Season 1, Episode 105
Don’t Keep Waiting for Amazon Teams to Get Back to You
Chris: [00:00:00] Hey everybody, this is Chris McCabe. Welcome back to another episode of Seller Performance Solutions.
I’m once again with Leah McHugh. How are you?
Leah: Good. How are you?
Chris: Good. I’m all fired up today. I don’t know if I look or sound fired up, but–
Leah: You can be fired up today. I think I was the fired up one last week.
Chris: Right. You’ve been more fired up lately. I’ve heard so many sellers, either via consults or just email exchanges, whatever it might be, talking about Amazon telling them to wait and I wanna dissect this. What do you do when Amazon says, just wait. Don’t do anything. Get into this a little bit because too many people are waiting too long and I think sometimes they’re waiting in vain for nothing or they do eventually get a response around the time it was promised.
Maybe a couple days, maybe, 10 days later, it seems like there’s a wide range of days that you’re being asked to wait. But the answer could be exactly what you were getting before, so why would you wait just to get the same answer.
Leah: Yeah. And I think that is kind of the risk of waiting is that, Well, [00:01:00] one, you’re waiting for nothing.
Which does sometimes happen. Or two, you’re waiting for just the same answer and now you’ve wasted an additional, however many days when you could have been doing something else. So, it’s interesting because I feel like for a while the compliance team was very into the like, 10 days, we’ll get back to you in 10 days.
I actually haven’t seen that as much lately. But then I think, I think it was brand registry? Someone in brand registry the other day was like, oh, this will be resolved within 14 days. And I was like, two weeks. Where did that number come from? And it was something to do with the listing. It was like making a change to a listing.
And they were like, oh, it’ll take 14 days. And it’s like, why? Why would that take 14 days, first of all, and where did you pull that number from?
Chris: That’s a good place to start because I think some of it is the internal team is trying to estimate based on the last time they transferred a ticket or a case somewhere.
They’re trying to guesstimate based on what it, what the average time is or for that particular team that they’re sending it over to. Maybe they’ve even been told by reps on that [00:02:00] team. Well, this is taking us 11 days lately. So it might not be just pulled out of the air. There might be some validity to it, but no one seems to notice that these are extremely long periods of time to wait for issues that an impacted ASIN, I mean, that seller could be losing 10 or 20 or 30K a day or a week.
Leah: Right. And a lot of times I’ll get those sorts of timeframes when Amazon is the one at fault. Like it’s an error on Amazon side and they’re just apparently are no hurry to correct it and so my concern there is if you do just continue to wait for these arbitrary amounts of time.
You’re essentially telling whoever this has been delegated to that they can put it on the back burner and you’ll just wait. I mean it’s a fine line because you also don’t wanna like harass the teams or course scam the queues, but also just waiting over and over again. Just tells them like, oh, well I can take my time on this they’re not going to give me a hard time.
Chris: Right. They want to see who’s willing to wait. So you don’t wanna be willing to wait just to [00:03:00] sound cooperative but not solve the problem. You of course don’t wanna antagonize them with spam, like you were just saying, we would never recommend that, but you may have to go to a different team and say, the team that deals with this issue just makes us wait, or just sends us the same generic template over and over and over.
And bottom line, the problem isn’t solved and we’re not even convinced it’s being thoroughly reviewed. It’d be one thing if you knew they were researching it for real. And if you waited five to seven days, you were actually going to get a quality answer at the end of that period. If there were track record of that or precedent for that, if you had been through it before and you knew you got a positive outcome, or at least a well researched mm-hmm you know, comprehensively reviewed outcome at the end of that seven days, then, then maybe you are willing to wait because you know, the waiting has a purpose but if you’re not even sure, and if the Amazonians talking to you on the phone or messaging you in writing are dubious [00:04:00] that they’re even sure that there’s going to be a real outcome there. Why would you wait in the first place you just cost yourself? Time, angst, money, energy.
