Note from Hillary (4/1/15)

Prince from Veeqo had emailed me and asked me if he could write a guest post. I said sure. Except he didn’t tell me that he was going to be posting the exact same post on the Veeqo company blog that same day. I don’t mind if a company recycles guest content a few weeks later on their own site or even other sites but to not disclose that is tacky and otherwise Not Cool.

A big apology to my readers for the recycled content. At least the info is still good.

Couple of bad eggs lately making me rethink accepting guest posts. Ugh!

It’s surprisingly easy to get your selling privileges taken away by Amazon, even accidentally. We’re going to take a look at the main reasons why people get suspended by Amazon, and give you some tips on how to avoid having your selling privileges removed.

amazon photoReason #1: You haven’t met Amazon’s performance standards

One of the main reasons why sellers get their accounts suspended by Amazon is their failure to meet Amazon’s performance standards in terms of selling products and providing your (and their) customer with top service. Amazon has a set of benchmarks which you must meet in order to continue selling with them, and they also take into account your feedback scores, so if you’re not selling enough or constantly getting negative feedback, there’s a good chance Amazon will remove your seller privileges.

If this is the case, Amazon will sent you a warning and give you a chance to improve these metrics, so don’t ignore them – you need to take action right away if you want to remain an Amazon seller.

You should make a habit of regularly evaluating your performance and selling practices to make sure you are satisfying Amazon and your customers.

According to Amazon, you should maintain a level of service which meets the following targets:

  • Order defect rate <1%
  • Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: :<2.5%
  • Late shipment rate: <4%

You should aim to meet these targets if you want to keep your selling privileges. If you find yourself struggling, you need to identify the root of the problem and take action. You could try the following:

  1. If your packages are constantly arriving later than you promised, you could improve your shipping process by using Amazon FBA.
  2. If your popular products often run out of stock, you could use an inventory management software to help manage your inventory.
  3. If you are lacking good feedback, try Feedback Five, which prompts your customers to give you feedback, which will improve your seller rating.

Reason #2: You have violated Amazon’s selling policies

Amazon has an extensive and complex list of selling policies, so it’s actually pretty easy to violate these accidentally. If you are not familiar with their policies, Amazon says that you must follow these rules:

  • Honor your commitment to buy or sell
  • Maintain current account information
  • If we have removed your selling privileges, you may not open a new selling account
  • Do not misrepresent yourself

To go into more detail, here are some more of Amazon’s policies and our advice on how not to break them. If you go into Amazon Seller Central, there is a full list of their selling policies.

Unauthorized and improper business names – All business names must accurately identify the seller; must not be misleading; and you must have the right to use it. Names also can’t contain an email suffix such as .com, .net, .biz and so on.

Inappropriate email communications –  Communications with other buyers need to be courteous, relevant and appropriate. Unsolicited email communications with other users, and emails containing marketing communications are not allowed.

Attempts to divert transactions or buyers – Don’t try directing sales away from Amazon, e.g to your other website, as this is strictly not allowed.

Misuse of the Amazon selling platform – Don’t abuse the system in excessive or unreasonable way. Repeatedly uploading an excessive amount of data can create a disproportionate load on the platform and impair the ability of other sellers trying to use Amazon.

Direct email addresses – Don’t communicate with buyers and sellers via your own email address, use Amazon’s Buyer Seller Messaging Service

Operating multiple Seller Central accounts – Amazon allows you to have 2 accounts, but only for legitimate business reasons, and you must apply for approval for a second account. To be considered for approval you must:

  1. Have an account in good standing with excellent Customer Metrics
  2. Have a separate e-mail address and bank account for the new account
  3. Not intend to sell the same products in both accounts

Misuse of ratings and feedback or reviews – Don’t try to manipulate ratings, reviews or feedback. Don’t offer payment for removal of negative reviews and feedback, and don’t post feedback or reviews to your own account.

Reason #3: You are selling restricted items

There are a number of products Amazon restrict, and for various reasons. Examples include dangerous items and products that are easily counterfeited, or only sold by official retailers. But here’s where things get a bit tricky, as there the rules are quite complex, and there are a lot of grey areas.

For example, some goods are completely banned, like tobacco based products, and some are just restricted, like clothing and jewelry, meaning you need to be pre-approved by Amazon in order to sell them.

In addition to this, some product types within regular categories are restricted, which could mean that while the item type itself is permitted (e.g makeup), there are brands of that item which are not (like Urban Decay, Mac and NARS), and only official sellers of that brand can list these items. There is a full list here of products which are restricted on Amazon, and the best way to avoid selling these items is to make sure you are properly familiarized with Amazon’s selling policies.