Seller Support is the organization within Amazon that handles inquiries from sellers, relating to issues ranging from when am I getting my next disbursement from Amazon, to how do I get my listings updated, to where’s my FBA inventory, to how do I get this one particular piece of customer feedback removed.
Once signed into Seller Central, any seller on Amazon can contact the Seller Support team through email, phone or chat.
In this chapter, we discuss how and when to file tickets with Amazon’s Seller Support team. We discuss the philosophy of this ticketing process, and how you as a seller should act in order to get what you want and need out of the Seller Support team. Let’s quickly review two key terms:
Seller Support Tickets
Every time you communicate with the Seller Support organization, a ticket is created within the Seller Support system.
You can see those tickets in your “Case log” if you look under “Help”, “View Case Log”.
Each ticket or “case” has a unique 10-digit code that is used to reference each communication between the seller and Seller Support.
Escalation Of Tickets
When you file a ticket, it typically goes to a front-line employee within the Seller Support team.
While these employees have standard tools available to answer tickets, your particular ticket may require much more advanced or sophisticated internal knowledge of Amazon, whereby you have the option of asking to have your ticket escalated after it’s been initially investigated by the front line employee – it’s basically asking for a manager to have a look at a ticket.
We will go into more detail on appropriate situation for this later in this chapter.
Once you are a seller on Amazon, the primary communication channel to Amazon will be through Seller Support, an organization within Amazon designed to help you get your questions answered and issues resolved.
The communication process is based nearly exclusively on a ticketing process that requires you as the seller to file a ticket. With more than two million sellers on Amazon, this ticketing process allows everyone’s questions to be tracked and answered using a standard process.
Hundreds of Seller Support representatives based in call centers around the world (including US, Costa Rica, Ireland, India) provide 24-hour support to Amazon sellers.
While all tickets can be filed electronically anytime through an email submitted in Seller Central, certain types of tickets can also be filed through a phone call with Seller Support during only certain business hours of the day.
There are multiple levels of reps within Seller Support – a general rep whose job is to field any question and route more advanced questions / tickets to specialized teams.
There are also Tier 2 “escalation” teams that handle complex, or time-critical or business-critical matters that a general representative may not be able to handle normally.
Like most customer support centers, there is regular turnover in the staff, so standardized materials have been created for the staff to help new Seller Support representatives access answers quickly to commonly asked questions.
If your question is unusually complex or complicated, you may find it takes some time for the ticket get routed to the right place. It can get frustrating getting people to understand your question, so be prepared for that.
Almost all Seller Support tickets must be filed from inside Sellercentral, so you have to have signed into your account on Sellercentral, click on the “HELP” in top right corner.
That will take you to another page where you can search for answers to general questions, but if you have a specific issue pertaining to your account, scroll down the page to the bottom right corner, where you will see the “Contact Us” button.
That takes you to a screen where you indicate you need help with your “Selling on Amazon” account, and a drop-down menu appears. The number of services listed may differ by seller depending on how many types of selling tools the seller uses with Amazon (including Amazon Webstore, Checkout by Amazon, and Sponsored Products).
It can be confusing to figure out where your issue is best classified within Amazon’s drop-down menu, and you may not get it right.
But what matters here is making sure you try to put your issue into the right classification. While your ticket will usually end up being routed to the right place eventually, all re-routing causes delays for you to get your issue resolved quickly.
You may have to play around with the classifications that Amazon offers in order to find an ideal place within which to be filing your issue. And if you’re still not sure where to go, we encourage you to use the “Other” issue within any of these categories, and make sure you are very clear and complete in the explanation of your issue.
Phone Vs Email Tickets
Once you figure out where to file the ticket, the next issue is HOW to file the ticket – by email or by phone.
Given that the Seller Support rep who handles your ticket:
- may not have English as a first language
- may be very new to the job
- may not have seen your type of issue before
- isn’t as emotionally attached to your account as you are
…we strongly encourage you to file all tickets through the email option.
