If you sell products on Amazon, you could find yourself with a suspended account. There are many reasons why Amazon suspends seller accounts, and it can feel like the weight of the world is crashing on you if it happens. After all, Amazon is a huge platform for your products, and you likely get a large chunk of your sales from Amazon alone.
It can sometimes take several months for a seller account to be reinstated once it has been suspended, which is months’ worth of sales not happening on the world’s largest online shopping site.
Luckily, it's not all doom-and-gloom when an Amazon account is suspended. IO Scout will show some ways to recover your account and prevent a suspension from happening in the future.
Why Did They Suspend my Amazon Account?
Amazon notifies its sellers that their accounts have been suspended with a notification indicating that “selling privileges have been removed.” This can happen when one or more of Amazon’s policies have been violated, whether intentionally or not, and it can happen to anyone who isn’t careful about how they sell on Amazon.
Reasons for an Amazon Account Suspension
There are many reasons why your seller account may be suspended. If you are unsure why Amazon decided to take this action against your account, you can find it under Performance Notifications in Seller Central. Here is why your account may be suspended:
You Aren’t Providing Quality Products or Services
Amazon is intent on selling quality products and services in a competitive marketplace. In order to ensure quality, Amazon reviews are taken very seriously. If there are too many consumer complaints about your product or description quality, Amazon will suspend your account to prevent you from further tarnishing Amazon's reputation.
Something that indicates the quality of your products to Amazon is your Order Defect Rate (ODR). This is the percentage of orders that receive poor reviews due to myriad reasons, and they could be as small as wanting a refund because the product wasn’t what they thought it would be. If your ODR is higher than 1%, you could risk attracting Amazon’s attention and review of your account.
You’ve Violated Amazon’s Terms of Service
If Amazon discovers you have broken one or more of their policies, they will suspend your account on the grounds that you’ve broken the contract you made with them when you accepted their Terms & Conditions.
These policies include maintaining a polite and professional relationship with your buyers, keep your account and listing information up to date, and on and on. It’s important to review Amazon’s selling policies carefully to be sure you don’t accidentally violate your contract and end up suspended.
You’re Selling a Restricted Product
Certain products are restricted or banned by the FBA, the Fulfillment by Amazon service that takes care of storing, packaging, and shipping products so individual sellers don’t have to. If you try to sell a restricted product, such as alcohol, this is a violation of FBA’s policies and can result in account suspension.
Not only that, but the FBA reserves the right to destroy your restricted merchandise in their warehouses if it’s discovered you are selling a prohibited product. In some cases, they may also take legal action against you if your product is outlawed wherever it is being sold.
You Have a High Pre-Fulfilment Cancel Rate
When an order is canceled before it's even been shipped, that can only be the fault of the seller. If your Pre-Fulfilment Cancel Rate is higher than 2.5%, it reflects poorly on your ability to provide quality services as a seller. Amazon may want to reevaluate your role on their platform and whether you are upholding their standards for customer service.
You Have a High Late Shipment Rate
Fast shipping is a staple of Amazon’s services, so having a lot of orders that ship late is not good for sellers. The Late Shipment Rate (LSR) is determined by dividing the number of shipments that have not been confirmed to be delivered on time by the total number of shipments in a given amount of time. If your LSR is higher than 4%, it does not bode well for the status of your seller account.
What Can You Do if Your Amazon Account is Suspended?
If your seller account has been suspended, you can submit a document called a Plan of Action (POA) that will tell Amazon how you intend to resolve the issues they found with your account. Tips on preparing the POA for Amazon’s review can be found below.
If your account is reinstated after submitting an appeal, be sure to follow the steps you outlined in your POA to prevent a suspension from happening again. It's important to learn from your mistakes to become a high-quality seller who will sell more and create a herd of committed customers to return to buy your products again and again.
Types of Amazon Suspended Accounts
Not all suspended accounts are created equal. It’s important to know what type of suspended account you have so you’ll know the best way to move forward when recovering your account.
1. Suspended Account
Suspension on your account is temporary, and it means you have a chance to appeal this action using a POA. In the meantime, you are not allowed to sell your merchandise on Amazon.
2. Denied Account
If your POA is denied, you will have a chance to submit a revised POA for another chance to have your account recovered. You still cannot sell on Amazon until your POA has been approved.
3. Banned Account
If your Amazon account is banned, it means your POA has been denied more than once and Amazon is no longer taking appeals to recover your account. This is the worst outcome and it closes the door to further negotiations with Amazon.
How to Get Your Suspended Amazon Account Back
- Start by thoroughly checking your seller account. Be on the lookout for any Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) with previous policy warnings, as these could be the reason for your suspension.
- Make sure you understand which policies you broke to result in your suspension. If you can’t find sufficient information in your suspension notice, Amazon’s Policies & Agreements page, or your Seller Central Performance Metrics, you can open a ticket with Amazon to gain further clarification.
- Take responsibility for your suspension in your appeal. Acknowledge what you did and that you know why it was harmful to your customer(s).
