Appealing an Amazon Suspension

One of the problems with generating revenue on another companies platform is you are bound by their rules, regulations and whims. In the past I’ve written about successfully appealing a Google Adsense suspension now it’s Amazon’s turn. I’ll share the cause, fix and actual appeal email.

It started when at the top of Seller Central I saw (in reality it had started before I just hadn’t seen it):

After the initial shock, I “Read more”. The removal of selling privileges was caused by not acting upon various “Performance Notifications” regarding restricted products on the DE marketplace and was only applicable to that marketplace. The latest one being due to a nerf gun being a “firearm which has a kinetic energy output of more than 0.5J”. I never realised (more fool me) that Germany have a much stricter “gun” law than we do. So it pays to read about product restrictions on all marketplaces you sell on, they can be different. If I’d removed the listing (as advised) when the performance notification came in, I probably wouldn’t of been suspended (d’oh read ALL performance notifications on ALL marketplaces).

Amazon were exceedingly helpful telling me what I needed to do to appeal. I basically had to go through every listing making sure that the product was not restricted. So I studied the restricted products, went through all my listings and closed the ones I thought would be restricted. Next up was writing an action plan on how I would prevent this from happening in the future, keeping it as professional as possible. Submitted my appeal and 2 hours later, it was DECLINED with a sample product that was in breach (it was).

Hello,

Thank you for confirming you have implemented your plan of action. However, a review of your inventory has found restricted product listings that have not been closed or deleted.

Examples of these listings include, but are not limited to:

ASIN: B01M9IKX63

Please write to us once you have closed or deleted all restricted product listings from your inventory. We will consider reinstating your selling privileges at that time.

The reason I missed it the first time is because I have 1,000s of products that are inactive, I thought I’d checked them all but obviously not. So even if you have a listing that is inactive because it’s out of stock (or whatever) you need to close it or delete it. So I went through all of my inactive listings and marked them as “closed” (much quicker than checking all individually). I then checked EVERY active listing and closed any that were even close to being a restricted product. I then checked all inactive listings again to ensure all were closed (much quicker by using sorting and filers in Seller Central). I actually checked every active listing 3 times just to be safe.

Sent another polite and professional email to Amazon apologising and explaining what I’d done to rectify the problem, clicked send and crossed my fingers. Within 30 minutes I got the reply “wir haben Ihr Verkäuferkonto und den von Ihnen gesendeten Maßnahmenplan geprüft und entschieden, Ihnen die Verkaufsberechtigung wieder zu erteilen.” a quick sigh of relieve Google translate later “We have reviewed your re-seller account and the action plan you send and decided to give you the sales authorization again.”

Lessons learned:
* Read ALL performance notifications on all marketplaces
* Read about restricted products and rules on ALL marketplaces
* An inactive listing is only truly inactive if it’s closed or deleted
* Marketplaces are different
* Politeness works
* Reading and re-reading messages is a good idea, when receiving and before sending
Other than this happening I’m very impressed with how Amazon helped me handle it and I certainly don’t want to experience it again (though I did).

Here’s my full and successful appeal email, please feel free to pick bits from it if you ever need to (I hope you don’t):

Hello

Thank you for your assistance and patience in this matter.

We have now closed all of our inactive listings on the amazon.de marketplace. We also manually reviewed all active listings multiple times. We closed many listings, including those we believe to be restricted products based on the amazon.de restricted products guidelines.

As outlined in my previous message we do now have procedures in place to prevent this from happening in the future:
– All relevant staff have studied the Product Restrictions in the Seller Central help pages and will no longer list any restricted products
– Our training program for new staff members now includes a section on restricted products
– Every month each relevant staff member is required to refresh their knowledge of Product Restrictions from the Seller Central help pages
– If a staff member is in any doubt about a product being restricted then they will not list it
– Performance notifications will be checked on a daily basis on all marketplaces
– All performance notifications will be read by at least 2 members of staff and acted on accordingly

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions or comments as we certainly want to comply with all rules and regulations. Thank you again for your time and assistance.

I do have a UK suspension appeal for different violations that I might post at a later date, all fun and games.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

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