With written text, you are in much better control to make sure that the relevant, complete content of your question is documented for whichever person or team ultimately answers your question.
If you file a ticket by phone, you are completely relying on the person who takes your call to write down all of the details of your issue in the way that you want them documented.
As we have experienced first-hand far too many times, there are lots of misunderstandings when filing tickets, leading to your frustration and time delays.
Our belief is that the Seller Support team does want to help, but with so many questions coming their way, it’s critical for us to provide as much relevant information as possible to make the path to resolution easier for the Seller Support team.
Writing An Email Ticket
Make sure to provide a clear, guiding title to your ticket, as the title is used to help route the ticket to the most appropriate Seller Support team. Too often, sellers can be in a rush to get the ticket filed, but they don’t think about what title would help Seller Support.
After you have filed your written email ticket, you can then follow-up with a call immediately to the Seller Support to discuss your already documented ticket, but at least you know that the right information (at least what you think is the right information) has been documented in the ticket.
Or you could choose not to follow-up with a call, and instead let the email ticket process play its course. When you choose to file a ticket by phone, you use the “click to call” button, where you provide your phone number, and Seller Support calls you back immediately and connects you to a representative (there is no actual phone number you can dial).
You will have to authenticate who you are, usually by providing the email address on your seller account, plus either the last 4 digits of the credit card on your seller account, or some other private seller data that you have shared with Amazon in your account settings.
While there is a CHAT option for filing tickets, that should be for very simple questions where you aren’t providing much information, and don’t need a paper trail. Realistically, that sort of situation won’t happen very often.
So whether you file tickets by email or by phone, before you file the ticket, identify all of the information you believe would be relevant for a complete stranger to understand what’s going on with your account, and follow along your logic.
If you have past Seller Support cases that addressed the same type of issue, provide those ticket numbers in your new ticket to help give context to the representative who will be handling your new ticket. If you can, provide specific examples of what the desired end state of your issue would look like, whether it’s a messed-up listing, or a confusing order, or feedback that you believe should be removed.
And anytime you can provide documentation from Amazon’s own HELP library within Seller Central that would point to why you believe your desired outcome is the outcome Amazon should make happen, that helps too. The Amazon marketplace is a very complicated place, so it’s hard for any Seller Central representative to know all of the in’s-and-out’s of the process applying to your issue.
You may hear other Amazon sellers share their stories about how filing a ticket a certain time of day or day of the week is likely to get you a better answer.
While neither agreeing or disagreeing with what some other seller’s experience may have been, we take the approach that if you document your issue carefully and as completely as possible, and you respect the fact that the Seller Support representative that helps you is really trying to help you, you should be able to get a fair resolution if you can help the rep get to the same conclusion as you using Amazon’s own Seller Support documentation.
We also want you to be prepared that something that appears “logical” to you may not align with Amazon policies or rules, and there’s likely a good reason why.
If something doesn’t make sense to you, chat on the phone with the Seller Support rep about the discrepancy, but, as I have had to say to many sellers before, please don’t assume the Seller Support rep is unknowledgeable because they don’t agree with your logic….
What If You Can’t Access Your Seller Account?
If for some reason you can’t sign into your Seller Central account, you won’t be able to file a ticket through the traditional path. Maybe your account got compromised, or you have forgotten your password.
You can still access Seller Support by clicking on the first link you will find when you Google “Contact Seller Support”. That will give you a link to click that will initiate Amazon Seller Support calling you.
Following Up On Your Tickets
To check on the progress of your Seller Support tickets, you can click “manage your case log” on the right-hand side of your home page on Seller Support, right above the “Sales Summary” box.
Keep in mind that typically Seller Support responds to most tickets within 12-24 hours, depending on the complexity of the issue and the time of day/year when the ticket is filed.
