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The Seven Deadly Amazon Sins That Lead To Suspension

Recently, we had the opportunity to attend ChannelAdvisor’s webinar, “7 Ways To Get Kicked Off Amazon.” During this webinar, Ryan Barker, the Campaign Manager of Marketplace Services at ChannelAdvisor, discussed the 7 sure fire ways to get the boot from one of the most profitable marketplaces (there are over 2 million sellers on Amazon for a reason!). Suspension means losing a global audience that, 39% of the time, begins its shopping search on Amazon. It’s not all doom and gloom though – we’ll walk you through what we learned, and provide the tips Ryan suggested to avoid suspension in the first place. Have you committed any of these 7 deadly Amazon sins?

1. Neglecting The Price Parity Issue

First things first – what the heck is price parity? Per your contract to sell on Amazon, you agree to abide by price parity, meaning that if you sell an item on Amazon as well as another sales channel, the item on another channel cannot have the total price lower than what’s listed on Amazon. So if you sell running shoes on Amazon for $70.95 plus shipping, you cannot sell the same pair of shoes through your Shopify account for $65.95 plus shipping, as it can drive buyers away from Amazon and toward your website instead. Price parity is a delicate issue, and one that may easily be breached, if you don’t fully understand what Amazon expects of you. Amazon actively runs searches to make sure its sellers are not breaking this rule on their other selling venues, so be sure you abide by this rule.

How should you avoid it?

  • By understanding the boundaries set by Amazon regarding prices of merchandise outside their sales channels (which you now do).
  • By making sure your employees are aware of this as well, so they do not mistakenly break this rule.
  • Potentially by using a repricing software, and setting limits for each sales channel so that no matter how your product prices adjust, your Amazon products are either priced lower or exactly the same as what’s listed on other sales channels.
 2. Directing Shoppers Away From Amazon

Most Amazon sellers are already aware of this – nothing on your Amazon storefront can advertise or allude to your outside sales channels. But even if you don’t include your website URL within your Amazon storefront, there are a few sneaky ways you may breaking this rule without even realizing it. Make sure you aren’t doing any of the following:

  • Watermarking your product images, or including promotional text within pictures.
  • Including a .com, .net, .biz, etc. in your seller name.
  • Including anything about you or your business in product descriptions or featured bullets.
  • Including logos with outside links.

The purpose of product images, details and feature bullets is to communicate to the buyer exactly what they are buying. You want them to have zero questions regarding their purchase. Ryan suggested that your product descriptions and featured bullets stick to this:

  • Descriptions – Make sure they are relevant and detailed about the product. You have a max of 2,000 characters to accomplish this.
  • Featured Bullets  – Should be short and sweet. You can include benefits of the product, care suggestions, etc. You have up to 5 features available and a max of 256 characters per feature.
3. Mismatching or Duplicate Product Detail Pages

If you are a new Amazon seller, this may be tricky to understand. You’re pumped to get your products listed and start selling, and you may create a new product detail page without realizing that one already exists…which is a big Amazon no-no. For new and seasoned sellers alike, make sure you search for the ASIN or UPC of your product first. ONLY add a product detail page if an ASIN search did not churn up an established product page on Amazon. To avoid mismatched product detail pages, follow these steps:

  • Make sure you are using the correct UPC. Cross reference your UPC with product identifiers, such as title and brand.
  • Be wary of item condition differences. Make sure item conditions match.
4. Abusing Ratings and Reviews

Given that feedback is a vital portion of persuading buyers to shop from you over a competitor, we understand the desire to have stellar feedback from every transaction. Amazon is not a marketplace where you should expect tons of feedback, though – on average, buyers receive feedback on 3-5% of their orders. Make sure you do not incur any of the following violations when dealing with feedback:

  • Post abusive or incorrect comments on feedback from your buyers.
  • Post feedback to your own account.
  • Pay or offer incentives for positive feedback or feedback removal.
  • Write reviews for competitors.

