Step one if your Amazon seller account gets suspended: Decide on your reinstatement approach from the beginning. Don’t resort to “making it up as you go along” or change your mind constantly about who you want to handle your case, and how you want it handled. You have to expect that Amazon will never be clear in their communications with you, as many sellers have discovered while appealing for reinstatement. Make sure you communicate with them as effectively as you possibly can, every step of the way, and don’t count on the ability to reverse missteps later on.
If you’re going to make one attempt to appeal yourself and then turn to properly vetted professionals if it fails, then stick to that. Don’t keep appealing the same way, or expecting calls with Account Health Services to provide missing details needed to correct or revise a Plan of Action. Remember, Account Health Services often give different, conflicting information each time you speak with them. Amazon teams won’t suddenly change their minds and accept an incomplete appeal based on the word of Account Health reps, unfortunately.
Resubmitting poor appeals over and over again usually results in Amazon’s decision to stop replying to you entirely. At that point, it takes a well-written escalation strategy just to get them to review a new POA. Meanwhile, you’re still not selling, they have your FBA inventory, and you aren’t even sure if you’ll EVER get your final funds.
It’s better to do it right from the beginning, and often that means hiring an expert.
Amazon usually tells you that you have 17 days to appeal an account suspension, or they will close the account. If you have not successfully appealed in that time, Amazon needs to put you on a 90-day clock to determine a date for disbursing your final funds. If you’re never successfully reinstated, you cannot 100% depend on receiving that money. Most clients come to us first thing, so successful appeals we do for sellers happen within that 90-day window and their disbursement troubles never get to that point. But this past year, many deactivated sellers who chose the wrong appeals path found out that Amazon plans to hold their funds forever unless your status changes.
Amazon could potentially suspend you for as little as one day depending on what info they need back from you, but short suspensions are increasingly rare. They suspend temporarily pending receipt of what they call a “viable Plan of Action” and in most cases, also verifiable supply chain documentation. If they don’t get what they need from you (or they do, but they fail to review it within 17 days) then Amazon moves you from a temporary suspension to what they call “permanent deactivation” — that’s their jargon for an account closure. You can still get back on, potentially, but it’s a steeper hill to climb.
If sellers are unable to appeal properly to the Payments teams and prove why they’re owed their remaining balance, they may be forced to move on without that cash. Sellers MUST provide proof of legitimate selling on Amazon. Anyone lacking acceptable supply chain documents or invoices to demonstrate legitimate sourcing of inventory (for example dropshippers, and some using liquidations channels, among others) has found themselves blocked permanently on Amazon AND still fighting for their money, adding insult to injury.
Accounts suspended by Amazon can be reactivated or reinstated in most cases, depending on the validity of your Plan of Action. Suspended accounts always require an appeal to get reinstated, and usually, those appeals also require a Plan of Action for their consideration. Amazon needs to know they can trust sellers with access to buyers, especially if past performance problems or policy violations led to a correct suspension. Can you prove to them that past problems have been fixed, to their satisfaction? This is not a simple “fill in the blanks” exercise, you need a viable POA. Don’t start guessing.
Need help writing your POA? We can help you decipher Amazon’s coded messages and help you understand what Account Health Services is there to assist with.
Amazon first requires an acceptable Plan of Action (POA) to be submitted within their Appeals portal, via your Amazon Seller Central account, attaching any requested documentation. Some sellers who continue to receive canned, generic messages or fail to receive a reply within Amazon’s designated response time will need to email into performance or policy team queues with their POA in the body of the email. There are multiple avenues for an appeal, but sellers need to make sure they appeal with proper content.
We still see numerous sellers failing to follow the proper format, or adding extraneous content that lengthens their appeals to the point where no one at Amazon will read them. Why? They’re not taking the time to track down reliable appeals information, or ignoring Amazon’s own guidance. Perhaps they joined a seller group rife with misinformation. However it happens, sellers need to straighten out their operational difficulties quickly and present real solutions. Anyone wasting appeals with non-viable POAs can expect denials and eventual “final word” messaging from Amazon.
Lifetime bans on Amazon for fraud, code of conduct violations, repeated poor performance or chronic policy violations have become all the more common in the last year. Amazon created additional “abuse prevention” teams in 2019 to track down and terminate bad behavior by sellers who are out to cheat buyers, attack other sellers, mislead consumers or to disrupt Amazon’s marketplace in any way. Some sellers see their accounts closed permanently for trying to cheat the company itself with fraudulent credit card use, using a variety of illicit, black hat, and fraudulent tactics. Despite many false claims that sellers see in certain Google ads or so-called expert articles, not every suspension can be remedied. Some account closures are permanent bans for a good reason: Amazon cannot trust the operators of those accounts with other marketplace stakeholders. They will err on the side of not giving you another chance if they suspect you will just break rules and policies all over again.
