Reasons Amazon Can Suspend Your Seller Account, and How to Fix It
Using Amazon is a hassle-free way to sell products online, but there is an elephant in the room that a lot of people are ignoring.
As a seller, and especially if you are an FBA merchant, your business either lives or dies at the whim of Amazon.
Amazon can, at their discretion, temporarily suspend or just outright ban any seller account.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that an over-reliance on a platform like this isn’t ideal, but the benefits of having your products fulfilled by Amazon are hard to pass up.
To be honest, the trade-off is fair. You get access to millions of customers and all you have to do is stick to the rules.
Sounds simple right?
It is, as long as you understand those rules!
Luckily Amazon is pretty open about the do’s and don’ts for sellers on their platform.
Even though they can ban or suspend you for no reason at all, most of the time they have identified a clear breach of their TOS when taking action.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at how to avoid getting your Amazon seller account banned.
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14 Reasons Amazon Could Suspend or Ban You, and How to Avoid Them
Amazon wants you to be successful, because the more products sold through their platform, the better it is for their bottom line.
They really don’t want to ban you, but they have a number of non-negotiable rules when it comes to the way you use their platform.
If you are found breaking any of these rules, you will be banned and will have to go through an appeal process to be reinstated.
This is lost time and money for you, so it is better not to end up in that situation in the first place!
To help you avoid any future issues, let’s go through the reasons why Amazon might ban an account and how you can avoid these pitfalls.
1. Selling Poor Quality Products
Amazon presents your products to millions of buyers who trust Amazon as a brand. Often, they do not even understand that there are different sellers on the platform and see their purchases as being ‘from Amazon’.
Because Amazon has a brand to protect, they are really big on ensuring everything being offered on its platform is high quality.
If they receive enough reports that your products are of poor quality, your account will be banned.
The easy way to avoid this issue is to only sell original, high-quality products. You should always test and verify items before putting them up on your Amazon store.
Although as an FBA seller it is possible to sell items without ever holding them, you should at least test some samples or prototypes before letting Amazon take care of your fulfilment.
2. Selling Prohibited and Unregulated Items
To avoid any regulatory or legal trouble, Amazon cannot host prohibited and unregulated items on their platform.
It would be impossible to list all items that fall into this category, but one category where this problem is most common is pharmaceuticals and supplements.
You should only sell FDA approved items in this category and avoid making any claims that cannot be substantiated.
If you have developed a product yourself, then you will have a good idea of its regulatory situation. In cases where you are sourcing a product from a manufacturer, never accept their claims at face value.
Do your own, independent research before listing a product on your Amazon store, because you will be the one that gets banned if the item doesn’t meet Amazon’s standards.
3. Breaching Copyright Laws
Breaching copyright laws is an easy way to get your account banned.
You need to avoid any counterfeit or fake items and any that infringe on the copyright of others.
Just because you can source an item from a factory overseas doesn’t mean that it is above board.
Plenty of copyright holders, like major movie studios, are on the lookout for counterfeit merchandise and will make sure that your account is taken down.
As always, do your research before listing to make sure your products are legit.
4. Late Shipments
If you are fulfilling your own products, then you need to ensure you are shipping items out in a timely manner.
Customers have an expectation of fast shipping when buying on Amazon and as an Amazon merchant, you need to uphold those standards.
Too many customer complaints will see your account limited or banned.
As long as you focus on providing a great customer experience, you shouldn’t have any issues. If you find it difficult to fulfil orders in a timely manner by yourself, then consider using the Amazon FBA program.
5. Cancelling Orders
A big no-no in the eyes of Amazon is cancelling too many orders.
This typically happens when sellers who manage their own fulfilment oversell an item and have to cancel orders due to a lack of inventory.
Avoiding this is simple – keep track of your inventory!
Once again, using the Amazon FBA program makes managing inventory and fulfilment a lot simpler and can help you avoid this issue.
6. Opening Multiple Seller Accounts
Unless Amazon gives you specific permission to do so, you are not permitted to open multiple seller accounts.
Even if you try to use different information in each account, Amazon is pretty good at discovering closely associated accounts and will catch you eventually.
All of your accounts, including your main one, will be banned for this behaviour, so don’t do it!
7. Too Many Negative Reviews
If you are receiving too many negative reviews, Amazon will eventually ban your seller account.
They want to protect the end-users buying experience and if the easiest way to do that is get rid of you, then they will!
