Facing an account suspension on Amazon is a nightmare for any seller. The pressure to appeal for reinstatement could lead sellers to make critical mistakes that harm their chances of success. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the top five mistakes sellers often make when attempting to get reinstated on Amazon.
By understanding the pitfalls to avoid and by adopting a strategic approach, you will improve your chances of regaining your selling privileges.
1 — Haste Makes waste
Amazon’s Account Health teams frequently give sellers a “heads up” about potential account suspensions, allowing only 72 hours to prepare a convincing Plan of Action (POA). This tight deadline often leads sellers to panic and submit weak appeals. The problem is that rushed work usually produces at best an incomplete or “not ready for primetime” draft. At worst, it leads to badly written appeals that create additional damage, which then sets up a series of rejections no seller would enjoy. Don’t just respond as quickly as possible to get something unpleasant over with. Also consider the tendency of seller performance investigator bias against future appeals you submit if the first or second attempts come across poorly.
You could begin a solid outline towards an appeal draft with only a couple of hours to focus on it, but an outline does not represent a comprehensive approach to appeal writing. You need to keep in mind that the person on the Amazon side who reads it and decides your fate only needs one reason to reject you –if they find one early on, they don’t bother to read the rest of the appeal. Even if they do manage to annotate the reasons why it’s denied, it will likely be basic, threadbare comments about a hard to follow, incomplete or unacceptable appeal that lacks the details you would have added if you took more care instead of rushing it.
2 — Waiting too long to get Help with your Amazon appeal
I understand that not everyone wants to read baseball analogies when it comes to reinstatement appeal strategies, but it’s just so apt for this situation for me to pass it by. If you went to bat in the first inning, and swung and missed at three straight pitches, you’d probably try a different approach the next time you came up to bat, right? Unfortunately, we usually hear from sellers who strike out several times in the appeals “game” before they come to us. They haven’t changed tactics other than where they send an appeal, and their POA or reinstatement appeal barely changes other than superficial, cosmetic edits. Bottom line, the seller hasn’t improved their odds of acceptance because their appeals remain weak and “easy to reject” or they just look like they’re guessing, unsure of what to do next.
Whether sellers choose at the outset to pursue their own reinstatement or if they decide to hire a service based on positive reviews that they consider valid, the song stays the same: Amazon won’t accept poor appeals. If their subsequent “escalations” fall on deaf ears, don’t complicate the matter by compounding mistakes. Unless you have some relevant past success reinstating accounts or ASINs, and unless you understand the escalation strategies required to get you “unstuck” when Amazon rejects your appeals, you shouldn’t assume that you will eventually figure things out. If anything, you’re digging yourself a deeper hole. If you dig too deeply, even the best help out there may not be enough to save you.
We work with Amazon sellers who cannot afford to walk away because there’s way too much at stake. How many other profitable Amazon accounts do you have?
3 — Thinking that Escalation of an Appeal means simply asking for one, or writing to Jeff
Anyone inside or outside of Amazon who tells you that you’re “Escalating” any type of appeal by simply asking Support reps, Account Health reps, or even paid account managers to submit one for you is unclear on what it means to escalate an appeal for reinstatement.
For one thing, Jeff’s now very far from appeal reinstatement queues. He’s still on Amazon’s board but he’s not CEO, and emailing him directly funnels an appeal through all sorts of mundane, run-of-the-mill channels. You shouldn’t count on one of his many underlings to push your reinstatement appeal to a seasoned veteran of the account suspension wars, because that was the old days. Nowadays, messages from investigators (who may or may not be well-trained) often reference Executive Seller Relation teams. Yet, this person may only skim it, at best, before denying it. It does not guarantee an expert or senior level review, like it used to years ago, before every seller under the sun began emailing Jeff around the clock.
