Are you trying to work through an Amazon account suspension? Or are you just curious about what to do if your Amazon account is suspended?
Unfortunately, there is a lot of very bad information and advice out there about dealing with Amazon account suspensions. Some of the tactics people use even make it more likely that you get permanently banned from the platform.
This post is going to share the RIGHT way to deal with a suspended Amazon seller account – even if you believe your Amazon account was suspended for no reason – and the things you can do to increase the odds that your appeal to Amazon is successful.
This is a process I have been through myself because my Amazon account was suspended in the summer of 2015. It’s a very stressful ordeal and something I don’t wish on anyone, so I hope this post will help you get your Amazon account reinstated as fast as possible.
Click here if you are interested in reading examples of successful appeal letters others have used, including the one I used to get my account reinstated. If that link doesn’t work, it is probably due to pop up blockers and you can use the form at the end of this post instead.
Throughout this post, we’re going to focus on what you can do to increase the odds you get your account back. Here are the key details that we’ll go over:
- What to do if Amazon suspends your account
- Determining why your account was suspended
- The 3 things to include in your appeal
- Don’t say that!
- How to submit your appeal
- DIY vs hiring a pro (plus how much a pro costs)
- Should you reach out to Jeff@amazon.com?
- Appeal templates
What do I do if my Amazon account is suspended?
If you just got the suspension notice from Amazon, make sure you do not respond until you take the following steps:
- Determine exactly why Amazon decided to suspend your account.
- Take steps to resolve the issues in the eyes of Amazon and the affected customers, if applicable.
- Implement new systems to ensure the issues do not happen again.
- Follow the guidelines below to send an appeal to Amazon that takes responsibility for the situation and shows your commitment to avoiding the same problems in the future.
Telling the truth and showing accountability are two of the biggest things you can do to improve the odds that your appeal is successful. The rest of the post will break down this process further.
Determine the root cause of your suspension
The first thing you should do when you start putting together your appeal is to determine exactly what led to the suspension in the first place.
You might feel that you have done everything right and aren’t at fault, but I’d encourage you to enter this process looking for ways you can improve. In general Amazon will want you to change something about how you are operating your business so that similar issues aren’t likely in the future.
The first step is to identify exactly what the problem was in the first place. Was it due to a high return rate on an item? Was it due to an IP violation? Was it due to a customer complaining an item was inauthentic? Were multiple factors at play?
If you’ve been suspended then you should have a performance notification or an email that looks like this:
The message from Amazon should make it pretty clear why they decided to suspend you. In my case, you can see that it was due to buyer complaints about the condition and description of items.
Amazon also has a page on their site with information on what research you should do based on the different reasons they give for account suspension. You can review that directly on Amazon here.
In the process of researching why Amazon suspended your account, make sure you review:
- All of your orders for the ASIN or ASINs in question
- All of your customer messages related to those orders
- The return details report related to the orders for the affected ASINs
- Any customer feedback for the orders containing the affected ASINs
- Any other details that relate to the reason that you were suspended in the first place
Do a complete review and you should be able to figure out what triggered the suspension in the first place.
For example, if you were suspended due to an inauthentic item by going through the steps in the bullets above, you will likely find a customer using the word “fake” or “counterfeit” somewhere in the communication. This could be in a message, in the return details, or in feedback they left for you.
That’s just one example that may not apply to your situation, but in general, you want to find the reason that you believe caused Amazon to trigger the suspension.
As you are doing this research, it is also a very good idea to make sure the same problems aren’t happening (or likely to happen) on products that haven’t been flagged yet. You don’t want to go through the work of getting your account reinstated only to run into the same problem with other products down the road.
The 3 things to include in your appeal…
Once you determine what you believe the root cause of the problem is, it’s time to begin putting together your appeal.
Three things that Amazon wants to see in every appeal for account reinstatement are:
- The root causes that led to the issues and your account suspension.
- The actions you have taken to resolve the current issue.
- The steps you have taken to prevent future issues.