There is no officially published threshold for negative reviews to be banned. The reality is that if you are receiving a lot of bad reviews, you are probably doing more than one thing on this list wrong anyway.
Maintain a focus on having accurate listings for high-quality products and responding quickly to customer issues and you are unlikely to have a problem.
8. Poor Communication
If you are not responsive to both customer and Amazon communications, you are putting your account at risk.
It is just good business to stay on top of your email inbox, so don’t let any important messages go unaddressed.
Working on your own, or with a small team, this can get overwhelming.
Consider automating some of your common customer communications to help you keep up, or use the services of a Virtual Assistant to help you keep up.
9. Buying Reviews
Buying reviews is a touchy subject with Amazon. They do not want you to solicit or pay for reviews, but so many sellers resort to this to boost their listing.
To stay on the right side of Amazon’s rules, you must never offer money, free products or any kind of discount/benefit for writing or modifying a review.
There are ways around this, including coupon campaigns, but always be sure to err on the side of caution so that you don’t get your account suspended or banned.
10. Inaccurate Listings
If you consistently publish inaccurate listings, or poorly describe products, then you will eventually be banned from selling on Amazon.
Poor listings like this directly impact the customer experience and if you want to be a successful seller, then you should want to have high quality and accurate listings.
If you are getting a warning about your listings and don’t know why, get some professional help immediately to nip this issue in the bud.
11. Wrong UPC Codes
UPC codes, colloquially known as barcodes are a unique identifier of your product and it is important that they are accurate.
Amazon uses these codes to keep a track of the products listed on the platform and your codes should be unique to you and your products.
Too many sellers overlook the importance of these codes and generate their own, or buy from dodgy third parties.
Always use an authorised UPC code seller, who can ensure you have unique and legitimate barcodes for your products.
12. Hijacking Listings
Hijacking a listing is when you get a similar or counterfeit of a popular product and sell it on the original products listing.
This is stealing from the hard work of others and is highly unethical.
Sellers are very aware of hijacking and will report you quickly. There is even software that will alert sellers to hijacking attempts.
Amazon acts fast in hijacking cases and your account will be impacted. So don’t do it!
13. Providing Inaccurate Account Details
When setting up your Amazon account, it is important to provide accurate information. This includes your tax number, contact details and bank details.
Amazon will verify and cross-reference this data and errors will get your account suspended or banned.
Take the process of account creation seriously and triple check all of your info to avoid issues down the line.
14. Leading Buyers to Other Sites
Trying to move buyers off the Amazon platform is a massive red flag for Amazon and they will not hesitate to ban you.
Customers you work with on Amazon must stay that way. Even small hints at working off Amazon in your customer communications could be enough to be banned.
If you want to build business off-platform, ensure there is a clear separation to avoid potential issues.
Appealing a Suspension or Ban
Getting your account suspended or banned means you have a serious problem on your hands, especially if you rely on your seller account for the majority of your businesses sales.
Amazon’s systems can sometimes identify problems where there are none, but luckily they have an appeals system to help you get back in action as quick as possible.
So what do you do if Amazon has suspended your account?
The first thing to do is not panic and make a fatal mistake, like breaking more rules by opening another account. Instead, follow these steps:
- Identify the reason your account was banned or limited. Typically, Amazon will provide the reason for your ban, but may not say exactly which listing or product is at fault.
- Figure out how the mistake happened. Was it poor practice on your part? Did you make a silly mistake or is there something inherently wrong with your processes?
- Fix the identified issues and create a comprehensive Plan of Action (POA) about the problem and how you have fixed it. This is forwarded to the Amazon Seller Performance Team who will review your appeal.
It is important not to rush your appeal, as the staff on the other end might only have a few minutes to make a decision.
Be sure your POA is clear and comprehensive and make it easy for them to find a reason to lift your ban.
The Best Way to Avoid a Ban
If you are an active seller on Amazon, then you will likely break a rule at some point and get a suspension. This is not the worst punishment in the world, even if it does stop you for a day.
Suspensions are more of a warning and are often overturned when the problems are rectified. Most of the time, the owners of suspended accounts have made honest mistakes.
Bans, however, are much more serious and more likely to be permanent. They can be appealed, but when this level of action is taken, the reasons are usually pretty solid.
Anyone who has been banned either does not know the rules or has wilfully broken them and Amazon is very unforgiving for sellers like this.
As long as you approach your work as an Amazon seller with good intent, do your research and set up solid systems to manage your workflow, you are unlikely to have any permanent problems with your account.