Marketplaces Ben Hedrick By Ben Hedrick

‘Your Amazon Seller Privileges Have Been Removed’ — Don’t Worry, Amazon’s Appeal Process Just Got Easier!

A suspended third-party seller account on Amazon is every growing brand’s and retailer’s worst nightmare. A suspension can lead to days or weeks of lost sales — not to mention precious inventory that sits untouched in Amazon’s warehouse.

Unfortunately, it can happen to even the most conscientious sellers. The risk of product suppressions, listing removals and even account suspensions is high for any seller that fails to abide by strict policies — even if it happens accidentally or unknowingly.

It certainly can be hard to keep up.

To help, we’ve pulled together the latest insights on how Amazon is currently handling account suspensions and terminations. 

Here’s what you need to know to get your account back open as soon as possible.

What to Expect from the Amazon Suspension Appeals Process

The good news? The Amazon appeals process is a lot easier than it used to be. 

Prior to 2018, Amazon required sellers to draft a detailed appeal letter to send for review while the account was inactive. This process could be lengthy and frustrating:

  1. Receive a warning that your account is at risk
  2. Receive account suspension 
  3. Create an appeal letter 
  4. Wait for response 
  5. Respond to feedback 
  6. Obtain account reinstatement hours or days

Thankfully, Amazon has revised this process and made it a lot easier for sellers to reinstated quickly. Today’s process looks more like this:

  1. Receive a warning that your account is at risk
  2. Receive account suspension 
  3. Complete questionnaire 
  4. Obtain account reinstatement

This newer process trimmed the waiting period from days or weeks down to less than 15 minutes. In fact, we’ve seen sellers get reinstated immediately after completing a questionnaire like this one:

How to Stay Prepared for a Potential Amazon Suspension

Of course, this more streamlined appeal process doesn’t solve the much bigger struggle of avoiding account suspensions altogether. While the marketplace does have employees who monitor seller activity, many suspensions occur with assistance from machine learning and advanced algorithms. 

That means Amazon suspensions can come without advance warning.

Although Amazon recently pledged to start providing 30-day suspension notices, that change is reserved for third-party sellers headed for permanent removal — not necessarily sellers that have been temporarily suspended for infractions that can be easily fixed. 

The reality is that if you sell on Amazon, your company has accepted the terms of the marketplace’s services agreement. It’s a requirement for all third-party merchants, and could potentially be revised at any time. 

Notice or not, the important thing is to be aware of the pitfalls and ensure you’re doing everything possible to help prevent suspensions. Some of the most common issues we’ve seen third-party sellers face include:

  • Order Defect Rate: Among all of the metrics the marketplace tracks, your Amazon ODR is one of the most important used to gauge the health of your seller account.
  • Late Shipments: Falling behind on guaranteed delivery times isn’t just harmful to your relationships with consumers — it can get you suspended on Amazon, too.
  • Slow Response Times: Responding to customer complaints as quickly as possible — within 24 hours, max — plays a critical role in keeping your account in good standing.

What To Include in a Formal Appeal

There may come a time when you’ll need to communicate with Amazon’s seller performance department directly through written appeal. If and when that happens, several key steps can help streamline the process. 

While we can’t alleviate all stresses, we can help you build a detailed action plan to provide enough info from the start and hopefully get your account reinstated sooner. Here are some additional tips for communicating with Amazon:

1. Include the customer

We spend plenty of time working with Amazon and we have experience understanding what they look for from an appeal standpoint. Amazon always has its customers top of mind; therefore, including the customer in your response is very important. Here is an example of how you can add that piece into your plan:

We understand that Amazon customers expect a certain level of service when shopping at Amazon.com and by not meeting that we are directly accountable…

[After listing detailed action plan correcting the issue]

…We find these improvements are proactive measures that bolster the ability of our account to meet Amazon’s customer expectations.

2. Don’t undervalue formatting

Amazon is vetting numerous appeals each day, and making your appeal easy to read will help the team quickly understand your explanation and plan of action. We suggest formatting your appeal to note the following sections in bold, with plenty of spacing:

  • What this appeal is about 
  • Why this happened 
  • Bulleted plan of action that includes proactive measures and safety checks
  • Why reinstate us

3. You cannot be too detailed 

Amazon is truly looking for a response that clearly indicates how you’re fixing the problem. Amazon’s performance team has been known to respond with requests for stronger action plans. Writing out your plan upfront can reduce your total downtime, especially if you take the time to get input from different teams.

Ultimately, Amazon feels you control your own customer experience. And when that experience isn’t up to par with its performance criteria, its seller performance team will take immediate action. If you happen to find yourself in this situation, we hope the guidelines above will help you get back open for business as quickly as possible.

To monitor your seller metrics and understand what KPIs count toward your seller account status, please visit this Amazon Seller Central link for more info (sign in required).

For more information on how ChannelAdvisor can help you navigate the Amazon marketplace, feel free to reach out for a quick overview.

Looking for more tips you can use to navigate Amazon with confidence? Subscribe to ChannelAdvisor’s monthly newsletter to stay updated on the latest marketplace news and trends.

Editor’s Note: This post was last updated in January of 2018 and has been further updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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