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Amazon Suspensions – Why do they happen and how can you prevent them?

There can be many reasons why Amazon sellers becomes suspended. Amazon often informs the offending account of the cause, but because some are triggered automatically by certain flags, the reasons can be unclear and confusing to the seller. However it usually comes down to either poor seller performance, policy violations or the selling of restricted products.

Most sellers will understand why they have been suspended for poor customer service, late shipping & delivery, or by selling restricted products. It is when accounts are suspended for poor ‘product quality’ that sellers are largely confused and are unsure how to respond.

This has not always been the case, so what happened?

A couple of years ago, Amazon released large scale updates to its “Product Quality Algorithm”. All of a sudden sellers with no previous issues, and with green performance stats across the board, started receiving suspension notices, and had listings removed for things they had not seen before.

Poor product quality is generally flagged by receiving negative product reviews and complaints about the goods received rather than the service, which can result in suspensions for the following reasons:

 
Used sold as new
Not as described
This doesn’t mean you are necessarily selling used products, but a complaint has been made by a customer saying they feel it is used. This is often an issue with a products description. Descriptions should always be clear and concise, and match what the customers is receiving.
Not as advertised
Defective/Damaged
Slightly different to ‘not as described’, this usually results due to a statement was made on the listing, which the customer perceives not to have been fulfilled e.g. “shed 2 stone in two weeks”. Simply put, the product is not working in some capacity, or is broken.
Counterfeit/Fake
Inauthentic
Very often these claims are not valid. Amazon is aware of this, which is why they give you a chance to prove the legitimacy of the product, and will re-instate the product or your account once confirmed. This does not mean a product is ‘counterfeit’, it generally refers to the way the product was purchased, such as ‘grey market goods’. Amazon is cracking down on these types of products and deals, where the source of purchase can’t be validated.

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Which type of sellers are most vulnerable to being suspended?

Some Amazon sellers are more prone to being suspended than others, mainly because of where they source their products:

Sellers who ‘Drop Ship’

These sellers can face the biggest challenges, due to how products are fulfilled. Using this type of model, sellers greatly rely on the producer and drop shipping company to get everything right. As is often the case, when you pass on the control over such important aspects of a business, mistakes are likely to happen.

Sellers of liquidated or clearance stock

There are many problems these sellers face in just purchasing this type of stock, especially for those with little experience. Products can be faulty or returned goods can look used. So by selling these products on Amazon, you are risking the same complaints by customers if not careful. Items also run the risk of being identified as ‘inauthentic’, which is very difficult to challenge due to the way the products are purchased.

FBA sellers who do not use FBA labels

Stickerless, commingled inventory products, are taken from a common inventory pool, which may originate from several sellers. Those who choose this option are open to receiving poor feedback, or even suspension for someone else’s low quality products.

Private Label Sellers

If you manufacture your own product and sell it on Amazon, it is important to register your Brand, otherwise Amazon classifies your products as generic. Without the Brand being registered you are open to claims of in-authenticity.

Car Boot / Flee Market Sellers

People who buy from Amazon have different expectations than those who buy from eBay. Sellers must also change their mentality and make sure the quality of the product reflects what is advertised. ‘As new in box’, is not the same as new.

 


10 tips on how to prevent items being de-listed or full account suspension

So how can you decrease your chances of being dealt an Amazon suspension? We thought we would share some of the ways to keep your account in good health.


  1. Keep checking performance and account health metrics, the big ones to watch are your Order Defect, Cancellation, Late Dispatch and On-time Delivery rates, as well as your Contact Response Times. Try and achieve all Amazons baseline performance targets:
    • Order defect rate: < 1%
    • Pre-fulfilment cancel rate: < 2.5%
    • Late shipment rate: < 4%
    • Valid tracking rate – all categories: > 95%
  2. Regular check your ‘Order Quality Report’ – whenever a customer provides feedback, you are alerted to the specific products, so you can see what customers are saying. Allowing you to check for and address quality control issues.
  3. Ensure all product descriptions are accurate and do not make any unsubstantiated claims.
  4. Don’t sell restricted products. Always check, and keep up to date with Amazon’s policy’s on restricted products.
  5. If you are selling via FBA, pay to have your products labelled to avoid commingling.
  6. If you are selling via MFN, make sure you keep on top of your inventory management. If you sell ‘out of stock’ products, this will have a big impact on your ‘Pre-fulfilment cancel Rate’.
  7. Avoid creating duplicate listings. Whether by accident or on-purpose, if Amazon catches you doing this, it is against their policies.
  8. Buy your products from a reputable and trusted source. Buying and selling poor quality or fake goods, will result in negative feedback and eventually suspension.
  9. When you receive a negative review, always try and resolve the issue by way of refund or compensation. But never ask for them to remove the review, this goes against Amazons ‘Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions’.
  10. Always listen to your customers. It can very easy to find out what you are doing wrong by understating the cause of customer complaints. Don’t ignore them, embrace them and welcome them as they truly can be a seller’s best friend!

Adrian Tomlinson

I love writing and editing content so to do this day in, day out is a bonus!

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