Working on Seller Performance teams at Amazon used to mean handling numerous escalations for account reinstatement. Up until a few years ago, sellers who sent an email to [email protected] had a certified investigator like me assess it first. I then provided a full analysis to our managers, with recommendations to reinstate or deny. A seller’s odds of expert-level review and an appropriate decision were high.
Nowadays, their investigative teams often fail to assess these escalations with any degree of reliability. We handle escalations work on behalf of clients who must get manager-level eyes (or higher) to review their appeals. Times have changed.. a lot!
Most people realize the need to complain the right way in an escalation.
They state that they’ve submitted Plans of Action several times without any meaningful response from the other side. Whether they are asked for “more information” over and over. Or sent general denials, “We’ve reviewed your Amazon account, and have decided that you may no longer sell.” Seller Performance teams will never tell you what’s missing or what needs to be improved unless they have Account Health services call you up and explain it.
Even then, in many cases, sellers do exactly what they are told to do, only to have Seller Performance refuse it or fail to reply.
So What do Sellers Do Now To Escalate Reinstatement Appeals?
Most sellers who read articles and listen to podcasts on this topic still come away scratching their heads. With all the bad info out there on how this whole thing works, these questions pop up the most.
- What is an escalation, and where does it go?
- What goes into one and how do I write it?
- Is anyone really reading these things?
There are a lot of conflicting opinions and plenty of confusion over this process. Mostly because people who don’t understand how to escalate stuck account reinstatement appeals advise others.
You need someone who used to work on Bezos escalations to understand how this works.
An escalation is NOT:
- Sending in the same POA over and over again to different emails. DON’T spam the queues
- A fast track to reinstatement. You need to implement and submit a viable plan of action before you can escalate. Not sure when to escalate? Read our guide.
- Just writing to Jeff. In fact, we never escalate to Jeff first. You should escalate within the team that suspended you first.
- An opportunity to vent your frustrations. Keep it succinct and on point.
Consider the amount of revenue at stake. And the fact that an escalation likely represents your last go-round of attempts to sell on Amazon again. Don’t you want to maximize your odds of a successful appeal?
So How Do I Write an Amazon Escalation?
- Tell them how you’ve addressed and solved in your POA all past problems, and encourage them to read it again. Show some bulleted highlights! Briefly describe why your solutions will work. Be convincing.
- Take with a grain of salt any info you get by calling Account Health Services. They don’t always make this clear, but they’re making “educated guesses” on your situation with minimal notes. They look at a POA draft and give you some pointers based on what training they had in the past. They’re not necessarily based on up to date info from your account. Unique, custom critiques are hard to come by, so make sure you have the ability to decide for yourself if you were given accurate information. Otherwise, this team could hurt instead of helping your account reinstatement cause.
- Understand that if you’re talking to so-called excerpts who say appeal escalations means just writing to Jeff, you’re speaking with amateurs. You’re better off on your own.
How Not To Escalate
- Don’t make loaded emotional pleas or the thin line between loving and hating Amazon.
- Please don’t use templates for escalations to Executive Seller Relations or anyone named Jeff, or any manager. Those go straight to the wastebasket, and for good reason. If you’re copying and pasting from Seller Forum posts or Facebook groups or really anywhere, don’t bother. Just chuck it.
- Don’t listen to anyone who tells you this is the time or place to make legal threats. Usually that’s just a marketing ploy by a lawyer looking to reel in more suspension cases. If legal issues aren’t present, don’t start making legal arguments that don’t exist
- Don’t waste space talking about your great metrics and years of revenue generated. If your suspension was policy-related, performance has nothing to do with the case. Write up a single sentence that covers both, and leave it at that. Do not devote a full paragraph to describing what a wonderful seller you are. Every time their eyes glaze over and they move on to the next case.
- Don’t tell yourself you’re escalating your own case just to get it over with and hope for the best. These days, there’s no point. If you have little to say overall and you are escalating simply to throw something at the wall to feel better, know in advance that your appeal will carry a low percentage of success along with it.
- Don‘t send the same old POA to different queues and think that you have “escalated” it. I hear about this approach failing sellers more than anything else, yet sellers continue to believe it works.
- Don’t just think about WHERE to send it. Think about WHAT to send, and how good it is. Get some expert eyes on it (real experts, not the self-professed variety) ahead of sending it too.
