Amazon Account Suspensions - Understand it, Prevent it, and Solve it Within 7 Days

May 6, 2020
Written by Nicasio Co III
Amazon Account Suspensions

Amazon account suspension can cause you stress and cost you insane amounts of money, especially if this is one of your significant sources of revenue for your business.  It is crucial to understand the reasons why Amazon sends these dreaded emails, how you can prevent it, and how you can reinstate your account.  It is important that you have proven Amazon suspension plan to avoid these problems.

There are two types of account suspension:

  • Account suspension – is when your whole account has been shut down. This means you lose seller privileges right across the Amazon platform.
  • Listing suspension – is when particular listings get suspended for whatever illegitimate reason.

One of the consequences of account suspension is that even though your account is suspended, you are still paying for storage fees, your vendors, and your employees. If you are using FBA, you have all the associated warehouse costs even though you are actually not selling at that moment.  If not, try to hire an Amazon SEO consultant so that they can guide on the process fixing your account suspensions.

Common reasons for account suspension:

  • You are selling fake or counterfeit products, or at least Amazon thinks you are.
  • You might also be selling something that you described as NEW when, in fact, it is OLD (or USED).
  • You were accused of violating somebody else's intellectual property rights (copyright, patent, or trademark).

Plan of Action (POA)

When Amazon finds your account suspicious or if they think you are violating their Terms of Service, what happens is that you get a dreaded email from Amazon saying that your selling privileges have been suspended, removed or in other words you will get an Amazon account suspensions. The first step is to submit what Amazon calls a "POA" or Plan of Action. As of July 2017, Amazon gives sellers only seven (7) days to respond and rectify whatever issues are stated in the suspension email.

There are three sections of a POA:

  • The root cause of the issue
  • The immediate fix
  • The long term correction to your primary business model to prevent the issue from recurring in the future

Once you have submitted your POA within the given timeframe, Amazon will often come back with a request for more information, or they will request the same info that you have already sent, which can be frustrating. If they are seeking more information, all you have to do is to supply that information. However, if they are asking for the same information, this means you have to reword, reorganize, and provide more supporting documents to prove your case.

Some people believe that AI or some sort of automated system automates these processes. They look for certain key phrases in the email or the correspondence before they pass it on to an actual human operator or some sort of staff on Amazon. 

How to construct an effective POA

Most people get extremely stressed out and frustrated when they get an account suspension email because it negatively affects a significant portion of their business venture. People tend to get emotional and angry, and as a result, it won't be very easy for them to write a POA in a way that it does not get too personal. If you get too personal in this plan of action in your correspondence with Amazon, you are not doing yourself any favor.

Four essential things to remember: 

  1. Get straight to the point. Discuss in your correspondence the issues in a concise manner.
  2. Do not get emotional. While it is undeniably frustrating to get an account suspension email, we recommend you put your emotions aside. A well-written POA does not contain resentful statements, only facts.
  3. Keep it short and simple (KISS). You would not imagine how many account suspension correspondences people from Amazon read every day. Therefore, the shorter and more straightforward, the better. 
  4. Make sure to include in your correspondence the three important sections of POA mentioned above.

Ranting or getting angry like when you attack Amazon in your POA does not solve the problem. It will only cause frustration to the person on the other end, who actually has the power to lift the suspension. You may want to consider hiring an agency that has experience with these who can refurbish your drafted POA or try to read Amazon FBA success stories that will lessen your frustrations. These experts have templates for these that have already been proven to work in the past. It will help you increase the chances of your account suspension being lifted.

Now, if you decide to write this on your own, we recommend you read Amazon's list of leadership principles. We highly encourage that you use their language with is in line with Amazon's culture. Use Amazon's language in your favor because all these Amazon employees were trained to adhere to these principles, and they want to see their sellers adhering to that same culture, that same business, and ethical standards.

What if you actually did nothing wrong?

We know it sounds absurd, but in your POA, we recommend you always to admit that you have done something wrong, even if you have not. If you show that you understand that you have done something wrong, you are giving Amazon the impression that you are showing some ownership. This way, they are much more likely to be sympathetic and reinstate your account.

However, we suggest you be careful with this. If you have not actually done something wrong and it is just a false accusation (and it happens), there are issues with admitting that you did something wrong in the future. Amazon will have a strike against you now, and it will be more difficult to reinstate your account if it gets suspended in the future again.

Multiple seller accounts

Another reason why people get suspended is by having multiple seller accounts (e.g., selling different brands or selling in various categories.). Doing this is entirely against Amazon's Terms of Service. Amazon will go to significant lengths to prevent you from having multiple accounts.

Creating an account with different names, addresses, bank information, or IP addresses will keep you safe nor prevent Amazon from finding out. Amazon is taking it up a notch by doing the following:

  • looking into accounts with very similar inventory,
  • checking if ownership of domain names and websites are the same,
  • checking if you log in from a phone more than once, and
  • scrutinizing names of businesses or storefronts, names of brick and mortar stores that may also sell your product spreadsheets that you upload for inventory, and types of products sold.

Amazon has a sneaky way of catching multiple account holders – they will send you an email that seems innocuous but is actually tricky. These emails contain instructions on how to gather your multiple accounts or something like that. If you respond positively to that email, you can be sure that you are probably going to be suspended. 

Why does Amazon care so much about stopping you from creating multiple accounts?

Preventing multiple account ownership is Amazon's way to deter unethical practices or practices that are against Amazon's Terms of Service. People who make multiple accounts often do some nasty business, like operating several different scams that will cause you to have Amazon account suspensions. Eventually, when their account gets suspended, they will just create a new one, and keep doing it.

Amazon cannot completely stop this, but they will make it really difficult for you to have multiple accounts. That is how they protect themselves – by creating a high barrier to creating multiple accounts.

What happens when you have Amazon falsely accuse you of having multiple accounts?

Some Amazon sellers have employees who run their own Amazon stores. If these employees happen to connect to your office's Wi-Fi on their phone or computer, for example, or they access their own Amazon account from your network, that is definitely going to be a problem.

You have to be careful and to actually know what you are doing because that can get you into a lot of problems this will surely trigger an Amazon account suspensions. If this causes your account suspension and you have to respond to Amazon, you are going to have to prove or convince amazon that it happened unintentionally, which can be hard to do.

Key take-way

If you are unable to respond to account suspension emails rationally and calmly and methodically, get someone else to do it. Do not fall under the trap of getting emotional in those emails and getting angry because it is the number one way it is going to work against you. You have to convince them that you are genuinely sincere, and this is never going to happen again.

If this is something we can help you with, don't forget to email us at [email protected].

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