Amazon Suspension: What You Need to Know

Imagine going through your seller account one day, and suddenly, you receive an email that says, “We have suspended your Amazon account.” Bewildered, you ask yourself the question. “What did I do wrong?” It’s one of the many horror stories of e-com sellers, as an Amazon suspension can devastate your business in more ways than one.

Unsurprisingly, suspended accounts are much more common than sellers think, mainly because of Amazon’s stringent policies. The e-commerce giant has always valued customer experience above all else, and if they think your account fails to achieve this, you can potentially face a hefty suspension.

But when armed with the right knowledge, you can prevent it from happening and keep your account in good standing. Here’s what you need to know about an Amazon suspension.

To ensure we’re providing the most accurate and up-to-date information, we’ve teamed up with our partners at the legal firm Cabilly & Co. They bring their extensive expertise in e-commerce and intellectual property to refresh this article, making sure you’re getting the best guidance to navigate these challenges.

What are the reasons behind an Amazon suspension?

When Amazon suspends your account, they remove your selling privileges until you resolve the issue. There are multiple reasons why Amazon suspends seller accounts, and here are the most common ones reported:

1. Poor seller performance

As an Amazon seller, you must ensure that your account’s performance reaches satisfactory levels to avoid a suspension. As we mentioned, Amazon is a customer-centric platform, and they won’t hesitate to suspend accounts that don’t reach their performance targets.

To get an overview of your seller account’s performance, you can go to the Account Health Page by going to Seller Central’s homepage and clicking the Performance tab. The page contains all the metrics Amazon tracks from seller accounts, such as:

  • Order defect rate
  • Cancellation rate
  • Late dispatch rate
  • Valid tracking rate
  • On-time delivery rate
  • Return dissatisfaction rate
  • Negative review

Amazon monitors these metrics closely to determine how well your seller account performs. The good news is they notify sellers when their numbers are off-target, allowing them to address the problem before it affects their ability to sell. Always check your seller account’s health and do your best to maintain your numbers above Amazon’s requirements.

2. Selling restricted/illegal products

When selling products on Amazon, you must familiarize yourself with the platform’s guidelines. While they allow sellers to sell used items in certain categories, you must remember that Amazon is an e-commerce site, not a flea market. For the most part, you cannot sell restricted, used, and counterfeit items, or else you risk getting your account suspended.

If you wish to sell restricted products, your first move should be to apply for approval. It’s also worth familiarizing yourself with the laws and regulations surrounding the products you want to sell. Doing so ensures you adhere to Amazon’s rules of making their marketplace safe for all customers to buy.

You should also be aware that Amazon commonly misclassifies products as restricted, or as requiring certain registrations, testing or other documentation. To reduce the chance of this happening, the use of trigger words in your listing that flag Amazon’s algorithms should be avoided, such as “weapon” or “drug” or “disease”. Also, care should be taken to avoid making restricted claims for otherwise allowed products – for example, a cosmetic should not claim to treat any condition or disease, as it will be considered to be a drug product by Amazon (and the FDA).

3. Opening multiple seller accounts

Sellers can only maintain one Seller Central account unless they have another legitimate business that needs a separate account. You can’t sell the same products under multiple accounts as it violates Amazon’s policies. The platform does a great job tracking down sellers operating multiple accounts and permanently banning them.

There are only three ways sellers can open multiple seller accounts, and these are:

  • You own multiple brands and handle them separately.
  • You manufacture products from two different companies.
  • As a seller, you receive an invitation to participate in an Amazon program that requires you to open multiple accounts.

Some sellers try to open a new seller account after their previous account gets suspended. Avoid doing this, as Amazon will immediately suspend your new account, and your risk of getting banned from the platform increases greatly.

4. Copyright infringement

Amazon greatly values the intellectual property of its brands and sellers. Thus, it’s your responsibility to ensure that your activities conform to Amazon’s intellectual property laws. You cannot infringe a seller’s trademark (i.e., using their names without authorization), you cannot copy/use their artistic works, and you cannot sell any of their copyrighted items.

Remember that any copyright infringement can result in an Amazon suspension AND legal action from the copyright owner. The last thing you want is to get banned from selling on the platform and face a serious lawsuit, so make sure to respect other people’s work.

Amazon Suspension

5. Authenticity and condition complaints

If a buyer claims the product they received is fake in a product review, negative feedback, message, or return request, Amazon will likely close your listing and demand that you provide evidence to demonstrate the source of your inventory. This usually means providing invoices covering your sales over the last 365 days as well as full supplier information. If they cannot verify your supplier, or your documents are not acceptable, there is a good chance they will suspend your account. This is also true, to a lesser extent, for condition complaints.

Good sourcing practices and keeping good documents are vital. Amazon has a strict set of requirements for documents and supplier verification, and this should be a primary concern when you choose your suppliers. Sourcing from the brand directly, or from an authorized distributor, should allow you to provide the documents and information to avoid a suspension.

