Amazon Seller Account Suspension | What to Do When You Unknowingly Break the Rules

November 19, 2020
Written by Nicasio Co III

Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. In this case, the laws are Amazon’s terms and conditions and seller code of conduct. Violating them would prevent Amazon from providing first-class customer service to their buyers. Breaking any of their rules, even unknowingly, will result in an Amazon seller account suspension.

Your selling privileges could be revoked for any number of reasons. The most common causes have something to do with poor seller performance. However, many cases involve sellers not paying attention to Amazon’s policies.

Frankly, this isn’t surprising. A survey conducted by Deloitte, a professional services network, concluded that 91% of people agree to terms and services without reading them. For people aged 18-34, the percentage is even higher: 97%.

Let’s look at a few situations where sellers unknowingly broke Amazon’s rules because they didn’t know about them.

Inaccurate Seller Information

Amazon has made it clear that all information submitted to them and their customers must be accurate to prevent sellers from misrepresenting themselves or their products. The sellers’ forums are full of posts about attempts at opening an account only to be suspended a few days later due to Amazon’s team finding discrepancies in the information submitted. 

These situations include:

  • Sellers not residing in countries allowed by Amazon
  • Not having a chargeable credit card (debit cards aren’t allowed)
  • The information in the Amazon account doesn’t match the documents submitted as proof of identity, such as social security number, tax number, photo IDs, utility bills, and bank statements
  • Sending screenshots of IDs instead of scanned copies
  • Submitting bank account statements that were issued more than 90 days prior to registration

Important note: Amazon will re-verify a seller’s identity if you upgrade or downgrade their selling plan (from an Individual Selling Plan to Professional or vice versa).

Promoting Your Website or Place of Business on Amazon

Any mention of your business will result in an Amazon seller account suspension. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t know about that rule. Amazon protects its exclusive rights to be the only business on display for buyers. 

Many sellers should be aware of the situations that could possibly lead Seller Performance to think you’re promoting your own business. These include:

  • Using your website as your seller name
  • Putting your business details in your product listing (e.g., product title, descriptions, images, etc.
  • Putting links in your listing that goes directly to an external website

If you experienced an Amazon suspension, help can be received by consulting Amazon experts to guide you through the appeal process.

Including Customer Reviews in Your Product Images

On the surface, it seems like a good idea. Put some reviews in your product image so that you can accomplish two things for the price of one. Wrong! Amazon has stringent product image requirements

  • The image must be of the product being sold
  • It must not contain other confusing objects (that includes shots of product reviews)
  • Your product needs to fill 85% or more of the frame (no room for any others)
  • No additional text, graphics, and inset images can be included
  • The background should be pure white

The best thing that can happen is for your listing to be removed. If you’re not careful, your account can be suspended pending an investigation. You don’t want that for the chance to include a few measly reviews in your product photos. 

Opening Multiple Seller Accounts

Opening Multiple Seller Accounts

According to many sellers, Amazon is rarely lenient when it comes to multiple seller accounts. The reasoning is sound: sellers who lost their selling privileges permanently can’t open another account and resume the activities that got them banned. It’s the same with suspended accounts. It would be best if you worked with Amazon to resolve your violations of the rules and go for account reinstatement.

Making Prohibited Product Claims

Haven’t you had enough of product claims that don’t even remotely resemble the truth? Well, Amazon wants to keep the competition clean by removing that aspect of advertising altogether.

The Federal Trade Commission states that customers should be protected from deceptive advertising and marketing practices that raise health and safety concerns. In other words, if you say it, you’d better be able to back it up.

Amazon prohibits any claims to mitigate, cure, treat, or prevent diseases without FDA approval. The list of those diseases includes, but not limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Chlamydia
  • COVID 19
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hepatitis A, B, and C
  • Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV)
  • Mononucleosis
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Syphilis
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Flu

If your product can treat or cure any of these diseases, you need to submit documents proving so to Amazon.

How to Open Your Amazon Account After Suspension

The first step is to find out the root cause of the suspension. Amazon usually tells you what rule you violated from their terms and conditions and tells you how to appeal. Here’s the process:

  • Create a plan of action

Draft a response telling Amazon that you have realized your mistake and how it affected Amazon’s customers. Be as detailed as you can.

  • Write an Amazon seller suspension appeal letter

Put all the details of your action plan in your appeal letter, including the steps you’ll take so your violations won’t happen again. If possible, make your message easier to read by using short paragraphs, bullet points, and using bold on key details.

  • Wait for their reply

You might be losing a lot of money in sales, but sending a lot of emails to follow up on your suspension is a bad idea. It will just bury your original one. Give them time to process your appeal.

All Is Not Lost

An Amazon seller account suspension isn’t the end of the world. You can even get experts to help you during the whole appeal process, get your account reinstated, monitor your performance for any problems, and optimize your listings to boost sales.
Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected], and let’s formulate a plan to get you selling in no time.

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