- Don’t email an escalation to [email protected] if you’re dubious that your POA contains all relevant info needed. I know this is everyone’s knee-jerk reaction. Escalate to Jeff! Write to Jeff! Try to request action by a manager, or even a manager’s manager, within Seller Performance before you start looking to Jeff to solve the problem. We’ve completed successful escalations hundreds, if not thousands of times, while avoiding any emails to Jeff/ Executive Seller Relations at all. It is worth one properly written, well-composed attempt to the team that took you down.
5 Expert Tips for Making the Most of an Amazon Escalation Appeal
1. Don’t bother escalating for reinstatement without a complete, and viable Plan of Action to go with it
Don’t write an escalation letter that would make Jeff Bezos weep, then attach a poorly written, ill-conceived POA.
They want to believe they can reinstate you and that you won’t make the same mistakes all over again. Otherwise, it could result in an investigation audit and a bad mark on their own record.
Not sure when or if you have a good one? I can help with that. It’s worth a second or third opinion.
Especially if it represents your last chance at reinstatement of a top-selling ASIN or your entire account. You can emphasize the best parts of the POA in your escalation letter. Include your top three completed proactive solutions that fully resolved past problems while preventing fresh ones in the future.
Convince them that they will never need to size you up again for an account suspension.. Show them the documentation to prove it.
2. Emailing Jeff isn’t what it used to be, so don’t expect miracles…
When I investigated Bezos escalations for Amazon, we were given time for careful consideration.
Today, investigators are hurried, distracted, and afraid to screw up.
Jeff emails are handed off to less seasoned and often lesser trained people now, and it’s important to keep that in mind.
Since they’re likely to fly through your appeal, make sure it’s readable and easy to understand! Get your best writer on it, and edit it for clarity. Unclear POAs or escalation letters get tossed to the side. Jeff won’t be involved.
Are you looking for a response after sending appeals that include all relevant info they ignored?
There’s nothing wrong with nudging them to review you the right way after several days of silence. Give them the highlight reel of all the proactive measures you’ve put into place already. Not only are the measures implemented, by the way, they’re working! Describe them to performance teams, in detail.
3. Make it clear what you’re asking them for and state plainly that you’ve pursued accepted channels already to handle the matter, without resolution.
You need to make your request easy to understand.
Where have you appealed so far, and how long ago? Did they send a generic answer with no real info in it? Or did you fail to see ANY signs of response?
Have you already escalated this previously at the manager level, and did that party ignore your request? Who was it? When you’re escalating for account reinstatement in particular, you can’t waste any time being vague or unclear.
Cite past attempts to get your POA reviewed and the issue resolved, without indications that Amazon teams took you seriously. Name dates, times, people and their teams in a bulleted list. Then ask for a better review and for reinstatement given all info presented.
If you received the “We need more information” email multiple times without any clarification of what might be wrong with past POAs, indicate that in your Amazon escalation. If you received nothing, or a generic denial, tell them.
4. Use your best writer and communicator.
Don’t send them something with poorly written, hard to follow sentence ideas that don’t make sense.
No investigator has time any time to waste, and they’ll refuse to read overlong long or poorly edited content.
You can’t risk a denied appeal due to something avoidable, like badly composed POA bullets. If you don’t have a good communicator with strong writing skills, who ALSO understands the content required in an Amazon escalation letter, then find one.
5. Keep it to a couple of paragraphs of tight, direct sentences that each nudge your argument forward.
Don’t write long passages explaining the story from beginning to end.
Escalations are only worth a shot if your appeal and POA are rock-solid and unimpeachable.
If you tend to ramble or include extraneous details that you think might be important (but no one at Amazon will), then leave all of that out, and stick to the facts. Because if they sense you’ve drowned them in text that won’t be worth their time, they’ll discard it and move on.
I know you already know this, but…just a few more don’ts.
Don’t blame Amazon angrily if you didn’t approach your appeal the right way to begin with.
Show them you understand exactly what happened that led to your suspension, without retroactively fighting with them about the validity of the causes or debating with them how harshly they treated you.
Lastly, don’t gamble that you understand this material enough on your own before emailing managers or escalation queues. In almost every case we handle, the life of the business or even the financial health of my client is at stake. Winging it or trusting a bad source of info on these may not be something you can correct later, if you’re wrong. Do things the right way knowing you may not have that many cracks at success.