevitably make your seller account, well, better. Pay attention to your Amazon reports and, in particular, those relating to your returns, imperfect orders and negative feedback. These are integral in your reputation and credibility and, by extension, can greatly affect how Amazon considers your seller account. Your shipping details too can help you identify trouble areas even before you face any consequences. Remember that Amazon is ultimately looking out for the best interests of its customers.
- Stay on top of Amazon messages: If your account is still in good standing, then you would do well to keep it that way by watching your Amazon messages and responding in a timely manner. But if your account is already in the midst of suspension, well, then you should be even more vigilant when it comes to your messages. As referenced above, these can often make the difference between saving your seller account from being banned or allowing your bad situation to turn much, much worse. One way to guard against this is to download the Amazon Seller app so that you can react quickly on your mobile devices.
- Troubleshoot your account: When facing suspension (or hoping to avert it), you are the very best resource your account has. No one knows it like you do, not even Amazon itself. So empower yourself to make the moves necessary to keep your account on the up and up, doing what’s right for customers and by Amazon’s standards. Look through your listings for any potential flags that might cause (additional) problems. Avoid mislabeling generic products as private label, for instance. And generally ensure that all communication on your account — including product descriptions — maintains a level of trust and professionalism. This will help distinguish you from your competition, keep customers coming back and result in a positive standing for your seller account.
- Clean up your listings: Whether you’re a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) seller or a Merchant Fulfilled seller, you need to be sure to keep your listings up to date. If you have old listings populating your account, you’re making it infinitely easier for your account to fall prey to ecommerce fraud. Work with customers to ensure that the integrity of your seller feedback rating remains intact, and don’t fall for cheap items that appear too good to be true. They usually are. Moreover, if you’re in the midst of a suspension or trying to avoid one, a bit of housekeeping with regard to your listings is only going to serve you well going forward, as it demonstrates your commitment to providing quality service.
- Watch what you sell: Of course, if your suspension is due to selling restricted items, you need to address that as soon as possible. However, you should also assess your current inventory and ensure that you don’t have anything listed that might cause additional trouble down the line. Remember how we mentioned that suspension is the first step in the process to getting banned? Repeated offenses, particularly of the exact same cause, are a surefire way to get yourself on the road to being outright banned from being an Amazon seller. So take a closer look at the Amazon rules in this regard.
Appealing Your Amazon Seller Account Suspension Case
The main takeaway of the above tips is to pause, take stock of your seller account and where it went wrong and generally recalibrate to prevent the issue from recurring. The suspension notice you receive from Amazon will lay out the cause behind this ruling and give you the guidance you need to track the elements of your account that need to be addressed.
The bottom line: your Amazon seller account is far from history. You can still clear up any glaring issues and restore your account’s good standing by filing an appeal.
If you do decide to go this route, you should take a few critical steps as you make your case:
- Mention the reasons for your suspension: This might seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning. When you go through your situation, be sure to identify why your seller account is being suspended in the first place.
- Take responsibility for any harm done: Amazon, much like your third-grade English teacher, isn’t interested in your excuses. Acknowledge the actions you’ve taken, the rules you’ve broken, et. al. and make a genuine effort to make amends.
- Reaffirm your commitment to the site: Selling through Amazon isn’t a right; it’s a privilege afforded to sellers who provide quality customer service and are willing to follow the site’s specific rule set. Make sure that you clarify your dedication to follow that.
- Keep any criticisms of Amazon processes out of it: This too should be a given, but you don’t want to launch into a tirade about Amazon, its product quality or its regulations. After all, you’re the one who needs their help to lift your suspension. So be respectful.
- Present a well-researched plan of action: To facilitate a swift reaction from Amazon, you should present a detailed outline of how you aim to rectify the cause of your suspension and why it won’t recur. Be as thorough as possible to avoid possible delays.
Before you submit your appeal, look over your plan of action to ensure that it presents a full, accurate picture of what you did wrong and how you’ll fix it. Maintaining professional communication is absolutely key to building a compelling, fact-based case that will shorten your suspension. Focus on illustrating where you went astray and taking accountability will allow you to get back to selling as quickly as possible. With the above tips to guide you, you’ll be well on your way to doing just that.