The Best and Worst About an Amazon Suspension and Amazon Appeals
The Best and Worst About an Amazon Suspension and Amazon Appeals
Introduction background for the purpose of this article:
Full disclosure here, my name is Jacob Martinez and I am an Amazon seller who is writing this article because I was provided with the unique opportunity (and I must also say, a unique service) by Happy Amazon Seller when seeking advice and help to create a plan of action for my Amazon appeal to beat my Amazon suspension.
Like many Amazon seller’s I have been selling on Amazon for a few years, since 2014. I first began selling on Amazon using a retail arbitrage business model, a year later I added books to my inventory and eventually moved into the world of wholesaling on Amazon.
As an Amazon seller and businessman, I thought I have the world in my hands and on June 24, 2018 I received the following statement via email from Amazon:
“You currently may not sell on Amazon.com because you are offering items that may infringe intellectual property rights or may be inauthentic. A list of these items is at the end of this email.
Funds will not be transferred to you, but will stay in your account while we work with you to address this issue. You can see your balance and settlement information in the Payments section of Seller Central. If you have questions about those, please write to email@example.com.
To sell on Amazon again, please send the following information to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Copies of invoices, receipts, contracts, delivery orders, or authorization letters from your supplier issued in the last 90 days. The quantity of items shown should match your inventory.
If you are not the brand owner, provide an authorization letter and a complete set of documentation, including authorization letters, to prove a valid supply chain.
If you are the brand owner, provide a copy of the brand registration certificate, and business license or personal identity card.
Contact information for your supplier, including name, phone number, address, email, and website.
You can send .pdf, .jpg, .png, or .gif files. These documents must be authentic and unaltered. We may call your supplier to verify the documents. You may remove pricing information, but the rest of the document must be visible. We will maintain the confidentiality of your supplier contact information.
We will review your information and decide if you may sell on Amazon again. If you do not send the required information within 17 days, we may no longer allow you to sell on Amazon. Failure to provide us with the information above may result in us permanently withholding any payments to you.”
I was shocked. I was vexed. I did not know what to do. In fact, I was demoralized. In the 4 years that I have been selling on Amazon, I had never been suspended. I have come close to, but I had never actually been fully outright suspended from Amazon for inauthentic items or intellectual property infringement.
I can distinctively recall reading Amazon’s suspension email over and over again, going through every minute detail very carefully, as if over analyzing and scrutinizing every letter and every period at the end of every sentence.
I looked at the three ASINs in question. I read Amazon’s email, I I looked at the three ASINs in question and I re-read Amazon’s email again, like a madman. Needless to say, I did not sleep that night.
I was dumbfounded as to why I was suspended. Was I suspended for inauthentic items? Was I suspended for infringing intellectual property rights? Did someone complained about their order? Was there a negative feedback or some hidden A-Z claim I did not see or reply to?
I spent the next few days researching and conducting my due diligence as to what I would do next. By researching and conducting my due diligence I mean googling things like “how to appeal my amazon suspension”, “suspended from selling on Amazon”, “how to write an amazon plan of action, “how to amazon appeal”. To my misery, searching such things is not for the faint of heart. Story after story, article after article about how much money an Amazon seller lost due to an Amazon suspension, how Amazon crushed a small-business, crushed hopes and dreams because of the inability to create an Amazon appeal to Amazon’s standards or liking, stories about how Amazon did not reply or how Amazon kept asking for invoices.
Conducting these searches on google reminded me of when you search for your symptoms when you are sick and you’re not sure what sickness you may have – is it a fever? a cold? is it allergies? a tumor? brain cancer? I’m dying? Googling only made me panic even more.
I was part of a few Facebook groups, so I decided to take bit my lip and take the dive. I asked my groups for some help. I posted a lengthy post about what exactly happened. I have a somewhat positive. I say this without trying to bash the Facebook groups I am apart of because many people helped me with issues not related to Amazon suspension and writing an Amazon appeal or plan of action. However, when I posted my plea for help I noticed that people with uber fake Facebook profiles began to recommend the Amazon appeal service of the Facebook group admin or the service that the group was associated with, instead of providing me with advice openly in the posts how one normally would receive help.
They strange part (and main reason I did not seek the services that were recommend) about this was that these fake profiles did not just promote these services but pushed them on me, like vultures circling a wounded rabbit. To add some of these services were outside the United States, their websites looked sketchy or they were located in Eastern Europe and pretended to be something they weren’t.
