You have a Suspended Amazon Account – Now What?

What do you do when you get a Performance Notification? For new sellers to Amazon, this is one of the more confusing puzzles to solve: what does Amazon want me to do now?

Amazon’s Seller Performance team doesn’t want to hear stuff like:

  1. I will try harder.
  2. I will work harder.
  3. I made a mistake (but not explanation on how or why this mistake happened).
  4. I don’t really know what happened, but I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The bottom line is Amazon wants you to explain what happened to cause this problem, then explain what specific actions you are taking to eliminate this root cause (so the problem doesn’t happen again), and what you are doing to make any affected customers right. Our advice to sellers that have been suspended – if you know you’ve done something wrong, admit it, and then explain exactly what you are doing to correct the issue immediately – rarely will you have provided “too much” detail for Seller Performance – that team wants to know you are serious about fixing the root cause of the problem once and for all. And if you actually don’t know what has happened to cause the problem that got you the performance notification, be clear that you don’t understand, and ask for more specifics from Seller Performance (such as, when you say I did a-b-c, do you mean I did this, or I did that?). Be aware that Seller Performance often does not provide enough specifics for you to fully diagnose a confusing situation, and you may be left trying to guess or rule-out root causes of the Amazon notification. As you get more seasoned as a seller and read the Amazon seller blogs, you will learn how different sellers have addressed suspension issues.

So back to when you craft a response for Seller Performance. The more specific you can be about your plan of action, the better. That might involve saying things like:

    1. I have hired someone new whose specific responsibility is to double-check all outgoing shipments and make sure each has a ship-confirmation on it.
    2. Our failure to act on previous Amazon product notifications was because I had not assigned the responsibility of reading and acting on these notifications to a specific person on my team. That has changed as of today, and I now have 2 specific people whose responsibility is to read these notifications, notify me of ones affecting our products, and then act immediately to make catalog changes to fall into compliance with any changing rules.
    3. We shipped out the wrong products to customers because we did not have a proper cataloging process in our warehouse. Today, I hired an outside consultant who will be developing a cataloging system to be rolled out in the next 3 weeks. In the meantime, my team is contacting all of our Amazon customers that may have received one of the mistaken products, and offering them a full refund in order to make them whole [it’s critical to mention any specific steps you are taking to take care of any affected Amazon customers right now, even if it’s at a great expense or nuisance to yourself].

If you have any supporting documentation to provide Amazon, scan it and attach it in your response to Seller Performance. Keep in mind that when you send an email to seller-performance@amazon.com, you aren’t likely going to hear any response unless Amazon wants something more from you or they decide to shut you down. So it’s best to get your response altogether at once, and provide a coherent explanation all at once. You will likely feel like you have thrown your response over the wall and you’re waiting to hear back, not sure if and when you hear back… and unfortunately, that’s basically how it works with Amazon. There is no human interaction, no phone call,  nothing like that.

Keep in mind that Amazon Seller Performance may make mistakes, and you need to have your evidence or data ready to do. So if something doesn’t make sense to you, try to figure out what’s going on, come up with hypotheses of what might be going on, and then rule out the issues one at a time. That’s how Amazon works, and you need to be clinical in your responses too.

And if you really did do something you’re not allow to do – something illegal like sell knowingly counterfeit product, or something inappropriate like offering money to a customer to remove negative feedback – it may be a long road to getting back onto Amazon as an active seller in good standing. While there are some lawyers that specialize in helping get suspended or terminated Amazon sellers back onboard, the much easier path is to avoid high-risk behaviors, and try to keep your nose clean as much as possible!

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