One of the most common fears among Amazon sellers is having their account being shut down or suspended. It’s why so many people ask me how we keep our amazon accounts safe.
Every year, around September or August, Amazon seems to go through and suspend accounts. It strikes fear in the hearts of all Amazon sellers, and for a good reason – it could mean losing your business! Many sellers think this is unfair, but the reality is that Amazon is completely within their rights to shut you down if you aren’t following their guidelines.
That’s why I’ve put together a guide to keeping your Amazon account suspension free. With a little extra effort, you can avoid a scary situation.
Know and Follow the Amazon Guidelines
Fully understanding the Amazon Seller Support documents will help you avoid stumbling into a suspension. Before you turn to Facebook groups and other e-commerce communities, spend time with these documents. Ignorance of Amazon’s guidelines is absolutely not an excuse; you need to know them.
Several items within the Amazon guidelines result in most of the suspensions I see:
- Item grading. People grading items improperly is a common cause for suspension. If the box has a tear on it, it’s not a new item. Don’t push for new, it may result in a warning or suspension.
- Inauthentic items. Amazon takes counterfeit items very seriously and will suspend or entirely shut down an account that sells them. If you’re buying something that is commonly counterfeited or specifically a name brand, make sure you can prove that it is authentic with receipts that indicate the manufacturer. Along with this, if an item contains a SpongeBob image, as an example, make sure that it’s use is fully license. Amazon takes intellectual property just as seriously as counterfeit items.
- Listings not being exact. Let’s say you have a three-inch blue teddy bear; you can’t list that as a five-inch pink teddy bear. Every word in the title and description must accurately describe what’s being sold. Along the same lines, you cannot list a generic item as the same listing as the brand name.
You can see that none of these items are outside of the realms of possibilities for your store. Accidently sourcing a counterfeit item, incorrectly grading an item or listings not be exact are all fairly innocent mistakes. Innocent or nefarious, Amazon treats them all the same.
If you do end up talking with Amazon about a violation, own up to it and resolve the issue. Let them know that you’ve found the issue and resolved it.
Check Reports to Keep Your Account Clean
Staying on top of a few Amazon reports will help you stay off Amazon’s radar. Each of the following reports should be regularly checked:
- Bottom performers. This report is found under “Seller’s Performance and Account Health.” You’ll see “Top Performers” and “Bottom Performers.” Bottom performers are those items that are being returned the most. Dive deep into why these items are being returned. Is the listing not as described? Is there something wrong with it? You may discover something that may result in a suspension.
- Return report. This is how you discover exactly why something was returned. If it’s dispositioned as “item unwanted,” that’s not a big deal. However, if it says, “item not as described,” that will raise some red flags. Fix those problems before Amazon sees a pattern that requires action on their part.
Keeping up on these reports will also help you decide what to source and what to avoid. I stay away from products that are known for high return rates and high fraud rates. Not only will you keep your account from raising in red flags that brings negative attention from Amazon, but you’ll end up with a more successful e-commerce business.
Creating a Contingency Plan for Your Amazon Inventory
If Amazon shuts down your account today, what would you do? While you can – and should – do everything you can to avoid being shut down, there’s always the possibility that you’ll wake up one morning to find out that your account was shut down.
So, what do you do? Where can you sell your inventory to pay your employees, pay back debt and keep the business afloat?
It’s vital that you have a contingency plan in place to keep you going while you work things out with Amazon. Your contingency plan should also include setting aside savings that will keep your business going through this rough patch.
Staying on top of Amazon’s guidelines, regularly reviewing your reports and creating a contingency plan will help you avoid a suspension – and recover from one should it occur.