The internet is full of horror stories of account suspension nightmares. Most of us read them thinking “this won’t happen to me…” But life, as the ol’ cliché goes, is full of surprises.
“I personally believe that sustainability is one of the most important things for a business,” says Amit Batzir, Spott’s CPO and founder, “and part of that is being prepared for any situation and to make sure nothing goes wrong. This is one of our most crucial missions: to make sure no business goes under water.”
Amazon is transparent with its rules and regulations. If you are strictly in line with these guidelines, you’re probably safe from an account suspension.
Here are a few more tips to protect your online Amazon store and “keep your business above water.”
Stay up to date with Amazon’s terms and services at all times to maximize your success and to avoid any potential problems.
More important information about amazon suspensions
1. The A B Cs of correct documentation
It’s important to meet Amazon’s requirements regarding new products or new seller applications.
This starts with applying to create a seller account. When you open your Amazon Seller Account, we cannot stress enough how imperative it is to have the correct documentation clearly scanned and uploaded. That alone, if not done correctly, will get you flagged by Amazon and get your application denied.
Go over your business name and address to make sure it is correct and that it correlates with your bank statement, passport, and driver’s license. Any discrepancies can result in a denial of your application or a suspension in the future.
2. Stay updated - 24/7/365 - with Amazon’s policies.
Amazon’s terms and conditions are ever changing. It’s important to read every email Amazon sends with their guideline changes. Don’t “leave those emails for another day” as you may find yourself suddenly violating Amazon’s content guidelines and safety infringement policies which will surely lead to suspension.
Amazon is very meticulous with product safety. They’ve been through some tough lawsuits, and they’re pretty much done with that… The algorithms they’ve developed are sharp-toothed watch dogs which can suspend your account without warning. Educate yourself about the rules and regulations the platform sets for sellers. Make sure your products are in line with Amazon’s policies and that your content is not restricted, misleading or inaccurate.
Suspension=revenue+time loss… on something which can be easily avoided.
3. Choose your keywords wisely
It is quite understandable that when selling a product, you want to go to town choosing as many keywords as possible. Whatever it takes to show up in the search engine results, right?
But beware – there are some keywords that can flag you for suspension. There are some you wouldn’t even dream of as being against Amazon policy, such as “winter sale” or even “guarantee”. We’ve created a full article of keywords to avoid when creating your product detail pages, so your account and/or products will never get suspended.
In order to stay on Amazon’s good side, make sure the keywords are not only relevant to your product but that you are not over-selling it. It’s best to be concise and true to the nature of the item. This is also something to consider for your PPC campaigns. It’s a waste of time and money to use superfluous keywords as you want to gain the benefits from these campaigns, which you won’t get from choosing the wrong keywords. You should also be careful not to add any keywords that might categorize your product as an adult product – which means that you won’t be able to run any promotional ads on Amazon (PPC.)
4. Learning how to delegate tasks
After beginning an online business, seeing the fruits of your labor is an amazing feeling. It worked! But there’s also the other side of the coin: the workload can be overwhelming. Trusting others with your “baby” can be hard but learning to outsource tasks is a huge step.
If you don’t have the time or resources to check Amazon TOS updates manually on an ongoing basis, we recommend outsourcing these tasks either by hiring someone in-house or remotely. That helps you prevent any potential violations and also frees your time to do what is really important: to focus on getting more sales and profits.
Employing the help of specialists in the eCommerce world can be a boon for your business. Amazon is now one of the most competitive platforms in the world. Delegating the areas where you have less expertise not only helps with the load but also lets you focus on the main issue, the marketing and growth of your product.
5. Abnormal sales activities
Sales velocity is the number of purchases that you have per month. We all welcome the sudden soaring of sales, seeing our ranking climbing up the ladder.
But Amazon has to say something about that as well. They protect their customers by prioritizing projects based on their relevance and popularity and if an unusual sales spike occurs, Amazon might identify this abnormal behavior as a manipulation of their algorithm. This can be interpreted as a counterfeit issue or keyword ranking manipulation and can be followed by suspension. This happens quite a lot.
Amazon protects their platform like a momma bear with her cub. Do your best to gradually increase sales overtime, to get the best keyword rankings and increase your sales.
6. Good account health
Keep these four elements in mind:
Negative feedback <5%
Order defect rate <1%
Pre-fulfillment cancel rate <2.5%
Late shipment rate <4%
Amazon Seller central dashboards are your eyes to your account health and your ears to your customers’ experience. It’s important to monitor your account health to make sure you are in line with Amazon’s seller account policies.
If you see your product ratings or seller feedbacks are dropping, take action immediately. Your ratings reflect on Amazon as well – and if these ratings are dropping, Amazon will not hesitate to put your ASIN or account under suspension.
If you are trying out a new product, we think it’s best to run it by your target market to see what response it gets, then scrap the idea if any negative responses should arise.