- Refrain from criticizing Amazon's policies or processes, as this can quickly turn them against you.
- Write a thorough POA so Amazon knows exactly how you plan to rectify the issues with your account or services. See the section below on writing a good POA.
- Submit your appeal through the Performance Notification portion of Seller Central. There will be an “Appeal” button under your suspension notice, where you will be able to submit your POA.
Can I Open a New Amazon Account?
If your seller account has been suspended or banned from Amazon, it is against the company’s Terms & Conditions to open another account. This can be frustrating for sellers who have just been suspended and find they can’t call Amazon to work out the issue. Instead, you must communicate via email.
If you try to make another account and Amazon finds out, you will create more legal trouble for yourself and you will still not be able to sell your products on Amazon. Information that can link your banned account to a new one includes your name, your legal information, your bank account, your IP address, your email, etc. In short, it is not easy to avoid being found out.
How Do I Know if my Account is Suspended?
If you can no longer sell on Amazon, that's a clear indicator that your account has been suspended. You will also receive a notification from Amazon telling you that your selling privileges have been revoked with an explanation of why, and you will see an option to submit an appeal.
How Do I Recover my Amazon Suspended Account?
Writing a reconsideration document or POA is the only way to appeal the suspension of your account. You can submit your POA through your seller account and Amazon will review it, asking questions and asking you to revise if need be.
Preparing the Reconsideration Document (POA)
Your Plan of Action should be thorough and thoughtful, addressing all of Amazon’s concerns without blaming or criticizing the company.
- Start with an introductory paragraph to give an overview of what happened and how you have already fixed the issue.
- Address why your account was suspended, specifically citing the complaints your customers had. Then, tell Amazon how you plan to change your services as a seller to fix the problems and prevent them from happening again.
- Format the POA in a way that’s easy to read. Bullet or numbered lists are easier to read than paragraphs, and they allow you to clearly outline what you did to result in this suspension and the action you’ve taken to correct the problem.
- Keep the appeal professional and stay humble throughout. Trying to earn sympathy points by telling Amazon how sad you are that they’ve suspended your account won’t work, and neither will complaining about their policies or response time. Amazon has a right to decide who can sell on their site and who cannot, and arguing with them will not do you any favors.
- Stay focused on only relevant facts. What did you do wrong? What will you do to improve if given another chance? Your account has already been suspended, so this is not the time or place to talk about your performance metrics or how many positive reviews you have.
- Refrain from blaming your customers if you have received policy warnings from Amazon. If your account has been suspended, it’s more than likely for a legitimate reason and not because of buyer bias.
- Include all the elements that led to your suspension and address them specifically for a thorough POA. The more thorough your appeal, the better chance you have at getting it approved the first time around, which will save time and allow you to get back to selling quicker.
- Above all, keep it short and to the point. The Amazon reps reviewing your appeal won’t have any reason to give your long POA the time of day, and a longer document could actually hurt your chances of getting approval.
How to Prevent Your Selling Privileges from Being Removed
If you think you’re above suspension, think again. Even well-intentioned sellers and big sellers can find themselves facing account suspension. It’s important to take the steps necessary to prevent suspension. You will avoid a lot of hassle and prevent the loss of sales that can happen during an account suspension.
4 Tips to Prevent Suspension
1. Keep an Eye on Your Amazon Reports
If your customers aren’t happy, you could end up facing suspension. It’s important to regularly check reports on your Returns, Imperfect Orders, and Negative Feedback to monitor what your buyers are saying about you and your product. Evaluate your performance frequently and make adjustments as needed.
2. Keep Your Customers Happy
If you sell and fulfill your orders directly, you are also at risk for receiving A-Z claims. The Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee protects buyers when buying products fulfilled by the seller. If they are unhappy with the shipment, they can file a complaint and Amazon can take disciplinary action against you.
Make sure you ship your orders on time and properly. A poorly packaged product could leak or break by the time it arrives, leading to a scathing review on your product page. Lost and late deliveries are also a fast way to lower customer satisfaction.
3. Be an Honest Seller
If you sell used products, label them as used. Don’t label a product as new unless it really is. Customers can tell the difference when they receive a used product that should be brand new, and they won’t be happy to learn they’ve been bamboozled.
On that note, you should also avoid selling counterfeit products. Although they seem to be a fast way to make money, Amazon does not like sellers who have counterfeit complaints, and your customer satisfaction will drop oh-so-low.
When selling used products, check them carefully to ensure they work and they have no missing parts. If the product is unusable when the customer receives it, that’s a sure way to get an unforgiving 1-star review.
4. Be a Responsive Seller
The Amazon Seller App for Android and Apple products allows you to respond to messages quickly. Fast replies increase customer satisfaction and build credibility with prospective buyers.
If a customer requires a return or refund, it may be in your best interest to provide it, even if you lose some money in the short-run. Overall, your first priority should be maintaining a positive seller feedback rating. Otherwise, Amazon may decide your customer service isn’t meeting their standards.