How To Appeal And Reinstate A Suspended Amazon Seller Account
If your selling privileges have been removed by Amazon for any reason, such as order issues, customer service complaints, UPC/ASIN match issues, or reported policy violations, they may be eligible for reinstatement by appeal. Here is how…
Steps for Appealing an Amazon Seller Suspension
1: Determine Why you Were Suspended by Amazon
Review any notices in your Amazon Seller Central account under Performance > Performance Notifications. They should also have sent you notice details via email, but this will help you learn if your suspension was due to performance issues or for a potential violation to the Amazon Selling Policies and Agreements.
2: Evaluate Your Amazon Selling Practices
In Amazon Seller Central, review your customer metrics and identify those that do not meet the the Amazon performance targets. Evaluate your selling practices and review your inventory for items that are in violation of their policies. Even if you have filtered violations that they have reported in the past this does not mean Amazon has identified all of your potential violations at once. Amazon (or any business) is not going to give you policies to follow and then expect that they can be ignored as long as every time a violation is reported you resolve it…they expect you to be familiar with the policies and work to prevent any violations before they need to review your listings in more detail.
Amazon Seller Performance Targets
All Amazon sellers should be working toward achieving and maintaining a level of customer service that meets the following seller performance targets:
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
Amazon selling accounts are commonly suspended or blocked for:
- Performance issues….your Amazon customer metrics do not meet their targets.
- Violations of the Amazon Selling Policies for your product segment and specifically:
- Setting up a second Amazon account, in the same locale, to have two Amazon listing identities. This one can sometimes trip people up when selling….especially if they have more than one person selling from different accounts in the same home. If your spouse or child is also access Amazon from the same home IP for example, but you both sell from two different accounts it might be flagged as a dual account at Amazon.
- Operating and maintaining multiple seller accounts is prohibited by Amazon. (see above) Amazon will monitor IP addresses on closed accounts.
- Violating the Amazon Price Parity clause of the Amazon Policies & Agreements. You should refer to your agreement for details. The basics of the clause state that a merchant must maintain price parity between the products you offer through your other sales channels (your own website, eBay, etc) and the products you list on Amazon. This includes consideration of shipping charges, refunds and discounts. This does not mean that you cannot have different prices for different channels, especially since you have Amazon fees which differ from eBay, etc….but you want to avoid being dramatically different if selling on multiple channels.
- Marketing directly to your Amazon customers in violation of the Amazon Policies & Agreements. The basics of the Amazon requirement state that a seller will not use Amazon information contact or market to a customer with the goal of having them make additional or alternative purchases outside of Amazon (eg directly on your own website). You can certainly have your name and logo and web address in your email used or in your invoice on the items shipped from your wholesale dropship distributor, but they want to make sure you are not trying to list a few items at a steep discount and then go and communicate directly about why they should shop on your website. Your invoice, email, or email signature for example could reference your domain, but don’t directly tell them “Stop shopping on my Amazon store because my website has even more and better items!!” for example.
- Violations of the Amazon policies for prohibited content or restricted items. This is often a section that can cause issues for new sellers, especially if you are new to your supplier and their products. For most product categories, its not really an issue, but with health items and adult products potential violations are much more common. Inventory Source has already filtered out any known issues reported by other sellers for you, but as new items are added or policies change, you want to be aware so you can better use your InventorySource.com account tools and filters to reduce any potential issues.
3: Draft a Plan of Action and an Appeal Letter for Amazon
In your plan detail steps you will take to correct the problem(s) that Amazon identified in the suspension notice or that you identified in Step 2. Providing a precise Plan of Action that covers the problems improves your chance that your Amazon selling privileges will be reinstated.
What to include:
- A detailed understanding on what happened to cause the issue. If the Amazon suspension was a result of repeated warnings, be sure to speak specifically to the most recent warnings and let them know for any violations you missed in the past those were always removed by you same day (and filter them so they dont come back)
- What was done to resolve the issue(s) that caused the suspension.
- What will be done to avoid the issue moving forward.
- Be as specific as possible. Broad messaging like “I will be more careful” might show you don’t really understand the issue or have not taken the needed steps.
- Quantify everything possible. Don’t say “many,” “a few,” ”several,” “occasionally,” etc. Use numbers and time frames where possible.
