Suspended … now what should you do ? Help with appeals
by Oneida Books
NOTE 1: FOR NEW ACCOUNT SUSPENSIONS … See this thread : My new account was suspended shortly after registration … Help by Oneida Books
NOTE 2: Do NOT rush into anything. If you haven’t already hastily sent in an appeal, or even 2, take the time to RESEARCH and write the best appeal possible.
NEW MOTTO, "Address … Don’t Guess !**
Next, every suspension is unique and you have to write you own POA (Appeal) instead of just copying someone elses. Use what you find as a basis but make it your own.
Amazon provides some “Help” pages for you to reference :
Create a plan of action to reinstate selling privileges … Currently this page has a link to a video which is incorrect.
Then I recommend reading over these threads/posts :
NOTE : Click the Summary’s I’ve included to read the posts (or comments) without leaving this thread !!
- My own appeal template which I’ve used to get multiple sellers reinstated
This is the format that I use for suspended sellers …
This is a very basic template !!
- I listed items that I did not have Brand Approval to sell on Amazon.com;
- I purchased products retail instead of through authorized distributors;
- Some customers stated they received their product missing essential pieces;
- I incorrectly listed generic items on a branded page;
- I have made sure all buyers having issues have been fully refunded
- (Something about reviewing specific policies related to the suspension)
- I did this …
- I did this…
- (Sourcing: Are you sourcing the product from a trusted supplier?)
- (Listing: Is the product accurately described on Amazon? Have you ensured that there is no ambiguity and the customer is well informed?)
- (Packaging: Is the product in its original packaging as listed on Amazon?)
- (Storage and Shipping: Have you taken all appropriate steps and quality checks to ensure that the product is stored, packed, and shipped appropriately?
- I studied these policy pages so that I know what Amazon policy is and can follow it. (This depends somewhat on what the violation was, but some examples …)
- Policies and Agreements (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/521)
- Intellectual Property Violations (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G201361070)
- Amazon Product Authenticity and Quality (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G202010130)
- I did this
- I did this
- I did this
Oneida's Summary with my Appeal Example
This is a very general format. Different suspensions need different formats.
USE the format Amazon gave in the suspension notice
I am the principle of StoreName I am to responding to my recent suspension concerning ___________.
(opening BRIEF statement with 1 or 2 sentences.) NEVER blame Amazon or a buyer and don’t put a bunch of unimportant fluff in here about your metrics !
** If an ASIN was removed you need to state whether you are appealing to have it reinstated or not.
A. The root cause(s) of (whatever it is … “the complaints about the authenticity” - “the infringement” - “related to an account …”)
State each offense BRIEFLY. … DO NOT restate the obvious like "I was suspended because of Complaints about inauthentic products
After a full investigation I found that:
Then give Amazon a “why” these issues happened. That is the true root cause.
Add then a statement that you accept responsibility for the violation(s)
B. The actions you have taken to resolve the issue(s)
This is where you incorporate the areas they advised you on …
Yes it should take more than 3 or 4 steps here for MOST suspensions …
C. Details on how you will prevent future complaints
bunga bunga and I disagree a little here. I have rarely ever gotten just 1 line to work here.
(Some examples, but it depends on your issue)
Closing statement … BRIEF !! Again 1 or 2 sentences.
IF you need more separate as new paragraph. Readability is KEY
I ask you to please reinstate my selling privileges.
Then there’s bunga bunga’s template
- How to format your plan of action
- What to include
- What not to include
- Serious issues
- Other things to do and not to do
Summary of bunga bunga's post
(Even your friend and humble narrator bunga bunga has been suspended . . .)
So you’ve been suspended, and you’ve received that email from Amazon telling you that you need to tell them how you’re going to fix the problems. Maybe you’ve even sent in a plan, and gotten back the enigmatic “Your plan is not complete” email. Here are some tips as to how to formulate a Plan of Action and get back on Amazon. This is not a cure-all list by any means. You are in hot water, and you may or may not be able to get out of it, depending on how serious your infraction was.
I will admit to some hesitancy in even posting this list, as I have no interest in helping bad sellers get back on Amazon. But we’ve been suspended, and others have been suspended who perhaps didn’t deserve it, or who committed only minor infractions. It is those people that I hope will be helped by this post.
The format for your plan of action should be:
A) What went wrong
B) What we have done to fix the problems
C) What we have done to prevent the problems from happening again in the future
(explain that what you did in “B” will keep the problems from recurring)
Now when I say “the format should be”, I mean you really should use those lettered headings “A) What went wrong” and so forth.
