Suspension Prevention Strategy and Suspension Response

By Katharyne Shelton

Fortunately, account suspensions on Amazon are rare but they do happen and they are a seller's worst nightmare. Suspensions are normally the result of a serious complaint (such as counterfeit or inauthentic products) or a series of performance notifications.

Here are my top quick tips for protecting your account health:

  • Keep all your receipts. Make sure you have a paper trail to prove everything you sell is authentic. This is particularly important with clothes, shoes, dvds, toys (big brands), gadgets, kitchen products and electronics. Even if you are sure your product is authentic, you will need a way to prove it to Amazon if a malicious or confused buyer complains.
  • Read and re-read Amazon's policies. If you're going to create bundles or multipacks, read Amazon's Product Bundling Policy very carefully. Product bundling policy:
  • Familiarize yourself with Amazon's condition guidelines. 'New' means both the item and its packaging are pristine as if they were straight from the warehouse and any warranties are valid.
  • Check expiration dates on food and health products carefully.
  • Delete all your inactive listings. Don't leave them up 'in case'. Even if you get a return, you will still be able to find it in your stranded inventory and relist it.
  • Address ALL neutral/negative feedback as soon as you receive them. Be polite and professional with customers and make them happy.. Refund, let them keep the item, provide replacements. The cost of a happy customer is usually cheaper than the cost of a suspended account.
  • Address ALL performance notifications. Treat them all seriously and let Amazon know what you're doing to deal with it and provide receipts for any items in question. If you receive an incorrect notification, appeal it. Tell Amazon you take your selling privileges seriously and put customer service first.
  • Keep an eye on ASIN changes. If your receive an ASIN change notification email, check your product is still described accurately. It's a pain but only takes a minute.

Don't panic!

Suspension is scary but it's less common than it seems and it IS possible to get reinstated without spending thousands of dollars on reinstatement services.

If you DO receive a suspension notice, take a deep breath. Don't rush to reply.

  • First, take time to calm down. Don't respond emotionally or in a panic.
  • Go through your inventory to look for any further problems.
  • Remove any questionable listings.
  • Put together a carefully worded emailed response.
  • Talk to trusted, experienced sellers and have them look over your response before you send it.

Your email contact with Amazon should be professional, short and to the point (use bulletpoints), It really only needs two parts:

  • First, acknowledge that you understood what happened and what in Amazon's eyes you did wrong. Assure them that customer service and professionalism is your number one priority.
  • Next, provide them with an action plan laying out the steps you are taking to ensure the performance issue never happens again. Examples might be a new shipping routine, working with a new supplier or discontinuing a problematic product line.

Be polite, businesslike and unemotional. Don't ever get confrontational or aggressive and don't try to pin the blame on anyone else (your supplier, your mail carrier etc.) Amazon are only interested in your processes.

You may only get one chance to appeal so again, find an experienced and trusted seller (or several if possible) to read it through before you send it. Good luck!