• Craig Gedey

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