WHO - Over 2.5 year seller with impeccably sustained metrics. All listings are MFN and I do not participate in SFP or FBA.
WHAT - Received notice that our selling privileges have been removed due to a policy I’ve never heard of before and is very ambiguous: “Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy” The suspension letter reads:
We recently contacted you several times in regards to violating Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G5TUVJKZHUVMN77V). To comply with this policy, the price per unit on multi-pack ASINs must be equal to or lower than the price of a single unit of the same product. Selling multiple units of a product for significantly more per unit than that of a single unit of the same product harms customer trust. As well, your price on a product cannot be significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon.
Since your prices on product multi-packs continue to be priced higher than a single unit of the same product or your price is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon, you may not currently sell on Amazon.com. Funds will not be transferred to you but will stay in your account while we work with you to address this issue. If you have any open orders, please ship them.
If you would like to appeal this decision, please respond to this message with a plan of action that includes the following:
- Explanation of the steps you have taken to comply with the Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy on all multi-packs you offer for sale on Amazon and the steps you will take periodically to ensure that similar issues will not happen again.
- Any additional details you would like us to know.
Once we receive your plan, we will review it and consider whether your account may sell on Amazon.com again. If you do not send an acceptable plan within 17 days, we may cancel your listings and hold any funds in your account for up to 90 days. We look forward to hearing from you.
Seller Performance Team
WHEN - I first received a “Please review your listings” notification on 3/8 that read:
Your offers on the ASIN(s) below have been removed due to violation(s) of the Amazon Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G5TUVJKZHUVMN77V). The per unit price on multipack ASINs must be equal to or lower than the price of a single unit of the same product.
Within the next 24 hours, please review your other listings in the Inventory section of Seller Central to make sure that they follow our policies (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/myi/search/OpenListingsSummary).
If this problem continues, we may not allow you to sell on Amazon.com.
To reinstate your ASINs:
- In the Inventory section of Seller Central, select Manage Inventory.
- Search for the ASIN you would like to reinstate, or select Fix Stranded Inventory.
- Edit the inactive ASIN by updating the current multipack price.
- Save and finish.
Seller Performance Team
DETAILS & BACKGROUND
I immediately reviewed the listing and was shocked to see that other sellers still remained on the listing who were priced in the exact same manner in which I had received the warning for (I had already been removed from the list of available sellers by the time I checked).
My pricing is completely automated (competition driven) and I’m usually within the top 3-4 of the list, meaning among the lowest priced sellers. When no other sellers are present, max pricing kicks in to ensure pricing does not go out of whack crazy. I can probably count on one hand listings where I’m the only seller and they’re most likely suppressed listings needing to be deleted.
Our model is higher volume, lower margins so the news completely took me by surprise as we operate on very thin margins to begin which translates to very happy customers (and loss as well when the scammers and fraudsters hit the scene - which is quite often). I’ve always thought to myself that, that’s the price to pay for selling on this platform and I never complain - I just roll with the punches and boy have we been bruised up quite a bit. How is it that selling the exact same items, using the exact same carriers on other platforms don’t yield the same or even remotely similar problems that Amazon customers seem to have? I digress.
Additionally, I’ve had my fair share of of IP Infringement, Trademark Infringement, and Counterfeit Claims (all 100% false) like so many others have experienced. I simply would respond to the complaint, remove the supposed offending item and went on my merry way. Copious amount of research showed evidence that competing nefarious sellers were to blame in the majority of cases where honest sellers were being targeted in this manner. Being that I have had this happen to me before, together with seeing ALL of the remaining sellers still active on the offending listing, I determined that this was not the action of a bot and instead I was again being targeted by competing seller(s) and rather than contact a rather less than knowledgeable and generally unhelpful SS staff, I would do as I’ve done before, which is delete the item from inventory and move on.
