We’ve outlined how account suspensions happen, the ramifications of losing selling privileges and what to do in the case of an ‘Account Under Review’ emergency.
Nothing can summon fear quite like an ‘Amazon Account Under Review’ notification. For many brands, Amazon has become an incredibly important sales channel, and the prospect of being suspended from the marketplace is far from pleasant.
We spoke with Lauren Sutehall, Bobsled Client Project Manager, about her experience mitigating Amazon account suspensions.
Hi Lauren! What exactly does ‘Amazon Account Under Review’ mean?
‘Account Under Review’ means that a seller’s selling privileges have been removed temporarily. Customers will not be able to purchase their products on Amazon until the condition that caused the suspension is resolved. Please note that ‘under review’ is not the same as ‘banned’. With a suspension, you still have an opportunity to appeal.
What are some things that can lead to ‘Amazon Account Under Review’ AKA account suspension?
Quite a few, actually. Negative health metrics (i.e. customer service performance) are a common cause, including “order defect rate”, “late shipment rate”, and “pre-fulfillment cancel rate”. For example, if a seller is consistently shipping products to customers late, this may result in negative reviews, and from there selling privileges may be removed.
Other causes of account suspension revolve around not adhering to Amazon selling policies;
products not as advertised, items flagged as prohibited items and expired items, to name a few.
Lastly, listings that are identified as inauthentic or counterfeit will certainly put a seller’s account at risk! Selling a restricted product is 100% not allowed.
How will Amazon let you know that your Amazon account is under review?
You will be notified of your suspension under “Performance Notifications.” The message may read: “Your Amazon.com selling privileges have been removed.” This may also include a list of ASINs that are in violation of Amazon’s policies.
In the below example the seller received a notification titled: “Urgent: Amazon selling account under review.”
How does one resolve an account suspension?
Depending on the issue and the number of times this issue has been identified by Amazon, the resolution can actually be very quick. Amazon requires a seller to submit a Plan of Action as part of their appeal. Within this Plan of Action, a seller should display a clear understanding of what they did that was wrong/in violation of Amazon’s policies. Defining that “root cause” is an important part of the solution.
For example, if an account is suspended due to an Order Defect Rate (ODR) > 1%, a seller needs to understand exactly what negatively impacted this performance metric. This may be a result of ongoing negative feedback due to products being damaged on arrival that lead to A-Z Guarantee Claims. Credit card chargebacks can also impact ODR.
After the root cause has been identified, the seller must also deliver a viable step-by-step solution. If customers are complaining about damaged products, reviewing packing procedures in your factory, performing additional drop-tests, improving packaging quality or layering, and potentially changing shipping providers are all steps that can mitigate the damaged goods issue.
Sellers can submit their POA within their Seller Central dashboard by navigating to Seller Central > Performance > Performance notifications > Suspension Notice > Appeal.
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You mentioned that you’ve had direct experience with an Amazon account that got suspended. Can you please give a brief overview of this situation?
Exactly as I described above - the most recent seller I worked with who experienced an account under suspension had their selling privileges suspended due to an ODR >1%. All the steps listed above to prevent the goods from being damaged on arrival were taken.
Among the steps taken, the biggest positive effect came from changing shipping providers! After the new provider took over, reports of damages fell to basically zero in a matter of weeks. The account remained “under review” for a few more weeks, but we saw the ODR slowly move back into spec. There is a 60 day limit on metrics, so if an account has an order with a defect, it will take 60 days to fall away from the reporting.
Above: 60-Day Time Window Screenshot
On that note, let’s discuss timing. If a brand falls into the status of ‘Amazon Account Under Review’, how long can it take to get resolved?
The review time frame can take anywhere from days to weeks, while Amazon decides whether or not to reinstate an account. I have seen 24 hours and I have seen over a month; the timing is situationally dependent.
What are some actions brands should avoid in the event of an account suspension?
Don’t panic! Think logically about how you can convey to Amazon your understanding of the root cause of the suspension and acknowledge the issue. Passive aggressiveness or an accusatory tone won’t lift a suspension. There should be an honest admission of errors, whether intentional or not, as part of the appeal process.
After the initial panic, many sellers' next feeling is one of impatience. Avoid writing follow up messages every few days, as this is not likely to expedite the review process and may irritate the reviewer on the other end of the line. Don’t criticize Amazon’s process... take the necessary steps to get back to selling on Amazon!
What advice do you have for brands in terms of maintaining healthy account metrics?
- Take customer service seriously and maintain healthy account metrics. These go hand in hand, and since Amazon is built on a foundation of keeping customers happy, you are likely to avoid account suspensions if you keep this top of mind.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. This is not only to Amazon in the event of a suspension, but clear communication with your customers can help you avoid potential A-Z Guarantee Claims.
- Maintain ownership of your product listings and check for changes that may have been made by other sellers. You want to protect yourself from a situation where another seller makes an adjustment to your product pages which result in feedback of “wrong item sent.”
- Sellers can consider downloading the Amazon Seller App (Android, Apple) to help you respond to messages quicker.
- It should go without saying, but don’t sell counterfeit products!
Amazon Reinstatement Services
Have you run into an account suspension pickle? Consider your next steps carefully. Implementing the wrong strategy may prevent you from selling on Amazon over the long-term.
The immediate solution is to speak with a trusted partner who can help create and implement a viable Plan of Action. To connect with a Bobsled Amazon Specialist please click the button below & complete the form.