Vexed by the Amazon account verification process?
For many sellers, Amazon account verification is vexing, dastardly and hopelessly difficult, if not impossible.
Is there is any way to successfully navigate the Amazon verification process?
There is, but sellers can’t be in a hurry, can’t be cavalier with the details, and certainly must initiate verification with caution. Jumping the gun and being careless with the documents and data can yield misery and madness. Keep reading for help getting everything in order. And if you’ve already tried—and failed—then it may be time for professional support.
Start smart, be thoughtful and thorough
Start by knowing that Amazon is almost militant about account verification, largely because it is herding hundreds of thousands of sellers through a complex, confusing, global and disconnected universe. Verification is the first step in Amazon’s vetting process. It is the way Amazon ensures that sellers are legitimate, genuine and “up to standards.” More importantly, Amazon sees verification as proof that its customers (yes, Amazon owns your buyers, not you) are buying safe, quality products.
If you haven’t submitted documents and initiated the process, start with a thorough read of Amazon’s verification requirements. Rushing the process is the most common error made by sellers. Maintain your momentum, but be maddeningly methodical. Thoughtfully review everything Amazon is asking. Be thorough.
Clarify identity information and collect consistent documents
Start your search for required information and documents before opening Seller Central and going to the verification page. Verify and re-verify. Do an extensive compare-and-contrast of the documents.
- Amazon account verification starts with identity information – the information you type into the page fields and the documents you submit.
- Who is your primary contact? Even if Jane Smith is the one inputting the information, she’s likely not your preferred primary. Make sure your primary is someone who is identifiable on other corporate documents being submitted.
- What is the right address? Make sure you input an address that mirrors what is identified on the documents being submitted, usually your business address.
- What is your company name? Does the company name match exactly across all documents? Amazon often denies a document if one says Acme Door Knobs Inc., but another simply says Acme Doors.
Amazon wants the following :
- A government-issued photo ID, usually a driver’s license or passport. This document must match the proof of identity information selected under “identity data.”
- A bank statement or credit card statement must be submitted “as is,” meaning all pages. If your utility bill is five pages, including blank pages or with advertisements, include all pages. Also, make sure it shows at least one month of transactions. The statement must match information submitted when opening your seller account. Amazon says it will accept statements from a bank account, savings account, or loan account statement, credit card statements or account statement provided by an e-commerce payment service provider such as Payoneer, Hyperwallet, World First, and Alipay.
- A business license or equivalent document. Again, information must match with other documents such as articles of incorporation, operating agreement or official annual report.
- Amazon does not always accept P.O. boxes and bulk mailbox locations as legitimate business addresses
- Make your document scans in color, but make sure files are no larger than 50MB
- Amazon may not accept Internet service or cell phone statements as identity proof, but the company is inconsistent. It’s best to avoid these. In most cases we’ve seen, they were not accepted because information did not match other documents.
- Amazon requires the ID holder to be 18 or older
- Check for typos. Just one mistyped word across any of the information you add, or in the documents, will stall your submission.
- Financial statements submitted must be issued within the last 180 days
There are a litany of other identity document requirements, such as document size and type, languages that are approved, etc.
Read requirements and steps carefully and remember, all documents provided need to match the account information in Amazon Seller Central.
Failing verification and stuck, what’s next?
Amazon rarely specifies why verification failed, so it’s up to you to audit your information and documents. It’s usually an issue of document information not matching exactly. We’ve seen verifications fail because a bank statement said Acme Inc., yet the business license said Acme Incorporated. Yes, seriously.
We recommend only re-submitting for verification after carefully auditing the documents with a metaphorical microscope, then compare to what was typed in when setting up your account. Frankly, this is the point in time when sellers need an objective, analytical expert to audit the process and documents. That’s our forte.
Video verification happens, too
Seeing is believing. Amazon introduced video verification as a way to further validate what a seller is saying and submitting. Less than 10 percent of sellers that have contacted us have been asked for video verification, but it can happen. During this process, an Amazon representative conducts a videoconference with the seller, so they can match up the human to the submitted IDs and other documentation.
Coping with the complexity
Keep calm. It’s possible to pass account verification, despite the complexity and, frankly, Amazon’s endless runarounds and vague responses.
Our parting advice is to seek a partner that can evaluate your process, information and documents, especially if your verification attempts have been rejected. Verification often is bumpy and bothersome but doable.
Still vexed? Contact us.
Lesley is co-founder and co-owner of Riverbend Consulting, where she oversees the firm’s client services team. She has personally helped hundreds of third-party sellers get their accounts and ASINs back up and running. Lesley leverages two decades as a small business consultant to advise clients on profitability and operational performance. She has been an Amazon seller for almost a decade, thanks to her boys (19 and 13) who do most of the heavy lifting.
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