We are going to look at the main reasons why your selling privileges might be removed by Amazon and give advice on how to avoid making the mistakes which may lead to a suspension of your Amazon account.
1. Not meeting Amazon’s performance standards
When you first start selling on Amazon, there are certain benchmarks you have to meet. If you are not meeting these, and if you constantly get poor buyer feedback scores and poor sales performance metrics, there’s a chance Amazon could remove your seller privileges.
Amazon takes your performance as a seller into account and will warn you if your metrics are falling low. You will be given the opportunity to improve these figures, so take action as soon as you are notified of your failings.
Amazon states that:
All sellers should be working toward achieving and maintaining a level of customer service that meets the following seller performance targets:
- Order defect rate: < 1%
- Pre-fulfilment cancel rate: < 2.5%
- Late shipment rate: < 4%
Failure to meet these targets may result in the removal of your selling privileges.
If you are falling behind, you need to identify the cause and take measures to improve yourself as a seller. If your packages regularly arrive after the date you said they’d be there, you could improve shipping process by using Fulfilment by Amazon.
If your orders have a high defect rate or you often find yourself out of stock for popular products, take a look at how you manage your inventory. Using an inventory management tool could help you, especially if you have a large amount of stock.
You could also look at tools like Feedback Five, which help you prompt your customers so that they are more likely to give you feedback and improve your seller rating.
2. Selling restricted items
Amazon restricts a certain number of products for various reasons, and there are a lot of grey areas as some items are completely prohibited, for example tobacco products, but some are just restricted, meaning you could need pre-approval. For example all alcohol is prohibited (except wine, which can be sold by pre-approved seller) and clothes and jewellery items need to be pre-approved by Amazon.
Some product types within allowed categories are restricted, which could mean that the type of item is permitted (e.g makeup and cosmetics), but certain brands of that product are not (e.g Chanel, MAC), and only official sellers are allowed to list these. You can find a full list of Amazon restricted products here. The best way to avoid selling restricted products is to familiarize yourself with Amazon’s policies as best you can.
Amazon will warn you if they think you are attempting to sell a restricted item, and they will give you time to remove your listing. If you re-list that item, Amazon may suspend your account, and recovering it may be difficult, so don’t ignore Amazon’s warnings and make sure you respond to these appropriately, by removing any restricted products.
3. Violating Amazon’s Selling Policies
If you are not familiar with Amazon’s selling policies, it is quite possible to break the rules without even noticing. Amazon states that you must:
- 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.
Unauthorized and improper business names – Business names must accurately identify the seller; can’t be misleading; and must have the right to use it. It also cannot contain an email suffix such as .com, .net, .biz
Attempts to divert transactions or buyers – Don’t try directing sales away from Amazon
Inappropriate email communications – Communications with buyers must be courteous, relevant and appropriate. Unsolicited email communications with other users, other than as necessary for order fulfillment and related customer service, and emails containing marketing communications are not allowed.
Direct email addresses – You cannot communicate with buyers and other sellers via your own email, you must use Amazon’s Buyer Seller Messaging Service
Misuse of the Amazon selling platform – Don’t abuse the system in excessive or unreasonable way, because uploading an excessive amount of data repeatedly can create a disproportionate load on the platform and impair the ability of other sellers to easily access and use the platform
Operating multiple Seller Central accounts – Amazon will allow you to have 2 accounts, but only for legitimate business reasons, and second accounts must be approved. To be considered for approval you must:
- Have an account in good standing with excellent Customer Metrics
- Have a separate e-mail address and bank account for the new account
- Not intend to sell the same products in both accounts
Misuse of ratings and feedback or reviews – Don’t attempt to manipulate ratings, reviews or feedback. Don’t offer payment for removal of negative reviews or feedback, and don’t post feedback or reviews to your own account.
Remember: If you follow the rules and familiarize yourself with Amazon’s selling policies, you should have no problems with your account, but if you fail to take action if you receive a warning, you could be in a lot of trouble and your selling privileges could be removed.