Stop.

Breathe.

Focus.

This post was originally written by Kelly Johnston, and was published May 25, 2016.

If you’ve spent any amount of time as a seller on Amazon, you’ve likely received a message from Seller Performance that strikes fear into your soul.

 A policy warning perhaps, or worse, a notification your funds will be delayed and your account suspended. Your breath catches, your pulse races, and your brain starts going a million miles an hour.

Whether you’re a brand new seller of a month or a grizzled veteran of 10+ years, don’t panic. 

In selling, as in life, fear can often make a fixable situation exponentially more challenging.

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Advice from an experienced Amazon veteran

I spent nearly ten years at Amazon reading panicked, freaked out, over-the-top emails when a seller had an enforcement issue. The theme was often the same:

  1. What?! This warning/suspension/listing removal can’t be right!
  2. Please don’t take my account away/please let me back on!
  3. I don’t know what to do?!
  4. {Insert random bargaining, pleading, or extraneous details designed to moved the Amazon rep’s emotional needle}

All of these are normal reactions, but they do nothing to advance your case with Seller Performance. In fact, it may make it worse. Since I’ve been a consultant in the Amazon seller space, I’ve seen many people-especially those new to the platform- get a message from Seller Performance and, in addition to the 4 points above, commit another cardinal sin: spamming everyone you can find.

We’ve all been there. Something has gotten fouled up at the bank, or an online service you depend on suddenly gets messed up. The cable bill got paid, but they applied it to someone else’s account. You try to fix it, but nothing’s working, and you’re emailing ANYONE you can find to get things resolved. Desperation has never met a send button it didn’t like.

But as a seller, if you opt for the See What Sticks method and throw emails at various Amazon entities like spaghetti on the wall you’re reducing your chances at resolution. Recently I saw a new seller pursue the following course of action:

-Calling Seller Support 12x

-Escalating to a Seller Support manager 5x

-Emailing Seller Performance more than 13x

-Emailing the Payments team 3x

-Writing to Jeff Bezos 2x

Too.Much.Noise

Why s/he was writing isn’t relevant to the discussion- and I’ve seen sellers take similar actions over warnings, suspensions, informational “head’s up” emails, and any other kind of communication they might receive from Amazon. Below are three reasons emailing everyone under the sun isn’t a good idea:

-You’re not dealing with the only team that can help you, which in this case is Seller Performance

-You’re creating extra work when you reach out to any other team who can’t do anything but refer your complaint to Seller Performance. You know, that team you’ve already emailed several times. And guess what- you’re not the only seller using this exact tactic.

-Which brings me to the last reason- noise. All of those other sellers who are panicking and emailing a million times are creating a backlog, and since things come into the email queues in the order they’re received, it’s very likely your contacts aren’t getting reviewed by one person. That can lead to getting conflicting information from investigators, adding yet another layer of challenge to your situation.

Stop.Read.Think

Don’t panic. I know, I know, it probably seems easy for me to say that- but it’s still true. Spamming multiple teams, especially with repeating information doesn’t help you- it ticks off the people who have control over your Amazon presence, it can dilute your message, and it increases the length of time your issue lingers.

The best way to resolve an issue is to stop and read. Think about what Amazon’s saying. Don’t send the first email you write, and ask yourself:

“Have I provided the requested information?”

“What information can I offer that might change this outcome?”

“What questions do I have that the email or Help files don’t answer?”

The unvarnished truth of being a seller on Amazon is that it’s their sandbox, and that means they make the rules. Though many times you’ll be able to reason your way to resolution, sometimes they’re just not going to budge.

New sellers can save themselves a world of misery and shock if they research ahead of time. People are seduced by the thought of an eCommerce business, the controlling of one’s time and destiny, not commuting, etc. The siren song of freedom takes over, and they skip a few Google searches that would prepare them for what it’s like as a new seller on Amazon. It’s not all sales and happy customers; there are real challenges, rules, and unexpected speedbumps that crop up.

Don’t let what I’ve said discourage you; in fact, it should embolden you to pursue selling on Amazon with your eyes wide open, Google at the ready -and if you’re smart- an experienced mentor to help you navigate the lucrative but complicated world of Amazon.

Reduce-or-Eliminate-Listing-Suspension-on-your-Amazon-Account-by-Rachel-Greer-of-Cascadia-Seller-Solutions

Get account protection.

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Afterword from Rachel Johnson Greer

It can feel very overwhelming when your business is at risk because of actions taken by Amazon. You need to protect yourself as much as possible ahead of time, so that problems with Amazon aren’t a potentially business destroying event, but is rather a significant annoyance.

Ideally, you have all of your invoices sorted and labeled, attached to your orders in a system like QuickBooks.

All of your private label products need to have safety testing, even if it’s not legally required, in case a competitor reports a problem with your product. All they have to do is say your adapter lit on fire, or exploded, etc., and now you have to provide proof that you’ve done all of the necessary – although not legally required – safety testing.

Not a good position to be in!

Forewarned is forearmed, and makes it much easier to handle when panic-inducing events happen.

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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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