It is our repeated experience that on complicated tickets, you have to push Seller Support periodically if they are not responding within the expected 12-24 hour periods.
We preach “persistence, persistence, persistence” here….and if a case gets resolved not to your satisfaction, feel free to re-open it within 48 hours with more questions or clarifying data to push towards getting resolution along the lines of your desired outcome.
Keep Issues Separated
Our other piece of advice is to separate different issues into different tickets. While the issues may be related, it’s best to file separate tickets so each can be worked on separately.
Seller Support scans open tickets to see if they are, in fact, related. And it may choose to combine tickets, but you should start the ticketing process with the philosophy of one issue per ticket.
It’s like going to the doctor to get a scraped knee and a sore back fixed…while they both may have been caused by playing soccer, treatment may be different for each issue.
Common types of tickets
There are endless numbers of reasons why you may file a ticket with Seller Support, but there are a number of common reasons that tickets do get filed
We will cover those here so as to set your expectations around what needs to be included in your ticket, and what to expect back from Seller Support:
A Compromised Account
Unfortunately, sometimes your account may get compromised, or Amazon thinks it has been compromised, meaning either way that you won’t be able to sign into your Seller Central account.
Earlier, we mentioned how to contact Seller Support from outside Seller Central.
It’s important to get this issue addressed as soon as you discover a problem with not being able to sign into Seller Central, should something more dramatic have actually happened to your account.
One of the most common tickets submitted is a request to have a customer’s feedback removed from Amazon.com due to the feedback not meeting requirements for valid feedback. Amazon may remove feedback at your request if:
- The feedback includes words commonly understood to be obscene or profane.
- The feedback includes seller-specific, personally identifiable information, including e-mail addresses, full names, or telephone numbers.
- The entire feedback comment is a completely a product review.
If your customer’s feedback fully meets one of these reasons for feedback being removable, you can file a ticket with Seller Support under “Customers and Orders” “Customer feedback”.
We definitely encourage all sellers to review all poor feedback they receive, not only to see where they can learn from the feedback, but also to check that all feedback is “valid” according to Amazon rules.
If any of it isn’t valid, it’s well worth the time to file the Seller Support tickets requesting it to be removed so it doesn’t unnecessarily affect your overall feedback ratings.
Fixing Your Listings
Under “Products and Inventory” “Product Page Issue”, you will submit tickets seeking to get listings changed (title, description, images, category, bullet points, etc.).
Our guidance is to have submitted the correct content in your own listings already, and then ask Amazon to switch to your content from some other seller’s content that is currently showing.
It’s best to provide screenshots of what incorrect/suboptimal information you are seeing, and identifying what specific info you want changed.
And keep in mind this rule of thumb: With most tickets related to correcting listings, Amazon has an arbitrary rule of not accepting more than 5 ASIN changes per ticket.
If you have more than 5 ASINs that require some listing change, you will need to file separate tickets for each 5 ASINs.
Diagnosing Wrong Data
You may run into situations where a competitor is likely submitting incorrect data, and you want that to stop.
You can ask Seller Support to use its “csi.amazon.com” tool to look at the history of which sellers submitted which data on a particular listing, and show that your data was correct but overwritten at some later point by a competitor.
We also provide a very useful archiving tool in our toolbox from our friends at Skubana.com in the Additional Resources section of this chapter – it’s a tool to help you archive all of the product detail pages in your catalog at different points in time – that way, if you need to provide Seller Support with some sort of evidence that a product detail page looked different (with the data you wanted it to have) at an earlier point, you actually can share the backed up website URL with Seller Support to help accelerate the process of showing them that the product detail page has changed.
It’s a little crazy that you have provide such data, given that Amazon actually has the tools to see exactly who changed what data at what point, but unfortunately, Seller Support front line employees don’t usually rely on such internal tools, and instead look to the seller to prove data has changed.
Merging Duplicate Listings
You may also want to have duplicate listings merged together – it is our experience that this type of request is rarely honored unless the brand name and UPC are identical on the listings.
