My Amazon Business was on fire, in April I was turning over almost £2k per week and it was still growing, when out of the Blue I received the dreaded email from Amazon titled “Your Amazon.co.uk selling privileges have been removed“…
I was finishing up for the night and about to head to bed when I received the dreaded email:
My Heart Sank into my Stomach. All I could think about whilst I tried to get to sleep that night, was what the heck I was going to do to restore my Income stream. Having quit my Day job in January, Amazon were providing my main source of income, and without it, I was screwed.
I had been building this Amazon account for 8 months with over 3000 units in FBA warehouses and daily sales approaching £300, the Amazon suspension crushed my passive income world.
The timing of the suspension email was about an hour after Amazon disbursed my 2 weekly payment to me. The following day they reversed the payment and advised they were going to hold the funds potentially for 90 days. Thanks Amazon, I needed that money to pay the rent and survive, great.
My Options were:
- Appeal the Suspension and recover the account
- Get a Job
- Improve my eBay Sales
- Win the lottery
- Move to the Forest to live off the Land
So, I started researching Amazon Appeals, and I started looking for a Job. I figured I would have to get a Job and see if I can successfully appeal the Suspension as well.
I soon realized I had gotten used to the freedom of being my own boss, and I could not picture myself working 9-5 for somebody else again. The idea filled me with dread.
Why Did the Suspension Happen?
My own stupidity and inexperience in a nutshell. I mean, I had a few Policy Warnings in the past, which I never appealed, I accepted them and closed my listings for the products concerned. I saw these as warnings and I removed the listings to comply.
Anyway, I had started to experiment with new product lines and inadvertently purchased a Fake product from China. I had no idea it was a fake, but Amazon don’t care, they have policies and I broke them.
In hindsight, this was an easy mistake for anybody to make, but also in hindsight – with good product and Market research, this wouldn’t happen.
I was to blame, nobody else, I accepted this fact.
So, what Happened Next?
I found a couple of companies who claim to be able to get your Amazon account re-instated following a Suspension. I started to research these companies and drilled down to 2 potentials.
I had considered doing my own appeal, and I started making one, but I didn’t want to blow my only chance at this, so decided to hire a professional company.
One of the companies wanted a retainer payment and then more money once and only once you get re-instated. I liked this idea, but I was not fully sold on this company, they didn’t appear very transparent and they were based in the USA.
I decided to go with a company in the UK (not even that far from me) called Thompson and Holt, and I paid £400 to them to assist me with the Appeal.
So, I paid the £400 on my credit card and a few days later I was given an Appeal to send to Amazon. I remember sending it before I went to bed.
The next morning I had a response from Amazon – they requested a copy Invoice from my Supplier for the product.
Okay, so I messaged the Supplier through Aliexpress, this took days due to his poor English and not always being at the office, but eventually, I had an Invoice sent to me (made in Excel).
I re-sent a revised appeal with the new Invoice. Amazon responded requesting I address other issues not related to the suspension. I had an Intellectual Property Violation warning a few months back.
I send the second appeal to Amazon (provided by Thompson and Holt) on a Sunny Sunday morning and went out riding my Motorbike and tried to ignore my Email all day.
After a good blast in the sunshine I decided to check my Email whilst still out – this was the happiest Email I had ever seen…I rode home happy after seeing this!
I couldn’t believe it – I had almost resigned myself to getting a Job or moving to the Forest.
I mean, I had a LOT of work to do, but I had my Seller Account back!
I had a lot of work to do because I had cleaned up my listings, and I had started to recover my stock from the Amazon warehouses back to me. In hindsight, I probably should have waited, but I thought it was all over and I wanted my stock to sell on eBay.
I was suspended for 20 days, and even now some of the funds are still reserved by Amazon. It took an extra week to get the EU markets back (France, Italy, Spain, Germany). As it stands now I am only doing 50% of what I was at the time of the suspension, but this is growing and it won’t be long until I am back in the same position I was.
What Did I Learn from This?
I learned that as an Amazon Seller, it is not Me who controls and runs my business, it is Amazon. And Amazon don’t care about my situation and whether I have enough money to live – they care about their policies.
