A lot of sellers think that as long as they are good sellers and don't cheat their customers, that their account is safe, but unfortunately Amazon has a shoot first and ask questions later policy when it comes to dealing with sellers. That's because Amazon's number one priority is the customer.
That means, even if you're the most angelic seller out there, you might accidentally violate Amazon's TOS and get your account suspended without even a warning or know what you did initially.
Luckily, if it was just a simple misunderstanding and you correct that minor violation, the Amazon Seller Performance team is usually pretty quick to reinstate your account, but for larger violations and repeated offenders, it might take months for you to get your account reinstated. Either way if your account gets suspended, there's things you should and should not do and we're going to list them here.
Don't do this if your account has just been suspended
1. Don't be too quick to respond
You'll need to submit an appeal to get your account reinstated and unless it's a minor violation, you'll likely be going back and forth with the person reviewing your appeal and this person is likely reviewing HUNDREDS of appeals each day. So make their job easier and focus on being direct and concise. What they ultimately want to know is:
- Show accountability and acknowledge the violation
- Steps on how you will correct the violation
- Processes you'll put in place in order to mitigate any future violations
2. Don't lie or fabricate your story
We've heard stories from other seller's who have had run-ins with the Seller Performance team more than once and they mention how the new agent working with them brings up details from previous cases. Now, this might just be that these workers are very thorough or it might be that Amazon Seller Performance agents have advanced AI programs to identify key details from previous cases. Whatever the case may be, your cases are not isolated, so keep that in mind.
3. Don't open a new account
A lot of sellers rush and open a new account when their account is suspended, but there are a lot of reasons why this is a very bad idea. For starters, it's against Amazon's TOS and it's considered a major violation.
Secondly, Amazon has methods of matching accounts and they're pretty advanced. If you don't believe us, try logging into your Amazon Seller Account from a friends computer. That friend will now never be able to leave you a review for any of your products.
4. Avoid legal action at all cost
Legal battles are messy and costly, so avoid these at all cost. Your best bet is only to appeal to Amazon first. Once you turn to an attorney, the process gets delayed significantly.
In the case of an infringement suspension, an attorney can reach out to the complaining party to reach a resolution, and request that the complaint be withdrawn. Once the complaint is withdrawn, the seller needs to communicate with Seller Performance about the results.
5. Seller Support Cannot Help you
The Seller Performance team is the only department that deals with and has ruling over your account. So if you get the urge to call Seller Support to ask them the status, don't bother. You won't get any where
6. Be nice
We get it, you're frustrated and likely losing thousands on idle inventory, but getting nasty with Seller Performance can only hurt you. Think of them as a DMV agent, they have the power to shut you down and lock you out with limited oversight.
7. Twitter is a last resort
A lot of sellers actually mail or tweet at Jeff Bezos looking for help and although there have been recorded instances of this working, so many sellers are doing it now that it has absolutely no impact. Unless your tweet goes viral, all you stand to gain is the wrath of the internet's indifferent attitude towards other's suffering.
Things to do if your account gets suspended
1. Read up on Amazon's Terms of Service and know what you
First and foremost, figure out what your violation is and once you figure that out, read up on it in Amazon's Terms of Service. Sometimes Amazon does make a mistake and if they do, you'll want to politely tell them that you believe it's an error. If it is an error, you'll be reinstated quickly. Either way, you'll want to know the violation, so you know never to do it.
2. Seek an Amazon consultant
This isn't a first line of defense, but if the violation isn't a quick fix, you may need to bring in a consultant to help you solve your issue. Make sure the Amazon consultant knows what the violations are and make sure they know the subset that the violation falls under. If they do, then they should be able to help you get your account compliant again and may even improve your processes while they're at it.
3. Get rid of old, negative listings
Every Amazon seller who has been in the game long enough has a few skunked products. You know, those products that got killed by reviews before they even had a chance to ship. Well get rid of those products, as they're likely bringing down your Seller Performance score. If it's an FBA product, close and archive it. If it's merchant fulfilled, delete it.
4. Show accountability
If Amazon has you dead to rights on your violation, your best course is to:
- Take responsibility and acknowledge the harm done
- Tell Amazon you're committed to fixing the issue and provide outline of what you will do to correct it
- Provide details of processes you'll put in place to prevent violations in the future
5. Learn from the experience
This was likely a very scary and PTSD inducing moment for you, but it's also a good opportunity to learn and grow. So don't take it for granted and learn from this experience.
We wish you all the luck!