Leah: Yeah. Well, and we’ve also seen people dealing with the strategic account services team, who, all they ever got back in response to their escalation request was, oh, we’re working on it. We’ll get back to you. This has been delegated. The team will get back to you. 30 days pass you ask for a follow up and they’re like, oh, it’s been more than 30 days. You have to open a new case now.
Chris: Yeah. And I’ve got two good recent client examples, that are totally different from each other.
One was people trying to jump on a listing, trying to hijack the buy box, brand new sellers. Sellers that did not have any track record at all on Amazon and also did not source test buys later showed that they did not source legitimate product of this brand. Amazon sat on it for, this was an SAS, this was an account manager opening a ticket, through the SAS core program. Many, many days went by maybe 10, 11, 12 days. And then the answer came [00:05:00] back, oh, we found the problem. It’s because you’re not authorized to sell this product. And they sent this to the brand owner. So they were just answering.
Leah: Well, that’s another thing as well. You can also wait to then get a completely nonsensical answer again, another case that I worked on recently, they got a call back from somebody saying, oh, great news, ASIN blah, blah blah has been reinstated and it’s fully active. The ASIN that they had reinstated and was fully active, had absolutely nothing to do with that seller.
That seller had no idea what product that they were referring to, they had just completely confused the cases. That they had them waiting for a response for and then had absolutely no idea about their actual product that they were trying to get fixed.
Chris: So if you’re the brand owner and you’re being asked to get permission from the brand owner to sell the item, or even to submit a rights owner infringement, which is what happened in this case, the rights owner submitted a rights owner infringement claim.
Completely botched and this was somebody who had the paid account management program. So very, very disconcerting. The [00:06:00] other case I was going to, mention that I was thinking about was abuse reporting, right? So there’s listing violations, there’s harm being committed to the buyer experience on the site.
There could be something illegal happening. There could be something illicit that breaks Amazon policies, that’s deliberate, that’s malicious, and they’re just telling people, oh, it’s still being reviewed.
Leah: Or they just don’t respond at all. You submit a abuse report and just you never really hear anything.
Chris: I mean, people start calling into account health teams, and I understand account health reps aren’t necessarily in the poll position to resolve the issue, but they can get insights into the issue and tell you what’s going on. And they kept calling in not every day, maybe every other day.
And the account health reps just kept saying, yep, we can see it’s being reviewed, but it’s still being reviewed. You just have to wait until they continue to review it. Right? So like 21 days later, you could have called into account health again, and they would’ve just given you the same answer over and over without any trace of irony of, well, it’s actually not being reviewed. If you keep telling me it’s being reviewed, right?
Leah: Yeah. Just because it says under review, doesn’t mean it’s actually [00:07:00] being reviewed.
Chris: Or again, just to offer some insights on how things work on the inside. The ticket could have been assigned to a particular person or investigator.
It could be locked to that person. And that person could be buried under hundreds of tickets and they’re going to get to it when they get to it, which could be next month. It could be next six months or they’re on vacation and it’s locked to them until they get back from vacation.
I mean, you don’t know any of that. And the person who transferred it that might not have even known that it was going to stay locked to that person for a while. So unless somebody goes in there and takes that ticket away from that employee, I mean, we could go on and on. The bottom line is don’t sit there patiently waiting just because you’re told to wait.
Cast a skeptical eye on the patience is best advice that they give you, because it could be self-serving advice.
Leah: Yeah, absolutely, and particularly because the people that you are able to speak to on the phone often can’t see the details once a case is locked to somebody. So they can see that it’s been assigned and they can see the status, but they usually can’t access the actual [00:08:00] information within the case once it’s been assigned to somebody else.
So any information that they’re giving you is usually an educated guess.
Chris: And I like that you brought up the 10 days compliance. You do all the compliance stuff.
Leah: Well, they stopped saying that, thankfully.
Chris: Right. But what about the fact that you were supposed to be able to call into account health reps and get some answers on compliance cases. Now, wasn’t that like a Early in 2023 thing that came up.