Additionally, escalating doesn’t mean blindly sending your appeal to quantities of Amazonians on whatever team, at whatever level. Most of the time, Amazon won’t treat them as escalations. You’ll just be spamming out of desperation, which rarely if ever works. An escalation needs to encourage whomever you are escalating to to get your appeal reviewed again by someone with proper training, and authority to reinstate.
Keep in mind, escalations, even in the best of times, don’t always succeed on the first try. Amazon uses minimal Quality Assurance to watch over any team empowered to reinstate you, so each appeal attempt should be treated as precious. If investigation auditing remains functionally non-existent at Amazon, that means you can’t burn down viable channels or waste time thinking that Jeff will save you. He’s a faded appeal path.
4 — Asking the Wrong Consultants, Sellers or Novices To Help You
Every week we see a new service that pops up in Google searches, professing to have reinstated not hundreds but thousands of seller accounts and listings, and saving numerous businesses, jobs, and dollars with their expert level work. Most of them we’ve never heard of once, let alone the dozens of times you’d expect if they had been in business nearly as long as they pretended. In some cases, they even claim to have former Amazon staff on their payroll. It will surprise none of you to hear that their websites don’t name these ex-Amazonians and won’t show their faces, instead choosing generic stock photos that anyone can find and use online.
It also won’t surprise you to hear that in our experience, those “Services” rarely succeed in anything other than collecting your money. They demonstrate appeals prowess by sending you copy and paste-style templates that go to generic targets. Our clients often share past, failed appeals with us, so we can spot these templates a mile away. Consider also that we AREN’T reading an appeal every 4 minutes, the way Seller
Performance investigators are. If we can spot them, so can Amazon teams, and they won’t waste time on generic POAs. It just shows them you don’t care about this.
Word got out long ago that people can score some big bucks by faking expertise, and that sellers will pay them for it, as long as the cost involved is low. If any of this worked, there would be no need for appeals strategies, for escalations, or for any high-level approaches to reinstatement. While the company names often change, the tactics, stories, and shallow claims at past success don’t. You can’t waste appeals by falling for any of this stuff, because Amazon won’t take pity on your dozen or so rejected appeals before you figure it out. Instead, they’ll question your decision-making skills, having seen you doubling down on past mistakes by hiring poorly -vetted service providers.
In brief, they won’t believe you belong in the marketplace.
5 — Believing that you “Up the Ante” By Using a Lawyer to Appeal
We understand that numerous attorneys running around the Amazon space pitch services as if any appeals-related issue is a legal issue, even if they’re not. Lawyers often tend to peddle the concept that they have friends or colleagues within Amazon Legal, or that they can help you push Amazon to care more shout an appeal simply because a lawyer goes to bat for you. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I’ll tell you why. Unless you’re looking at confronting Amazon teams with abundant offenses they’ve committed during a legal process, you’re not scaring Amazon into buckling at all. Legal letters get ignored or not taken seriously internally just as everyday appeals submissions via Seller Central frequently do.
As most sellers already know, by signing the BSA and agreeing to Amazon’s TOS for third-party sellers, you’ve already agreed not to sue the company. Legal threats become empty threats as well their awareness that most sellers won’t have the patience or funds to go through arbitration, and at that, they know they will win a majority of those. Threats to escalate within Amazon Legal only carry some weight if the attorney has had past success speaking with specific attorneys within Amazon, for the same or similar cases. If they have previously motivated Legal to accept their arguments to reverse a prior determination, and to reinstate sellers for a similar situation, then go for it.
Just make sure that this is actually the case and don’t blindly believe what you’re told. How often have you heard publicly of Amazon Legal caving in or accepting defeat? Would you not have heard about it a lot, if so many law firms succeeded in doing this?
We hope that you’ll change up your present or future strategies to appeal suspensions if you’ve fallen into any of these traps in the past. The first step in ensuring a proper, acceptable reinstatement appeal is to avoid making these basic errors. You’ll be glad that you gave your account the best chance to get back up, live and selling. If you don’t, you’ll kick yourself for repeating past mistakes that kill your odds of resolution.