You are allowed to offer a free item in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. There is no guarantee whether it will be positive or negative. We always recommend editing your packing slip details to include a brief, thoughtful thank you to your buyers, and a kindly worded request to leave feedback if they feel so inclined. Email marketing is another option, as long as you send just one email per transaction and send only what you would be content to receive if you were in the buyer’s position. We have a customer who was able to increase his Amazon seller rating from 96-100% with ecomdash’s email marketing tool, so if done respectfully, it is a good option to encourage feedback.

5. Submitting Sticker-less/Comingled Inventory for FBA

If you use Amazon FBA to fulfill sales orders, you need to be sure your products have the appropriate barcode stickers on them before sending them to an Amazon warehouse. This means you need to make sure you do business with reputable suppliers only, who understand and abide by these standards. You should also take into consideration the pros and cons of Amazon FBA before committing.

Pro’s:

  • Items are eligible for free two-day shipping with Prime accounts.
  • Rely on Amazon customer service to handle returns (we also have these easy steps to make returns pain-free, if you pick, pack and ship your own products).
  • Can use FBA for multichannel fulfillment for your other sales channels.

The Con’s?

Your products run the risk of being comingled. What does that mean? Comingled items are a group of the same product being stored together in a warehouse. When fulfilling an order, Amazon will take an item from the pile of identical products stored together. Just because you use a professional supplier, doesn’t mean all other sellers of that product will, and you run the risk of being lumped in with counterfeit and subpar goods. If an Amazon employee pulls a faulty product to be sent to your seller, it will reflect poorly upon you, even though you did not source that defective item.

To ensure your items are labeled properly and available for fulfillment, follow the following steps.

  • Print FBA labels directly from your Seller Central account.
  • Cover your original manufacturer’s barcode.
  • Make sure other barcodes (aside from your FBA printed label) cannot be scanned.
  • Label each item before sending.
  • Use only removable white labels.
6. Listing Products With Bad UPCs

A UPC is considered ‘bad’ by Amazon if it is fraudulent or incorrect. To list on the marketplace at all, most categories require a valid UPC as a pre-requisite to ensure item quality (some brands require this as well). A quality UPC will be found on the barcode and registered through GS1. You can purchase UPCs or apply for brand registry with Amazon, particularly if you manufacture and sell your own branded product. Also note that UPCs for bundled and single products are different. If you’re unsure, or need to know how to buy a UPC, check GS1 US.

7. Ignoring Amazon Communication Guidelines

Although seemingly simple enough, this policy can be breached without intention. In the world of online commerce, the same rules that apply to brick and mortar shops do not exist for e-stores. There is no such thing as a 9 to 5 window of being open for business – customers want to be able to reach you at any time. Here are some things to keep in mind when communicating with buyers.

  • Saturdays are included in Amazon’s response time metric. Make sure you check your seller messages at least once every day.
  • Orders with messages responded to within 24 hours receive 50% LESS negative feedback (a real metric Ryan shared with us that came directly from Amazon leadership).
  • When contacting the buyer, make sure you use the buyer-seller messaging system, and reach out only for transactional reasons.

Finally, Ryan was kind enough to share one final kernel of wisdom with us – what to do if you do get suspended? On occasion, some of ChannelAdvisor’s clients have suffered an Amazon suspension, and will call Ryan for help with next steps. Ryan has them follow a strict plan of action, and usually within 48 hours, they are back selling on Amazon. Here is what Ryan suggests you do in the unfortunate event of facing an Amazon suspension.

  • Fulfill any outstanding orders or open customer service issues. Amazon will automatically cancel pending orders.
  • Try to get to the bottom of why you were suspending. Review your product details, seller ratings, customer service process, customer feedback, etc.
  • Request an appeal. You can do this by
    • Logging into Seller Central.
    • Clicking on performance notification on the Performance link.
    • Click appeal button within your suspension.
    • Enter your plan of action.
  • Your plan of action is your appeal for reinstatement to sell on Amazon. Ryan’s key components of a successful appeal are as follows:
    •  Professional language (remove all emotion – we understand how hard this is, given the situation).
    • Address the issues that led to your suspension.
    • Be specific about changes. What will you do in the future to rectify this situation completely?
    • Identify areas of improvement. What else can you do to become a better Amazon seller?
    • Show investment in your business career at Amazon. Consider signing up with FBA, or showing some other initiative that demonstrates how serious you are about selling successfully on the Amazon marketplace.
    • Be exact! When discussing the occurrences that led to your suspension, give Amazon all the details and quantify everything. What was the exact time frame that you neglected a buyer-seller message? How many products ended up being flagged as counterfeit or subpar? Number everything, don’t be vague.