So you may first have to file tickets to get the brand name changed, or to get a UPC added to a listing (which would require you to provide manufacturer proof of the correct UPC for the product).
Often when you aren’t able to add an offer to an existing listing, it may be because you are not allowed to list in the category in which the product is currently listed.
For example, you may be selling Toys, but see a listing a toy that someone has somehow placed in the Clothing category.
As the Clothing category is gated and you may not be ungated to sell in it, you probably want to ask that the ASIN be moved to the correct Toy category where you can list against it, and more Toy customers will find it.
Inventory File Upload Problems
If you are loading flat file templates and getting errors that you don’t know how to resolve, you can check the error codes in Seller Central, but often that won’t help you diagnose what’s needed to fix the problem.
In these situations, we suggest you file the email ticket including the batch ID for the flat file template submission, but then you follow up with a call to Seller Support to talk through the issue with the representative.
It is our experience that Flat File inventory loading errors can be troublesome for Seller Support reps to answer without some real-time discourse with you as well as you likely loading flat files with the rep on the phone to observe the Amazon systems in real-time.
No Listing Errors for FBA Products
Sometimes FBA inventory becomes inactive for a variety of reasons – driven by you or Amazon glitches. Nonetheless, getting all of your FBA inventory to be active is essential.
So in such situations, you would file a ticket under “Fulfillment by Amazon” “Other FBA Issue”. It can take 1-2 days for such inventory to be re-activated.
Damaged Customer Returns
One of the more annoying situations you will have to accept as an FBA seller is that customers periodically return products damaged or missing parts.
Sometimes it’s clear the customer has used the product, and is now returning it for a full refund even though the product is clearly no longer new.
Amazon’s liberal return policies for FBA typically allow this sort of behavior, and periodically you may have to file a ticket to get credit for returned products where blatant customer fraud has happened.
In such situations, it is our experience that providing a photo of the damage to the product, and explaining in written detail what has been altered in the product will help to make your case stronger.
While Amazon may decide to turn down your request for a refund from Amazon, it’s well worth asking, even if it involves re-opening a closed case to contest Amazon’s initial decision.
The more you push on this type of case, the more likely you are to get credited for the customer damage.
Complaints About Other Sellers’ Actions
You may see a seller with too many offers on a listing, or a seller playing games with a listing.
While you can report a seller to Amazon through Seller Support, Amazon won’t ever tell you what happened in terms of its communication with the seller.
So you should focus your efforts on getting listings corrected, and let Amazon worry about what it decides to do to enforce some policy that a competitor seller may be breaking.
That being said, it is worth filing tickets reporting other sellers if you see sellers repeatedly playing games that affect your listings.
You can point out specific sellers that are “likely” the root cause of the problems, and ask that Amazon take up these issues directly with the other sellers, but as we said, don’t ever expect to hear what Amazon did or didn’t say to the other sellers.
Because of the way that Amazon compartmentalizes tickets, you may need to file one ticket to get a listing fixed, and another ticket to ask Amazon to investigate the seller that you believe is behind the problem.
Processes to Implement
When you need to file a ticket (or “case”) with Seller Support, we encourage the following process:
File ticket with Email Option
File the ticket in written format through the “email” option in the “Contact Us” section under “Help”. Spend a moment to find the most appropriate grouping under which to file your ticket – all helping to accelerate the likelihood of a fast resolution.
Then provide as much written explanation and data as you believe would be needed for a complete stranger to gain an understanding of what your situation is.
Use “Contact Us” After For Urgent Tickets
If the ticket is particularly urgent, follow up with a phone call to the “Contact Us” team, referencing the case number assigned to the email ticket you opened.
Check Case Log
No matter what type of ticket you initially filed, check your case log daily to see if there has been any progress.
If no progress after 48 hours, consider responding to the case, asking for an update or offering any new data you have since first opening the case.