Amazon Account on Hold: How to Reactivate a Suspended Account
Amazon provides unprecedented opportunities for people looking to sell products online. However, when you sell on Amazon, you must abide by their rules. There are a myriad of different cases when your actions (or lack of them) can lead to your seller account getting suspended.
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In this post, we will go through some of the common reasons your Amazon seller account might get suspended and how you can get it back if it is. We will also look at how to avoid a suspension in the first place.
Reasons Your Account Might Get Suspended
Let’s begin by reviewing the different actions Amazon can take against your seller account. There are three account statuses you may face if Amazon takes action against you:
Account suspension: With a suspension, you will receive an email message stating “Amazon account on hold”. Your listings will be temporarily inactive and you will not receive sales. With this status you can still regain access (more on this later).
Denied: This status means your appeal to have your account reinstated is denied. If you receive this text notification, you can still regain access by filing another appeal.
Banned: This is the last status you want to see. It means your account will be permanently closed. Once it is deactivated, Amazon will delete your products and you will not be able to sell again.
Now that you know the different account statuses, let’s look at the reasons why your account may get suspended. There are three broad reasons that you may face an account suspension:
1. Poor Seller Performance
One of the most common reasons your account may get suspended is due to poor performance. Amazon has specific performance requirements that all sellers need to meet. They monitor this performance by tracking several key metrics. This includes:
Order Defect Rate: The percentage of orders that contain one of these poor customer service factors; negative feedback, A-to-Z claims (returns), and credit card chargebacks.
Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: The percentage of orders that you cancel before shipping. Amazon wants a rate of 2.5% or lower.
Late shipment rate: Orders shipped after the expected ship date. Amazon measures this over 10 and 30 day intervals.
Amazon uses these metrics because they directly lead to a better customer experience. By removing sellers that perform poorly in these regards, they help protect customers from low-quality products, thus limiting the number of returns and complaints from customers.
You can view these metrics yourself in the Performance section of your Seller Central account. There you can see if there are any complaints and prevalent issues that you need to fix.
2. Policy Violations
Policy violations are another common reason for Amazon account suspension. Amazon has a long list of rules that you need to follow. We won’t get into all of these but there are two policies that are critical to point out. These are Amazon’s stance on product reviews and intellectual property.
Amazon has strict policies when it comes to product reviews. Customer feedback is essential to helping shoppers find the best items so they want to ensure everything is honest and accurate. If Amazon suspects unusual or suspicious activity regarding your reviews, you will likely get a warning and then action against your account.
Specifically, Amazon does not allow you to create false, misleading, or inauthentic reviews about your products. You are also not allowed to offer money or other incentives in exchange for positive reviews. This problem is easy to avoid but many sellers want to beat the competition bad enough to try it anyway.
Infringing on Intellectual Property
As an Amazon seller, you need to abide by all laws regarding trademarks and copyrights. Trademark infringement is when you engage in the unauthorized use of another company’s trademark when selling goods. It also includes the deceptive use of a similar mark in a manner that is meant to confuse a customer or convince them you have a specific brand’s products.
Copyright infringement occurs when you display or distribute another company’s copyrighted work. For example, if you use another seller’s imagery, description, or other text in your listing, this would be considered copyright infringement.
Amazon will actively guard against intellectual property infringement as insurance from complaints and legal issues from the affected party. If they find you to violate this policy, your account will be at risk.
3. Selling a Restricted Product
While Amazon is home to countless items, there are products that they do not permit you to sell on its marketplace. For example, items like alcohol, cigarettes, sessions with a personal trainer, and animals can't be sold on the marketplace.
Additionally, there are some products that you can sell but need to get additional verification to do so. If you try to circumvent these rules to list and sell these items anyway, you may see your account placed on hold.
What to Do if Your Account Gets Suspended
If your account is put on hold, there are steps you can take to reactivate it. How long the process takes depends on the nature of the suspension and the responsiveness of the Amazon seller support associates.
To reinstate your account, you need to create a Plan of Action, essentially an appeal. This addresses the issue of what got you suspended and how you intend to fix it by adjusting your business practices.
To start, open the message Amazon sent regarding your account suspension to see why you were placed on hold.
If there is an issue with your products, check your inventory to see which items are the problem. Depending on the issue, you may need to remove items from your inventory and listings. In some cases, Amazon will specifically mention the problem item.
If the problem is too many disputed transactions, the solution will be a little more complicated. You will need to figure out why so many customers are disputing their orders.
Performance issues are easier to dissect and fix. You can go to your Account Health Dashboard to see where you are faltering. You can then come up with a new set of processes to ensure the issues do not persist.
Once you have figured out the problem and have come up with a solution, you can write your appeal and send it over to Amazon. Here are some recommendations to follow when writing your appeal:
Take responsibility and acknowledge that you understand how the problem is bad for customers.
Don’t question or complain about the suspension process.
Clearly state your plan of action but don’t go overboard with the details. A concise and well-thought response will lead to a quicker reactivation.
How to Prevent an Amazon Account Suspension
You can significantly reduce the chances of having your account suspended by following these steps:
1. Sell High-Quality Products
Even if you do everything in your power to obey all of Amazon’s policies, your account can still be suspended if you continually receive negative reviews and complaints from customers. The best solution to this potential problem is to only sell top-notch products.
You can ensure that you always have high-quality items by performing extensive product research. This will give you insight into what products are in demand so that you always sell something customers are happy with.
With the AMZScout PRO Extension, you can find the best products for any niche on Amazon. The software provides extensive data for countless products on the marketplace. You can see how many sales they have, how competitive they are, how customers rate them, and more.
When reviewing a potential niche, pay close attention to the average rating. This will let you know if customers are critical of those items. If a niche has a low average rating, it can be a sign it is harder to please shoppers in that market. In this situation, you will potentially open yourself up to a higher amount of negative feedback.
When you discover a good product, you can use the find a supplier feature in the PRO Extension to quickly find the best and most reliable suppliers. By using a good supplier, you will avoid issues with low-quality items.
2. Use Amazon FBA
Another way to avoid many of the performance-related reasons for account enclosure is to use Amazon’s FBA fulfillment service. The reason for this is simple. If Amazon stores and ships your products, you do not need to worry about late shipments. Nor will there be any situation where you need to cancel orders before they are delivered.
3. Follow all Amazon Policies
If you want to keep your account active without interruption, be sure to carefully review Amazon’s policies, specifically those regarding product reviews. Don’t misuse your ability to ask for reviews by offering payments or encouraging only positive feedback.
4. Don’t Sell Counterfeit or Unauthorized Products
This one sounds like a no-brainer but it should not be overlooked. If you choose to sell fake and knock-off products, you are asking for trouble. You may get away with it for a short time without issue but eventually, it will catch up with you.
Hopefully, you never have your Amazon account suspended. Take note of the steps in this guide to ensure that you comply with all policies and invest the time to research and source only the highest quality products.