Simultaneously, I had asked for help on seller central as Amazon’s suspension email suggested I do. My experience seeking help here was for a lack of words, disgusting. I made (again) a lengthy post and asked for help regarding my suspension and to my disbelief people were outright rude, insulting, arrogant and downright
So, there I was, days had gone by, terrified, worried and uncertain as to how I should create my Amazon appeal and overturn my Amazon suspension. Days had gone by and I had missed out on thousands of dollars in sales. Further, my scheduled payout was placed on hold. I literally, wanted to pull my hair out, crawl under my bed, sleep all day, or hide in my closet and cry. I eventually mustered up the courage and wrote, what I thought was a very well written and very well throughout Amazon appeal to beat my Amazon suspension.
I was very happy and proud at what I had written. I was ready and moved forward with submitting my plan of action to email@example.com, just as Amazon told me to do by submitting my plan of action through my Amazon seller account.
At first I was certain that I would be reinstated and that Amazon would see this whole situation in my light and allow me to continue to sell on Amazon. Surely, amazon would see that this was an unfounded issue being that I had not negative feedbacks, no A-Z claims. My metrics were flawless and my rating average was 4.5 stars. The day came and went, the next day passed, third day, fourth day, and the fifth day came to an end. A whole week had gone by before I received a response from Amazon. By now, I had missed out on over ten thousand dollars in sales. I was somewhat excited but was still hesitant to open Amazon’s email because I did not want to deal with the disappointment of being rejected after all my hard work that went into creating my Amazon appeal.
To be honest, I was so terrified to open their email, that I took about 30 minutes to open it. When I finally mustered up the courage to open up the Amazon’s email, I was mortified. They Amazon team who emailed me cut right to the point, like a knife straight to my jugular vein by stating the following:
“We reviewed your account and the information you provided, and we have decided that you may no longer sell on Amazon.com.”
Words cannot describe what I felt. My heart sank and I shrank into my chair. I felt, I was being rejected by a date, being wronged, being denied what was rightfully mine.
The next few lines read like this:
“The sale of counterfeit products on Amazon is strictly prohibited. We will continue to withhold your funds if you cannot provide valid invoices or receipts for the items you listed on Amazon. If the equivalent amount is greater than the total amount available in your account, then the total amount will be withheld.”
It was another crushing blow. I had over $39,000 dollars in my amazon seller account that was due for a payout. How can this even happen. My mind ran wild with questions. Is this legal? Can they do this? Do I need a lawyer, Do I have to call my congressional representative, my senator? Do I sue Amazon? Should I book tickets to Seattle, Washington to show up in person with proof in one hand and my product in the other hand? Should I start a protest outside their headquarters?
That day was perhaps to lowest point I have ever experienced as an Amazon seller. It was indeed an assault, a beat down on my moral, my dedication and my perseverance. As luck would have it however, the next day I received a message on Facebook from a Michael Williams. Michael was in a Amazon seller support group that I was in, where I previously asked for help to appeal my Amazon suspension. Although, I didn’t know Michael, I opened the message which stated: “Hi!, I know I’m probably messaging you a tad bit late but if you are still suspended and need help you may want to check out happyamazonseller.com! I hired them last month after Amazon said I wasn’t allowed to sell on Amazon because of high ODR. Maybe they can help!”
To be honest I was very skeptical at first. I wasn’t even sure who or what this website was. Nonetheless, I was just drained and tired of the way Amazon way treating me over something I am certain I had no fault in. I clicked the link and visited the site recommended by Michael after asking him question about how he was able to beat his Amazon suspension and asking other related details that could have helped me.
After a long conversation with Michael, he mentioned to me that he learned firsthand through Happy Amazon Seller that receiving a “kiss of death” email like the one I received last, was not the end of me selling on Amazon and that there was plenty of hope left for me to reinstate my Amazon seller account and get my selling privileges back. Michael, had given me a ray of hope. Now it was time to see if this service Michael recommended – or any other service for that matter – could in fact provide me with the value of reinstating my Amazon account, despite the fact that Amazon told me that I may no longer sell on Amazon, even after having provided legitimate invoices for the products in question.
