Action Plan: The only remedy for Amazon account lockout
October 5, 2020 at 11:23 pm #128561crestelinaParticipant
More and more frequently I have to deal with suspended or deactivated Amazon accounts. In 2019, cases of this type have increased significantly and the reason is to be found in the greater severity in the application of the rules by Amazon. In fact, the latest updates of the A9 algorithm and Amazon Account Suspension Inauthentic, aimed at combating market manipulation, involve punishing even more severely the violations of their policy.
At the time of suspension of the Seller Central account, it follows the communication of the supporting reasons which, promptly, turn out to be generic, mostly these are standard messages. This is a kind of pre-set message, chosen according to the (macro) categories of violations that can occur during the sale on Amazon.
Rehabilitating a Seller Central account involves cumbersome, sometimes long and complex processes for the seller, who has to deal with various issues.
Identify the reason for the suspension
The first thing to focus on is identifying the reason why the account was suspended. Amazon wants the seller to identify what the infringement was. This aspect is far from trivial.
In fact, Amazon, in the notification of account suspension, indicates a generic reason, not at all clear and precise and requires the seller to “self-report” indicating, this time specifically, what was the cause of the loss of sales privileges so as to verify the effective knowledge of the Policy.
Suspension or deactivation notifications contain standard messages such as: ” presence of multiple seller accounts “, ” account related to another that cannot be used for sale on Amazon”, “presence of account disabled for sale on Amazon “, ” suspected violation of intellectual property ”,“ percentage of seller’s performance above the permitted thresholds ”,“ poor performance ”and so on.
It does not appear to be decisive to contact the assistance directly to ask for clarification, because the answers most frequently received reject the ball to the sender: << Amazon cannot provide further information so as not to violate the privacy of the people involved >> (I do not understand what the privacy violated if the applicant is the person to whom the information they should provide refers) or << Amazon does not provide information on its investigation methods >> , as if to say that it is not known what their evaluations are regarding the removal of sales privileges, but which are nonetheless valid and infallible.
Therefore, it is up to the Amazon seller to identify in practice what the violation was.
This is the first aspect to be included in the Action Plan (POA).
The first is therefore a phase of study and research aimed at discovering what the violation was.
Types of violations leading to account lockout
His suspension, or deactivation, of the Amazon account occurs as a result of three types of causes: violation of the policy, violation of the law, violation of both.
In the first case, it is necessary to check Amazon’s sales policy to understand what was the motive that the algorithm punished with the suspension of the account.
The case of violation of the law is more complex to deal with because it involves knowing them and you do not have a specific source on which to verify it as happens with Amazon’s sales policy. In fact, as far as regulatory violations are concerned, the sources that may contain the violated rules are far superior, think of the privacy code, the intellectual property code, the consumer code and the civil code just to name a few. In these cases the only solution is to reconstruct the facts prior to the suspension, retrace them and try to identify if there may have been any critical issues.
The last reason concerns the violation of aspects, policy and law. An example of this violation occurs when linking to a product page listing a counterfeit branded item. The violation of the law occurs with the counterfeiting of the trademark while, the violation of the policy is due to having hooked a product page by selling a different product.
Remove the violation
After identifying the problem, the next step is to remove the violation or limit the damage. This activity, if carried out with the central seller account still active, is essential to avoid being suspended, if carried out later it is instead useful to more easily obtain rehabilitation for sale. For example, if we are aware of the presence of a faulty batch of orders we can place the removal order or in the case of products already shipped we can contact the buyers via the platform to explain what happened and propose solutions.
This information should be included in the Action Plan because it demonstrates that you are aware of the error and have taken action to limit or eliminate it.
Precautions to Avoid Future Violations
Another aspect to be included in the plan are the precautions taken to prevent the same violation from occurring in the future. This aspect is also of fundamental importance.
In fact, Amazon does not grant too many chances for this we must concretely work to ensure that there are no more violations, even more in reference if they have already occurred in the past.
It is possible that violations of the policy must be sought in factors external to the platform and only by acting outside it can they be resolved. One of the most frequent examples can be the delay in the delivery of shipments which can be solved by changing courier or, if possible, by having Amazon manage the logistics.