Accounts get “locked” for one of two reasons. Either they believe you’re participating in fraudulent activity, and need to sign you out to prevent any further damage, or they believe your account is “compromised” and need to sign you out until you can verify you’re in control of it. There are numerous means at their disposal to confirm either of those two things, but either way, you won’t have access to your account. Most cases of accounts in fraud status indicate the permanent closure of the account, the lack of access to any inventory, and a funds hold that lasts forever. If you’re simply locked out due to a password reset and require instructions to regain access, that can be obtained by working with Seller Support and Seller Performance teams.
You cannot get around an account suspension by simply opening a new one. No new accounts can be requested or attempted until the original suspension is successfully reinstated. While some black hat companies teach sellers how to operate so-called “stealth” accounts, either to open new undetected accounts or to create unauthorized multiple accounts, we don’t endorse these Amazon policy violations or abuses. They often lead to lifetime bans from the marketplace. We recommend addressing previous account faults or performance problems and appealing correctly with a strong POA for a legitimate reinstatement.
Accounts cannot be closed by a seller when they’re in suspension status or blocked. The account is already what Amazon calls “effectively closed” once it’s suspended or restricted. When I worked at Amazon, many suspended sellers would message us in anger after they got suspended, asking to close their accounts. We simply told them that it had already been closed, and did not require any other actions on either side if it were to remain closed. Seller Support teams can advise you on how to close an open account, step by step. Make sure you don’t want to use it ever again if you do this.
Reinstating ASINs can be achieved with a well-written POA (and as needed, proper invoices or supply chain documentation to address item quality complaints or a retraction of any IP complaints). While Amazon’s requests vary in terms of attachments required to appeal an ASIN suspension, in almost all cases, sellers need an effective Plan of Action — just as they would to appeal for account reinstatement.
Amazon allows sellers to appeal ASIN suspensions and provides email addresses in their outbound messaging for sending your POA. Sellers can also create new, fresh emails and appeals into the main Seller Performance queues when performance or policy teams take down their ASINs. If it’s a technical glitch or some sort of catalog error that deactivates your listing, open Trouble tickets with catalog teams or Brand Registry.
Seller Support can give instructions on how to self terminate an active account, but we only advise sellers to do this if they’re 100% sure they never want to sell again on Amazon, in any form. This can be difficult to undo. Often sellers try to close a poorly performing account hoping to “start over” again in the future, but Amazon closes that new account for relations to a past account that they were about to shut down. Sellers who want a do-over cannot depend on a reboot if there’s a poorly performing account in their past.
Sellers still often tell Amazon they want to close an account that is already closed, due to their own misunderstanding of what account closure means to Amazon. This will not “undo” a suspension for you, or eliminate restrictions they have placed on you. There’s no way to request that they close your account when it’s already suspended.
Yes, unless you have permission from Seller Performance teams. Sellers who show a “legitimate business reason” can request to open a second account, but the reasons must prove more than just an interest in convenience or in protecting yourself from an account suspension. Additional accounts cannot offer the same listed products or even the same brands. You must operate a separate business under a different Tax ID and maintain full separation between businesses so that there are no overlaps which would result in a competitive advantage against other sellers. That’s Amazon’s main concern.
Amazon can take anywhere from a few hours to several days to review an account. It depends on how many other accounts are being reviewed at the same time, as they are continually adjusting workflow throughout the day depending on the email queue levels and escalations. Certainly, sellers have learned not to count on Amazon doing anything too quickly anymore, so plan ahead. Be ready to submit requests for updates or to push them to respond with an escalation letter if they’re unreliable and not following their own Service Level Agreement (SLAs) in terms of response times.
Many sellers are new to Amazon and don’t understand how they have failed the account registration process. There could be inconsistent documentation with conflicting information that led to a failed registration, and Amazon will only reinstate if all documents are presented again, in total, and without errors. As with all account closures, Amazon will only reinstate the account if they receive a viable appeal with all necessary info attached. If you prove to be incapable of submitting everything they need to verify and reinstate, they’ll eventually stop replying. But as with other kinds of appeals, there’s no “hard count” or set number of appeals they’ll review.