Many clients come back to me after a successful Amazon appeal and Amazon reinstatement of their Amazon seller account and ask, “What can I do to avoid suspensions in the future?” They think that, because I’m an Amazon sellers lawyer, I hold the secret; the “magic beans” that will give them the extra edge they need to become a successful seller on Amazon without fear of losing their account overnight. You can see more information about suspensions and appeals by clicking here.
The truth is that the answer is right before their eyes: in the Amazon plan of action. It is what they were missing all along – sound business practices to follow for maximum customer satisfaction. To Amazon, the customer is the king, and for the millions of third-party sellers out there, it is your responsibility to make sure the customer’s shopping experience on Amazon is seamless and enjoyable.
The most common Amazon suspension is for inauthentic items. In Amazon lingo, this can one of two things: 1) You are selling a knock-off or counterfeit item; 2) You are selling an item that you cannot sell without the permission of the brand owner. For those conventional sellers, the main way to avoid an inauthentic item suspension is to buy from an authorized wholesale distributor of the brand owner. Many brands are “brand-gated” by Amazon. These restricted brands on Amazon require advance permission to sell. However, once a seller obtains permission, they still must purchase from a supplier who is an authorized distributor of the brand. For retail arbitrage, I usually recommend using a program like “Check Permission” to ascertain if the brand is restricted or not. That will tell you whether you are safe buying at retail or not (most of the time.) Inauthentic item complaints from customers
Closely related to inauthentic item suspensions are seller suspensions for intellectual property complaints. These come into play when a brand owner complains to Amazon that a third-party seller is violating their intellectual property. When a seller uses an image or sells a product that is copyrighted, or sells a product that infringes on a patent or trademark of another seller or brand owner, this can result in the loss of your listing or Amazon selling privileges and is also against the law. The way to prevent both suspensions is to have an adequate business practice to quality control your inventory intake – to check if the product is restricted, and to ascertain if your supplier is authorized to convey resale rights to you.
The next most common reason for Amazon seller account suspensions is poor selling performance. This results from poor business practices in order fulfillment and shipping that lead to an increase in a seller’s order defect rate, pre-fulfillment cancellation, late shipping rate, or the closely related valid tracking rate. These problems can be prevented by an adequate order fulfillment plan and shipping quality control plan. I often recommend shipping control software such as ShipStation, which keeps track of your orders and enters tracking numbers into Seller Central in real team. For order fulfillment, a strong quality control program by management to ensure products match the order exactly, are in their proper packaging that matches the detail page, and are packaged securely to avoid damage is imperative.
There are many other reasons for suspensions, including violations of policy such as opening more than one seller account, or having an account that is related to another seller account, falsification of documents, such as invoices, and many more. The exercise of common sense can help you avoid these and the other common suspensions we have covered in this article.
And, as always, if you do find yourself in trouble with Amazon, don’t write your own appeal letter or use a template, and don’t contact them with an emotional Amazon appeal letter. They don’t care how bad you feel about losing your account or listing; only that their customers are taken care of. Take a deep breath and call Amazon Sellers Attorney. www.amazonsellers.attorney