With this knowledge in your ecommerce tool belt, you should be able to steer clear of an Amazon suspension. And, before you hit the panic button, know that Amazon will send warnings of policy violations before a suspension, so you will have the opportunity to correct any issues. Many thanks to Ryan Barker for putting this all together; this is great information for Amazon retailers and any ecommerce sellers looking to start selling on Amazon.

Have you ever violated one of these seven deadly Amazon sins (knowingly or unknowingly)? Were you able to get reinstated? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Tiana Byers

Tiana is a content marketer and writer. Her favorite author is Oscar Wilde and she is a self proclaimed Etsy addict.

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Tiana ByersThe Seven Deadly Amazon Sins That Lead To Suspension

Comments 20

  1. Rick

    You said that AMZ will send warnings before suspension. I have been suspended with no warning. I received a letter from another seller and later that day I was suspended. Just be careful when selling on AMZ.

    1. Tim Roberts

      Hey everyone, I was recently suspended on 1/18/2017 for a inauthentic claim, infringement claim and order defect rate. I tried everything to submit a crafty appeal that would get me reinstated to no avail. After doing more research I found a company called YoungLanes Amazon Appeal Services. I contacted these guys and the information that they provided me about Amazon Seller Performance was amazing to say the least.

      Here is what I learned:

      1) Amazon Appeals are first reviewed by a computer, not a person. If you appeal does not hit on necessary keywords related to your suspension then it will never be forwards along to an actual representative that can review your appeal and possibly reinstate. This is why many times, when we submit our appeal we receive automated denial responses that do not make any sense whatsoever.

      2) 90% of Amazon Seller performance is based in India. This is why they cannot directly communicate with many sellers wanting to discuss suspensions by phone across the globe but do provide phone support for those selling on the Amazon.in (Amazon India) platform. Amazon sellers are not a priority, the buyers are. Sellers come dime a dozen and even if you are banking millions in profits, Amazon is still banking billions with or without you.

      3) Every suspension is DIFFERENT! Suspensions are like fingerprints, and the key to each individual reinstatement varies. Depending on your account health, reason for suspension, and seller velocity among many other factors, Amazon will use these statistics to decide on your reinstatement.

      4) Amazon does not disclose all suspension details. Amazon will say you are suspended for one thing in a performance notification. However you very well could possible be suspended for a number of different things that need to be addressed in your appeal to achieve a reinstatement.

      5) Appeals responses can be exhausted, and then ignored…..However there is no such thing as an Amazon Death Sentence! ANY AMAZON ACCOUNT CAN BE REINSTATED IF APPEALED CORRECTLY!

      6) By law 49 of 50 states have civil anti-compete laws restricting third party sellers from having to provided invoices, or receipts to anyone. They are only required to show proof of retail sales tax certificates or sales licenses. if you provide invoices or receipts willingly to Amazon upon Amazons request, you give up that right. DO NOT SEND AMAZON ANY INVOICES OR RECEIPTS!

      7) Once you are suspended any communication to seller performance is considered an appeal attempt. These appeal attempts can be exhausted! If you exhaust all of your filing opportunities, your future plans of action will be ignored thus making reinstatement extremely difficult, but not impossible! If you are suspended CEASE ALL CONTACT WITH AMAZON UNTIL YOU HAVE A VIABLE REINSTATEMENT OPTION

      If you are suspended I highly recommend that you contact the same company that I did. They provided me with all of this information about Amazon and a host of other details that easily explain how and why Amazon Seller performance works.

