Season 1, Episode 124

What do you do when Amazon Forgets that you’re Reinstated?

In this chaotic final quarter of 2023, sellers are facing an unprecedented challenge with immediate resuspensions following reinstatements. Despite being recently reinstated, many wake up to find their listings suspended yet again, a problem that seems to be intensifying.
In this episode, Chris and Leah will not only shed light on these occurrences but also explore the response (or lack thereof) from support teams, the ineffectiveness of traditional escalation processes, and the strategies sellers can employ to navigate these turbulent times.

Show Notes


[00:00:00] Chris: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to Seller Performance Solutions. I’m Chris McCabe. I’m here with Leah McHugh. We are both from ecommerceChris and we’re tackling a hot topic, for this hectic, crazy Q4 2023. Immediate resuspension problems, I guess we’d call it after you’re reinstated. Is that fair to say?

[00:00:22] Leah: Yeah. Yeah. You got it.

[00:00:23] Chris: Well sometimes I get tongue tied and then you swoop in and say things clearly. We’ve seen it ASIN level, and account level. So some people get suspended. They have to write back in and say, you just reinstated us. That can work. And in the past it worked better than it does now.

I’m not sure we have a great answer for why that is, but we see it more common on the ASIN level, right? The ASIN gets reinstated. We reviewed what you sent us. Have a nice day. Your listing’s back up. You wake up the next day, it’s back down right.

[00:00:57] Leah: Yeah, my theory on this and why we’re seeing it more now is that I believe that they have changed.

They’ve made a change to the internal tools because I’m also seeing a lot more people with a policy warning saying that your listing has been removed, and then a few days later you’ll get a policy warning for the same ASIN saying it’s at risk of removal even though I already removed it a few days ago. So my assumption is that they’ve made some sort of change in the tools that is allowing these errors to happen that weren’t Possible as much before.

[00:01:26] Chris: But the part that’s… which is true I think what you’re saying, based on our experiences. But what’s the same as before is when you start opening cases or calling account health or Emailing through email queues saying, what the heck are you talking about? We just solved this. The copy and paste responses are the same as they’ve always been.

The generic, we need this. And you know, no recognition that you’ve just solved it.

[00:01:50] Leah: I mean, I think account health has gotten a little bit better at this. We certainly have had conversations where they can see that it was just reinstated and they escalate it to the internal team for re-review.

Unfortunately, that often could, if you don’t push them, just be weeks of them waiting for a response from that team. So they can give you the right information, but they can’t really resolve it quickly, generally.

[00:02:13] Chris: And we’re going to cover Internal account health based or initiated escalations on another episode, because there’s a lot to say about that.

But yes, in brief today, we’ll just say, you can’t count on this escalation functioning as a real escalation. Number one. Number two, it could take forever. The word escalation gets thrown around loosely, as we’ve said in many episodes in three years of this podcast by sellers. Now, unfortunately, is being thrown around by account health reps.

And I think it’s building up some false hope. Occasionally it does pan out. And things are fixed, right, within 24, 48 hours, but you really have to stay on top of them.

[00:02:53] Leah: Yeah, and also, as with most of Amazon’s teams, it is very much the luck of the draw of who you spoke to.

[00:02:59] Chris: Yeah, and be prepared. I’m not saying expect failure, but be prepared to call back and follow up on this and have them say, that wasn’t escalated, wasn’t supposed to be. Don’t know what you’re talking about. Don’t know who you talked to. Keep the name of the person you talk to noted. Talk about things that we’ve mentioned in numerous podcasts throughout 2023, keeping the name of account health reps and the date and time you called. I’m not saying that’s the be all end all, but it helps because you can quote them back to them, or sometimes you get the same person.

You can say, I spoke to you on the 24th. But short of that, you can say, I spoke to this person, they’re an account health rep that we’ve dealt with in the past, maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. But get them to do some research into the notes and annotations on, has it actually been reviewed and appreciated that we’ve already fixed this, and this ASIN was already reinstated. And one idea I had is maybe point out, hey, you know, look at the dates of our sales. We sold for two days before you took it down again. Or even we sold for two hours, don’t you think that would be useful to mention. The amount of sales or the dates of sales, maybe just to get them to go look.

