My 1-Day Amazon Suspension & What to Do if You’re Next

By | 2017-07-11T11:03:05+00:00 February 6th, 2017|Amazon Tips & Tricks|

“You may no longer sell on Amazon.com.”

I’ll never forget reading that message.

My business relies on selling on Amazon. It’s where a majority of my income comes from, and although I have diversified, most of my eggs were in one basket.

Email suspension | My 24-Hour Amazon Suspension & What to Do if You're Next

I read and re-read the email, hoping to find something to relieve the fear coursing through my body, but all I saw was an option to appeal their decision. They had suspended me, stating that our credit card was associated to another account (which it wasn’t). Having multiple accounts is not allowed on Amazon, and was grounds for suspension.

How could this have happened?

I decided it was time to go for a run. Running always helps me think, and I definitely needed to consider how to respond.

I like to move strategically, and not lose my calm. I feel that overreacting gets in the way of an effective message, and would lead to me being portrayed as erratic and careless.

Since I was already ‘in trouble’ so to speak, I didn’t want to give them any reason to see me more negatively than before.

After a quick shower, I spoke to the team and wrote my response to Amazon.

We could only think of one instance that might lead to the suspension. It was careless perhaps, but we didn’t really do anything wrong.

My response | My 24-Hour Amazon Suspension & What to Do if You're Next

I thought that surely, they would see their mistake and take care of this matter immediately. But I was wrong…

My answer came back quickly and it wasn’t in our favor. It was time to come up with a damn good plan of action. I needed to recover my Amazon selling privileges, my business, my team, my life depended on it.

Screenshot 2016-12-28 08.01.43

Research Mode

I started looking for every suspension story I could.

I searched Google, and I ran through multiple searches on Linkedin for Amazon Seller Performance, Amazon seller support, and Amazon’s TRMS.

I’m not the kind of person who gives up easily. I face a challenge head on and do not take no for an answer.

To be honest, this isn’t even the first time my account with Amazon had been suspended, it just happened to be the first time it made such an incredible impact on my business. It was a scary impact that made me realize how in the future, I’d better get some diversity in my business practices.

I spent all day reaching out to anyone that seemed to have any experience working with Amazon suspensions, if there was a person that could help, I would find them.

In the meantime, I uncovered a lot of information, such as:

  • Amazon sellers get suspended quite often.
  • Others are looking for ways to get their accounts unsuspended, too.
  • There are good ways to respond, and bad.
  • Understanding why you are suspended is the root of figuring out how to fix it.
  • It doesn’t matter how much volume you sell, big sellers are suspended, too.
  • Most suspensions take 40-60 days for account recovery.

I also discovered the following consultants that can assist during a suspension.

I specifically enjoyed finding the community Ed Rosenberg has developed, and spent a lot of time reading through the information there about similar issues. I also found this great article about Amazon seller suspensions that goes over best practices for selling and avoiding suspension.

As noted in the article above, you can re-appeal the Amazon decisions, and of course I worked on doing that. The ironic thing is, during the time my account was suspended, counterfeiters had hijacked my listings.

Diversification

The one thing that stuck out to me during all of this research and fear was the major dependence my business had on Amazon. I had little else in place that would allow my business to keep going if Amazon never reinstated me.

I was looking at months without revenue and I had nothing to fall back on. I spent some time with my team and we began developing plans to diversify the business, but even then it would be awhile before we would see revenue from this.

I re-appealed Amazon’s decision, carefully explained our stance, and asked for information on how to proceed.

To try to get the business up and going, I also spent some time looking into being an Amazon vendor, as opposed to being just a seller.

Finally, after an exhausting day I went to bed.

Account reinstatement after 1 day

The next morning, I received another email from Amazon. My account was reinstated, and the team apologized for any inconvenience caused.

Reinstated by Amazon | My 24-Hour Amazon Suspension & What to Do if You're Next

I posted about it on Linkedin to express my excitement and gratitude.

What I Learned

While I had been suspended before, this was an incredible experience. I’d never heard of someone being reinstated so quickly. Whereas most suspensions take 40 to 60 days to deal with, mine was reinstated in a mere 30 hours.

Despite the speed with which this issue was resolved, I lost a lot of money during that day. Plus, it could have lasted longer, even years. Because of that, my team and I have spent a considerable amount of time working on our business plans, and diversifying revenue streams.

We still rely on Amazon, but now have more systems in place to keep things going if something like this ever happens again.

What to do if you’re ever suspended on Amazon

If you’re in the same situation, here’s some advice on what to do next.

