Amazon suspension; an Amazon Seller’s worst nightmare and ultimate fear. Suspensions can affect one or more of your Listings (which could be quite costly to you if it is one of your best selling products), or more importantly your entire Amazon selling Account. Losing your selling rights on Amazon can immensely impact a seller’s overall global sales and loss of gross income, depending on how long their selling privileges are revoked for.
Regardless of the reason for an Amazon account suspension, the seller’s number one concern is reinstatement and getting back to business. However, you can save yourself time and trouble (as well as profits) by avoiding suspensions in the first place.
Here are several circumstances that can result in banning of a seller’s account:
1. Inauthentic Complaints /Not as Advertised
One type of customer complaint that sellers will recurrently experience is inauthentic product complaints. This does not necessarily mean that the products are fake or counterfeit. They may be perfectly legitimate products. Buyers might file these complaints with the hopes to receive a refund on their purchase, or free shipping. However, they might be filed because of poor packaging, customers receiving a damaged product, a missing part or the absence of a warranty or instructions which leads a buyer to question a product’s authenticity. Although these complaints are often baseless, there are circumstances wherein the claims are legitimate and should be treated as such. If a buyer receives a product that does not 100% match its online pictures and/or description in the listing, they have a valid point and should be refunded. You would then need to promptly address this problem so as to fix it from ever happening again.
Always remember that in Amazon’s world the buyer is clearly king. Always place the buyers, ie your customers, first. If the customers are happy, Amazon is happy and in turn you and your business will be happy.
2. Used Sold as New
This is similar to Inauthentic Complaints outlined above. New means new. A buyer is expecting a brand new, never opened, product in its original undamaged packaging. If they receive anything else they could assume that the item is not new. Items that are repackaged or rebundled face a much higher risk of this customer complaint being made. Selling last year’s, or out of date, products can trigger this complaint. Damaged packaging often leads to this complaint as the item does not appear to be new. Again, it is your burden to know where you are sourcing your goods and to know that you are selling exactly what you are listing. You need to take control over sourcing and delivery as best you can.
3. Order Defect Rate
This is also similar to numbers 1 and 2 above. If the problem is within your control, fix it asap. This would include issuing prompt refunds and making changes to insure that the errors stop. You should consider removing the item from your sales inventory if problems persist. If the problems are caused by outside vendors, such as the manufacturer or shipper, change those companies asap as their actions are negatively affecting your company’s reputation and sales.
4. Relating Multiple Amazon Seller Accounts
Many sellers fail to abide by one of Amazon’s most strictly enforced policies: Amazon sellers may not operate multiple seller accounts without Amazon’s prior approval. Per Amazon’s Prohibited Seller Activities page, “Operating and maintaining multiple Seller Central accounts is prohibited. If you have a legitimate business need for a second account, you can apply for an exception to this policy.” Although many Amazon sellers may have a legitimate business need for a second account, they fail to follow procedure and do not seek permission from Amazon prior to opening second accounts.
Amazon monitors for impermissibly linked accounts and often identifies Amazon sellers violating this policy by associating accounts using the same IP address, or associating accounts based on a Seller’s use of the same bank info, email, Tax ID, or physical address. Amazon Sellers should always avoid creating two seller accounts without permission. Furthermore, as a seller, you should not allow any other seller to access their account from your CPU or network in effort to avoid mistaken association by IP address.
5. Safety Issues
If a customer has a negative experience caused by using one of your products they likely will report the negative experience. Amazon takes personal safety issues very seriously. Such issues often arise with the use of products within the high selling beauty/cosmetics category. If such products are old/expired or in poor condition when they arrive it could be a safety concern. Misuse of products also can raise safety concerns.
The best way to address these potential complaints before they arise if to be vigilant in your packaging and delivery methods and to include clear instructions on how to properly and safely use your products. You need to be clear in the products use, dosage, quantity etc. If Safety Warnings are needed, they need to be included with the product.
6. Restricted Items
Amazon does not allow all items to be sold. There are restricted items in each category. You need to check what Amazon allows and what it does not. Although items might be authorized by a government (for example having FDA approval in the U.S.) does NOT mean that Amazon approves its sale on their platform. Sometimes Amazon is stricter than the law.
The easy way to avoid this is to be vigilant in reviewing your products and Amazon’s policies before listing any products. If you determine that something is not allowed by Amazon policies, but see that others are selling it, do not be fooled. Others might just be getting lucky. This likely is short term luck. It is not worth the risk and costs of listing an item that simply is not allowed to be listed.
7. Intellectual Property Issues
One of the most common causes for Amazon Seller account suspensions we see at Amazon Sellers Lawyer is failure to address intellectual property complaints. Intellectual property law covers the enforcement of patents, trademarks / trade dress, and copyrights. Usually, when a rights owner (the party who owns a respective patent, trademark, or copyright), makes a claim of infringement against an Amazon Seller, Amazon first notifies the seller of the complaint. Amazon will typically remove the listing for that product and instruct the seller to work out retraction of the complaint with the rights owner.
While some Amazon Sellers may feel that ignoring these notifications is easier that dealing with them, especially regarding a product they no longer plan on selling, this is not a good idea. Multiple lingering intellectual property complaints can and likely will ultimately cause Amazon Seller account suspensions. Once suspended, the only way a seller can get reinstated is by working with the rights owner to get the complaint withdrawn. This process becomes increasingly difficult as the number of complaints grow.