Surprise! Your Amazon Marketplace selling privileges have been suspended.
I’ve received some pulse-quickening emails in my business life. Some have been downright pacemaker-breaking. One example involved a forwarded email from Jeff Bezos inquiring why I had sent an email to thousands of Amazon partners unintentionally. It was a valid question (thankfully the result was not egregious!).
Another example was a forwarded email from an important client who had just had its Amazon Marketplace selling privileges suspended. One minute we’re worried about hitting our stretch-goal, and the next we’re fretting about being down 100% on a year-over-year basis. What do you do?
Don’t Panic. Get Started on Appealing Your Amazon Suspension Immediately
While it’s never a good idea to panic, I do think sellers should immediately scrum in the proverbial war room to determine how best to proceed with their suspension appeal. It’s that important.
The longer a seller is suspended, the likelier the seller is to remain suspended.
In our experience, sellers who aren’t reinstated after 30 days have roughly a 90% chance of never being reinstated.
The lost revenue each day hurts but imagine if you’re never able to sell again? That’s the worst case scenario, and one we don’t want to consider.
Why Did I Get Suspended? Know Your Performance Metrics and Be Transparent
The Seller Performance Team suspension notification should provide some insights into why you’ve been suspended. You should plan on going through this message with a fine-tooth comb to make sure you consider each and every point made. The most common reasons for seller suspension are issues with seller performance metrics or policy violations for any one of the myriad of reasons listed
Often, violating these agreements does not necessarily make for an immediate shutdown of the account. It will depend on the specific issue. Sellers are often sent a warning email first.
If you do receive a warning email, it’s a best practice to be transparent by having Amazon’s Seller Performance Team annotate your account with any available insights you’re experiencing (current or potential).
Prevention is ultimately the best medicine, and prevention requires close attention to your seller performance metrics and to any alerts or notifications listed in your Seller Central account. It can’t be emphasized enough how important performance metrics are to Amazon and to you as a seller.
Let’s turn our attention to how to write a winning suspension appeal which will put your business in the best possible light for reinstatement.
A Well-Written Appeal Will Contain Five Essential Points
- Description of the issues. What caused the issue or complaints? Give background.
- Explanation of the steps you have taken to resolve the issues. Be transparent and display ownership.
- How have you taken care of the customer(s)? Did you provide a refund, a replacement, and good customer service? Provide specifics, not generalizations.
- Provide a preventative plan of action to ensure it will not happen again. Provide solutions, not blame.
- How much potential revenue is being lost each day due to your suspension? Your partnership for Amazon should be beneficial for both parties.
Now that we’ve outlined the crux of the appeal content, it’s essential to consider other factors that will weigh heavily on how Amazon reacts.
It’s Not Your Fault… But It Is. Take Ownership
Your best laid plans (as outlined in your project management software) could not have predicted the issues your new distribution center encountered during that surprise mid-latitude-cyclone that blew in over the long holiday weekend. We live in the real world, and in the real world, stuff happens.
While the symptoms for suspension may be a spiking Late Shipment Rate or Cancellation Rate, the underlying sickness is what needs to be uncovered. Often, the issue stems from something outside your control. To write an effective appeal, however, take full responsibility. It will do you no good to point fingers at others. Own the problem, own the solution.
Details, Details, Details
We’ve seen many an appeal go south because it was thin on data.
For example, you could say, “We made all of our impacted customers happy by providing a refund or replacement product.”
However, Amazon would rather see, “Out of 250 impacted Amazon customers, 125 have opted for a refund, and this refund will be credited to affected customers’ accounts within 7 business days. 125 customers have opted for a replacement, and 120 of those are currently in transit with an average arrival time of 3 business days. The remaining 5 customer orders are being shipped today, to arrive within 5 business days.”
Details matter as they do a better job than general statements at proving the steps you’re taking to help customers, resolve issues, and develop preventative measures.
It’s an Election Year! Pandering Is Approved
Consider your tone and voice when writing your appeal. For instance, the customers affected are not your customers – they are Amazon’s customers. Therefore, you need to write your appeal from the standpoint that you affected Amazon’s customers, not yours. Pandering can be a good thing!
How to Process an Amazon Suspension Appeal?
- Write to the Amazon Seller Performance team at email@example.com with your appeal.Note that this email needs to come from the email address on file within the account. Unless sent by this email account, Seller Performance will respond letting you know that the correspondence will not be accepted.
To check which email this is:
- Log in to Seller Central
- Under the “Settings” Tab, click on “User Permissions”
- It will be the top email address under the heading “Current Users”
- Open a Seller Support Ticket in Seller Central to keep track of the issue.
- If you have a dedicated Amazon account manager, email him or her regarding the suspension, include the case number, and ask for help in escalating the reinstatement.
What Happens Next?
Amazon will review the information you send and get back to you with an answer (or further qualifying questions), usually within 24 to 72 hours. Remember, the more detailed information you can provide, the humbler and more thoughtful your tone, the sooner the team will respond and potentially reinstate your account.
Here’s hoping you never have to use this advice. If you do, reach out to our Marketplace Performance team, and we’ll be happy to help you out!