Since that initial notification, I received three more notifications dated 3/13, 3/21, 3/28 and then nothing until today, 4/17 when the hammer dropped. No more than 3 ASINs were contained in the warning notifications, they were completely sporadic and random in nature and I again, reviewed the details, saw that I didn’t even sell other multi-pack variations on said listings that I was supposedly offending upon (they spring up like weeds all the time - and usually at outlandish quantities and prices in some cases), observed that there still remained a healthy amount of sellers on the listings priced exactly the way I was (or higher) and chucked it up to games competing sellers were playing that I did not want any part of, so I did not challenge a thing, did not attempt to reinstate the listings or even pose the very important question of …
- “If I received this warning notification priced the way I was and subsequently got removed from the listing, pray tell why other sellers priced in the exact same manner - and in most cases significantly higher priced, remain on the listing with no issues?”
With beautiful metrics across the board, seller ratings in the very high 90s and reviews exceeding 5k, how can a bot selectively target me on these listings when the real perps remain at large? Was this a new loophole competing sellers found to rid the competition? That’s what I thought and so I simply removed myself from the ASINs delineated in each notification.
POA OBSTACLES FOR THE APPEAL
There are no tools in existence to my knowledge to review listings in bulk to ensure that:
- “The per unit price on multipack ASINs must be equal to or lower than the price of a single unit of the same product.”
Do they mean on the same Parent Listing or on all of Amazon? Most listings began as a single item and later became a multi-pack listing; how am I responsible for that, I’m not even attached to those listings.
Even when I do get reinstated, how can I possibly prevent this condition from happening again?
How can Amazon hold someone accountable and yet not offer reports or tools where these conditions may be evaluated in bulk?
Every fiber of my being knows I’m asking rhetorical questions but there, just had to get them out.
I’m no mega volume seller but I have enough inventory where manually reviewing every single listing is just not economically feasible. I suppose I have no choice now as my sales are nonexistent here but I can’t imagine what would happen to sellers who have well over 100k listings if they got hit with this series of shenanigan warnings and subsequent suspension.
- “Since your prices on product multi-packs continue to be priced higher than a single unit of the same product or your price is significantly higher than recent prices offered on or off Amazon …”
I don’t have the purchasing power Amazon does; therefore I can’t compete with Amazon’s pricing. Moreover, I make it a point to list items that Amazon is NOT actively selling for this very reason. More alarming is how in the world would I know what “recent prices offered on or off Amazon” are like for any given product.
I should also note that according to Amazon Catalog rules, sellers are not allowed to create new listings when a proposed product already exists - whereby everything matches 100%. Therefore, it would appear I got suspended for listings I didn’t even create nor set Unit Price Calculations for because I’ve simply added myself to existing listings - which is a very meticulous and exacting process the first time around.
In being fair and honest with myself, I could say that I got suspended for not digging through my many thousands of listings to delete offending items and I’ll own that, but again, I suspected this was as a result of a concerted malicious attack and I had no current method, bulk tools or reporting to assist in remaining compliant on a policy that may or may not be new, but that hadn’t affected me or anyone else I know who also sell in my space in the two and half years I’ve been around, and quite longer for others before me.
In researching the forums, I just discovered @Bad_Brittnie’s post on the topic of Fair Pricing Violation but opted to create a new thread so as to be the OP of this topic which is more of suspension appeal assistance than suspension prevention.
I take great comfort in knowing that @bunga_bunga and other reputable sellers have been suspended and know there is light at the end of the tunnel for me. In fact, suspension appears so commonplace now it’s almost like a rite of passage. For those who are not aware of it, you should totally review and bookmark bunga’s extensive POA write-up:
Based on a recommendation I learned of in Bad_Brittnie’s thread, I will reach out and attempt to connect with the Captive team, Catalog team, and/or Performance Escalation team for guidance and overall direction to make heads or tails out of this situation.
Other than that, I’m reaching out to the community for assistance and thoughts to this real wacky suspension that just does not appear to hold any water and would serve as value added content for anyone else who is currently facing this same dilemma or will in the near future for this particular policy violation.