The do’s and don’ts of having a backup Amazon seller account
You may think having a second Amazon account is no big deal. You may have heard that other sellers do it, so you figure, why can’t you give it a try? A few years ago, setting up a backup account on Amazon was straightforward. To combat price-fixing by fraudulent sellers, Amazon had no choice but to beef up its secondary account rules.
Can you still own more than one Amazon seller account? The simple answer? Yes, but it has to be within Amazon’s terms of service. It boils down to having a legitimate business reason for running a backup account. But here is the problem; Amazon is vague about how it vets secondary seller central accounts. And what’s more, the platform can ban your main account if any discrepancies exist with your secondary account.
Owning more than one Amazon seller account can bring more challenges than it’s worth. But with so many Amazon sellers opting for secondary accounts, what are the best practices, and how do they do it? Read on to find out if you can open multiple accounts and if this business decision is worth the risk.
Can you have more than one Amazon account?
As mentioned in our introduction, the simple answer is yes, you can have more than one Amazon account if you are a third-party seller, but there’s a catch. You’ll want to have a concrete reason before setting up a secondary account. Don’t open a second account if your main account is at risk of violating Amazon policies.
The Amazon selling account is the foundation of your sales on Amazon; if you break Amazon’s terms of service, you put your business and account in serious jeopardy.
A spotless seller record is crucial when opening a second account. What does this mean? An Amazon seller who follows all Amazon policies can worry less about setting up a backup account. Amazon recognizes circumstances where operating a secondary account is perfectly acceptable. For example:
- Selling products in unrelated categories. A good example is having an account for electronics and a second one for dolls and toys, or a health and beauty account and another one for pet products.
- Running separate accounts for different brands, even if they are under one parent company.
- You manage an individual private label account and have a second one for reselling goods.
If you have two accounts, both should operate as separate entities. There should be no links between the two or co-mingling of funds. Each account should have its own LLC, credit cards, and bank records on separate tabs. Partnering with a professional Amazon service provider can help you efficiently manage a secondary Amazon account to ensure you meet the terms of service.
Are there risks to having a secondary Amazon account even if you’re following the rules?
The truth is, unfortunately, that owning a secondary account comes with a high risk of account suspension. Why? Amazon’s AI is typically fairly aggressive when enforcing rules. Secondly, Amazon investigators aren’t infallible and are known to make mistakes from time to time.
This has led to cases where legitimate secondary accounts are taken down. You might be powerless against a false positive suspension, but sticking to the rules reduces the chances of this happening in the first place.
If you’re running a legitimate second account, here’s what you should do:
- Make sure you have a concrete reason for running a secondary account. It will come in handy if you ever have to explain yourself down the road. For example, using one account for private-label products and another for goods purchased through wholesale is a reasonable reason for owning two seller accounts.
- Keep both seller accounts completely separate. Make sure that all identifying information is unique. This includes your Tax ID numbers, account owners, IP addresses, bank accounts, and even warehouse addresses.
- Always keep updated and detailed account verification information.
- Never sell matching products on your accounts. Stay away from goods in the same category or under one brand.
Sticking to these guidelines should reduce the chances of Amazon flagging your account.
What should you do if your account is suspended for related accounts?
Sadly, Amazon might still suspend your account even after doing everything right. While you can appeal a suspension, the process isn’t a cakewalk. Whether a false positive, an innocent misunderstanding or a legitimate breach, here’s what you can do to navigate the situation.
- Don’t give up. Go on the offensive instead. Have a reasonable explanation ready for the investigators. Having a valid explanation paints your brand in good light.
- When your account has been suspended, having verification information that is detailed and up-to-date is a lifesaver. The faster you present this information, and the faster Amazon may resolve your issue.
- Solve any account suspension cases you may already have with Amazon. Having such accounts linked to your current accounts might be the reason for the suspension.
- Don’t jump to immediately denying any connections outright, as it only tends to paint you in a bad light. Instead, comply with any investigators’ requests as this approach might speed the process.
These suggestions only work if you have a legitimate second seller central account. Owning a backup account as an insurance policy is not permitted. Amazon only allows one seller account and secondary accounts if the seller has legitimate reasons. Hedging your bets against accidental closure isn’t a viable reason, so remember that next time you think its ‘no big deal
- If Amazon suspends your account, don’t make the mistake of moving your inventory to a backup account. Amazon is good at tracking products on the platform. A product transfer might get you a permanent ban and is a red flag to the system.
- Serious irregularities will land you in serious trouble. For example, fraud, counterfeiting, and Section 3 offenses have severe penalties. Amazon reserves the right to suspend all your related accounts in such cases, so be mindful of operating consistently and on the up and up.
Can you appeal your account suspension for related accounts if you followed the rules?
If you followed all the rules but your account was still suspended, unfortunately, the appeal process isn’t easy. Unless you have the time and resources, taking on a case like this could mean too much work and cost.
Partnering with a consultancy firm like Riverbend Consulting, which specializes in account suspensions, is in your best interest. Every suspension is unique, and working with a professional allows you to narrow in on the best angle for appeal. Here are a few tips to help you increase your chances of winning your appeal.
- Cooperate with the investigators. Don’t get frustrated. Instead, follow the process by the book. Why? Your case will move along faster with fewer complications.
- Don’t give up. While the appeal process may seem slow, it does work. Keep pushing the appeal and keep an open line of communication with Amazon investigators. We’ll work tirelessly on your behalf regardless of how complicated the suspension is.
While Amazon allows sellers to own multiple accounts, it’s clear that the process isn’t cut and dry. Use extreme caution if opening a second seller central account unless you really need one.
If you open a second account, stick to the rules and policies laid out by Amazon to reduce the chances of getting your account suspended. Following the rules means you have the best chance to win an appeal if a suspension does occur.
Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comments.
Need help with an account suspension or protecting your Amazon account? Riverbend Consulting offers essential services to help you scale on the world’s largest online marketplace. Contact Us for a quote.
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 (21 and 15) who do most of the heavy lifting.
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