If you have been the unfortunate recipient of a message from Amazon Seller Performance which begins: “Your Amazon seller account has been suspended” you are not alone. Because of an inefficient vetting process, the seller performance team has been suspending sellers right and left, for various reasons. The most common of these are complaints by customers of “inauthentic items,” failure to maintain proper seller metrics, and intellectual property violations.
When you opened your seller account, you signed away your rights to sue Amazon in court. You do have the right to arbitration, but Amazon looks at your relationship with them as a privilege, not a partnership — your privilege. You see, you need Amazon more than the giant etailer needs you. That is why, with Amazon, which has established a “buck stops here” appeal system with Seller Performance, if you have been accused of violating their policies, you are guilty until proven innocent, and they don’t want to hear you protest your innocence. They would rather have you confess your sins and give them a plan of action showing that the likelihood of you doing it again is non-existent.
This creates an enormous burden on the seller with the suspended Amazon account. They are not going to decide whether it was a fellow seller trying to shut you down who made a bogus complaint. You have to prove it to them beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that is not often possible. Sometimes, after drafting detailed plans of action, an Amazon seller receives back a form letter from Seller Performance saying they have reviewed the information and decided you may not sell on Amazon again. Have a nice day! Often, this form letter comes several minutes after you have sent the appeal, leading you to believe that nobody has read your plan at all. You cannot call Seller Performance; all you can do is send them an email. That is just the way they work.
At Amazon Sellers Attorney, I help sellers regain their selling privileges through detailed research, planning and sheer persistence. Often, Seller Performance will not tell you what they are looking for in a specific invoice they have requested or what the subject of the product complaint they received was. They will just keep sending the same form letter over and over, or remove your selling privileges and stop communicating with you.
If your account is still viable and you are dealing with a complaint of inauthenticity, IP violation, listings or a product issue, you can use the “chat” feature to contact Seller Support and ask them to communicate your questions to to Seller Performance. If you decide to do this, make sure you keep a copy of the chat as documentation. In the chat, you may find out more information, or you could find out that Seller Performance contends you didn’t address an issue that you have already addressed in your appeal. That is evidence that may help you in an escalation of the matter to Jeffrey Bezos’ office. Believe it or not (and it is getting more and more difficult to believe) he does care about the quality of his “seller police.”
If you get hung up or overwhelmed, simply call or email us for a free consultation. Having an Amazon sellers lawyer is a wise move before pushing that Amazon appeal button.
Seller Performance rejects your Amazon Appeal and Plan of Action
If your Amazon selling account has been suspended, you have written a well thought out and comprehensive Amazon Appeal Plan of Action and you get back something like this: “We have reviewed the material you sent and decided you may no longer sell on Amazon…We may not respond to this email” your first reaction may be to just give up. But you don’t have to. There are several avenues of higher appeal you can pursue if you Amazon account is suspended and then your selling privileges are revoked.
Resend a review by a senior investigator or manager
Amazon is a huge beaureaucracy, which means that there are levels of management above the investigator who considered your case. If you get back a terse response such as the above, and too quickly, you may want to resend your appeal with a request that a manager or senior investigator review your file. Make it clear in the first paragraph of your new appeal that you responded fully to all of their questions, supplied all the materials requested and presented a comprehensive appeal plan of action, but did not receive a meaningful response.
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire head and founder of Amazon, has a lot on his plate as you may imagine, but he does have a team who goes through his emails and he is the final stop before arbitration. If you feel that Amazon’s Seller Performance or Product Quality department’s decision is wrong, send your appeal to Jeff Bezos at email@example.com with a personal plea to have your appeal reconsidered.
Amazon is a private company and you signed a seller agreement with them that states that they may revoke your selling privileges at any time. Seems pretty cut and dried, right? Well, that contract also contained an arbitration clause that stated that any dispute between you and Amazon must be arbitrated. While you have given up your right to sue Amazon in court to reinstate your account, you do have the right to arbitration before an arbitrator of the American Arbitration Association, who is usually an attorney or retired judge. You also have the right to an attorney to represent you at the arbitration, and it can be performed in the state or country in which you live or by telephone. An Amazon sellers lawyer is recommended. I have 36 years of litigation experience, including countless trials and arbitrations and can guide you through the process. An arbitration is not cheap, but losses of an Amazon seller account due to suspension can amount to thousands or even hudreds of thousands of dollars, so in these cases, it is worth the expense. Call Amazon sellers attorney to speak with me for a free evaluation of whether your case is arbitrable.