How to Create an Amazon Suspension Plan of Action for Missed FBA Shipment

February 12, 2021
Written by Nicasio Co III
amazon suspension plan

Amazon's ambition to be the Earth's most customer-centric company knows no bounds. Its policies almost favor their buyers, like with the anti-counterfeiting policy, customer product review policy, customer returns policy, and the list goes on. Hence, you must at least know how to write an Amazon suspension Plan of Action (POA), especially when you missed out on "surprise" changes and updates regarding their policies.

On September 2, 2020, Amazon released a policy wherein they will suspend sellers' selling privileges that have late shipments to an FBA warehouse. Unfortunately, the policy's effectiveness was on August 25, 2020, which makes the notice nine days late. This is an example of a scenario where you can be caught off-guard and result in an Amazon vendor central suspension. 

Here is the complete statement from Amazon Seller Central forums:

"We are continuously working to make FBA products available to customers faster. When carriers miss delivery appointments at our fulfillment centers, processing time for all FBA shipments can increase.

As of August 25, 2020, consistent failure to meet appointments may result in a suspension of FBA shipping privileges. If your carrier is unable to make the FBA shipment delivery appointment, we request that you notify us at least 24 hours in advance.

For more information, visit Carrier requirements for LTL and FTL deliveries."

How sellers reacted to the new policy

Several sellers complained that they couldn't meet this requirement since some don’t have  direct communication with their shipping company. Worse, the courier doesn't update them at all about the status of their shipments.

One argued that it is illogical that sellers should be responsible for this since they don't have control over what a shipping company does and doesn't do. Another seller suggested penalizing carriers instead of them. 

In situations like these, you can't adapt and adjust quickly because there are factors involved. The entire supply chain was shaken because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay-at-home and social distancing policies were enforced to prevent the spread of the virus. Some carriers needed to limit their staff to avoid crowding their workplace, thus, slowing their operations. 

Also, earlier this year, sellers have had to cope with other recent changes in Amazon's policies connected with the coronavirus outbreak, like the suspension of inbound shipment to their fulfillment centers for non-essential products in March. And, in July, the quantity limit rule they imposed on all categories to make more room inside their FBA warehouses for the holiday rush orders. No wonder sellers were complaining already.

How to write an Amazon suspension plan of action (POA)

Amazon requires you to send an appeal letter to reinstate your suspended seller account. You need to compose an Amazon suspension Plan of Action (POA) that has three sections:

  • The root cause(s) of the suspension.
  • The temporary solutions you have taken to resolve the problem.
  • The steps you will implement to prevent it from happening in the future.

Should you act right away the moment you receive the dreaded suspension notification? We suggest not to act in haste but to take a moment to pause and reflect in order to analyze the issue. Also, Amazon will give you 14-17 days to send an appeal, so don't rush things.

This is why sometimes it is better to seek an Amazon suspension appeal service offered by a third-party company. They will not be driven by emotions and can look at the situation objectively. They also have years of experience in deciphering the vague responses of Amazon in their suspension emails.

Here is a sample template of a POA:

Dear Amazon Seller Performance Team,

Thank you for allowing us to appeal our suspension for the late FBA shipment. We understand that this is a serious matter, and we acknowledge our mistakes. In connection with this, we created a POA to resolve the issue.

  • Root cause (Explain what went wrong):

[Cause of the problem #1]

[Cause of the problem #2]

[Etc.]

  • What actions we have taken to fix the problem:

[Immediate solution #1]

[Immediate solution #2]

[Etc.]

  • What actions we have done to prevent future issues:

[Long-term solution #1]

[Long-term solution #2]

[Etc.]

Thank you for taking the time to review our appeal. Moving forward, we will be more conscious of handling our FBA shipments in the future and ensure it does not happen again.

Sincerely,

[Seller Name]

Ensure that your POA is short, concise, and in an easy-to-read format. Use bullet points, not numbers. Don't be too detailed and too wordy. More importantly, never blame your customers and take responsibility for the mistake even if it wasn't your fault, to begin with. 

Bonus: What does Amazon want you to do?

As we read the replies in the Seller Central forum, one seller commented that perhaps this is Amazon's way of urging all third-party sellers to use Amazon-partnered carriers and only applies to LTL and FTL shipments. These are only assumptions, though, and need clarification from Amazon first. 

But suppose you are keen to opt for Amazon-partnered carriers and think it is beneficial to your business. In that case, you might consider including this in your Amazon suspension Plan of Action.

Conclusion

However, if you doubt your Amazon suspension Plan of Action (POA) writing skills, don't hesitate to ask for help. Remember that you have a steep chance of getting reinstated, so there is no room for mistakes. There are a couple of Amazon appeal services you can use that can help you get back your account. 
Are you having a hard time writing an Amazon suspension plan of action? Seller Interactive has a team of Amazon suspension experts willing to help you get reinstated in no time. Please email us at [email protected] or [email protected] today.

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