When Amazon suspends your selling account, it often feels like it comes at you out of the blue.
Not every Amazon seller is lucky enough to get a call from Account Health Services warning them that they will be suspended within 24 hours unless they act quickly to submit a viable Plan of Action (POA).
I’m in my 5th year consulting sellers about how to get their accounts back on the right way, so I understand better than anyone which proven methods are the most successful to get your Amazon account reinstated.
First things first. Restrain yourself from writing the first appeal you think of in order to send them something quickly. All that will do is keep you suspended longer and reduce your chances of getting your account reinstated at all.
Avoid making rash decisions! Inspect first
Don’t write a hasty appeal that you think will fit all of their specified criteria, just to feel like you’ve finished an unpleasant task.
You can’t assume that the quicker you appeal, the faster you’re back selling. In fact, you may be digging an even deeper hole than you’re already in.
Sitting in Seller Central is an awfully attractive Appeal button, and I understand the temptation.
1. Think through the causes of your suspension by examining which team took the action on your account
2. Inspect what kinds of complaints or metrics misses drove Amazon to suspend
3. Work out how to show Amazon that you understand the nature of those causes in a POA
How Do You Appeal an Amazon Account Suspension -Where To Start?
Unless you clearly identify the nature of the problems that led Amazon to suspend you, you won’t be able to convince Seller Performance or Product Quality teams that you’ve fixed everything.
Are you confused over the reasons why Amazon considered you bad for buyer experience?
You need to have convincing answers to these questions before you even think about writing up a Plan of Action. Diagnosis and strategy related to your account’s operational deficiencies form a big part of how we approach account reinstatement work.
Let’s talk about resolving everything that broke.
How are you going to demonstrate to Amazon that your solutions will be effective?
Is each step in the POA specific enough?
Remember that sellers who write general steps that fail to convince will receive a token request back from Amazon for “greater details” into either what they’ll do to resolve past complaints or prevent future ones.
If you’re copying and pasting from forums or Facebook groups then you’re not addressing your own unique situation, and Amazon investigators will see right through it.
Generic, canned content tends to be viewed with much skepticism, or at worst, Amazon investigators will refuse to read it altogether. That keeps you stuck and gets you nowhere.
Give them “proactive solutions” that demonstrate an awareness of what kinds of actions are required.
Don’t make promises to improve your operations based on actions you have no ability to execute. You’re not just telling Amazon “buzzwords” in a basic appeal.
You’re convincing them of new actions and solutions, but also showing them what you have accomplished during your time offline. This might be the key to getting reinstated faster but also staying active and avoiding yet another suspension down the road.
Determine what the best solutions are and fold them into your Plan of Action accordingly.
Amazon Teams: Seller Performance, Product Quality, and Notice
The teams I worked on while at Amazon are the teams associated with well over 90% of the suspension cases we tackle:
1. Seller Performance deals with performance and policy issues
Are your metrics meeting targets? No Late Shipment rates out of whack?
Make sure your negative feedback is hovering right around 99% positive.
Keep an eye on ALL of your metrics, because you can bet Amazon will. If anything strays out of range for too long, expect an account suspension and the need for a solid POA describing those necessary operational improvements.
2. Product Quality teams focus on item quality, item condition and safety complaints
Did one of your buyers report your items for inauthentic or “not as described”? Amazon will suspend your listing and ask for a POA to get the ASIN reinstated.
Any time a buyer reports a safety complaint (an overheated charger, a vitamin or supplement that made them sick), PQ teams step in to investigate.
They’ll often take away your ASIN until you can show that you’ve identified proper root causes of those complaints. Then make sure all remedies prevent future safety complaints of that nature. If you fail to convince them, they’ll believe you’re just going in circles and they won’t want to go in circles with you.
Remember, they have the final say here.
3. Notice teams have generated a lot of heat consistently for the ways they’ve handled infringement claims
Both private label sellers and resellers of major brands have complained to me about how this Amazon team processes the work.
Brand owners don’t like seeing their own listings removed when they submit a report of a reseller of their products, and they don’t like having to defend themselves against counterfeit complaints. They are the brand, after all.
Resellers, too, understand Amazon’s increasing efforts to combat the sales of fakes. They are often accused of selling counterfeits by brands who understand the nature of Amazon enforcement.
Many brands even skip doing test buys to prove to Amazon the items are fake, because they would have nothing to show for them when the items were legitimately sourced.
These suspensions often derive from the chaos of those teams and how they execute tasks. Overall, Amazon wants to reduce the number of these complaints from brands.
Make sure you’re not falling into the crosshairs of these teams and if you are, present your strongest POA to convince them they won’t have to review your account again in the future.
Understand how these different Amazon teams work on the inside
How do investigations happen when a listing is removed? When they review your entire account for a suspension, how do they assess what you’ve done previously to resolve ASIN-level suspensions?
If there are too many buyers returning your products, then decide if there’s something going wrong in the manufacturing process. Or, are the items arriving damaged?
You may need to use better packaging to protect them on their way to FBA before buyers even get their hands on them.
Think about what causes the complaints by digging into Return reasons, buyer direct comments to you, and negative feedback or A-Z claims.
There’s often much info sitting right there in your account, waiting to fit neatly into your improvement plan. Amazon may not give you quotes from buyer complaints to them. You’ll need to do some research yourself.
Then, consider what painful decisions may be required.
Do you have to change suppliers? Deactivate some listings until you can determine why buyers keep responding negatively to them.
Remember, Amazon wants to hear about changes, and movement in a different and better direction.
You won’t want to fill your POA with steps that you’ll “continue” doing since those processes landed your account in the suspension zone in the first place.
Plan Of Action is Perfect!
Ok, so you’ve composed a brilliant POA and you’ve sent it in.
Are you getting any responses back from Seller Performance, Product Quality or Notice teams?
Are they failing to reply or did they ask for ever-vague “greater details”?
They may seek an improved POA with a stronger analysis of what brought about past operational gaps that led to the suspension. Account investigators often document why they are denying a reinstatement by indicating the seller got the nature of the problems wrong in the first place.
Or, the situation may require a stronger POA because of an absence of info on your suppliers. And you may also be asked for better supply chain documentation.
Product Quality teams sometimes accept the POA as viable, but need to find out more about your supplier and invoices before you get reinstated.
These nuances are not minor details, they can make or break you.
I’m Still Stuck! Where Do I Send the next Appeal for Reinstatement?
Did you work up an even stronger, more viable POA without seeing any indication that it was reviewed properly?
You need to understand the process of escalating an account reinstatement appeal, both within the team that suspended you, and beyond them, if necessary.
Everyone talks about their emails to Jeff Bezos to escalate their stuck suspension cases and many posts on Facebook or seller forums speak of an inability to get Amazon to reply. They rarely seem to address whether or not they sent an appeal worth replying to.
Since writing to Jeff gets you over to Executive Seller Relations for what should be your last best chance at a review for reinstatement, you need an expert to help you and handle what goes in at that point.
We look over POAs to see what content is missing relative to the case the seller faces, and what content needs to be removed. Senior investigators or managers will not waste time looking over a Plan of Action that you’ve slapped together using generic content found elsewhere, and there’s no point in escalating a POA that is weak.
I examined suspended account appeals from the inside for several years. I help sellers write solid POAs or escalate their stuck cases now that I’m on the outside. I understand the pain and anguish that an account suspension brings, so you want to limit the damage as much as you can. That means a properly written appeal and a quicker reinstatement.