  • Don’t answer right away. Go for a run or take a shower while you develop a thoughtful response.
  • Reach out to people who can help you, and ask for advice. You can reach me anytime at chad@skubana.com.
  • Do your online research to find next steps and rules. You could reach out to my list of consultants above for help.
  • Diversify, so that you aren’t 100% reliant on Amazon.

Have you ever been suspended? What are your backup plans?

22 Comments

  1. […] UPDATE: Chad has posted more details about his seller account suspension during Christmas. Click here to read the full story here. […]

  2. Mark February 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    You missed out what you said to get the suspension lifted?

  3. joel February 15, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    I am axcited to hear more ideas

  4. Cynthia Stine February 15, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Hi Chad!
    Interesting story! Thanks so much for including me and eGrowth Partners. I just wanted to point out that my last name is “Stine” and not Stein.

    Thanks!
    Cynthia

    • Andrew February 15, 2017 at 4:39 pm - Reply

      Hey Cynthia,
      Sorry about that!
      We fixed it! 😉

  5. Tom February 15, 2017 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Why did they actually suspend you and what did you actually do to get it lifted?

    • Andrew Maffettone February 20, 2017 at 11:58 am - Reply

      Hey Tom! They suspended us because they believed we were selling on multiple accounts. When we changed credit cards it through up a red flag. To get unsuspended we had to put together a plan of action of how we were going to improve and/or fix these problems.

  6. Kevin February 15, 2017 at 6:10 pm - Reply

    Such a lame story Chad!

  7. Scott Margolius February 15, 2017 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    I think it is fair to say, your experience is not the norm. I would say that the reason for your suspension was not the same as why most sellers are suspended. Even so, what would you say is the single most important thing you learned that you could share to help other sellers have an experience most like yours (as far as expedited reinstatement)?

    • Andrew Maffettone February 20, 2017 at 11:59 am - Reply

      Hey Scott,
      Hands down the most important thing we learned is that a majority of your revenue can get yanked out form under you at any minute if a channel were to fall apart. It’s definitely smart to make sure you’re doing your best on all channels so if something like that happens it doesn’t hurt you.

  8. James February 15, 2017 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    Intense! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Would be interesting and helpful to know the overall strategy you used to create response that allowed your account to be reinstated so quickly.

    • Andrew Maffettone February 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      Hey James,
      We had to put together a detailed plan of action for them. Unfortunately we can’t share the plan of action because a lot of companies make their money on Amazon suspensions and a few of them helped us, we don’t want to take business away from them.

  9. Victoria Fitton February 16, 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

    So was it a mistake on Amazon’s part?

    • Andrew Maffettone February 20, 2017 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      Victoria,
      Unfortunately with Amazon there is no way to tell. We never got to speak to anyone, it was just “yes you’re unsuspended” or “no you’re still suspended”. That was it.

  10. Steve February 20, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    I have been selling on Amazon for over 10 years, we have been suspended twice, it is very scary when it happens. Each time we were reinstated by the end of the next business day, but very scary.

    • Andrew Maffettone February 21, 2017 at 9:19 am - Reply

      We couldn’t agree more!

    • Ada February 23, 2017 at 9:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Andrew,

      After reading your article, I still don’t know what to do if got suspended.
      Can you share with us exactly what should we do? Or anyone we can turn to for help?
      One of my products got blocked a few days ago due to infringement of trademark. However, my product doesn’t look like his and we believe this is a mistake.
      We contacted amazon but they ask us to provide document to show there is not infringement of trademark. What should I do?
      I don’t know what doc can show that…

      • Andrew Maffettone February 24, 2017 at 9:39 am - Reply

        When we were suspended we have to create a Plan of Action and present it to them to basically explain what we were going to do to fix the problem. There are a TON of companies that help with suspension, if you just Google “Amazon suspension help” you’ll see a lot of different companies that can help you.
        As for the trademark infringement, I haven’t had to deal with this yet so I’m not too sure. Amazon loves to be very vague in their responses, I would suggest asking them what document would show that but I’m not sure if they would give you an answer or not. If you could get a document of his trademark and then show your product and why it’s different that may help. Good luck!

  11. Coverager March 24, 2017 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    […] to one, “Amazon sellers get suspended quite often”. Not good for those that rely on Amazon to […]

  12. john lundgren April 28, 2017 at 10:49 am - Reply

    I filled out the seller form and three days later my account was suspended before I even posted anything to sell! They said in their brief email that I was suspended for lack of sales! I have written three emails seeking the reason why since I never even started selling. Does this sound crazy or what? Any suggestions?

  13. […] like. You’ll face inventory issues, accounting nightmares, hiring problems, system breakdowns, account suspensions, customers from hell, and vendors from that same neighborhood. You’ll have to make crucial […]

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