Everything you need to know about the Amazon Mediation Scheme
If you have found yourself suspended by Amazon and your appeal has been unsuccessful, it doesn’t have to be the end of the line for selling on the site.
Sellers can now look to utilise the Amazon Mediation Scheme, an independent review of their situation run by qualified arbitrators at the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). They will appoint a mediator from its the Amazon Seller Mediation Panel for each eligible dispute.
The scheme has been welcomed by suspension specialists Thompson and Holt and their managing partner Craig Gedey. “It’s certainly a step in the right direction by Amazon,” Gedey explains. “Every single case that we deal with is different, and inevitably there are outcomes to Amazon’s suspension process that some parties feel are unfair. Bringing in this element of impartiality is a definite positive for Amazon Sellers and moves away from a feeling of Amazon wielding its power unchecked in certain situations.”
So what exactly is the Amazon Mediation Scheme and how does it work? Below is a thorough guide to the process and how to use it if it applies to your Amazon business.
Amazon has its own page its Mediation Policy within Amazon Seller Central. On it, it outlines whether you are eligible for mediation, who is overseeing it, and how much it will cost. Here are the key details:
What criteria does my seller account have to meet?
To be eligible for consideration, you must have:
* Your business registered in a European Union (EU) member state or the United Kingdom.
* Current or past active listings in one or more of our European stores (amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr, amazon.it, amazon.es, amazon.nl, amazon.se, or amazon.pl).
* Have appealed through Amazon’s standard channels.
* The date of Amazon’s last correspondence about your concern must be within six months of your request.
Can I request mediation about any issue?
No, in general, any issues regarding Fulfilment by Amazon, or your Amazon Payments Europe or Amazon Payments UK Selling on Amazon payments account are not eligible for mediation. For more details on Amazon’s mediation policy and topics we may not mediate, visit Mediation Policy in Amazon Seller Central.
Who is Amazon’s appointed mediator?
The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) maintains a panel of impartial mediators who will be allocated to handle your case in the language you have chosen (the Amazon Seller Mediation Panel).
Details of current members of CEDR’s Amazon Seller Mediation Panel can be found at www.cedr.com/mediation/amazon/. Amazon does not influence which mediator CEDR will allocate to your case.
How can I start?
Fill out the request form found in the mediation section of Amazon Seller Central, uploading the necessary documents.
You will need to provide:
* The details and nature of the Amazon actions you would like to make the object of mediation
* Relevant documents
* Relevant case IDs
* Your preferred language for us and the mediator (English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, or Spanish).
Amazon will review your request within 10 days, and try to resolve it when possible. In case they are unable to do so, and your case is eligible for mediation, you will receive a unique code along with further details on how to get in touch with CEDR. If you are not eligible, Amazon will inform you through the same channels. You cannot request mediation from CEDR without a valid code.
I received a code, what should I do next?
If you have received a code, you must contact CEDR within 30 days to begin your mediation process. When you start the process, you need to provide CEDR with a recently signed and dated copy of the mediation contract. After 30 days, the code will expire and you have to resubmit a request.
How does the mediation process work?
CEDR will request you to submit an explanation of your case and supporting documents. The appointed mediator may reach out to you directly for clarifications. Amazon will also make a submission, and in the end, the mediator will render a non-binding opinion on the case. This should not take more than 40 days after CEDR receives Amazon’s submission.
How much does mediation cost?
CEDR has set its fee at €538/£490 and Amazon will cover 50% of this fee. You will have to pay the remaining 50% directly to CEDR upon initiating mediation with the code that Amazon provides to you.
If the mediator’s opinion is ultimately favourable to you, CEDR will refund you your share within 30 days after resolution. If the mediator decides in favour of Amazon, your fees will not be reimbursed, and you do not have to cover Amazon’s share.
What happens if the mediator’s opinion is favourable to me?
Amazon will take a final decision whether to accept and implement the opinion or not, and inform you. Independent of that decision, CEDR will reimburse your part of the fee to you.
So what should I know about the mediators themselves?
The website for the independent mediators Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution can be found at www.cedr.com/mediation/amazon/. On it, they also have important detail about the process that should be read and understood before you proceed down the mediation route.
CEDR explains: “The Scheme is for business users to escalate a complaint against Amazon Services Europe SARL (or a company affiliated with Amazon Services Europe SARL). This is done by way of a voluntary, non-binding adjudication (mediation). The Scheme provides an informal and independent way of mediating disputes between either party.
“Once you have completed the Amazon complaints process, please click on the Submit Application button to commence our process. Please note that once the payment is successful you will then be asked to complete and submit the online form along with any relevant documentation you wish to provide. Please note that you can provide further information and/or evidence within three days of submitting your form. However, under no circumstances can further information be submitted at a later stage.”