6. Failed verification

New regulation has meant that all US seller accounts now need to pass Seller Identity Verification each year. UK/EU accounts have had to routinely pass verification. Amazon may also ask you to verify your identity and business if you have been inactive for some time, or for various other reasons.

If verification is not passed within a certain time of the request, Amazon is legally required to suspend your account. As such, you should always be prepared to provide Amazon with the documents they require (which will be different in the US and UK/EU). 

Your documents should always be current, and match the information in your account exactly. Even small differences in spelling, or format issues, can cause Amazon to reject verification documents. You should carefully review the policy and help pages regarding verification, to be sure that your documents meet Amazon’s strict requirements.

What should I do when I face an Amazon Suspension?

The unthinkable happens, and your seller account gets suspended. What should you do to recover your account? The only way to reinstate your account is to submit a plan-of-action (POA) document. How you write your POA will greatly impact getting your account reinstated. A well-crafted POA should contain the following:

  • Professionalism – Strive for a professional tone and voice, as impertinent language will likely lead to a denied POA. Keep things positive, and do not point fingers when trying to highlight an issue.
  • Intent to resolve – Acknowledge the root cause(s) and explain why they happened. Write in your POA the corrective steps you intend to take to address the issues and return your account to good standing.
  • Preventive steps – Amazon wants to ensure that your account doesn’t get flagged again, so highlight the preventive steps you plan to avoid an account suspension.
  • Easy to read – A well-crafted POA contains sections and bullet points to make them reader-friendly. Aim to keep your POA as short as possible while covering the necessary information.
  • Factual details – Always stick to the facts when writing a POA. Avoid inserting irrelevant information that doesn’t pertain to the account suspension, as it muddies the context of your POA.
  • Take responsibility – Amazon expects sellers to acknowledge their role as being responsible for any and all issues. Bite the bullet and explicitly accept responsibility for the cause of the suspension, regardless of what you believe to be the real reason.

There is no guarantee that Amazon will reinstate your account after you submit a POA. You must craft your POA carefully to meet Amazon’s expectations. If your POA gets denied, don’t worry. You can rewrite your POA and resubmit it as an appeal.

While there is no limit to how many times you can resubmit your POA, it helps to get it right the first or second time to get your business back up as quickly as possible. We recommend talking to an appeals expert to help craft a professional POA for your seller account.

How do I avoid an Amazon Suspension?

Account suspensions don’t happen overnight. If your account gets suspended, it’s most likely a combination of factors that prompted Amazon to revoke your selling privileges. To avoid an Amazon suspension, take note of the following:

1. Don’t ignore warning signs

Many sellers ignore warning emails from Amazon, thinking it won’t affect their business. When you receive a notification about your account’s performance, don’t delay and take action immediately. Keep your communication lines open and respond to Amazon’s emails on time. The more attentive you are, the less likely you’ll face an account suspension.

2. Read Amazon’s guidelines and policies

Knowledge is your best friend when it comes to preventing an Amazon suspension. The platform routinely updates its policies and emails sellers of any guideline changes, so it’s worth reading these emails to ensure complete adherence to Amazon’s rules.

Far too many sellers breach Amazon’s policies due to a lack of awareness, especially those that pertain to product safety. Educate yourself as much as possible, and you’ll be better at maintaining your account’s health.

3. Keep good documentation at hand

Most suspensions require you to provide supporting documents to Amazon, so you should always be ready. For example, invoices must be original, unaltered and are best presented as high quality pdf scans of the printed originals. Any redactions should be made by hand and the ASINs in question can be written next to the product description in pen. If your products require testing or compliance documents, you should ensure they are up to date, and provided by reputable third party labs (Amazon has a list of recommended providers). Identity documents and business registration documents should be valid. There are different format, date and other requirements for the mirriad of documents Amazon may request, so familiarize yourself with the specific requirements for each document type.

4. Take care of your customers

The best sellers on Amazon know that customer satisfaction is key to successfully selling on the platform. If your customers are happy with your service, your chances of getting an account suspension are fairly low. Address negative reviews, ship your products on time, and handle returns/exchanges swiftly.

It’s about going the extra mile to fulfill the needs/expectations of every buyer who interacts with your store. When you take care of your customers, they will take care of your business.

Wrapping up

An account suspension is the bane of every Amazon seller’s existence. Fortunately, there are ways you can avoid this mess by taking the right steps to improve your account’s performance. Hopefully, this article gives you the information you need to avoid an Amazon suspension and protect the integrity of your business.

Managing the financial health of your company is crucial to success. If you need any help with expert bookkeeping services, our team is ready to assist you. Simply fill out the form below, and our team will contact you shortly.

Spread the word:

Similar Posts