You can read more about Amazon’s guidelines on how to appeal on this page in Seller Central (Note: you will need to be logged in to seller central to access this link).
Let’s break down each of these three points.
1. The root causes that led to the issues and your account suspension.
You should have a good idea of the root cause after doing your research. Your goal is to concisely state what the original issue was to show you understand the problem.
This seems easy, but many people have a hard time with this step because they refuse to look at the issue from Amazon’s perspective. They get angry about a perceived injustice and are more concerned about proving themselves right than getting their account back.
Resist the urge to start defending yourself right away and don’t frame the suspension as a mistake on Amazon’s part unless there is absolutely no other way to frame it.
Keep in mind that Amazon doesn’t know everything you know about your side of the story at this point. They have systems in place that they believe will help keep the platform successful, and something happened with your account that they deemed problematic. What was it?
This step isn’t about you. Your goal is to show them that you understand what they are seeing and identifying as a problem.
2. The actions you have taken to resolve the current issue.
Once you clearly establish what the problem was, you need to explain what you have done to address it.
If there were disappointed customers, did you reach out to issue refunds or apologize? Did you put an additional policy in place to avoid future issues? If there are any unsolved problems, be sure to do what you can to remedy them before the appeal and then let Amazon know what steps you took. I’d recommend writing this portion of your appeal in the past tense, explaining the things that you have already done.
3. The steps you have taken to prevent future issues.
Implementing procedures to prevent the issues from happening again is a big part of a successful appeal. You need to let Amazon know that you have learned from what went wrong and that it won’t happen again.
If the issue was caused by buying inventory from an improper source, maybe you’ll make a plan to never buy from that source again. If the issue was due to a problem with your team inspecting your products, maybe you’ll put an additional inspection process in place for all of your outbound shipments.
The key detail is that you need to put steps in place to make sure the initial problem won’t repeat itself.
A key aspect to all three of these is accountability. Take responsibility for the problem, show that you have taken steps to rectify the current issue, and explain the steps you have taken to ensure there won’t be any problems in the future.
How to get your account reinstatement appeal rejected…
The above section talks about exactly what you should include in your appeal. Don’t get too creative and try to include extras. Amazon wants a very succinct and easy to read plan that addresses the issues.
Here are some things you should not include in your appeal.
1. Deflecting blame or making excuses for what happened.
You might think the customer is to blame, or there might be something that is out of your control that happened. Outside of rare instances where you can provide hard evidence to Amazon that there was a mistake made, this is not what you should be including in your appeal. In your appeal, you should take responsibility for the issue, and make it clear you know why it happened, and why it won’t happen again.
2. Writing too much.
Do not be overly verbose. Make sure that your appeal is as clear and concise as possible. Don’t include any unnecessary fluff in your appeal. Say what needs to be said, but not more.
Most of the time, long appeals are the result of someone who is trying very hard to explain their side of the story and justify the events that transpired leading to the appeal. They aren’t interested in this. They are interested in seeing that you understand their side of the story. Focus on showing them that you do.
3. Bringing up problems that weren’t in the suspension notification from Amazon.
Do not address any problems that Amazon did not bring up in your suspension notification. Even if you notice that there are additional problems that might exist with your account when you are doing your review, you shouldn’t bring them to Amazon’s attention.
You should definitely solve any additional problems that you come across, just do not mention them in your appeal.
4. Do not try to make your response overly personal.
This is a very transactional process. You don’t need to go into great detail about how sorry you are for making this mistake, include a bunch of details on your other happy customers, or anything like that.
While a brief mention of these things might be alright in some cases, it’s best to stick to the facts and address the issue at hand as concisely as possible.
Overall your goal is to provide exactly what Amazon is asking for and nothing extra. It can be tempting to include extra details, explanations, or apologies, but in general, these things will not help. Make your goal resolving the issue that Amazon brought up in the suspension notification, and address that specifically.
How to Submit A Plan of Action (what format?)
