The three biggest dangers of Amazon Account Suspension - and how to tackle them
Updated: Sep 17, 2019
Thompson and Holt is a company that specialises in re-instating suspended Amazon accounts as quickly as possible, and as such, has a detailed insight into the whole, often complicated, process.
Accounts can be suspended for a wide variety of reasons, some of them easier to understand than others.
There are cases where online companies feel powerless in preventing these suspensions, having attempted to carry out best practise in every area of their business.
But there are proven ways to react when the worst happens, particularly in three key areas that cover a large percentage of Amazon suspensions.
Here Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey outlines exactly what you need to do in order to get your business selling products online again.
1. Inauthentic item complaints
“Don’t fall into the trap of thinking this is always a complaint claiming that the products you have sold are allegedly fake or counterfeit, because that certainly isn’t the case,” Gedey explains.
“In fact, a whole host of complaints can come under Amazon’s heading of “inauthentic”, including grievances about the quality of a product, references to past purchases of the same item, or items not matching to their description. It could also be a buyer claiming that the product has not reached their expectations.
“Because of this, private label sellers can get “inauthentic” notifications and even be suspended over them.
“The complaints are unspecified and Amazon won’t provide you with that information, so the first thing you need to so is review your own account in detail and find before starting an appeal.
“This is where you will need your own very specific Plan of Action, including detailed invoice along with any authenticity letters you have from the manufacturer, brand or authorised reseller. This Plan of Action needs to be carefully put together because missing information can delay your reinstatement.
“Amazon’s Product Quality teams are clamping down on authentic item proof, so make sure they can easily access the information you have, including names of your contact, direct dial numbers, and links to the brand’s website.
“Because those teams are working with high volumes of appeals, if your information is lacking in any way they are prone to move onto a seller who has painted the full picture, leaving you still suspended.”
“This is increasingly becoming a minefield for online businesses that aren’t fully versed in the reasons behind these complaints,” Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey says.
“In recent years these claims from rights owners have rocketed, even affecting businesses that have been selling those products for a significant amount of time.
“It may be that those rights owners don’t like the pricing or product detail on your page, or how they are being represented on Amazon. They can try and chase you off listing their products because they don’t know, or care, who you are, they just want them removed as soon as possible.
“Amazon will not as a mediator in these situations, so many companies have understandably invested in IP lawyers to defend themselves. It’s a sensible approach, but make sure you choose your lawyer carefully, who have experience in this exact field.
“Being prepared for this possibility before the event happens will greatly reduce the likelihood of lost sales if a suspension should be implemented.
“The other thing that has grown in this area in recent years is competitors trying to knock businesses offline even temporarily, submitting bogus forms. Fortunately Amazon appears to have wised up to that process, and have now started facing suspensions themselves for such behaviour. In this instance you can also submit a Notice-Dispute to get your ASIN cleared for sale.”
3. Safety violations
“This is the main area where a detailed and well-written Plan of Action is absolutely invaluable,” Gedey explains.
“Complaints about products that have led to bad buyer experiences and potential bodily harm have risen in recent years, and it is an area that Amazon Seller Performance teams have taken considerable interest in.
“But our experience at Thompson and Holt tells us how important the right Plan of Action is, should you find your business suspended over a complaint.
“Almost any product sold on Amazon can been seen as a health hazard through some eyes, and we have seen all manner of complaints over the years.
“What you need for your business - and again having this information available and accessible before the event will always help - is that well-written Plan of Action that can include testing documentation and any improvements that have been made to products in the past to make them safer.
“You need to make it clear to Amazon that you have solutions that will prevent further reports in future, and as such, these have to be specific to your company and product - generic online appeals are of no use.
“It is hugely advantageous to have a wealth of information readily available to show Amazon how you inspect products, test them and what your Quality Control steps are.
“If you see a “Safety Violation” message then don’t underestimate it - because Amazon certainly aren’t themselves.
“As always, Thompson and Holt are on hand to help you navigate any of these issues and get you back online selling as quickly as possible.”
In certain circumstances if you can't resolve the issue with the Seller Performance team you may need to escalate your appeal to the Amazon Escalation Team. As an absolute last resort to regain any money Amazon are holding you could try to get your money back through the Amazon Arbitration process.
It can be a daunting process if you are unfamiliar with a suspension, but Thompson and Holt has vast experience in compiling successful Plan of Actions, so get in touch if you need to either avoid suspension or get back online as quickly as possible. If your situation requires immediate assistance please follow this link and speak to an Amazon Appeal Expert or alternately visit Thompson and Holt.