The e-commerce industry just keeps growing, with more online sales daily and more businesses successfully translating their online presence into sales on eCommerce sites like Amazon.
However, anyone who has involved themselves in this industry fully understands that it is never all rosy for sellers, and we hear of sellers getting their selling privileges removed by Amazon. In this article, we shall discuss some of the actions you could take if you ever find yourself in this tricky situation.
Let’s start with demystifying some of the commonly confused terms.
- Account Suspension – All is not lost! You are being prevented from accessing and trading, but you can still appeal the decision. Don’t approach this lightly; you will need to plan your strategy wisely. Lodge a well-prepared appeal.
- Account Denied – This is more serious. Your first appeal was not successful, which could mean that you did not convey the reasons why the suspension should be lifted in a clear and convincing manner. You have one last chance to propose a better solution.
- Account Banned – You’re done. The account does not exist anymore, and you have no further recourse. Look for another trade outlet.
You cannot shrug it off and just start another account. This is against Amazon and most other e-commerce sites’ policy, and you may end up with even more problems if you get caught – which you probably will.
It is far better to follow the rules down to the letter and even review them every once in a while, to make sure you aren’t accidentally overstepping some boundary. Even Good Guys’ get their selling privileges removed at times, for not paying attention to details or a lack of communication with Amazon.
If you missed some detail, did not respond to notifications or violated a policy unknowingly, you will be hurtin’. Don’t fall victim to the belief that the eCommerce site needs your business to pay their bills at the end of the month. They don’t. Even hugely successful traders with enormous turnover can fall victim to account suspensions for various reasons. Suspensions don’t occur “just because they can”, but because of they
- Have identified actions and behaviors that can potentially harm them
- Gone to the trouble of setting out rules and regulations that will prevent those actions
- Entered into an agreement with you to uphold acceptable behavior
- Spend a lot of money on spotting such actions when they occur
- Will not allow anyone to harm their business
There is no vindictiveness involved. They are only protecting their future by choosing their business partners carefully.
If you are one of the Good Guys’ who got suspended because of a minor transgression, it should be a wake-up call to sit up and take notice of the detail. Amazon may remove selling privileges in cases of:
- Poor performance: Amazon aims to promote a competitive working environment where excellent customer service is valued. If customer service is not your priority, Amazon will spot it and will not allow you to drag their reputation down
- Policy violation: Read the fine print. At least once a month. We forget things, and you may unknowingly violate a rule that did not apply to you when you first started trading. Your responsibility grows with your collection and your success.
- Selling restricted products: Don’t sell dodgy things. Don’t sell contraband or sub-standard commodities and keep in mind that the term ’restricted’’ is used with respect to Amazon policies and may include certain products that wouldn’t be considered such by your local jurisdiction. You just need to learn what and what not to trade in while selling on the site.
Prevention is better than cure – Check your user panel daily. An increasing number of Returns, Negative Feedback and Imperfect Order reports are red flags and will trigger Amazon’s close attention.
- Always accept returns and issue a refund even if it means losing your last coin as buyers have a way of bringing your account into disrepute with the site. This would also earn you some positive reviews, the very thing you will need to keep going.
- Ensure timely shipping and packaging as well as proper labeling, for example, do not sell a generic product as private label.
- Keep your product descriptions accurate and honest.
- If you are an FBA seller, remember to close and archive old listings and for Merchant Fulfilled seller, remember to delete them. In case you need to deal with e-commerce fraud, switch to FBA.
Also, keep a close eye on your a-Z claims and your messaging. You could download the Amazon Seller App that enables you to keep tabs on your messages. Act if you receive a notification.
Performance-related suspension notifications start with: “We have removed your Amazon selling privileges because of buyer complaints about the condition or description of items they received from you.” Depending on the information accompanying the notification, a seller will be expected to create a plan of action.
How Do You Appeal Against Your Suspension? In case you selling privileges have been removed regardless of your best efforts to keep your performance above board, the following procedure will help you regain your account.
- Identify the reasons for the suspension as this will determine the plan of action needed to have the account restored.
- Take full responsibility and desist from apportioning blame, as Amazon is likely to have a softer spot on the buyer than on you as the seller.
- Make it clear to Amazon that you are exceptionally committed to abiding by their policies and that it is a privilege to trade on their site.
- Never criticize the site’s quality assessment measures and be calm throughout the process.
Next, develop a thorough plan of action based upon your internal findings. The plan of action should address the root causes of your account suspension and offer real solutions for each. Be practical, for instance, if you get your Amazon selling privileges removed for shipping reasons, you may state in the plan that you intend to move to FBA to avoid any similar suspensions in future.
Try to view the suspension as an opportunity to learn. Amazon is a successful business for a reason; they have a proven business model, and they have every reason to maintain business standards. If you abide by the rules, pay attention to detail and take the trade environment seriously, you can avoid suspensions and deal with problems quickly.
Selling on Amazon is not as hard as it appears but just like any other e-commerce site, it calls for maximum discipline on your part as the seller if you should stand any chances of making the most out of the site.