However, we must avoid making promises that are not achievable or that cannot be kept.
How to reactivate your central seller account. The Action Plan
The only way to reactivate your suspended or deactivated Amazon account is to prepare a comprehensive and persuasive action plan, which is specific in some sections and concise in others.
Amazon wants the seller to process the POA, if he expects it … only later will it evaluate whether to restore the selling privileges and this happens on the basis that it has been shown to know the policy and has expressed the desire to want to work in a compliant manner.
The action plan divided as follows will consist of 3 main parts:
· Causes of the violation
.Activities carried out after the violation
· Precautions taken for the future
Not all sections need to be treated equally.
The first will be more schematic, it may be necessary to offer information relating to individual ASINs that have been identified as the causes of the suspension.
The second and third will instead be more detailed and argumentative.
This is the “model” (if it can be defined as such) to which assistance operators are accustomed and which they expect to receive, which if filled in correctly will allow obtaining a positive pronunciation in a short time.
Also on a structural level it is important to write a POA correctly. It is in fact very important to take care of punctuation and to formulate sentences as short and clear as possible. We must in fact remember that in front of us we will have people who have a very limited time to decide on our case, who do not waste time trying to understand what we have written, simply because they cannot. Consequently, it is essential to be clear and not go too far.
It must be considered that the operator reading the POA could be of a different nationality than ours and will have to reconstruct what happened from what we are reporting to him, before carrying out various checks from the information contained in his databases. Consequently, paragraphs that are too long and dense must be avoided and short and concise sentences preferred.
A great option is to use the bulleted list.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when Amazon asks for more information, the person who asked for the information will probably not be the same person who will read our response. This requires us to make it as easy as possible for the assistance department to reconstruct the story
In fact, the goal of each action plan is to convince the operator to restore their account.
How to be persuasive
It is very important to have persuasive writing that convinces the reader. The same concept can be expressed differently, the difference between a “correct” and an “excellent ” POA is also in these details.
Let’s take an intellectual property infringement for example. In a persuasive POA I will never write that it is an established violation but I will always leave a margin of doubt. Writing “about the detected intellectual property infringement” is quite different from phrasing the sentence like this: “about the suspected intellectual property infringement notified”.
In the first case, no room for doubt is left by stating that the violation has been detected, in the second case, however, the doubt is left simply by changing two words in the sentence. Again, ask a question in these terms “in light of the above is it possible to reactivate my account? “It is very different from doing it in this way“having clarified the situation in detail, I ask for the reactivation of the Account in question which must be carried out since any suspected violation has been removed”.
The reactivation of the central seller account also depends on the ability to persuade the reader and is therefore a fundamental component for the success of the operation.
How to submit the reactivation request and timing
The POA must be submitted via Seller Central, if it is still possible to access it, or via email. In the latter case you must be careful to send it from the mailbox with which you registered on Amazon, to the correct mailbox, which varies depending on the marketplace. If you use a box other than the registration one, the message will be ignored or in any case it will not lead to any result because it will not be possible to trace the writer to the account holder.
The waiting time declared to obtain an answer is approximately 24 hours, a period that may increase in the case of particular complexity or in the case of particularly busy periods of the year. For example, in the Christmas period it can take up to 1 month to fully define the issue and this is due to the high workload of the assistance.
It is estimated that about 3000 POA are sent every day so the time taken may be longer than that declared.
