As sellers are now realizing, it is quite easy to get suspended for a multitude of different reasons. It’s not uncommon to wake up in the morning to find out that your Amazon account has been suspended. Typically, sellers have no idea how they violated Amazon policy, or how to proceed moving forward. It’s really important that sellers understand each type of suspension in order to effectively take initiative to prevent violations.
This is the first article in a series which will elaborate on the different types of suspensions, and offer some prevention tips to avoid getting suspended for each violation type. The series will start with simpler suspension types, and progress to the most difficult types of suspensions.
We start the series with metric related suspensions. These suspensions are generally initiated by bots or customer complaints.
1. Order defect rate (ODR)
This suspension occurs when your ODR percentage exceeds 1%.
Make sure to monitor your account health page on a daily basis, address A-Z cases, and remove negative feedback when possible.
Some negative feedback is easily removable if it falls into certain parameters that are approved by Amazon. If a buyer posts feedback that is 100% product related or uses vulgar language, Amazon will remove the feedback on your behalf once they are made aware of it. Always check your feedback to see if it qualifies for removal.
If the feedback does not qualify for removal by Amazon, buyers are also allowed to manually remove negative feedback. It is very important to comply with Amazon Terms of Service (TOS) when you are sending your feedback removal solicitation email. You can’t offer a refund, exchange, or any type of compensation in exchange for the feedback removal.
It is best to try to avoid A-Z claims in every situation. Even if the buyer is at fault, it is always better to offer a concession that will appease the customer vs. arguing with the customer regarding the purchase. Once an A-Z claim is filed, sellers may dispute the claim, but Amazon will make the final decision regarding the outcome. Also, even if the claim is decided in your favor, the case still counts against your metrics, and can result in an ODR suspension.
2. Late shipment rate (LSR)
This suspension occurs when your late shipment rate exceeds 4%.
Up until a few years ago, sellers could simply “confirm and ship” their orders without adding tracking information into Amazon’s system. Adding tracking information was optional, and it was mainly there for the sellers’ convenience. As Amazon keeps updating their seller dashboard, more metrics are added for Seller Performance analysis.
Up to this point, each update has included more metrics which require additional information from sellers regarding their shipments and tracking. Unfortunately, each new metric is another potential area where a violation can occur.
It is very important to monitor the following LSR metrics to ensure that each metric is staying within Amazon Guidelines:
– Late shipment rate
– Invalid tracking rate
– Return dissatisfaction rate
– Negative return rate (rejecting returns)
– Late response rate to the return requests
If you use software to confirm orders, also manually check that the orders are confirmed and shipped on a daily basis. Software is prone to malfunctions, and even reputable software companies experience glitches. Your account may be suspended by a bot, and Seller Performance typically does not reinstate an account based on a “software malfunction” explanation.
3. Cancellation rate
This suspension occurs when your cancellation rate exceeds 2.5%.
It is very important to keep an eye on your stock levels and inventory on a daily basis. Make sure to only list items which are in stock, and ready to be shipped. If you see that an item is about to go out of stock, remove it from your inventory until it becomes available again.
Many sellers list thousands of items assuming that they can simply purchase them once the order has been placed. Unfortunately, any type of delay or stock out from the supplier can cause an excessive amount of cancellations.
Always check your inventory and stock levels more carefully during the holiday season. Keep in mind that buyers are purchasing a larger volume of items more frequently, and it is easy to run out of items which are typically easy to fulfill.
If you drop ship your products, and the drop shipper is causing issues, it may be time to switch to a different drop shipping company. Better yet, stock the items in your warehouse or start shipping items to FBA.
4. Confirm before ship
Amazon bots carefully monitor the confirm date, ship date, and valid tracking submission date for each order. Many sellers think that they can confirm all of their orders on time, and ship the items several days later. It is very important to confirm orders after they have been shipped.
This goes back to making sure that inventory is audited on a daily basis to ensure that items are ready to be shipped, once an order is placed. Don’t confirm an order unless it is being shipped the same day.
Once the order is shipped and confirmed, make sure that valid tracking is entered into Amazon’s system to avoid any potential issues.
If you use software to enter in tracking information, also manually check that the correct tracking is being entered into Amazon’s system. It is very common for glitches to occur which cause tracking to be improperly entered.
These types of suspensions are easy to avoid if you are carefully monitoring all of your metrics, uploading reports, and making sure to manually check any area where software is uploading information. Ultimately, it is up to sellers to make sure that all of the information is being entered correctly.
The next blog in the series will focus on product related suspensions, and provide further tips for prevention.
All notices and warnings must be addressed immediately, and solutions need to be provided to Seller Performance to notate the account. These account notations will either prevent account suspensions, or in the case of an account suspension, these notations will speed up reinstatement after a follow up appeal plan is sent.
It is best to consult a professional when you receive any type of notice or warning in order to get the account notated. If you want a professional opinion, in addition to Reinstatement Services, SellerCare also provides Risk Assessment Services and Suspension Prevention Services.
Pro Tip: It is the best to consult a professional such as SellerCare once your account is suspended. In most cases, significant changes need to be made to seller account logistics, inventory, and sourcing before the appeal is prepared.
To find out what not to do if you get suspended check out SellerCare’s post on 10 Things Never to do After an Amazon Seller Account Suspension