When I say that in section C you should basically only say “The actions we took under #B will keep the problems from recurring,” I mean it. Use your own words of course, but all action items should be in B. C, preventing issues from happening in the future, should be a result of what you have done in B, and you should simply say that it will be.
Make sure that you address any and all issues Amazon had with your account. Make sure that your plan solves the problems they mention.
This is even more important than #2. Don’t include a bunch of extraneous verbiage. Don’t talk about how wonderful you are, how wonderful Amazon is, or how sorry you are. Don’t address problems that Amazon did not bring up. Stick to the facts – here’s what went wrong regarding what Amazon is asking about, here’s how we have fixed the problems, and here’s how we will keep those problems from recurring in the future.
With some Amazon infractions, it may not be possible to recover. An incomplete list of examples of such things might include opening a second seller account when your first one is suspended, rampant counterfeiting, obvious lies about having shipped product, and the ever-popular large-scale shipping of things that aren’t what the customer ordered. If you’ve done things like that, the formatting of your Plan of Action probably won’t matter.
Be patient. Amazon is in no hurry to reinstate you.
Do not bombard Amazon with status requests.
Do not make things worse than they already are, e.g. by refusing to ship open orders until Amazon reinstates you.
Do not make things worse than they already are, e.g. by writing your customers and complaining about your suspension, or writing JeffB and doing so.
Make real changes in how you operate so that you are not suspended again. If you were being a sleazeball, stop. If you are a one man shop and, say, "didn’t ship because I went into the hospital and " blah blah yes we’ve heard it all before, create a contingency plan that gets your product shipped and your storefront on vacation when such things happen. If you were sourcing your “new” product from hinky distributors, knock it off with the knock-offs.
And if you get reinstated – congratulations – but don’t just say “Hey, I got back on, no need to change anything” . . . or one day you will be back here reading this post again.
Next is styles thread …
My friend Bunga Bunga has written a most excellent suspension tips thread, which I am referencing here:
[How To Write a Plan of Action When You’ve Been Suspended] https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/thread.jspa?messageID=377281220
However, every day I see appeals, where the OP is claiming to have read Bunga’s thread, where he does mention this, but it just does not compute somehow, because there are nearly always two fatal errors. So I’m probably not saying anything different than B.B. but just doing it in my blunt signature fashion.
Here it is (drum roll, please)
Although bunga said it, and I say it on every critique I write, and it’s in every suspension notification, 99 percent of you either parrot back what they said or
Section I - what caused the problem is either omitted entirely or is just parroting back the notification.
What was your sin, exactly, precisely? And why is it vital that you clearly state this:
b. When you ask us on forum, we can’t help, not being psychic ourselves. And we don’t want to take the time to dig it out of you by playing 20 questions either.
c. Amazon needs to know that YOU know what you did wrong, so you won’t do it again. So if you do not say, you get the “plan is incomplete” thrown back at you.
Which brings us to a brief mention of Part 2 of your appeal, which is what I have ALREADY DONE (policies in place) to ensure Part 1 never happens again.
Past tense, not what we promise to do. Plan in place. For example: Replacement/backup person trained. Phone Apps installed to check messages or turn on vacation settings while you are in the ambulance en route to the hospital. New shipping flow in place and tested, with all materials in place and assembled. Shelves reorganized and stock counted. Catalog downloaded via category report feed, corrected and reuploaded.
What is more important than rushing to get back online to get those sales is making sure you now have a business plan that works and no longer is in violation of Amazon’s policy, and that your priority is making sure customers receive what they’ve ordered and in a timely manner, not putting your wallet ahead of them.
And there’s other stuff we always mention, like cutting the term paper-ese filler/fluff. If you don’t use outline form and your appeal is a page long, it gets flushed immediately. There’s a middle ground there someplace where you are complete, but your solution doesn’t get lost in a wall of text.
They won’t read it and most of the time forum members won’t either. We’re working for free.
Paragraphs matter. Take the time to make it readable.
And in Style’s thread
IMO most of the appeals posted which claim to be based on Bunga’s template turn out to be too long.
IMO most appeals which are not based on Bunga’s template are too long.
Often they are too long and lack adequate content.
I think that using Bunga’s template helps you write an appeal which includes adequate content, but should be followed by an edit, to reduce the number of words required to communicate the information.
