On the show today is Joshua Price from SuspensionExperts.com. Amazon suspended account is the elephant in the room and can become a very technical issue. Which is why you need an expert like Joshua.
Joshua started his career in eCommerce working with larger organizations on multiple platforms. This included Amazon and a range of other international marketplaces. Eventually, an Amazon suspended account occurred and almost by chance, he was the guy assigned to fix the problem and work it out.
From there, he ended up in the world of suspensions and it became clear that it was something most people don’t know enough about. Soon enough, he had queues of people asking him for help with their account suspension because it was a massive need not being addressed. Now, 3 years later Joshua has helped over 700 sellers.
Amazon does not give data on this. But from his interactions, Joshua believes that Amazon suspended account is a risk for every seller. He estimates that 10,000 sellers a day get suspended and that most sellers making between $10,000-50,000 per month will get suspended once every 2 years. There is less risk if you do fewer sales simply because you’re not interacting with as many customers. However, smaller sellers are often less aware and less experienced, so they can fall into a number of other pitfalls.
Getting your account reinstated depends on lots of factors. Essentially, a first offense is generally something that can be excused. Depending on the reason for the suspension, you could be offline for maybe 2 weeks. Generally, every seller can get back on the platform after their first suspension. Amazon does want you on the platform so they will give you the opportunity as long as you correctly handle the appeal. It’s not guaranteed, You do have to do the right things, but they’re open to it.
Getting reinstated on your 2nd, 3rd or 4th offense becomes much more technical. The reason that a lot of people need help with the 2nd suspension is that their case is instantly complicated by the previous suspension.
There are 2 types of suspension categories: performance and policy. Policy is the rules, and performance is your way of serving customers and running the account.
Multiple suspensions in performance over a long period of time is much more understandable because it’s about your operations. We all make mistakes. Customers complain about little things, The Royal Mail may be running late etc. Amazon will be lenient for that and therefore it takes less time to get your account back for the 2nd suspension in the performance area. Perhaps a week to a month.
For policy suspensions, it’s easy to break the rules but Amazon is slightly tougher for allowing people to be reinstated. It can be very quick to get reinstated for policy suspension if handled correctly. However most people, especially if they are appealing on their own, could be looking at a couple of months to be reinstated. If they are reinstated at all.
Joshua says the first thing you should do the moment you see that notification email is to take at least 24 hours before responding. Our businesses mean a lot to us, they’re important and we’re emotionally involved. He says it’s the emotion ruins most people’s appeals because they send an instant response without doing their research or considering the bigger picture. They appeal too quickly and it fails. This is a problem because the first appeal is the most crucial appeal. It’s the best opportunity to get reinstated. Take 24 hours to work out your plan in detail, and if it’s suitable for you, contact an expert like Joshua.
When you get suspended, Amazon invites you to appeal their decision. They give you a little button in your performance notification that you press. You get four boxes and that’s where you put the appeal and your plan of action. It’s simply a letter. What you need to research is the reason for your suspension and look at what actual solutions you can then provide in response to that.
One piece of advice that is very common is the idea that if you get suspended you should agree to what Amazon accuses you of and plead guilty. Joshua says this is the worst advice and he advises you not to say you are 100% guilty. However, you also don’t want to deny the facts or start an argument. Amazon doesn’t suspend people for the fun of it. There will be a reason it has happened. Something has triggered it. Take time to decode Amazon’s message and understand the reason for your Amazon suspended account.
Joshua tends to use a 3-step way of approaching it. Amazon will give you the headline problem and they make it sound big and concerning like you’ve done something quite major. Through a process of reverse engineering, you need to try to figure out what has happened to cause this problem. Then, try and make that problem small, but still try to find the problem. Amazon is giving you a big hitting issue and you’ve got to find something small that has caused that. So you admit to the small thing, not the big thing. It’s not fighting, but it’s not admitting to a massive problem either.
For example, ODR stands for order defect rate. Amazon’s target ODR is 1%; so less than 1% of your orders have received negative feedback. This is a tough target and most sellers at some point will be caught by it. If you get suspended because your ODR is over the 1% target, the appeal letter doesn’t need to explain the ODR. It needs to explain about the problems that caused your ODR to go over 1%. Amazon needs to know why you received the complaints.
So you have to go quite deep into your business’s operations to find the real reason, and when you fix that you explain that back to Amazon. They’re saying you’ve broken the metric, you find the reason. It might be simply because there were delays in the postal system you were using. That is a small problem compared to breaking the metric. Your appeal needs to bridge the gap between what they’ve got in data and what you’re saying actually happened and how you’re going to fix it.
Amazon is basically a tech company and sees the world in data. On the back end of their system in the account notes, they use codes, acronyms, numbers and other data, as well as your appeal letter. You need to understand this so that you can match the two together.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the person responding to your appeal is likely somebody on minimum wage in India or the Philippines, whose first language may not be English, and who has between 7 and 11 minutes to read and respond to your appeal. They are likely in a very different culture to you and may not sympathize with you in the same way that your fellow sellers may do.
Keep this in mind and consider the audience when writing your appeal. Don’t use very complicated language, be clear, be concise. Remember that they are people and they have hard jobs to do. It’s stressful work and they are very rushed in it. If you write an essay-length appeal or demand sympathy for losing part of your multi-million dollar business, that is a bad move. It’s likely somebody on minimum wage taking 7 minutes to decide the future of your Amazon business, so that’s why it’s so crucial to send them the right information at the right time and not get it wrong.
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