Of course controversial products tend to sell well, but if they attract negative attention to your business, your account health will decrease and your Amazon account will be flagged.
The best tip we can give you is to stay on Amazon’s good side is to keep in constant communication with them, as well as with your customers. Keep the prices on your products competitive to make them more appealing to purchase and to pave the way to the ultimate goal – sustaining your business, staying above water – and getting your customers to the buy box.
Remember: Positive IPI scores and Amazon indexes maintenance are all in the secret sauce which prevents you from getting suspended by the orange giant, so you can maintain your business continuity risk-free.
7. Price gouging
Yes, this article is from 2020… but the example is potent, of taking advantage of a situation and making money out of a catastrophe.
More than 6000 vendors were removed when prices reached nearly 50% more than their original tag. Craziness.
This was Amazon’s message:
“Amazon strictly prohibits sellers from exploiting an emergency by charging excessively high prices on products and shipping. We have deployed a dedicated team that’s working continuously to identify and investigate unfairly priced products.”
This dedicated team:
- Has strict policies that ensure fair pricing.
- Monitors stores around the clock by both automated and manual means.
- Collaborates with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and policymakers to hold price gougers accountable.
So… keep the prices fair. It is a win-win-win for you, Amazon and your customers.
Counterfeit, or any fake products will get the seller’s store shut before they create the ASIN…. You can be a reseller or a private label seller, it doesn’t matter. Proof of legitimate sourcing and having the right paperwork is vital. Amazon will flag any items accused of being fake and/or counterfeit and will investigate the issue right away.
Anyone from the buyer up to government agencies can sniff out a product that is fake, illegitimate or unsafe. It’s easy to sell low quality items but it will only make Amazon remove those items immediately, until you provide papers that prove they are genuine.
9. Used products, AKA “used sold as new”
One would think a new product is new – as long as it hasn’t been opened yet, right? Not according to Amazon. Their interpretation goes the extra mile when defining the idea of new:
Anything that was returned, had damaged packaging, or was opened but never used – cannot be labeled as “new”. Even though the product is brand new and unused, the damage to the packaging, or even just being previously opened and later returned, will be your downfall. A client can return a package even without opening it, and per the “item condition”, can say the item was sent to him “used sold as new,” which will cause Amazon’s watchdogs to start growling, and voila – suspension. Should this happen, you should take care of the situation immediately and follow the procedures of an Amazon Suspension.
10. IP (Intellectual Property) infringement
If you open your mail to find the “accusation”: potential infringement of Intellectual Property or trademark rights, you have been red flagged due to infringement of trademarks, copyrights laws or patents.
This is a tough one. Because you are not dealing with Amazon anymore, but other sellers.
If a seller finds out that you sell a product similar to theirs, they may suspect you are selling a counterfeit brand and file a complaint. Manufacturers and bigger brand name vendors have been going to town with this one, filing more complaints on other sellers’ accounts than ever before.
Many sellers getting this suspension are hit so hard to the point where they had to reconfigure their business model.
And here is why this is a tough one: Amazon doesn’t monitor its IP infringement platform. If you are infringing on another property, they won’t necessarily know about this, and will keep giving you access BUT… they allow any customer and rights owner to file a complaint if a product seems inauthentic or counterfeit due to the poor quality of the product or from the sellers themselves who feel violated by your infringement. And once Amazon receives the complaint – they will just remove your product – whether you are “innocent” or not. Amazon will not take any chances, so for them – better safe than sorry. They will protect themselves from further liability litigation, no questions asked.
If you are legitimately accused of IP infringement, even if you didn’t know you were selling the same item as another company, take off the listing immediately, in order to save your store from being shut down entirely.
Trying to solve this with Amazon will be met with “resistance is futile.” Amazon is only the platform, not the accusing party. So any issue similar to this would have been resolved by arbitration.
Unfortunately, manufacturers and brand name companies take advantage of this lamentable loophole, because by filing such a claim they eliminate competition.
To avoid getting into this mess, think about copyrighting or trademarking your brand and logo. Yup, it’s one more thing to think about that takes precious time and diligence, but it keeps our eyes on the main goal: to sustain your Amazon account and maintain a successful business.
The best way to keep Amazon at bay is by making sure you have close-to-perfect account health. Any negative review or bad customer service takes us on the road to suspension.
Create a system in which you can respond as quickly as possible to any problem a customer might have.
See that the product you are selling is to your satisfaction.
Make sure the packaging is flawless – except FBA issues, that’s on them. But if you are selling FBM, be as accurate as you can when it comes to shipping dates, so customers don’t complain about late shipping.
Avoid infringement issues, whether you are the infringing party, or the one protecting yourself by getting trademarked or copyrighted docs.
And if Amazon still reaches through the cracks, after all, delegate these suspension issues to in-house or out-source assistants. Keeping up with Amazon’s TOS can be tough – so using outside help to keep Amazon on your good side, will leave you free to focus on your business and its continuing growth.