[00:04:09] Leah: Maybe. Again, it depends who you get.

[00:04:11] Chris: Trying to be creative with it, but we’re just seeing a lot of retroactive listing suspensions, re-suspensions. Start step one with, this was already fixed. Step two, if they come back to you with the original language of, Oh no, no, no, you need to give us this, this, and this as if they didn’t even notice that you’ve been reinstated, immediately count. Don’t just go back into the same cycle that you started with. Immediately say, we gave that information on these dates. This is when it was reinstated. You did an internal escalation or an account health escalation that hasn’t been reviewed or adjudicated yet. What are your next steps for us? And if they keep babbling the same nonsense at you, then you have to take other measures and escalate it via your primary email address. You have to start emailing escalations. Fair to say.

[00:05:05] Leah: Yeah. And I think that’s usually where most sellers miss the mark they just wait for account health to get back to them, which may or may not ever happen. So you have to consider that to be the first step. And I wouldn’t even really wait. I would just immediately then also start doing my own escalations as well. So, there’s no reason that they can’t be happening simultaneously.

[00:05:27] Chris: Exactly. I would wait. If they say we’re calling you in 24 hours…

[00:05:31] Leah: oh, yeah. I mean, 24 hours, sure.

[00:05:33] Chris: Because they have been saying this. Or sometimes they call randomly and say, we will call you within X amount of time. But good news, bad news, as usual. The good news is maybe they will, and sometimes they do, and maybe they’ll fix it. And you’ve already got notes about who you’re expecting to call back in 24 hours.

The bad news is if they don’t do it, you have to do another escalation, but you’re going to at least mention that they promised you the call within 24 hours and they didn’t hold up their end. Because that alone is a basis of an escalation beyond the fact that you’ve already appealed following their protocols.

You already got reinstated and they took you back down with no explanation in the original messaging when they shut you back down. And presumably you called account health already once or twice and you had no explanation there. You can cite both of those things. So you’re just building a case. For an escalation, right?

[00:06:30] Leah: Yeah, it’s very similar to which we actually don’t see as much as we used to, but it’s very similar to when they used to send out a notification saying that you had been reinstated, but then forgot to actually reinstate it on there.

[00:06:43] Chris: That too

[00:06:43] Leah: It’s a very similar process that we don’t actually see as much. But it’s really just pushing them to look at their own logs and notes and realize that they have made a mistake. Which usually requires multiple touch points to get it to happen.

[00:07:00] Chris: I think you don’t see it with some of your compliance and brand registry cases as much, but we’re still seeing it with things that we work on, or things that I work on.

[00:07:08] Leah: But yeah, we don’t really get it as much on the compliance side.

[00:07:11] Chris: I’ve had some situations lately where either account health or the written messaging says, yeah, we got it. We already reinstated you, and they just didn’t do it. And then again, you can do the quickie follow up, talk to support, talk to account health, talk to your account manager, talk to whoever and find out, is this just a tool. But sometimes the burden, the onus is on you to say, I think you guys forget to uncheck a box when you do this, and then it clicks and then they get it.

Because up until that point, which sounds ridiculous, I’ve had between 5 and 10 clients tell me last couple of months, why do we have to tell them how to use their own tools? Why do we have to remind them that they might have missed something? Why don’t they just double check? You know, they’ve seen that situation before, they know the scenario, why doesn’t it resonate in their heads? Like, oh, somebody probably just didn’t take the action in the tools. Why do we have to say dear Executive Cellular Relations? Why do you even have to go to Executive Cellular Relations to say, I think you guys forgot to take the action in your tools?

[00:08:12] Leah: Well, I have lots of questions about why they do things the way that they do them. So, I’ve just accepted the fact that I will never get a good answer to any of them.

[00:08:20] Chris: And I know it stinks that you have to often remind them of things you shouldn’t have to remind them of. But again, that’s the bad news. The good news is often when you do just put this in the first sentence or the second sentence and you do remind them, it’ll click, they’ll go look, they’ll fix it.

Obviously it has to be somebody who understands what the heck you’re talking about.

[00:08:40] Leah: And has the ability to actually fix whatever the problem is. Not all of the teams have the ability to uncheck that specific box.

[00:08:47] Chris: Right. But even if they don’t have the authority, they can nudge someone, open a case, open a ticket saying, I think what happened here was blank. And maybe they’ll take credit for what you told them. And I know it’s preposterous and ridiculous that sellers have to do this, but it is fixable. I mean, we’re here on this podcast trying to talk about measures that you can employ to resolve some of these things. And we have seen people who don’t mention these little reminders for Amazon teams who go seven to 10 extra days without sales. I’m laughing because it’s bizarre and unfortunate, not because it’s funny of course.

[00:09:21] Leah: Well, and I think part of the problem is, is if it’s resolved on Amazon’s side, what ends up happening to a lot of those cases is that they automatically get routed to support. And support doesn’t have the knowledge or the access to see what’s wrong. So their standard response then is like, Oh, you should just try re uploading your listings. Maybe that’ll fix it. And so you get stuck in this loop of you’re giving the wrong information and they don’t have access to the right information.

[00:09:47] Chris: Right. Or as we’ve seen in umpteen cases, support reps start telling you, well, make a new listing, make a new ASIN.

[00:09:53] Leah: Yeah. Don’t do that, by the way. If you’re listing is blocked, don’t just make a new one to get around the block.

[00:10:00] Chris: Yeah.

[00:10:00] Leah: That will put your entire account at risk. And then you have to explain why you violated yet another policy by creating a duplicate listing.

[00:10:08] Chris: Not only that. You may be prone to saying in the appeal, support told us to do it, which of course somebody in seller performance or enforcement teams will look at that and say, of course they did. They always do that. No one seems interested in stopping them from doing that.

[00:10:22] Leah: I also had to account health for a while telling people to just make a new listing, which was also interesting. They seem to have stopped doing that.

[00:10:30] Chris: Yeah.

[00:10:30] Leah: But yeah, just terrible, terrible advice. Don’t do that.

[00:10:33] Chris: Once again, I know we’ll do another episode about terrible advice. There’s so many pieces to fit into that episode. We’re gonna get some specific examples into another episode talking about specific pieces of bad advice that really get sellers in the hot water. I haven’t seen as many appeals where sellers blame Amazon for giving them the bad advice because I think everyone understands that bad advice is commonplace now, but it still happens. And, obviously don’t say that in your appeal, but I don’t know if that’s ever going to change. Didn’t we see a commonly asked question on the seller forums? Why is seller support? What is it? Why are they so unresponsive? Or why are they so bad? Is that what the question was?

[00:11:11] Leah: People are still asking that?

[00:11:12] Chris: That’s what I’m saying. We’ll do an episode on why are people still asking that. Because that’s not going to change.

[00:11:18] Leah: Sometimes I think it’s It’s getting worse.

[00:11:22] Chris: Well then if that’s how you feel, we’re definitely doing a separate episode on that because…

[00:11:26] Leah: yeah, that’ll be an easy one.

[00:11:28] Chris: When every member of this system, when every stakeholder in the entire marketplace agrees that it’s that bad, including Amazon, and it still doesn’t change, then I shouldn’t think that there’s any expectation that it will ever change.

[00:11:42] Leah: So I actually have a theory on this, but I will save it.

[00:11:45] Chris: Save that for a rainy day or next episode. So if anyone’s had one of these re-suspension situations, obviously, if it’s account wide, you should probably let us know sooner than later so we can give you some more details on some of these tips. But if it’s ASIN level, it’s happening a lot. Not just in Q4, it kind of happens on a regular basis at this point. Let us know. We are here to help. We at Seller Performance Solutions are here to offer viable solutions. So, thanks again for listening. Thanks, Leah. Talk to you next time.

Hosts & Guests

Leah McHugh

Chris McCabe





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