For any seller, new or old, having your Amazon seller account suspended can seem like a nightmare.
That's because it is. It's a long and intensive process which effectively derails the countless hours of effort you put into building your business—to speak nothing of the cost to both your reputation and your wallet.
Suspension isn't always permanent, however. There are ways to have your Amazon seller account reinstated. But it will take a thorough plan of action
Why Was My Amazon Seller Account Suspended?
Each day, thousands of Amazon sellers are faced with the very possible threat of suspension for seemingly minor infractions.
This isn't just a question of selling counterfeit goods or attempting to manipulate Amazon reviews. It can be the result of unknowingly operating multiple accounts from the same IP address, having your listing hijacked or receiving constant negative feedback.
Each negative review you receive doesn't just affect your status to potential customers. They send a red flag to Amazon which can altogether trigger a permanent ban.
To make matters worse, Amazon account suspensions can happen without notice. In October 2020, Amazon fell under criticism after an algorithm misidentified many parties during a mass suspension designed to remove sellers operating under multiple accounts.
While many of those accounts were eventually restored, the process can take up to 90 days to get your account reinstated.
If you're concerned about the potential threat of Amazon account suspension, there are steps you can take to appeal your deactivation.
Review Selling Policies and Account Health Regularly
Amazon changes seller policies and code of conduct regularly, with many sellers being entirely unaware of the specifics of those changes.
While Amazon typically informs sellers by email of how revised policies can affect their selling privileges, it's entirely up to you to review your seller code of conduct at least once a quarter in order to ensure the health of your account.
Regularly reviewing the Account Health tab under Performance in Seller Central is an excellent first step which can help safeguard you as well as identify some of your weaker points as a seller.
If there is an error in your Amazon suspension (and it's not entirely unheard of), clicking on Reactivate your account at the top of Account Health and indicating why you feel Amazon may have made a mistake can sometimes result in having your account reinstated in a matter of days.
But more likely than not, you'll have to submit a plan of action, including an appeal letter and any supporting documents in order to successfully have your suspended Amazon account reinstated.
Your Amazon Suspended Account Plan of Action
The first step is identifying the cause of your suspension. Amazon sometimes reaches out to sellers with a 30 day notice indicating just what violations were committed. But that's not always the case.
Read your Amazon suspension notice carefully. If it's a recurring issue, you will need to demonstrate clear and specific steps you're currently taking to address policy infractions as well as any measures to prevent future misunderstandings.
Sellers who've committed significant breaches of Amazon policies, knowingly sold counterfeit products or receive consistent buyer complaints may find chances of account reinstatement to be virtually none. Amazon takes selling privileges very seriously. And the increased scrutiny they're facing from federal agencies could result in an even stricter maintenance of seller protocol.
What Should I Include in My Amazon Seller Plan of Action?
Your Amazon plan of action (POA) not only indicates your willingness to abide by Amazon's code of standards for sellers. It can help outline best practices you should be engaging in on any retail platform.
Your Amazon plan of action can help you identify just why your performance was less than stellar. Were there outstanding delivery delays within your control? Significant order defects? Slow response time to customer queries?
All of these will affect your seller rating and should be carefully addressed in your POA.
Above all, precisely identify the specific causes of your suspension and be meticulous in outlining the steps you'll take to prevent future issues.
The language of your plan of action should be concise, easily understandable and address only Amazon's explicit concerns regarding your suspended account. Avoid the temptation to defend your business emotionally and strive to be as objective and understanding as possible.
It's a good idea to bold or highlight any relevant points to ensure reader-friendliness of your POA. Break them down into bullet points to provide Amazon with a context which can affect your seller reinstatement.
Introduce your business, including the length of time you've been selling on Amazon.
Provide examples of positive customer feedback you've gained.
Provide the context of the issues at hand, and include any supporting evidence relating to products and ASINs in review.
Identify the root cause behind just why you had your Amazon account suspended.
Indicate what steps you'll take to resolve the issue of your Amazon seller suspension.
Provide a detailed explanation of exactly which steps you'll take in the future to prevent outstanding issues.
What if I'm Not to Blame For My Amazon Seller Suspension?
Sometimes an account suspension is entirely Amazon's error, and mistakes as a result of automated bots and algorithms aren't uncommon.
If that happens to be the circumstances, avoid blaming Amazon or be overly defensive in your argument. Politely but firmly point out the oversight.
If you're uncertain about any issue, ask questions. Amazon will not likely engage with an automatic template containing no relevant information.
How Long Should I Wait to Appeal My Amazon Suspension?
Stay calm. You have approximately 7 days after the end of your 30 day notice to fix and address any issues.
While Amazon has indicated most suspension appeals are decided upon within 48 hours, decisions are still on a case by case basis. And it's not an automated bot reviewing your plan of action, but a human representative from an Amazon seller performance team.
Patience and positivity are necessary for any successful appeal, and your POA should reflect your values as a seller as much as it reflects your adherence to Amazon's seller account policies. Should I Retain Additional Help for My Amazon Suspension?
Amazon operates differently from other retail platforms. Each suspension appeal is handled on a case by case basis, and your own is just one of thousands they process each day. It may be unique, it may be standard, but it's still just one among many thousands.
Amazon lawyers can help facilitate the process of addressing account deactivation if your plan of action fails to address valid issues. They're legal experts who know the ins and outs of selling on Amazon and the difficulties sellers face in navigating a frequently obscure participation agreement. Color More Lines can connect you with qualified legal help in order to continue selling on Amazon after your account suspension.
But it may not come down to seeking additional help. You may find a well written appeal letter and a plan of action containing specific details on how you hope to improve your performance may be all you need to have your Amazon seller account reinstated.
The key word is performance. Receiving an Amazon account suspension notice isn't just a penalty. It's an opportunity to improve your performance as a seller. It's a learning experience—one which can teach you more than you might think.
Color More Lines has helped third-party sellers navigate the ins and outs of an Amazon suspension. We can help you too. Find out more at Color More Lines.