You should be submitting your appeal in the format that Amazon requests. This will either be by sending an email to the address they indicate in the suspension notification, or by clicking the “appeal” button in your performance notification if that is displaying.
You will likely be formatting your appeal essentially the same as if you are writing an email. Unless you have supporting documentation that needs to be included, I’d submit everything using the text editor.
Make sure to use a clear heading for each section, and break it up into paragraphs to make it easy to read.
After you’ve done that and proofread it several times – and made sure it meets all of Amazon’s requirements – then go ahead and send the appeal to Amazon.
Here are some additional tips on formatting from Nate McCallister, from Entreresource, who is experienced in helping sellers resolve Amazon account suspensions:
One thing you shouldn’t overlook is readability As a longtime blogger, I’ve learned to make my writing easy on the reader. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Use numbered lists.
- Use headings. You can’t do this on your first appeal since it’s in an Amazon submission box BUT you can get the heading effect by using ALL CAPS.
- Use short sentences and the simplest words that will convey your point completely.
How long to wait before following up?
When you are waiting for a response from Amazon on your appeal, it can feel like an eternity. I’d try to be as patient as possible, and resist the urge to follow up daily.
On certain help pages, Amazon indicates that sellers will usually hear back on their appeals in 48 hours. In practice, and from sellers I’ve talked to, I know that sometimes it can take quite a bit longer than that.
I would recommend waiting at least a week from the date you originally submit your application to send any follow-ups. If you do follow up, I’d include your original appeal information in the message you send. The reason for this is to make sure whoever reads your second email has all of the details and doesn’t misinterpret your follow-up message as your full appeal.
If you have had an experience where you were suspended and followed up (either successfully or unsuccessfully) please share in the comments section at the bottom of the post!
Should I reach out to Jeff@amazon.com?
This email is one that is reportedly monitored by members of Jeff Bezos’ executive team. I would imagine there are many levels that it goes through before anyone on the executive team ever sees it, but there is at least a path for emails sent to this address to get the attention of some higher-ups at Amazon.
Sellers who have reported sending emails like this have received mixed results.
I would only use sending an email to Jeff@amazon.com as an absolute last resort. When I say last resort, that means you have gone through the entire default process and had a professional help you, but you still haven’t had your account reinstated.
If you do send an email, I’d make sure to very concisely state the issue, the outcome you are looking for, and any case IDs or relevant information.
This is not something I’ve ever done personally, and again, I would only do it as a last resort.
Other mistakes people make when suspended…
We’ve already talked about some of the mistakes you should avoid, but I’d like to call attention to a few others as well.
First, make sure you do not respond until you have fully researched your situation. You should not be guessing about what the issue was or respond before addressing the problems just because you want your account back sooner. Take a little extra time to fully address the issues, and include the details in your appeal.
You also should not retaliate against Amazon. I have heard of suspended sellers refusing to ship pending merchant fulfilled orders or trying to message customers bad-mouthing Amazon in some way about their suspension.
None of this will help. Make sure that any actions you take are proactive and productive.
Some sellers think it is a good idea to simply open a new seller account when one is suspended. DO NOT DO THIS. This will only compound the issues you are having. Work to resolve the issue that caused the suspension in the first place.
Here is another tip from Nate McCallister: don’t make fake invoices. It’s crazy how some sellers have the guts to provide fake invoices to Amazon. If caught, this is an instant and permanent ban from the platform. If you don’t have the invoices, that’s not good – but you can still get reinstated. You may just need to “fall on the sword,” so to speak, and tell Amazon that.
Should you submit your own appeal or pay a pro?
Over the past few years, an entire mini-industry has evolved related to helping people solve issues that come up with their Amazon seller accounts. There are individuals and businesses that work on helping sellers get reinstated, and solving other problems that come up with their accounts.
These professionals have a lot of experience in helping sellers getting their Amazon accounts reinstated. But it does come with a cost attached.
I don’t think there is a one size fits all answer to whether you should submit your own appeal or pay a professional. There are several factors to consider, and we’ll cover those in this section.