      I contacted YoungLanes Amazon Appeal Services, (317) 728-6789. They offer free advice, and very affordable appeal solutions that all come with a 14 day money back guarantee. If you are suspended and need REAL help and not random guesses from forums, then contact these guys they are the real deal. If anything, they can educate you on Amazon Seller Performance if you are not willing to pay for this type of service.

    2. Chris

      some times they do not give you any warning, same thing happened to me, I got suspended for inauthentic product and from what I hear most sellers get their listings blocked first or get a warning to remove it but I just got suspended one day and it took me almost 2 months to be able to get back, I even had to hire a advocacy firm to assist me with the appeal and the plan of action, I submitted 4 different letters myself but all I would get was a copy/past, generic letter that would ask for more information.
      Max from amazon seller advocacy tough me a lot and of curse must importantly got my account back, tell him Chris send you and make him give you a discount. lol

  2. Sasha

    I got suspended as well months back. Now Amazon just told me that my appeal is denied and that the suspension is permanent. Do you think it would be a good idea to another seller account on my own or buy one from sellers such as Auction Essistance?

    1. Liz Pekarek

      Hello Sasha,

      I’m sorry to hear that they denied your appeal. I would try one more time with CPCStrategy’s strategy:

      The seller can email a formal plan of action to seller-performance@amazon.com which appeals to Amazon’s TRMS (Transaction Risk Management Team).
      The Plan of Action should:
      1. Be on formal letter head
      2. Mention if the seller is working with a Solutions Integrator for inventory feeds, etc.
      3. Identify the issue as to the original block
      4. Outline all the quality processes the seller has in place now and will have in place on Amazon to ensure a good user experience
      5. Be positive and professional in tone

      While we’ve seen significant success with this third step, it is not a guaranteed solution and does not always ensure Account re-instatement.

      Most new accounts opened by suspended sellers will be flagged. I would try and expand to other marketplaces while you are waiting for the response from Amazon’s TRMS. Good Luck!

      1. Sam

        Hi there, what does an appeal denial email from Amazon look like? Does it explicitly say “your appeal has been denied” then give you a “re-submit” button or it looks like something else?

        1. Liz Pekarek

          Hi Sam,

          It looks similar to the suspension email and is a response to your initial appeal. Each email will be unique to the seller. Usually they will explicitly say they have reinstated your account. If not, you may need to provide more information. Good luck!

          Thanks,
          Liz

    2. Chris

      I bought the ready accounts from Auction E and couple of others when I was suspended and I can tell you that all of them got suspended and Amazon kept all my money, the smart move is to open your own, look up how to get around Amazons IP address detection and diffidently get a new laptop.

  3. nina

    I called the company that helps reinstate accounts. They gave me in-depth review of the account and some pointers so my account will not get suspended again. If someone needs help cal them 206-508-0390. They are great. Ask for Max.

  4. Dave Chapmann

    I was super upset when I got my seller account suspended; I appeal, and it was rejected!! I then began to search everywhere for answers. I even came to this forum and couldn’t find much.

    I looked everywhere and found myamazonsupport.com; I quickly purchased their consultation package which included phone time and an appeal template. I was a little skeptical about the whole situation but had no choice, so I did it.

    I was contacted by the consultant, we talked about my specific situation which took about 20 minutes, he explain how the Amazon performance matrix works, how I made more mistakes than I though…man he told me a ton, he also happened to show me how to buy UPC codes…anyway it was AWESOME, he was super helpful.

    We put together a strategy and action plan together, I then used the template to do everything he told me, sent it to him for review then we submitted it to Amazon.

    12 HRS later I get the following response from Amazon:

    seller-performance@amazon.com

    to me
    Hello,

    We have decided to reinstate your full selling privileges on Amazon.com. A portion of the funds from your sales on that site will be temporarily reserved while we review your account.

    The reserve will be equivalent to your gross sales amount for the preceding 14 days. Based on your order volume, the amount of the reserve may change daily. When your account balance exceeds the reserve amount, you will be able to transfer funds based on your settlement schedule. You can view the details in the Payments section of Seller Central.

    Account reviews are intended to ensure the timely shipment of orders and compliance with our selling policies. Please continue to fulfill orders and list only items that you are able to ship by or before the Expected Ship Date.