Then after you’ve read those …
Read over your Feedback through Seller Central … checking closely the “Item as Described” column as well as the comments
Read over any old Buyer Messages … Amazon does
For Authenticity Complaints also check Product Reviews
Check your Returns … especially if you are using FBA. You need to read closely over your FBA Returns (link to the current page in Seller Central) and pay attention to the “Customer Return Reason” column and the buyers comments, if any
Inventory : If possible pull an ‘All Listings’ Inventory Report and check it line by line. It will sometimes show more listings than Seller Central will. I have found MANY times a report contained +problem+ listings that did not appear under Manage Inventory in Seller Central. One seller had 40 listings in the report and only 6 in Manage Inventory ! Often these could not be deleted and support had to get them deleted.
Invoices : If you submit invoices but Amazon repeatedly asks for them it means they are not accepting you invoice. Accept that, address it and move on with your plan …
NOTE: Sometimes … Amazon will accept receipts on Inauthentic Complaints
After repeated requests for invoices performance stops asking almost always because the invoices are not acceptable and they are tired of asking. I’ve worked on lots of suspensions and seen this over and over …
Many sellers don’t really know what Amazons definition of an invoice is.
Valid Invoices require:
Supplier information (name, phone number, address, website)
Buyer information (name, phone number, address, website) MUST MATCH AMAZON INFO
Invoice date (typically must be issued in the last 365 days)
Item descriptions … Full description of each item
Item quantities and Shipped Quantities
Total value of all goods covered by the invoice
NOTE - Amazon supports documents in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish. If your documents are in another language, you can submit notarized translations in a supported language.
Just some of the unacceptable types are:
Links or screen shots
Order Confirmations / Sales Orders
Retail Receipts (typically)
Invoices from liquidators or online retailers
Pro-forma invoices (Pro-forma invoices are invoices sent in advance of a shipment or delivery of goods. Lack of pricing or shipping information indicates a pro-forma invoice)
Invoices from any liquidator or online retailers … Walmart.com, Overstock.com, etc. … who only supply used goods
Purchase Order/Purchasing list/contract document/delivery report
English-language invoices from suppliers in mainland China.
Invoices from taobao.com, tmall.com, aliexpress.com, 1688.com or Alibaba.com
Many sellers just don’t realize their source is not an acceptable distributor of the Brand to convey resale rights (clearance wholesalers and such)
- Proforma invoices (Pro-forma invoices are invoices sent in advance of a shipment or delivery of goods. Lack of any pricing or shipping information indicates a pro-forma invoice)
- Sale invoices (Invoices that show you need to pay)
- Final Invoices you get with the shipment or after showing paid, shipped, etc.
Summary on Valid Invoices
TYPES of Invoices
Just having an invoice is not enough. Sometimes certain ones will pass … but other times they wont !
There are different types of invoices … Examples are :
Knowing which kind you are submitting is important.
Then when done reading and you are asking for help :
- Post the suspension Notice/s and any previous responses
- Post your appeal for opinions.
There’s no magic formula for an appeal but here’s basically what it takes …
- A good understanding of the rules
- A good understanding of where you failed
- The ability to communicate to Amazon your understanding of the failures
- The ability to convince them that you will prevent future ones
… and the most overlooked one of all …
- Inventory that Amazon will see as not being an issue. By this I mean things like not having :
– Listings with condition notes stating missing parts
– Listings for top Brands but no acceptable invoices
Here are some Summaries … (Click Summary to read)
- Identify the root cause of the issue. ( In your own words restate and own “we received complaints about the authenticity of the items”)
- Explain what actions you have taken to remedy the root cause.
- Outline what actions you will take to ensure the issue does not recur.
- Provide a plan for evaluating the success of your remedy actions.
- Provide your contact phone number so we can follow up if necessary.
Summary from Seller Performance .... and is the basic template of what they expect
Please reply to this email with a plan that explains:
– The issue that caused the complaint
– Steps you have taken to resolve the complaint
– Details how you will prevent similar complaints
Here are a few things to consider as you work on resolving this:
– Sourcing: Are you sourcing the product from a trusted supplier?
– Listing: Is the product accurately described on Amazon? Have you ensured that there is no ambiguity and the customer is well informed?
– Packaging: Is the product in its original packaging as listed on Amazon?
– Shipping: Have you taken all appropriate steps and quality checks to ensure that the product is stored, packed, and shipped appropriately?
Summary from Seller Support about what your plan needs
Your appeal should always include a plan of action that:
So far my format has worked for over 60 sellers that I am directly aware of and have communicated with me. It should only be used though after spending time really looking into/at/for your issues.
You can address the suspension but yet when performance looks at your account they find other issues … and you get denied. So check everything !