One of the last things an Amazon seller wants is a suspended Seller Central account. Without selling privileges, your business could face serious financial repercussions in a matter of days. If your account has recently been suspended or you’d like to prevent suspension in the future, we’ll provide you with an outline of how we’ve learned to approach the delicate issue of account suspension with Amazon.
Research the Suspension
While you may already know the reason behind your account suspension, you should still find the initial communication from Amazon about the issue, since it will contain the specifics of what Amazon wants you to address.
Navigate to Performance Notifications, where communications from Amazon about your account will appear in chronological order. Messages related to account or privilege suspensions will have the subject line “Your Amazon.com Seller Account.”
Clicking on the subject line will open the Performance Notification; the message will detail what Amazon found to be an issue, specific ASINs related to the issue if applicable, and options on how to correct the issue or appeal their judgement. The details that are provided in the message will help you understand what you will need to include in your Plan of Action.
After reading the Performance Notification, you should check in your account to see if Amazon’s assertions are accurate and describe the issue correctly. The specifics of what you need to check will depend on the reason behind your account’s suspension.
We've complied a list of metrics within Seller Central you may find helpful while researching your suspension:
- Negative Customer Experience Rate (NCX Rate)
- Negative Customer Experience Orders (NCX Orders)
- Top Return Reason
- Late Shipment Rate (LSR)
- On-Time Delivery Rate (OTDR)
- Order Defect Rate (ODR)
Along with the above metrics, policy compliance is also essential to understanding the reason behind your account suspension. You can find your policy compliance issues along with the other performance metrics in the Performance tab of your Seller Central account.
Writing a Plan of Action
Amazon will require a Plan of Action (POA) for suspended accounts; we’ve found that adhering to Amazon’s guiding questions when writing a POA generates better outcomes. The 3 questions that should be answered in a POA are:
- What was the root cause of the issue?
- What are the actions you have taken to resolve the issue?
- What are the steps you have taken to prevent the issue going forward?
Amazon can also change these questions to be more specific to the issues you need to address in your POA. See an example below of highly specified questions we’ve received before:
- What was the primary cause for your Late Shipment Rate to exceed 4%?
- What have you done to resolve the issues with the orders that caused your Late Shipment Rate to exceed 4%?
- What actions will you take to ensure your orders are confirmed as shipped by the expected ship date in future?
You’ll need to provide a detailed explanation to address each of those questions, or Amazon will reject the POA and ask for “greater detail” for each question in subsequent submissions. We’ll review part of an example POA in the following sections to explain how you can provide detailed information based on the facts surrounding your account suspension.
Fact-Based, Not Feelings
In your POA, leave out emotion-based language. You might be exasperated by your account’s suspension, but your feelings could get in the way of reinstatement. Using words such as “disappointed” or “frustrating” could cause your POA to be rejected.
Keep to the facts and avoid placing blame while you write your POA. We’ve found that using passive language when describing negative events provides us with more positive outcomes.
Instead of: “We’re frustrated by Amazon’s decision to suspend our selling privileges due to our product policy violations.”
Write this: “We understand that our selling privileges were suspended due to our product policy violations.”
Keep your writing concise. While details are necessary, you should avoid repeating yourself to maintain a clear message. Use the same language Amazon utilizes in the Performance Notification to make it clear you understand the issue and are capable of addressing it.
If there were multiple issues that led to the suspension, take the time to explain each issue. Addressing all the factors that led to the suspension will make it easier for Amazon to come to a decision in a timely manner. For long explanations, using bullet points can help keep your POA brief but detailed.
Instead of: “To prevent an unacceptable late shipment rate in the future, we added more employees to our seasonal shifts before the winter season, updated our warehouse software since our old one stopped working 3 weeks ago, and hired a new shipping carrier for high sales volume dates since the other one couldn’t keep up with the volume.”
Write this: “To prevent unacceptable late shipment rates in the future, we have:
- Hired additional seasonal staff
- Updated our warehouse software
- Hired a new shipping carrier for high sales volume dates”
Be specific about the actions you’ve already taken to resolve the problem and provide supporting evidence if possible. This evidence could be screenshots of changes you’ve made to the account, Case IDs from support cases you’ve opened, or copies of invoices.