CEDR also explains how the process works from their point of view in a series of straight-forward explanations, as follows:
What we can do
Under this scheme, we conduct non-binding adjudication (mediation). This method of alternative dispute resolution is an informal and independent way of mediating disputes between Amazon and their business sellers (users).
How do we do it
Once we have received payment via the payment portal you will then be taken through to the online form. You will then need to complete this and submit it along with any relevant documentation. Your completed form and documents will then be sent automatically to the CEDR team to review. Once the application has been accepted, it will be sent to Amazon to provide a response.
Once the response is received, the case is then assigned to a Mediator. The Mediator will then issue a non-binding adjudication to both parties. Please note that the recommendation(s) made by the Mediator in their decision will be non-binding. The implementation of any recommendation(s) made by the Mediator will be at the sole discretion of Amazon.
We wish to advise that whilst we can accept applications and information in other languages, we will be responding to you in English. However, we are able to issue the Mediator’s decision in a language of your choice as well as in English. So if you require this, please let us know.
How do I apply?
Once you have completed the Amazon process, please click on the ‘Submit Application’ button to commence our process. Please note that once the payment is successful you will then be asked to complete and submit an online form.
If you would rather not use the online form, you can apply using our Adobe PDF form available in the Downloads section on the left-hand side. If you do use the Adobe form then you must save the completed form on to your device and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
How long does it take?
Once the complete case file is received (including your application, supporting evidence and Amazon’s response) the Mediator will have 40 days to issue a decision.
Do I need an access code to commence the CEDR process?
Yes, you will need a valid access code to commence the CEDR process. We note that Amazon will issue this to you directly and you will have 30 days to come to CEDR with that code. If you come to CEDR outside of that timeframe, you may have to return to Amazon to obtain another code.
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
ADR can be a swifter and cheaper alternative to court action to getting your claim resolved. However, if you choose ADR and are not happy with the outcome, then you may decide to pursue your claim through the courts afterwards.
How do I start my application through CEDR?
On CEDR’s mediation page there is then an application form which can be downloaded in PDF format, filled in and returned. On the opening page of the application form, CEDR makes the following points clear for applicants.
Before you can make an application, you must:
• This dispute has been referred to Amazon’s complaints process and has exhausted that
• The User has received an access code from Amazon confirming that Amazon consents to
this application being made to the Scheme.
• This application form must correctly detail the access code that the User was provided with by
Amazon, the date on which that access code was provided, the precise issues that are in dispute, and
the recommendation(s) that the User is requesting the Mediator to make.
• The application must be submitted to CEDR no later than 30 calendar days after the User
received the access code.
• The User must read and understand the Scheme Rules.
• Ensure you have understood the mediation process fully.
What is this Application for?
• This application form is for a business user (“the User”) to submit a complaint against Amazon Services Europe SARL or a company affiliated with Amazon Services Europe SARL (“Amazon”) by way of a voluntary, non-binding adjudication process (Mediation).
• The Scheme provides an informal and independent way of mediating disputes.
• The User may apply if they have not been able to resolve the complaint directly with Amazon.
• The application form will ask you for the details needed to understand what your dispute is about and what you would like Amazon to do to resolve it.
• Any recommendation(s) made by the Mediator in their decision will be non-binding. The
implementation of any recommendation(s) made by the Mediator will be at the sole discretion of Amazon.
What do I need to do?
• Please read the Scheme Rules carefully before you fill in and return this form.
• You MUST complete and submit this application form to CEDR within 30 calendar
days of receiving an access code from Amazon in which you are invited to use the Scheme. Your application will be rejected if it is submitted after this timescale.
• This process is conducted entirely in writing.
• Fill in the application form as thoroughly as you can, and supply all evidence that you
wish to rely on. This may take you some time, but it will help the Mediator to assess your
• If you wish, you can provide further information and/or evidence within three calendar days of submitting this form. Under NO circumstances can further information be submitted at a later stage.
Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey concludes: “At Thompson and Holt we have had a 100 percent success rate in reinstating suspended accounts over the last three and a half years. But we are aware that some cases elsewhere are unsuccessful in their appeals, and this provides a valuable - and crucially independent - avenue for them to pursue if they believe Amazon have acted unfairly.”
Worried about an Amazon suspension?
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Seller business back online as quickly as possible.
Thompson and Holt are also offering a free month’s trial of their Monitor and Protect service to help sellers prevent a suspension of ASINs or an their account during the COVID pandemic, more information on how to protect your Amazon seller account from a suspension can be found here.