If your Amazon account has ever been suspended, you know the instant feeling of dread and worry as you begin to try to grapple with what to do next. Amazon account suspension isn’t something most sellers plan for, but it can happen somewhat out of the blue in today’s climate.
Amazon has slowly but surely made strides to enforce more strict policies to foster a competitive space and crackdown on dubious sellers. The result? Cases of account suspensions are on the rise. Losing revenue for the duration of a suspension is a stressful experience, but the thought of losing your account for good and not recouping your existing funds is devastating.
Did you know that Amazon can withhold your money and inventory after a suspension? What do you do if that happens? Keep reading to find out why suspensions occur, how to enlist safeguards to protect your account, and options for reinstatement if a suspension does happen.
What happens when an Amazon seller account is suspended?
It’s important to know that an Amazon account suspension isn’t the end of the world. The good news is that you can appeal your case and reinstate your account, but there’s a catch. When navigating the appeal process, you’ll have to operate under careful consideration of every move you make if you want to be successful.
Don’t initiate an appeal unless you have a solid plan of action. Why? If Amazon denies your appeal more than once, you can face a permanent ban. It gets worse; once you get banned, you can’t open another account on the platform. It’s fair to say that cases like this require professional account specialists to navigate your appeal carefully.
Amazon’s policy may seem harsh, but in all fairness, Amazon has sound reasoning for revoking seller privileges. For starters, maintaining a competitive marketplace is a top priority for Amazon. That means they can’t keep sellers with poor performance and repeated infractions on board.
Amazon will also suspend your account if you abuse any of its policies. It’s best to make sure your business operates within the terms of service and guidelines set forth by Amazon. But why would Amazon freeze your funds and hold your inventory in the first place? Intellectual property violations and selling counterfeit or restricted products on the platform will have your funds frozen. In these cases, Amazon suspends your ASIN, freezes your funds, and holds the inventory in question.
Can Amazon keep funds after an account suspension?
How bad can it get? Can Amazon initiate a permanent hold on your funds? The truth is, yes, they can. However, you shouldn’t panic. Amazon only does this in extreme cases; it’s unlikely that a minor suspension will result in a permanent hold.
Here is a list of what will get your funds and inventory frozen:
Inauthentic Goods: Selling inauthentic goods is not as bad as selling counterfeit products; doing so can get your funds frozen. Your products get tagged with the inauthentic label triggering, which can trigger a permanent hold by Amazon.
Counterfeit Goods: This is a bad one. Selling counterfeit goods on Amazon is a cardinal sin. In such cases, Amazon moves fast. Amazon will freeze your inventory and earmark it for destruction, and the online giant will block you from the platform and permanently hold your funds.
Linked Accounts: While Amazon doesn’t restrict secondary accounts, it has a strict policy on operating them. In simple terms, there shouldn’t be any links between your accounts. If you run a secondary account without permission, there’s a high chance that Amazon will freeze your funds.
Fraudulent Abuse of Customers: Amazon can suspend your account if you violate the Code of Conduct (section 3) by influencing customers’ feedback, ratings, and reviews to keep your goods moving. Amazon takes customer service very seriously. Keep an eye on customer feedback, especially regarding finances. If not, Amazon can freeze your funds if a fraudulent abuse claim arises.
What should you do if your account is suspended and your funds are initially frozen?
We’ll state the obvious first. Don’t go into full-blown panic and start unplanned reactive responses. Even if you do your best to follow Amazon policies, there’s always a chance your account can get hit with a suspension. A suspension isn’t the end of the world; a strong appeal can get your account reinstated. Panicking won’t do you any good so take a deep breath.
A suspension notice details the reasons why Amazon has suspended your account. It includes policies you have broken or ASINs that don’t meet Amazon standards. The notice also contains customer metrics and your Amazon target scores.
Here’s how to navigate an appeal:
Start by taking responsibility for the suspension. A stubborn attitude won’t get you anywhere, especially when Amazon’s customers are affected.
Write out a plan of action that shows you understand the reasons for your suspension.
In your plan, outline the steps you have already taken to ensure your business meets the standards set by Amazon.
Cover in detail how you plan to prevent such an experience from happening again. Write down long-term safeguards that will ensure you remain a model Amazon seller.
Use the plan of action to apologize. Tell Amazon that your brand takes the privilege of selling on their site seriously and that you’ll do your best to improve the customer experience.
Submit your appeal to seller performance and cross your fingers. Ideally, Amazon should respond to your request within 72 hours.
If your appeal fails, focus on your money. Partner with a professional account suspension service to navigate the permanent ban to help you get a better chance of success.
Will Amazon keep your funds and inventory indefinitely?
In extreme cases, Amazon may decide to hold your funds for good. The possibility of Amazon permanently holding funds is as controversial as it gets. Amazon maintains that it is within its rights to do so, and in some cases, it’s hard to fight.
Amazon has been fighting a losing battle against sellers selling restricted goods for a long time. Suspensions alone were ineffective since sellers could reclaim their stock and start fresh. Nowadays, bad rap sellers find it almost impossible to launch more accounts after a suspension with the permanent hold policy.
For example, Amazon does more than shut down your account if you sell prohibited products like vaping accessories. They will permanently hold your funds to the extent that you have no means to start over.
How to keep your account safe and protect your funds
Amazon’s permanent hold policy is here to stay unless legislation turns its policy upside down. Amidst a mass call to action for Amazon to clean up its act by congress, the list of new offenses causing suspension continues to grow.
Here’s what to do to reduce the chances of being hit with a dreaded suspension:
Monitor Your ASINs: Don’t go for long periods without checking the status of your ASINs. Work on any ASIN that may cause problems with your customers. If unattended, a problematic ASIN is welcoming a suspension
Treat Customers Well: Don’t give in to emotional responses when handling customer complaints. Use well-thought-out email templates that use customer-centric responses instead.
Avoid Opening Multiple Accounts: Don’t open a second account unless you have to; it’s not worth the headache. If you have no way around it, make sure you get approval from Amazon.
Never Use Forged Documents: Don’t do this at all costs. Make sure all the details on your documents are accurate. Keep in mind that using forged documents is illegal as well.
Keep Accurate Bank Records: Cover your bases. Accurate financial records prove that you are a trustworthy seller and help solve customer misunderstandings before they spiral out of control.
Selling on Amazon is a lucrative way to make money online in 2022. But there is more risk of account suspension on the platform than ever before as the online giant battles dodgy sellers looking to make a quick buck.
Amazon will suspend any account that doesn’t meet its standards or violates its policies. Even worse is the possibility of that nasty permanent ban we discussed earlier in this article that can prevent you from opening an account with Amazon again. And, in severe cases, Amazon can hold your funds permanently. Your account safety should be your top priority. Ensure that you are operating your account within Amazon’s terms because the slightest infraction in 2022 can cause significant issues now and in the future.
Have your funds or inventory ever been frozen? What did you do about it? Tell us below. Need help with an account suspension? Riverbend Consulting can help you appeal and win. Contact Us for a quote.
Kelly Johnston is the glue that holds Riverbend Consulting together and was with the company at its founding. She survived 10 years in the digital salt mines of Amazon Seller Performance. Before that, Kelly held other e-commerce roles where she worked in content, sales, and operations. When not helping clients, Kelly is a talented artist. Collage and up-cycled assemblages are her current passions.