What an excellent Action Plan must never contain
But in addition to having components that cannot be missing, there are other aspects that must never be included in an Action Plan
In particular, it is necessary to avoid:
– blame the customers. Amazon is a customer-centric platform, it has no interest in going against its customers, and rather it has every interest in preserving them in every aspect. It does not lead to any result shifting the responsibility onto others other than that of not getting what we are asking for;
– include facts external to Amazon not related to the case. As we have said, the time for the decision on our case is limited, so it is good to stay focused on what is needed without dwelling on irrelevant aspects;
– inventing facts that did not happen. Telling untruths will permanently prevent us from regaining sales privileges. Amazon knows that due to its strict regulation there will be errors on the part of the sellers, what is important is to remedy and not repeat the mistake for the future;
– do not promise actions that you cannot (or want) to keep. Doing this leads either to the failure of the action plan or to the new suspension after a short time;
– do not open more cases if it is not necessary. Opening more cases means more material for the operator to see. More material means more time, more chance of making mistakes, and probably more people who will see your case. Under these circumstances Amazon may notify you that if you continue to open other cases, you may no longer be able to communicate with them (because you will be blocked), or will proceed to merge all cases into one;
– do not send the same action plan several times to the same mailbox. The considerations on this point are the same as just made with the addition that, in the event that the assistance stops responding to emails, the situation will hardly be unblocked;
– do not constantly ask for updates on the processing of the file. As explained above, the communications are read by different operators who will have to start over from the beginning to reconstruct what happened. If you don’t get an answer after 1 week, the options are basically 2: either no one has yet made a decision or the POA is not drawn up correctly and is ignored. In this case it makes sense to send a new POA, structuring it correctly and completing it in all its parts;
– do not threaten assistance. Getting overwhelmed by anger, ranting and threatening is never a good solution. In the most serious cases it can lead to the definitive impossibility of regaining the selling privileges.
In the event that Amazon decides to reject the appeal, it is of fundamental importance to read the reasons, if any, and, working on them, update the plan by responding in detail. Usually, in fact, when Amazon rejects appeals it is because it needs more information.
Avoid account suspension at all costs
The process thus described is complex. It requires in-depth knowledge of Amazon’s policy, precision in describing the events that occurred and in identifying the information to be provided. Furthermore, having to bear the emotional pressure deriving from the suspension of the account, which can represent an important source of one’s revenues, if not the only one, is another component that should not be underestimated.
Writing so many incomplete, confusing e-mails with unnecessary information, opening multiple identical cases for no reason whatsoever, threatening or worse, insulting assistance only worsens the situation, helping to complicate it and, sometimes, compromising it permanently.
Precisely in light of the complexity of drafting an effective POA and for the waiting time necessary for reactivation, it is important to avoid as much as possible the suspension of the account.
For several months now, Amazon seems to have changed its suspension process. It is not uncommon for assistance to contact sellers informing them of the risk of account deactivation, asking for explanations and solutions to the problems encountered. Before suspending the account, Amazon notifies the seller of the irregularity and grants a “grace period”, usually 17 days, in which it is possible to provide an explanation, remove the violation or limit its scope.
At this stage, it is crucial not to ignore the communications sent by Amazon, respond within the deadline and take steps to resolve the situation.
In fact, the suspension of an account is a critical event for the seller which can result in an economic damage of thousands of Euros per day of lost revenues, loss of the buy box, loss of ranking and positioning and, consequently, an additional economic effort to restore the situation that existed before deactivation.
It is important to act quickly and correctly. I found it very useful, in these circumstances, the sending of a sort of POA, we could call it a pre-action plan that is a document that has the same structure but that is forwarded at a time prior to the suspension of the account. In fact, in 100% of the circumstances in which I have used this tool, the suspension has never occurred.
Obviously, to make this happen, it is necessary to identify the problem in practice and take action to eliminate it. For example, in the event that there is a high number of defective orders, it is necessary to speak with your supplier to solve the problem or for example to have the goods sent home, proceed with the inspection and deliver only those that are really suitable for distribution.
In the case of orders delivered late, it can be decisive to change the shipper or, where possible, to let Amazon manage the logistics for a period, in order to restore a good value of the seller metrics. These measures show Amazon that it is serious and that it is serious about solving the problem.
The Amazon seller’s daily routine must include:
· Constantly monitor their ads, create them in accordance writing in them only true characteristics in respect of the policy to avoid first closure of the bid and, if repeated, account suspension;
Respond to all communications from customers to avoid negative feedback and reviews;
Respond to notifications sent by Amazon regarding item quality complaints;
· Keep the overall picture of your metrics under control.November 12, 2020 at 7:17 am #128591
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.