    Regards,

    Seller Performance Team
    Amazon.com
    http://www.amazon.com

    ** I WAS SUPER HAPPY AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, thanks again to myamazonsupport.com ill let everyone know about you guys!!!

  5. Utsav Patel

    I am a seller from india, my account got suspended due to the inauthentic complain. Is there any way i can reinstate my account.

    1. Haley Cloyd

      Hi Utsav,

      I’m sorry to hear that they denied your appeal. I know that is frustrating. I would try one more time with CPCStrategy’s strategy:

      You can email a formal plan of action to seller-performance@amazon.in which appeals to Amazon’s TRMS (Transaction Risk Management Team).
      The Plan of Action should:
      1. Be on formal letter head
      2. Mention if the seller is working with a Solutions Integrator for inventory feeds, etc.
      3. Identify the issue as to the original block
      4. Outline all the quality processes the seller has in place now and will have in place on Amazon to ensure a good user experience
      5. Be positive and professional in tone

      While we’ve seen significant success with this third step, it is not a guaranteed solution and does not always ensure Account re-instatement.

      Most new accounts opened by suspended sellers will be flagged. I would try and expand to other marketplaces while you are waiting for the response from Amazon’s TRMS. Good Luck!

  6. James Withem

    There are a million ways to skin a cat, but if you take your business serious seek professional advice. Below is my story.

    I was super upset when I got my seller account suspended; I appeal, and it was rejected!! I then began to search everywhere for answers. I even came to this forum and couldn’t find much.

    I looked everywhere and found myamazonsupport.com; I quickly purchased their consultation package which included phone time and an appeal template. I was a little skeptical about the whole situation but had no choice, so I did it.

    I was contacted by the consultant, we talked about my specific situation which took about 20 minutes, he explain how the Amazon performance matrix works, how I made more mistakes than I though…man he told me a ton, he also happened to show me how to buy UPC codes…anyway it was AWESOME, he was super helpful.

    We put together a strategy and action plan together, I then used the template to do everything he told me, sent it to him for review then we submitted it to Amazon.

    12 HRS later I get the following response from Amazon:

    seller-performance@amazon.com

    to me
    Hello,

    We have decided to reinstate your full selling privileges on Amazon.com. A portion of the funds from your sales on that site will be temporarily reserved while we review your account.

    The reserve will be equivalent to your gross sales amount for the preceding 14 days. Based on your order volume, the amount of the reserve may change daily. When your account balance exceeds the reserve amount, you will be able to transfer funds based on your settlement schedule. You can view the details in the Payments section of Seller Central.

    Account reviews are intended to ensure the timely shipment of orders and compliance with our selling policies. Please continue to fulfill orders and list only items that you are able to ship by or before the Expected Ship Date.

    Regards,

    Seller Performance Team
    Amazon.com
    http://www.amazon.com

    ** I WAS SUPER HAPPY AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, thanks again to myamazonsupport.com ill let everyone know about you guys!!!

  7. James Withem

    There are many good and professional consultants you can reach out to, I personally happen to use myamazonsupport.com, they were awesome but I would assume that the others are just as good.

  8. Lacy Walsh

    I actually tried many reinstatement services with no success. Spent over $1000+ and still couldn’t convince Amazon to reinstate my account. Now days later, they tell me my account is permanently closed with no appeal. So depressing hearing that after being a member for over 3 years.

    Still looking to sell and trying to way my options. I wanted to create a new account, but I got suspended right away. Not sure what else to do at this point. I came across places like the Aspkin forums and Auction Essistance which seem to sell accounts. But I wanted to know, are they safe to buy from?

    1. Haley Cloyd

      Hi Lacy,

      Amazon can be really tough on sellers, and we’re sorry that after 3 years you are unable to continue selling on the marketplace. Auction Essistance could potentially help you get back on Amazon, but there are mixed reviews out there about the service.

      While Amazon is one of the most popular marketplaces, there are still many out there for you to sell on. Ecomdash integrates with many other popular marketplaces.

      Good luck and happy selling!

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