Add circles or use arrows to indicate the most important parts of screenshots, especially if the image contains several other products or distracting menu options. In the case of invoices or other documents, make it clear which part of the document is most relevant by helpfully highlighting or circling the portions most relevant to your reinstatement.
Instead of: “Please view our Order Defect Rate on our account performance page.”
Write this: “We have attached a screenshot of our current Order Defect Rate from our account performance page.”
If you would like more information on how to write a Plan of Action, you can find Amazon’s Seller University course on writing a Plan of Action here.
Final POA Checklist
Before you submit your POA, collect your thoughts and make sure you’ve done the following:
- Answer all 3 questions that need to be addressed by the POA
- Address the individual issue or issues in the account that led to the suspension
- Write detailed information about how and when you addressed those issues
- Ensure language focuses on facts and doesn’t reflect emotion or personal stories
- Write using clear, concise language; use bullet points to provide succinct explanations
- Collect evidence if it’s applicable to your case
- Ensure that your evidence is in a file format Amazon will accept: .jpg, .tiff, .pdf, .docx, .txt, .xlsx, .csv, and .eml
- Ensure that your evidence does not exceed the maximum file size of 10 MB
- If you were given a deadline to correct your account issues, be sure to meet the deadline and be ready to prove that you did
- Conclude your POA with a “Thank you” as a common courtesy
Submit Your Appeal
Once you have finished writing your Plan of Action and collecting supporting evidence, it’s time to submit your appeal. There are usually two submission options; search for the first on the Account Health page in your account.
The message about your deactivated account will appear within a bright red box at the top of the page if you have the option of submitting your Plan of Action here. Click the Appeal button at the far right of the message to continue to the submission screen.
If there is not a similar message on your Account Health page, you will need to submit your Plan of Action from the Performance Notifications page. Navigate to the Performance Notification message that notified you of the account suspension; there should be a button to the right of the message subject under the Actions column that says “Appeal.”
It is important that you do not submit your POA to both submission options if both are available. Only submit your POA to one. Dual submissions of your POA can cause the same issue that opening multiple support cases for one subject can cause; your POA could be rejected due to the dual submissions.
After you have submitted your POA, a time range of the expected reply will appear on the confirmation page. This time range is typically 1-3 days for most submissions. If you find that you have not received a reply in the Appeal page within the expected time, check your account’s Performance Notifications for a reply.
In some cases, Amazon will email the administrator’s email address directly. To discover which email address is the admin in your Seller Central account, navigate to User Permissions and view the list of Current Users. The admin user will be the only user without a Delete option at the far right.
Check the inbox for a direct email from Amazon. In the case that there is no communication from Amazon about your POA, you can submit your POA again the same way you did before. Patience is best and prevents your POA from being rejected.
Once you have received communication from Amazon, you’ll know if your account is reinstated or if your POA needs more work. In the case that your POA requires more information or additional documentation, follow the instructions Amazon provided in their communication to update your POA.
If specific information has been requested, ensure that you add the extra details or documents that Amazon has asked for. Requests for information like an Invoice or screenshots usually indicates that the reinstatement team is close to making a decision, and that decision usually hinges on the quality and accuracy of the additional information you provide them.
Rejected Plan of Action
If your POA does not meet Amazon’s expectations, it will be rejected. There can be times when a POA is rejected multiple times with little explanation. In those cases, we suggest calling Amazon support and asking them to go over your POA with you. If they have suggestions, utilize their expertise.
For POAs that are consistently rejected, keep submitting them. If your POA meets all the requirements Amazon has specified, but is still rejected, it could be a matter of who is reviewing your appeal. As frustrating as it can be, luck can play a part in getting your account reinstated.
Even if you receive a message from Amazon that claims they may not read or respond to any additional POA submissions, continue submitting. There’s still a chance that your account could be reinstated, and taking the time to revive your suspended account will be much easier than starting a new account from the bottom up. Commerce Rev has plenty of experience with appealing account suspensions and writing POAs, and we’d love to help give you the best chance of a reinstated account. You can get in touch with our account management team here.