Leah: It wasn’t something that they ever announced. It was just something that I had noticed that account health does appear to have a little bit more information when it comes to compliance cases, but still not a ton. And I think that’s intentional. I mean, it is a legal team. It’s very similar to Amazon’s just general legal team. You can’t really call into account health and get information on that. So I really don’t spend a lot of time with account health for compliance, even though they do have a little bit more information than they did before.
Chris: Right. And we can kind of close with full account suspensions because some people are being told to wait, when they submitted a subsequent appeal through Seller Central, maybe they emailed it in. [00:09:00] And those sellers haven’t received responses for a while in some of those suspension cases. And it looks like Amazon may have just kind of closed the door on them, but account health reps are still telling people to wait for a reply that’s not coming.
If your entire account is suspended, you already can’t afford to wait because you’ve probably been suspended for a certain number of days or weeks, maybe even months. So cast a skeptical eye as well on the well, they’re just backed up. You’re going to have to wait because they’re going through a huge pile of these that might not be true.
You might not be expecting an answer, or they might just send the same answer, which doesn’t tell you anything. One of those, you haven’t given us enough details. You haven’t, provided sufficient information. So what if you wait and wait, and wait, and you get an answer that is so vague and so opaque.
That doesn’t help you understand anyway and you’re calling account health reps anyway, after you get the response right, to find out why you got that denial, right?
So the ever-growing pile of suspended full account [00:10:00] suspension situations, it’s not just that there’s a backlog. Yes. Is there a backlog? Of course there is. There always is. But it’s really interesting to have all these conversations with suspended sellers. Some of them get answers within 10 or 11 minutes. Which shows that, I mean, it would’ve taken longer than that to read the POA.
Leah: Well, it’s the same with compliance. My general rule is if you get an answer within less than 24 hours, it hasn’t actually been transferred to compliance.
Chris: Right, you’re looking for the happy medium. Not to get an answer too fast. Don’t answer me so right away that you clearly didn’t read anything I sent you, just send me denial messaging, but also you can’t wait forever and internal Amazon teams know what other teams are like in terms of the communication, in terms of the backlogs, in terms of the very watered down, opaque messaging they send out, so they understand, don’t be afraid to pester some other people about the team that you haven’t heard from, because those other teams do understand [00:11:00] from their own experiences what it might be like to deal with them as a seller.
So, Keep that in mind as well. You won’t be shocking anyone at the company by referring seller performance matter to them and expressing some frustration. Not too much, but factual frustration, I like to call it. Because you don’t wanna wait. You know, everyone hates waiting. Of course. You don’t wanna wait in vain, there might not be anything coming.
Leah: There’s a tendency to get stuck in a loop, and I feel like that’s where a lot of people are when they reach out to us, right? They’re stuck in a loop of they submit information, they wait. They get either the same response back that they got before or they get asked for something completely unrelated that doesn’t really make any sense.
So they submit that, they wait, they wait some more, they get another nonsensical response, and they just kind of get stuck in this cycle. And that’s what you don’t want to do. And that’s usually where people come to us at when they are stuck and they don’t really know what the next step should be.
Chris: Hopefully before that point. when you’re in the vicious cycle, it’s often because you’ve appealed. It got [00:12:00] rejected. You called Account Health. They didn’t tell you exactly why it was denied. They just gave you their opinion or suggestions based on their training, in terms of what they think you need to send in next, which might be opinion and not factual.
So if it gets rejected again, you kind of know why, if you’re just following their general advice or opinions, because obviously the person evaluating the appeal didn’t agree with the person who gave you the advice. So another episode for another time. If you’ve been waiting too long and you’re trying to figure out what to do next and you’re stuck, feel free to reach out to us.
We talk to people about this, I would say every day at this point.
Leah: Multiple times a day. Yeah.
Chris: Multiple times a day. So we’re no strangers to this. And we’ll listen to your story and give you some advice. Thanks again for listening. Thanks again, Leah. Talk to you again soon.
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