What to do if your Amazon account is suspended

What to do if your Amazon seller account is suspended

Published in Metrics

An Amazon account suspension can seriously damage your business and while Amazon does give you the opportunity to appeal, it can be stressful and complicated to get your account reinstated. We take you through the actions you need to take when your account is suspended, and some key tips to writing an appeal.     

Reasons for an Amazon account suspension

If your Amazon account is suspended you’ll be notified by email, and until the suspension is removed you won’t be able to sell on Amazon. Account suspensions are either because you’ve failed to meet Amazon’s seller performance standards, or you’ve violated one of their selling policies.

Amazon assesses your transactions by order defect rate (number of orders that receive negative feedback), pre-fulfilment cancellation rate and your late shipment rate and if you fail to meet Amazon’s targets your account can be suspended. Find out more about your Amazon customer metrics here.

Account suspensions for policy violations are either due to selling restricted products or because you haven’t complied with Amazon’s selling policies.

The suspension notification will outline the performance standard or selling policy that you’ve violated and the Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) of the products involved. However, it is up to you to determine the exact cause for why your account has been suspended.

Appealing your suspension

  1. Understand why your account has been suspended.
  2. Write out a plan of action.
  3. Submit your appeal to Seller Performance through the ‘Notification’ page of the Customer Metrics section of your account - there’s an ‘Appeal’ button in the notice that you receive about the removal of selling privileges.
  4. Amazon will usually respond by email within 48 hours, but it could take longer.

Find out more about the process for appealing your Amazon suspension here.   

Understanding your Amazon suspension

Amazon gives you a chance to appeal against your suspension, which has to include a plan of action outlining your response to the problems and how you will stop it from happening again.

To come up with a realistic plan to meet Amazon’s strict selling standards and get your account reinstated, you need to spend some time assessing your business. If your suspension is performance based, take a look at your customer metrics and identify all the targets that you’re not meeting, and others that you’re struggling with.

  • If you’re receiving a lot of negative feedback, you can read the comments that buyers are leaving to see what changes you need to make to improve their experience.
  • To tackle a high level of late shipments, you need to find out why you’re unable to get orders out in time - if it’s because your order volume has increased or because you’re selling different products that take longer to send out then you need to change your dispatch process to account for the change.
  • For high cancellation rates, you need to show how you can monitor your inventory more effectively, and what you will do when items do go out of stock.
  • If you’ve violated Amazon’s selling policies look into all of Amazon’s rules so that you fully understand how you’ve broken them, and can avoid doing it again.

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Five essential elements of your Amazon appeal

Coming up with a plan of action that is successful will take some time. While it might be tempting to put something together quickly and submit it to Amazon as soon as possible, it can take several days to get a response and if it’s not successful you’ll have to go through the whole process again. Amazon can eventually permanently close your account - so it’s essential that your first appeal is as good as it can be.

1. Acknowledge the problem
Take full responsibility, don’t try to make excuses or shift the blame to other factors - even if your late deliveries were due to your courier, you should have noticed the problem and switched to a different courier.

2. Show you’ve identified the problem
It’s important that before you submit your appeal you’ve made all the changes to your business and your processes that you can to address the problems that Amazon suspended you for. If some of your listings are violating Amazon’s policies you need to delete them, or if you were failing to meet seller performance standards then you need to have already put in place some changes to improve these.

When it comes to writing your appeal start off by identifying the exact reason for the suspension - what caused you to fall below seller standards, or how your listings violated Amazon selling policies. You need to show Amazon that you fully understand why you were suspended, and how it happened so that you know what you need to address to stop it happening again.

3. Outline the steps you've already taken
Then explain the steps that you’ve already taken. Your appeal shouldn’t just talk about what you will do if your account is reinstated, you need to show Amazon what action you’ve already taken to resolve the problem. Any action that can be done while your account is suspended should be done, you need to be proactive.

4. Long term planning
The rest of your plan of action should outline what ongoing steps you will take to resolve this problem and to stop it happening again in the future. The plan needs to be achievable and fully address all the issues that Amazon has highlighted. You need to have tackled the problems now but also be able to prove that it won’t happen again:

  • If you’ve already deleted some listings explain what you will do to in the future so that you don’t end up with more stock that will break Amazon’s rules.
  • If you’ve changed your courier, outline what processes you will have in place to track whether orders are arriving on time.
  • It could be that you’re going to hire more staff to help your business run more efficiently as it grows, or that you’re going to put in place a stricter process of checking orders before they’re dispatched.

Whatever long term solutions you include, make sure that they’re something you intend to follow through on.

5. Keep it brief
You appeal needs to be direct and to the point, try to write it up in brief bullet points without any excessive explanations or excuses. Amazon is only interested in knowing that you understand where things went wrong, what you’ve already done to resolve the problem, and what you’re going to do to ensure that you don’t end up in the same position again. Most importantly, if you are reinstated, learn from the experience and keep track of your customer metrics, sales, and make sure you have a full understanding of Amazon’s rules and restrictions.

Summary: What to do if your Amazon account is suspended

  • Your Amazon account suspension will either be performance based (order defect rate, pre-fulfillment cancellation rate, late delivery rate) or because you have violated Amazon's selling policies. 
  • Spend time investigative the cause of the issue, take steps to resolve it and plan to prevent it happening again.
  • In your appeal make it clear that you understand why your account was suspended, and include a plan of action for what you've already done and what you will continue to do to stop it happening. 
  • Keep your appeal short, write in bullet points, don't make excuses, and be realistic. 

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About the author

Verity is a journalist and content producer at Zenstores.

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