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Account Suspensions and Handling the Appeal Process

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Account suspensions can be incredibly stressful.

This post originally appeared November 2015. View the original post here.

There are a lot of places you can go for help with you encounter a suspension action by Amazon.

You can, of course, answer Amazon yourself. Your best bet to get a positive response from Amazon is in your initial appeal, however, so you definitely want to make sure that if you’re answering Amazon yourself, you ensure you hit all of the necessary points the first time.

Never forget – you’re sending this appeal to a real person, someone whose job is dependent on them making the right decision about you. Making the wrong decision hurts their metrics, so they generally tend to be conservative in whether or not they will listen to your appeal.

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Are you kidding? I'm hiring someone!

There are a lot of great options for hiring consultants to help you with your appeal. You absolutely do not want to hire someone who uses templates. Amazon will check for templates. You might get lucky… you might not.

We currently take on a limited number of clients, and primarily focus on safety issues. This is because our appeals are written custom to every client’s situation only by former Amazon employees who worked in Safety and Compliance. Click here to move forward working with us.

In addition to our own service, we recommend eGrowthPartners and eCommerceChris.

Below, you can see the Starbucks outside of where I worked with Chris, Michael, and Hans a decade ago at Amazon before Amazon moved to South Lake Union. Choosing to work with Chris and his team is choosing a team with the broadest internal experience with Marketplace policy and fraud (not including safety or compliance violations). 

We do not take affiliate fees for recommendations; if we are too busy to help, I honestly can recommend working with Cynthia and her team, or Chris, Michael, and Hans, above any other companies in this space.

Our process

 

  • We review your account (see below) and provide you with an evaluation and feedback on what’s gone wrong with the account. Sometimes Amazon’s blurbs aren’t as helpful as they could be, or their list of ASINs is only an example set and there are actually more issues with your account that they expect you to handle (without telling you directly at times). If you’ve had an account review email, you may still want the account review from us to be prepared for what comes next.
  • Based on our account review, we provide you with advice on how we recommend approaching the reinstatement problem with Amazon.
  • We will work with you until your issue is resolved – our goal is to be your partner in this difficult situation and help make clear what the policies were that were missed, and how to avoid this in future

 

First Suspensions

It is relatively easy to come back from an initial suspension, if you are polite, deferential, and respond to the issues at hand. You may be frustrated, confused, and upset, but the investigator evaluating your response will likely not respond well to anything other than a professionally written detailed plan of action to solve the problem. Their goal is to protect the platform from unscrupulous sellers, and your goal is to show them that’s not you. This is your best chance to be heard, don’t waste it!

Second and More Suspensions

Each subsequent suspension becomes harder and harder to return from, with the burden of proof being higher and the risk the investigator takes in reinstating you also greater, so they’re less willing to do so. Very few situations are impossible to come back from, but some are definitely harder than others. From experience, second and further reinstatement take 2-4x longer than the average first attempt at reinstatement.  This can be exhausting for you, for your consultant, and certainly for the Amazon investigator trying to evaluate your account.

If you get a response that looks like the investigator didn’t actually read it, it means you’re missing something important. It could be somewhere in the feedback, or in the returns report, or in your overall defect rates for particular ASINs. While it may seem that investigators aren’t paying attention, and some may be in a hurry, in our experience we’ve found that sellers either missed an ASIN that Amazon found important, or were insufficiently specific about their plan to address the root cause.

We have handled account suspensions and dozens of listing suspensions for our sellers for inauthentic products, being related to a suspended account, selling used items as new, jewelry QA testing failures, shipping and packaging issues, and others. We have had a very high success rate, except when accounts are very closely related or have been closed longer than six months, and these type of accounts only come back about a quarter of the time in our experience.

Frequently Asked Suspension Questions

What are your qualifications to help me?

Our suspension appeal team is comprised of all former Amazonians. Rachel Johnson Greer in TRMS, working on large buyer and seller fraud and tax cases. Malia Kim wrote rules for the Restricted Products team, and investigated safety and compliance issues for global imports. Erin Zelnio worked in Product Recalls and Product Safety. We are all well versed in the way that Amazon uses blurbs and communicates with sellers, and we understand the internal teams who are communicating with you.

What do I get from an account review?

You will receive an evaluation of your major seller performance metrics, inclusive of on time performance as well as product quality indicators such as feedback and returns. We will also provide you with an analysis of your IP and Restricted Products contacts and the likelihood of enforcement action there. We do not guarantee that you won’t get suspended if you follow our recommendations, but we do try to make it far less likely.

Do you outsource your reviews?

No, all account reviews are done by Malia.

Amazon Account Suspensions

My account was just suspended, how quickly will you write my Plan of Action for me?

That depends on the health of your account and the service you sign up for. With some clients, we were able to complete a POA that would work for their situation by the next day. With some others, it took days to collect the necessary information, run internal audits, and create new checklists. You only get one click of the Appeal button – don’t be in a huge hurry to waste it. You want your appeal to cover all necessary elements of the suspension thoroughly.

With our expedite service, you will have a comprehensive review and appeal prepared within 24 hours, guaranteed.

Do you outsource writing of the Plan of Action?

No, Plans of Action are written by former Amazonians on our team only.

I have already used my Appeal button and received a request for more information, can you help me?

Yes, we evaluate your suspension notice, and your response, then compare this with our evaluation of your account. Often, Amazon investigators will send a list of example ASINs to you, and you the seller may believe those are the only ASINs they have a problem with. We thoroughly evaluate your entire account, we don’t just rely on the suspension email to determine how to respond. Our goal is to solve the problem before you receive the dreaded “final word” email that tells you Amazon won’t respond to you any further.

I have received an email saying Amazon won’t talk to me anymore. Can you help me?

Yes, this email is sent frequently – more often than it used to be used – and there are options to get Amazon to look at your account after getting this email. One option is writing directly to JeffB, but we want to hold off on that until it’s absolutely necessary as it’s really the step of last resort. If you’ve already written to Jeff and gotten denied, we have successfully gotten sellers in this situation reinstated, but it’s much harder.

Listing Blocked

I recently had a top selling listing blocked. I responded with what Amazon requested and they won’t reinstate my listing.

We see this frequently, and it’s often due to misrepresented invoices or invoices that aren’t in the format Amazon needs. Sometimes, they’re asking for invoices, but there’s actually wanting information about your packaging or listing quality. We help evaluate the ASIN and provide you with a plan to fix the problem and email to send to Seller Performance.

Help me appeal my suspenson please!

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About the Author
I got my first job at Amazon because of my German language skills from my Master’s in History. Take that, people who said I’d never get a good job with my liberal arts degree! I soon learned that I’m not good at taking orders and started my MBA coursework at Seattle University.

I worked at Amazon for 8 years, as a liaison for law enforcement in Fraud/Transaction Risk, a quality and compliance manager in Product Compliance for Amazon Brands and imports globally, and lastly, managing hardware for Website Availability. I love the flexibility that working for clients on Amazon rather than for Amazon affords me.

In my not significant free time, I do fiber crafts such as spinning, crocheting, and embroidery, and I have been in a community band since 2009, playing French Horn, Trombone, or Euphonium depending on the band’s needs that season.

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