1. The cost of being suspended.
The first thing that you should ask yourself is:
“How much is each day that my account is suspended costing me?”
When your account is suspended, you will not be making any sales on Amazon – or getting any deposits. This means you are losing out on the profits you would be making each day if your account was still active.
The more money that you are making each day, the more I would seriously consider hiring a pro. Getting back a few days earlier could more than pay for itself.
2. Do you have the necessary skills to get reinstated?
The next thing I would think about is how confident you are that you will be able to get reinstated on your own.
If you are able to do research and find out exactly what the issue was that caused the suspension, then appealing the suspension on your own is an option.
If on the other hand you do research looking to find the root cause of the suspension and you are really struggling, then I would look to get a pro involved.
3. Why were you suspended?
The more severe the infraction that led to the suspension, the more I would recommend getting help from a professional.
If it’s a relatively small issue with a clear fix, something like being suspended for a high rate of late shipments, then I’d be more likely to do the appeal on your own.
These are some of the things that I recommend thinking about when you are making the decision. Overall you need to do what makes the most sense for you and your business.
How much does it cost to hire a pro to do my suspension appeal for me?
In the above section, we talked about potentially hiring a professional to help write your appeal for you. You’re likely now wondering how much that costs.
From the service providers that I’m aware of, the cost is about $300 to $700 for an initial assessment and evaluation of your situation. Then if you have the company go through and complete the services for you, there is an additional fee.
In total, if you hire a reputable professional, I’d expect to pay between $1,500 and $5,000 in total.
That might seem like a hefty price tag, and it definitely is.
It can be a hard amount to stomach, especially when you already are losing money by being suspended. But the reality is that each day you continue to be suspended you are losing more money. So if a professional can help you get reinstated faster, then I think it’s at least worth considering.
And if it’s completely out of budget, I’d make sure you are using all the tips in this post and doing additional research into best practices as well. By all means, doing it yourself can make sense, but if you do, make sure you put in the time and effort to do it right.
If you are looking to hire someone to help, here a are a couple of options to consider. These are both options that I would consider using if my own account was suspended. Note: These are affiliate links to these providers, but they don’t cost you anything extra to use.
Nate McCallister – Nate is experienced in helping sellers get their accounts reinstated on Amazon. He has a very good track record and is one of the few providers that offer a free assessment of your likelihood of getting your Amazon account reinstated. You can learn more about his services here.
eGrowth Partners – This company was one of the very first, if not the first, to start helping sellers get their accounts reinstated on Amazon. They have helped many sellers get reinstated, you can learn more about eGrowth Partners reinstatement service here.
If you get reinstated…
Hopefully you will be able to successfully appeal to Amazon and get them to reinstate your account. Once that happens, make sure that you do everything in your power to make sure that you keep your account in Amazon’s good graces.
This means that you make sure you do everything you said you would do in your appeal. I’d also highly recommend reading through all of Amazon’s rules and policies. Reading through these will help to make sure you avoid future issues.
It’s important to take these measures, as if you are suspended multiple times, it’s been reported that it gets harder and harder to get reinstated.
Successful Amazon Suspension Appeal Templates
I’m putting together a file that has all of the successful suspension appeals that I’ve been able to gather. This includes my suspension appeal from back in 2015, and from several other sellers who have generously offered to share their successful appeals with others.
All personally identifiable information has been removed, but other than that these templates remain unedited. In the file, I’ll include the original reason for the suspension, and the date it was successful.
Now to be clear, these are to be used for ideas in putting together your appeal. You should not copy and paste these exactly and anticipate that you will get reinstated. Every suspension is unique, and you have to ensure that you are tweaking your appeal to fit your situation. As mentioned the goal is to use this for ideas on the format and wording you should use when putting your appeal together.
Have a successful suspension appeal you are willing to share with others? Send it to us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll include it for other sellers.
I hope this post gives you a good idea of what it takes to get your account back. If you are suspended, I hope it helps you get reinstated.
If you have any questions or any experiences in dealing with your own suspension, please share in the comments below!