It appears that Amazon suspended many sellers in 2016. Even though Amazon does not share any data regarding suspensions, many people are actively searching about suspensions on Google, asking questions on the Sellercentral forum on Amazon,and Facebook Groups.
My research on Google, Sellercentral forums and Facebook Groups made me believe that there were 2 big waves of suspensions. One occurred in August and the other one at the beginning of November. Amazon has been suspending sellers however, since they started to take the big portion of eCommerce sales, they became very harsh on sellers including some established businesses who employ 10-20 people and have been selling on Amazon for more than 7-8 years. What Amazon has been telling their sellers is basically I don't really care about your business. It's my website and I decide who can sell and who can not sell and don't have to give any reason for suspension. So sellers must play by their rules, focus on what Amazon is expecting, and no complaints and just be professional with your business and follow their rules or sell elsewhere.
Are you getting warnings from Amazon Seller Performance Team?
It has been proven that most sellers who got suspended by Amazon received a warning from the Seller Performance Team regarding their listings, performances, trade mark issues etc. Make sure you pay attention to those warnings and take action as soon as you receive them. Don't ever think about postponing your actions.They never tell you what the exact problem is but most of the time it's not too hard to figure out the issue.
Check your metrics to see if you have any performance issues such as on time delivery, customer message responses and check your order defect rates, returns etc. Most of the time this will tell you what your problem is.
After identifying the issue, you should think about what you will do to prevent that those issues never happen again. This is basically what they want to hear. They want to know you were able to address the issue and you took the necessary steps to prevent similar issues.
Here are few list you must check before preparing your appeal letter:
How to write an appeal letter if you get suspended?
Don't be too quick and do not overreact. Stay calm and try to find the reason for your suspension.There are times that you may not find the issue or you may blame the customers, so it's always better to be calm and professional. You have to find the reason and tell them what they want to hear from you. They don't want to see you blaming someone else or customers.They want to see you understood and took responsibility for the issue and whatever the issue was that caused your suspension will never happen again.
Do not write unnecessary sentences, keep it short and to the point. Start your letter like the following: " Hello Seller Performance Team, We are sorry to hear that we received customer complaints that led our suspensions. " or something similar. Then start talking about how you identified the issue and use 2-3 bullets for the reasons that caused the issue. Keep in mind that you will never blame anyone but yourself.You will adopt the issue and let them know that you are aware of the reasons behind these problems.
Second part will be about how to address those issues, what steps you have taken and that it will not happen again.This is very important part and keep it simple and clear. Use bullets again and explain how the steps will help or prevent the issues or complaints. You should use 4 to 7 bullets and your sentences must be clear. One thing to remember is that the Seller Performance Team is in India so even though Amazon is probably hiring people with good English skills, they are still not native-speakers. So better to use a plain and simple language.
Final part should be very short like the beginning. Tell them that you have been proudly selling on Amazon and will do everything you can to make sure customers come back to Amazon for their next online shopping. And request them to reinstate your account. Before putting your signature add a sentence like " Please let us know if you need additional information or documents. " so even if you could not address the issue well the first time, this may be helpful and make them ask you more information before suspending your account.
Should I hire suspension appeal companies or people?
Don't get yourself ripped off by people who claim they can get you reinstated and ask you 1-2 thousand dollars without any guarantee. I know there are people who charge more reasonable prices to write the letter and charge you extra after getting you reinstated. Nobody knows your business better than you, and the Amazon rules are clear and on their page. Read them all until you understand. But if you feel uncomfortable, do not go with people who try to charge ridiculous amounts without any guarantee. I understand nobody can guarantee whether Amazon will reinstate your accounts or not but charging 1-2k upfront just to write a letter less than one page is not a fair price. It is understandable if they ask you to pay $200-300 upfront for the letter and another few hundred bucks after they get you reinstated.
How to lower chance to deal with these warnings and suspensions?
I tell all my customers that the best way to stay away from suspension is doing your best to prevent complaints. Use quality pictures for your products from different angles, explain it very deeply especially in bullets because most people don't bother themselves to read descriptions and still blame you for it. Have a clear title that does not confuse people. Ship and deliver on time. Use FBA service if it fits your business. Hope you all had a good holiday season and did not have to deal with warnings and suspensions.
Wish you all Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Hope 2017 brings more success for you and your business!