- Make reference to the specific policy that caused the issue to demonstrate you understand it and are taking action to comply with it. You can even show you have excluded specific sections of your catalog by category or brand if they had the issue or show you have reduced other items after seeing they had the same policy issue. Again, Amazon is not going to tell you every item that is an issue in their alerts…you will want to filter those and report them to your InventorySource.com support to make sure its set for you as needed, but you will also want to show you have filtered others now that you are more aware of the policy or how to seek other items with the issue in your catalog before they list.
- Amazon expects that if you failed to comply with a policy in the past, you will need to invest in some way (time, money, people) to comply in the future. Perhaps you did not use the filters in your Inventory Source account to control the listings, so let them know you now (even if you had it before) use an inventory management system which has built in controls and automated updates and a fully managed support team behind it.
- Your plan must address the specific concerns raised by Amazon….saying “sorry” and “will try harder” won’t work.
Submission of an appeal, even one following these best practices, does not guarantee re-instatement. They are oddly secretive about how it is reviewed or evaluated but as long as you do some home work and prep your response, and you don’t just demand reinstatement the same day or next day you have the issue, you can improve your chances by showing you have thought through the issue and your approach.
4: Send your Appeal to Amazon
With your Amazon Plan of Action, send it to Amazon Seller Performance with your request for reinstatement. Use the “Appeal” button in the Performance > Performance Notification screen) or email it to email@example.com
You can find additional information in your Amazon Seller Central page under “Appeals for Suspended or Blocked Accounts.
See below for a sample letter for your appeal.
Note: You do not need to mention our name in your appeal. Please feel free to simply say you have “implemented a new IT system for inventory controls” or “added a newly staffed team dedicated to automated inventory controls and supply chain management for your catalog”. They just need to know you have added tools (even if you had access to your InventorySource.com account and tools…if you were not using some of your filters before, then those can certainly be new “tools and features” for controlling your inventory) or have people (and we are your people since we can support your questions on the tools and filters in your account) on your team to help prevent these issues from happening.
Hello Seller Performance,
I am writing to appeal the suspension of my Amazon Seller Account [give your Amazon account number here] which was suspended for [state the reason for the suspension, an example follows]. We had an initial suspension in February due to a high return rate, and at the time were testing and trying to see what the best merchandise mix would be for us on Amazon as well as some of our inventory sources. At that time we had set a March 1st launch date to put our full line onto Amazon using Inventory Source to have more automated control over our inventory listings, but we had to change our plans soon after.
Our feedback rating was going up, and our return rate had gone down, and it looked as though everything was heading in the correct direction. Then, we received two A-Z claims in a 24 hour period and we were permanently removed from Amazon. Even though we had POD’s on both items, we gave instant refunds, and that was before we knew of the removal from the Amazon Marketplace. We suspended the Amazon launch at that time to further fix any problems there might be.
Some of our key improvements we made:
(Include detailed points for steps you have taken. Show you have reviewed the policies and implemented several review steps with your team to assess your newest items and have invested in an automated inventory management system…which is us….to better control the items which list and how they update based on the specific Amazon policies. Let them know you have gone through your UPCs to better match ASINs or have filtered any duplicate UPCs or case/pack items causing the issues in the past. You can also show you have reduced some brands or categories which had more of a data quality issue. Just show specific examples of things you have learned and controls you have put in place to clean up your current catalog and to prevent new issues or to improve your customer service.)
(If you have had a good seller rating on eBay, Pricegrabber, or other markets you can mention those details ideally where they can also look you up to see your ratings and then add that you know you can do the same or even better if given the chance with Amazon.) I personally have had great success in Amazon in the past.
We should have not opened with Amazon until we had a chance to implement the above plan, and I apologize for the mistakes that we made due to our early launch. I was anxious to get started on Amazon with our newest product lines and brands as we researched them for the best possible selling outcome, and so I started selling before our integration with the Inventory Source Inventory Management platform was fully applied to my account, especially with all of the tools and features made available now on my account to better manage our inventory. This was a tough lesson for us to learn and I understand this was a great error of judgment on my part.
With the improvements we have made, we know we can still be an asset to the Amazon Marketplace, and we are pleading for a final chance. We are happy to provide more details on any of the points noted above via phone or email. We are open to any thoughts and feedback as well based on your recommendations so we can rebuild your trust for our account as well.
Thank You For Your Consideration,
(Give your name, phone, email and your Amazon Seller Name or ID)