(This post was last published on April 11, 2018. We have updated it for accuracy and completeness.)
Your Amazon account is suspended, now what?
Don’t panic! While a suspension seems overwhelming, reinstatement is a process and you want to follow best practices to get back to selling ASAP. Too often sellers rush the process and make costly mistakes that delay your reinstatement even longer.
(Not sure why your account was suspended in the first place? See our list of common mistakes and how to prevent suspensions.)
Here’s 10 things to never do once Amazon suspends your Seller Account.
#1: Don’t rush to submit your first appeal to Amazon
You might think that you need to submit something right away to fix your suspension. Without a thoughtful plan of action (POA) though, you could waste your appeal button. Amazon rarely reinstates an account after the first appeal is sent. Unless it’s a very minor violation, the process can take days, or even weeks and requires back and forth communication with Seller Performance.
Seller Performance suspends thousands of sellers on a daily basis, and investigators only take a few minutes to review each appeal. Make sure to take your time and prepare the most effective appeal before submitting anything to them.
Pro Tip: You can work with a professional consultant to help you form a plan of action. Not sure if you need one? Read this article — Which Amazon Suspensions Do You Really Need a Former Amazonian For?
#2: Don’t open a new account
Many sellers’ first thought is to simply open a new account and start over. They use a different name and bank account in hopes of fooling Amazon.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to trick Amazon. They have many ways of linking seller accounts. They will discover the second account and link it back to the original account. Once this happens, there is ZERO chance of getting the second account reinstated and you’ll hurt your chance of reinstatement on your original account too.
Take it from us, opening a new account to avoid a suspension isn’t worth the effort and will only cause more complications.
#3: Don’t modify or fabricate invoices for any reason
A common reason for suspension is “inauthentic” inventory, or obtaining your inventory from unauthorized sources. When this happens, some sellers try to modify their current invoices to “fit” what Amazon is asking for.
For example, if a seller only has a receipt or purchase order, they will create an invoice, and submit it to Amazon hoping that it will work.
Amazon sees thousands of invoices on a daily basis. It’s very easy for Seller Performance agents to spot a fake or manipulated invoice. And, a fake invoice can add another violation called “forged and manipulated”, which is very difficult to resolve.
Most of the time, this method doesn’t work (and damages the case significantly). Even the slightest modification can delay your reinstatement.
Even if you purchased the products from a supplier located in Asia, a retail location, or a liquidation company, submit the original proof of purchase to Seller Performance.
Pro Tip: For drop shippers — if you listed products which you never had in stock, it’s best to admit your business practices to Seller Performance right away.
#4: Don’t threaten Amazon with legal action
Seller Performance likes to see that as a seller you’re taking accountability for your actions, and they want to communicate directly with you during the appeal process. Many sellers reach out to an attorney for assistance, and the attorney starts contacting Seller Performance on the sellers’ behalf.
As soon as an attorney is involved, the appeal process is significantly delayed. Sometimes Amazon becomes completely unresponsive until the seller starts personally contacting them regarding their suspension.
In the case of an infringement suspension, an attorney can reach out to the complaining party to reach a resolution and request the complaint to be withdrawn. Once the complaint is withdrawn, the seller needs to communicate with Seller Performance about the results.
#5: Don’t contact Seller Support by email or through your seller account
Seller Performance is the ONLY department that can assist you. There is no direct phone number for Seller Performance. All communications must be handled through email.
Contrary to what most sellers think, Seller Support has absolutely no ability to impact the results of a suspension. It’s confusing because many suspension notices instruct sellers to “Contact Seller Support” if they have any questions. Unfortunately, Seller Support only provides basic customer support (and their advice is usually based on generic templates).
Despite this, they sometimes provide advice to the seller, which most sellers believe to be credible. However, this can lead to sellers basing their appeal on inaccurate information and damaging their process.
Be sure to only communicate with Seller Performance about an account suspension.
#6: Don’t be rude to Seller Performance, or use vulgar language
While a suspension is an upsetting and frustrating experience, you should ALWAYS refrain from sending a rant to Seller Performance with inappropriate language. This will only delay your appeal.
If you do lose your cool, you should explicitly apologize to Seller Performance about it. Just be aware that Seller Performance may not reply when they submit an effective appeal.
Just remember that suspensions are part of doing business with Amazon. Once an account is suspended, keep a cool head, and start focusing on creating the best plan of action to get your account reinstated.
#7: Don’t send multiple letters after submitting the first appeal
After you submit your first appeal, you should wait up to a week before submitting any additional letters. The days of “12-24 hour” response times are long gone due to the volume of appeals that Seller Performance receives on a daily basis.
Also, it’s common for Seller Performance to not send confirmation that the appeal was received. This can make you nervous and worry that they haven’t received your appeal or maybe are ignoring it.
We know it’s tough, but refrain from sending multiple appeals with different information in order to try to get a reply from Seller Performance. If you know you followed instructions, trust that Seller Performance has received the appeal and will reply once they’ve reviewed it.
#8: Don’t blame buyers or Amazon processes for the suspension
Many sellers submit appeals that single out specific buyers and orders, blame their issues on the actions of a customer, or blame Amazon processes for their suspension.
Amazon is a very customer-centric company. They also expect sellers to be familiar with all of their current policies and guidelines. Blaming Amazon processes won’t result in a timely reinstatement.
Focus on your own practices and procedures when creating your appeal. Ultimately, Amazon wants to know what changes you will make to keep their customers happy, and comply with their guidelines.
#9: Don’t immediately contact Jeff Bezos
Amazon suspensions can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your only source of income. Out of frustration, some sellers try to first contact Jeff Bezos if they don’t receive a quick reply from Seller Performance.
Understand that this method usually doesn’t provide any positive results. Jeff Bezos doesn’t read these emails himself for a variety of different reasons; they are transferred to an escalation department that reviews them instead.
Unfortunately, if a negative response is received from the escalation department, it’s much harder to get your account reinstated moving forward. It’s best to communicate with Seller Performance directly throughout the process.
#10: Don’t panic!
If you’re an established seller, most suspensions (even “final decision” suspensions) can be reversed. All you need is an effective appeal plan, and be ready to change some of your business practices if needed.
While change can be hard, it can ultimately lead to a more stable business for you.
How to Prevent an Amazon Suspension
Throughout this process, remember that you can consult a professional such as Sellercare once your account is suspended. In most cases, you’ll need to make significant changes to your logistics, inventory, and sourcing before the appeal is prepared.
Once you’re back up and running, you should consistently monitor your account health page and proactively address any problem areas to avoid any future issues. If you want a professional opinion, Sellercare also provides Risk Assessment Service and Suspension Prevention Service in addition to reinstatements.
To prevent anymore suspensions in the future, here’s are a few key areas to watch for: