AS 65: How my entire account got suspended on Amazon, and how I was unsuspended, an Indepth Story
17 Oct 2016
A king has fallen. My entire account got suspended on Amazon.
My heart instantly froze and felt like a giant rock. If I was 45 I probably would’ve had a heart attack. It felt like a vacuum of pressure was sucking my heart toward my stomach. All the horror stories you hear… there are true. Survivors are a few and far between. This an in-depth story of how I just got suspended, and then how I got unsuspended, all in the same day. Not even I, sir david was immune to wrath.
This is the AmzSecrets show, with your host David Aladdin. A battle but was lost, but the war is just beginning.
Today’s podcast is sponsored by AmzSecrets.com VIP. We build powerful tools to supercharge your Amazon listings.
I recently had a listener email me in regards to vip and they said:
Looks great David.
I admit I have not joined the VIP yet, however looking at the video it was the first time I understood the VIP is beyond a forum with secrets, but actual tools you have developed.
I love listing to your podcasts too.
His email was good feedback. The question is am I explaining the product as best as possible? This question not only applies to AmzSecrets VIP, but it made me ask myself this question about my private label products. Am I explaining the product as best as possible? Does the end customer understand what is for sale? They say the average person spends 7 seconds on a website, deciding whether or not he will buy or leave. So you’ve got 7 seconds to inform them, or lose them.
Today’s episode, episode 64 – How my entire account got suspended on Amazon, and how to get unsuspended.
It began like this.
I finally decided to upgrade my phone, and I went to Verizon. I got a new phone and number and began the process of changing my phone numbers for my accounts including Amazon.
At 5pm, As I went into seller central, I changed my phone number for notifications, customer support, and my business phone number.
Literally the second I changed my business phone number, my account gained the red notification bubble inside of seller central. It said “You selling privileges has been suspended.”
I hit refresh, and the red bubble is still there. This isn’t some mistake. I then go to my inventory, the 17+ sku’s I have in there, and I click on each one, and see if they are still active.
None of them are active any more. I go to my store front, and look there, and my storefront is quickly evaporating with only 2 SKUs on it now. … refresh F5! And then none. I went back into seller central, and now, seller central looks more different…worst.
A massive notification bar inside of Amazon sprawled across the top that said
“Amazon has suspended your account. Please refer to the email from Amazon to learn more about the status of your account.” In white and red.
I was in complete horror. Words cannot describe it. I thought of my manufacturers. I thought of the 4 ocean shipping containers floating across the ocean on their way to Amazon FBA. I thought of the air freight shipment that I have already paid for, ready to deliver goods for 4th quarter.
I am the real santa clause, as mentioned in episode 57, AmzSecrets.com/57, except they had taken my raindeer.
I feel like I’m a pretty calm dude, especially in the face of disaster. But when this happened, I was shocked. I felt destroyed.
Immediately I went to seller central forums. I started querying in rapid fire, 100 characters per minute questions and variations of instances to see if others had the same issue. Keep in mind this was all at the same time, where every listing had been now turned off. BSR was slowly getting worst (in my mind).
In fact there are 2 documented instances.
One seller had changed his bank account number, and the instant he had done it, he was suspended. He was then asked an unrelated question about his account, which he wasn’t able to produce a viable answer, and seller central decided to keep his account suspended. WTF.
Another seller had changed his phone number as well and got suspended. The thread got darker and darker with other sellers mentioning his account got connected to another seller account or what not. The thread never finished.
Around 6pm, I switch to my email and start browsing through all my emails to see if Amazon had emailed me in regards to why they suspended me. Nothing. So I thought, I could either continue waiting and expect Amazon to say something, which they probably wouldn’t or I can open a case.
You don’t even know how scary this is. The red flag of death I want to call it. In my specific case of suspension I immediately knew this was connected to a phone number I had just added. I added the phone number, then was instantly suspeneded.
Was this new phone number connected to someone elses suspended seller account? What would the chances of that be.
Now, I’ve talked a lot in detail with guests in episode 39, amzsecrets.com/39 about amazon seller suspension and what to do. I honestly didn’t want to pay $2000 or whatever fee for someone to write a seller suspension draft up. No offense, but I’m more of a doer. So I did it myself.
When you get suspended, you are not allowed to open any cases, except related to your seller suspension. Interesting software coding they have in place..
My seller response was directly related to my incident
I highly Recommend you stay extremely related to what’s going on, be honest, and state facts rather than use a pre-cut template. Do this once your raging temper has calmed down, the swears and personality have cooled down.
My response went something like this,
I recently changed my phone number, and my account was instantly suspended. My seller account status previous to this was:
Order defect rate: < 1%
Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
Late shipment rate: < 4%
Valid tracking rate – all categories: > 95%
Where I stated my exact ODR rate, etc.
All the products I sell are new, and I use Fulfillment by Amazon for all shipping.
Let me know if there is any information you guys need.
Amazon wants to hear to one thing, confidence in you that you respect their platform, their TOS, and that your metrics prove that you do.
Show that you are a good seller, and you constantly abide by their TOS , state your metrics, versus amazons required metrics and exceed them.
That’s pretty much exactly how my unsuspension letter went, and it worked. Amazon Seller Performance responded within 30 minutes…lightning fast response time in my opinion and their letter went like this:
We reviewed your account and the information you provided, and we have decided that you may sell on Amazon.com again.
In our efforts to protect our community, we sometimes err on the side of caution. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.
Seller Performance Team
WHATTT. So key take always here are, be highly relevant to your issue. Be honest with them. State your business customer metrics as that is the highest importance to Amazon. And keep any personal “business” things out, like saying you have 14 employees you need to take care of. Amazon doesn’t care about how large your business is, how many employees you serve. They care about their customers, and if they are getting the best customer service from your 14 employees.
Why? Because you could be a terrible founder, with 14 employees that have no idea how to treat a customer and it all stems from you.
So saying all this now is easy. I had absolutely zero control of what was going to happen. The worst part about this was my account was suspended by some algorithm, an Amazon SuspensionBot and it had to be reversed by a human.
A human had to understand that I was a good seller, and the fate of the business laid in his thoughts, analysis of the business. Everything was on his decision. Who was he. Was he. The guy who stood at my castle, and brought the kingdom to its knees.
And that is the scary part of it. That there was a small chance that I could have remained banned. What would happen to all the freight in passage.
All the preparation that has led up to this point, all the hard work over the past year completely could have been wiped just because I changed my phone number.
As much as I have diversified my businesses, my Amazon business is top heavy, with a lot invested in it. Losing Amazon would hurt my overall business portfolio significantly. I have 3 other businesses, mostly running on autopilot. But I was top heavy on Amazon.
This event has changed the way I view Amazon. Over the next 365 days, I will be refraining from expanding my product line further, but improving logisitics , increasing cashflow in my business, adding assets, to sustain rainy months of business and diversifying my business further.
If you listened to previous podcasts, this 4th quarter I went all out. I put it all on the line so that I could break out of the middle class, and be a king.
And for a seller suspension to happen in this moment, it was the worst timing. Thankfully we’re back in business, but this was a huge wake up call that any day, the raindeer could be taken.
Another thing to worth noting. It was awesome of seller central was very quick to respond to my case and correct the issue. If my account stayed suspended for a 3 days, or a week, or 2 weeks… othat means no sales for that duration, and this would have also had major side affects short term wise.
A golden nugget here is I try to stay clear of opening cases with seller support. Every time you open a case, you leave yourself up to scrutiny. You open the chance that your case can be forwarded to a seller performance, regardless if you have a great account.
Every time you open a case, your account has a small chance that it could be found “guilty” of something else. I find that too risky to do and so at all cost, I refrain from opening seller cases.
This event has opened my eyes to the delicacy of our accounts. Nothing is guaranteed on Amazon. It’s not a right to have an account but a privilege. And privileges23 can be taken away at any time.
Effects of false suspensions:
Since the suspension, it’s had some pretty disastrous effects on my revenue. Organics went down the drain. Although it was down for a very short period of time, it seems as if many ranking positions went down the drain. Sales revenue has dropped approximately by 60% since it has happened. My views per listing have dropped in ½ as well, I assume that is connected to the revenue number.
In the past few days I’ve pushed really aggressive marketing wise, and am at around 75% revenue from that day. Not bad, but yes amazon bot suspension is disastrous to the metrics.
Update on this episode:
Also – I have taken a very aggressive approach in improving metrics. In an upcoming podcast I will be discussing how I’ve improved my seller customer feedback from 91% to 100%, as well as decreased my refund rate from 5 percent to 2 percent…both important news
Today’s Amazon News Flash:
What’s this mean:
It seems like Amazon has found it’s golden goose. Acquire or duplicate successful businesses and those benefits to Prime. They duplicated Netlfix with Amazon Prime Streaming, acquired Twitch and added the premium to Netflix. They’ve gone above and beyond for their Prime members, in an attempt to give such a superior membership, so valuable we wouldn’t consider leaving. I used to be a gamer. I would find Amazon Prime more enticing with the benefit of Twitch Prime. I think it’s a great addition and strategic move toward gamers.
That value proposition can be built into our businesses. Give products and customer service so worthy that a customer would never trade brands. Surpass a customers beliefs of what is possible. Deliver on what is expected. Amazon has done it with their brand, we must do it for ours.
Amazon’s strategy is to build prime so great, you wouldn’t switch to Jet.com or the next latest startup.
Popular: The masterlist of resources we use and recommend.
We are the fastest growing Amazon FBA Podcast with over 150,000 Amazon sellers tuning in. See why this is the best Amazon Podcast.
Amazon Seller Tools for ourselves, and for you, which we use to supercharge our Amazon listings and build epic kindoms. Comes with a 7 day trial.