It has been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that is never more true than when selling on Amazon. You need to be armed with the right information in order to survive. Below we will detail how exactly Amazon determines you’re in violation, how to stay ahead of them, and what to do if you get popped.
First, you need to understand there’s no little man behind the curtain. Amazon employs the use of robots to scan feedback, reviews, and metrics for things like specific keywords and then flags your account for review. Sometimes you will get an email from them letting you know there’s an issue. Many times however, you will simply get the dreaded “your selling privileges have been suspended” email.
This is where most people freak out and pop off a defensive, excuse-laden email before even understanding the process or learning how to write an effective appeal. Doing this is often the kiss of death for an account as you end up getting stuck in an automated loop where no actual person ever reviews your appeal, but you keep receiving automated responses.
We understand this is a horrible moment in time and that you are losing money by the minute. But panicking will only make things worse. Trust us! We know because we’ve been there ourselves. Amazon wants something very simple. They want you to 100% own what you did (even if you did nothing) and present them with a plan that shows them how this situation will never happen again. Seems simple, right? Well, kind of...
So here’s what happens now. You write up what’s called a Plan of Action. You need to show Amazon you are being proactive instead of reactive here. Tell them what you plan on doing differently, whether it be changing vendors, agreeing to not purchase from liquidators (often a source of the dreaded “inauthentic” complaint) or implementing quality control measures within your company and retraining your employees - even if that’s only you.
Amazon will often accept a Plan of Action that is detailed, proactive, and where they can see that you fully understand you are the root problem and you are willing to change everything to make them and the customer happy. If there is any component of this that is missing or lacking, you will receive another email from them requesting more information. Give them everything and anything they ask for in a timely manner and wait. If you get the message that says “we may not reply to any further emails,” your life is now exponentially more difficult. It’s not impossible to come back from this kind of email, but it is a long, hard road and should be avoided at all costs.
Waiting is critical. If you keep sending emails, you will find yourself stuck in an endless loop of automation that is hard to get out of. Even emailing Jeff Bezos (yes that’s a thing, but should be saved for the last resort) cannot get you out of this loop once you’re in it.
So how do you avoid suspension in the first place? The short answer is pay attention. While I’m sure you’re fastidious about every aspect of your business, there are things that you may be missing or not doing. One thing a lot of people miss is Reports. You must review all of your Amazon reports and metrics once a week. Pay special attention to A-to-Z claims, customer complaints, frequent returns, and seller cancellations. This will help you stay on top of any issues and ahead of the Amazon robots. Don’t forget to go over your feedback and reviews. This is a critical component sellers often forget about that could give them an early heads up to potential problems.
If you do end up getting suspended, realize that Amazon is not necessarily going to tell you exactly what the problem is. They may give you a general idea or notify you of one issue when really there are three. You must go through all of your reports for the past 90 days and suss out the issues. Oh and one more thing, don’t ever think that simply deleting the product in question from your inventory will satisfy the Amazon gods. You must pair the action with a detailed explanation as to how you will prevent the situation from happening in the future.
Above all, Amazon always has and always will have the customer’s back over yours. So use every tool and every piece of information available to cover your own back. If you run into problems or the task of the appeal is too daunting, we’re here to help - 24/7. Call, text, or chat with one of our representatives today and get your account back up and running!