I learned that an Amazon Seller can get banned from Amazon for the slightest of oversight, and it is a customer which initiates this when they start the complaints process, not Amazon.
I learned that your appeal is not overseen by one individual through your appeal process, it can be dealt with by whoever is on shift at the time you contact them.
I also learned that having all my income come from Amazon alone is a risky business. I do make money online in other ways, but Amazon was my breadwinner. I know now that I need to build up my other income sources in case this happens again.
Going forward, I am changing my business model on Amazon and I will be taking steps to limit my risk.
Thanks for reading, if anybody is interested in the Appeal template I used to appeal the suspension – see below – or if you have any suspension stories of your own, please drop me a comment below!
Amazon Appeal Template:
As requested, please find below updated action plan including;
- Description of the issues that caused the complaints.
- Explanation of the steps we have taken to resolve the issues and ensure that similar complaints won’t happen again.
- Additional details we would like you to know.
- Description of the issues that caused thethe suspension
Our account was suspended due to complaints of inauthenticity. We take full responsibility for this issue and can confirm we have put steps in place (as detailed below) to prevent it from happening again.
Following our investigation we now realise that although we were assured that these items were genuine products that this is now not the case. We asked the supplier for a certificate of authentication, which they were unable to supply.
We have attached our invoice for ASIN YOUR ASIN.
Summary: We take full responsibility for the suspension, as the problems have occurred due to our mistakes. We have implemented changes into our company to make sure that we do not have any inauthentic and counterfeit complaints. We have deleted all products from our inventory that we feel could have been infringing intellectual property and will not purchase goods in this way again.
- Details of the steps taken to prevent similar complaints from happening again;
- We will liaise with any complainants to offer refunds/replacement items where appropriate if we receive complaintsdirect.
- We will only list and sell items that are purchased either directly from the manufacturers orauthorisedsuppliers. Furthermore, we will verify all suppliers authorised status with the manufacturer direct to ensure any unauthentic items do not reach our listings.
- In themeantimewe have rechecked our inventory to ensure the authenticity of the listings and to ensure we have the right to sell all items. This process involved checking each item’s supply chain. This will prevent any future complaints of inauthenticity.
- We have also implemented a thorough quality control process whereby all items are checked on arrival to ensure they are in full, undamaged manufacturers packaging. We will also ensure each item is properly sealed. This will ensure items are in perfect condition and match the relevant listings before being sent to customers.
- I have also provided thorough training on our new systems and Amazon’s policies and guidelines to ensure they are adhered to. This training will be updated regularly which will prevent any claims of inauthenticity.
- When we list products for sale using an existing product detail page and ASIN, we will make sure that the product being offered is accurately described and matches the data currently visible under that ASIN including the EAN or UPC Barcode, product title, brand, manufacturer and part number. We will not list against an ASIN that does not match our item description, condition or does not contain the relevant health and safetylabelling. This will prevent inauthentic complaints and manage customer’s expectations.
- I understand we are responsible for ensuring that the products we offer for sale are legal andauthorisedfor sale
In addition to the above to avoid generic customer complaints I will ensure are queries are dealt with efficiently and all messages are responded to within 24 hours during working hours. I will also carry out daily performance audits to monitor and review our performance metrics to ensure we are performing to and maintaining Amazon’s targets.
Going forward our supplier of some of our goods will be;
SUPPLIER NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE, WEBSITE
I can assure Amazon that I have taken note of, and will make sure we work to the following policies and guidelines;
– Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions
– Product Detail Page Rules
– Condition Guidelines
- Any additional details;
We have implemented a number of controls which will prevent customer complaints including; purchasing from the manufacturer or authorised suppliers only, checking all products on arrival to ensure they are in perfect condition and match the item description and providing thorough staff training.
I assure you that we have resolved all the issues that caused our suspension and that we are committed to providing customers with a positive buying journey. We have had lots of positive feedback from customers and would like to continue this success with Amazon.
If you have any queries or need any further information please do not hesitate to contact me on YOUR CONTACT NUMBER.
YOUR AMAZON NAME
YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
YOUR CONTACT NUMBER