I decided to give this whole Amazon appeal service a shot – I emailed a few services, including Happy Amazon Seller, and went through their sites. I decided that Happy Amazon Seller was the best fit to help me (in addition to being recommended to me).
I had an initial consultation with them and immediately learned more than I could chew about Amazon’s reinstatement and appeal process. I quickly learned how Amazon’s process was not a straight forward process.
I was shown, with clear evidence, that even when Amazon tells you that “you may no longer sell on Amazon.com” or “we may not replay to further emails”, that Amazon does not necessarily mean that. It’s almost as if they bluff you or lie to you. However, hindsight, what do we expect from a process has been streamlined and has robotic-like responses. I wish I would have known what I knew about Amazon suspensions because it would have saved be a few hairs and much heartache.
According to Happy Amazon Seller, it is possible to reinstate your amazon seller account regardless of what Amazon suspends you for or tells you; even when they say they may not reply to you or tell you that you may no longer sell on Amazon. This relieved me and renewed my hope in being able to once again continue to sell on Amazon and more importantly have my money withdrawn.
I quickly realized that there was a lot of things I had done wrong, to include the manner in which I wrote my Amazon appeal. When I compared my plan of action to the plan of action that Happy Amazon Seller wrote for me, I could clearly tell there was a distinct and huge difference in the way they went about writing the plan of action and the manner in which they described my circumstances.
I was also given some insight into what I should expect when sending my plan of action and how long I was to wait before following up and what exactly I should do in case of certain situations. I was led by my hand and was thoroughly explained how and who to send my plan of action and invoices to at Amazon.
By this point, I was actually very confident that the situation with my suspension was going to be resolved. I was more than ready. I had hired an expert service whose sole purpose is to beat your Amazon suspension and to add on top of everything I made sure I reviewed everything twice to make sure everything was as it should be before sending this new plan of action to Amazon using the guidance of Happy Amazon Seller. I made sure my invoices were ready, the plan of action was more than excellent, my issues on my Amazon seller account were all resolved. I was ready. I was ready to rock and roll.
I was ready to rumble so-to-speak. I sent off my plan of action and documents once again that very evening. I spent the rest of the day going around town helping my wife run a few errands, thinking that it may be best to keep my mind busy until I received a reply from Amazon within the next few days.
SPOILER: Here’s the part of the story where my luck instantly turns around. So, there I was, getting ready for bed, asking my wife if she thought this whole thing would blow over, when I get an email notification that told me I received an email from Amazon! I was nervous – I wasn’t ready to end my night with a rejection notice. I knew I had to open it though. This time I didn’t hesitate, I opened it immediately and there it was… what I was after the whole time, my selling privileges, and my ability to sell on Amazon once again.
My life, my dedication, everything I had work for was instantly given back to me. I was ecstatic. I was overwhelmed with relief. I was so happy that I was unable to sleep because, well, I had much catching up to do and because I wanted to get back on the ball immediately and not waste one more second.
I was still taken back though. I wondered if this was short lived. Would I be suspended from selling on Amazon again in a few hours? I had a ton of question for the people over at happyamazonseller.com. I sent them an email letting them know I was reinstated. While I waited, I continued to look through my account, there were no red flags, no other notifications (one order was even made). Everything was just as it should have been, right where I left off before being suspended almost two weeks ago. In total it was13 miserable and agonizing days of being suspended from amazon.
Happy Amazon Seller emailed be right back and congratulated me on the reinstatement of my selling privileges and ability to continue to sell on Amazon. I gave them my long list of questions and they were more than happy to address them and give me advice to prevent this type of situation again in the future. They explained that I should more than likely, never take what Amazon tells me at face value, to try to think logically, and to do my best to not give up when dealing with Amazon.
I was also given a few pieces of advice that would help me prevent being suspended for the same issue again in the future. Most importantly I was reminded that:
Amazon does not mean what they state in their emails when they say they may no longer reply to you or when they state you may no longer sell on Amazon.
My Amazon suspension and Amazon appeal journey was in itself very stressful. I’m probably correct when I state that my situation is not unique. I only wonder how many Amazon sellers have had their business crushed because Amazon suspended them and they could not find the help they needed or because Amazon denied their Amazon appeals.
Amazon’s natural suspension and appeal process is in itself a horrible process. The resources they provide to help you are very limited and people who lurk the Amazon seller forums “helping” people are not the best when it comes to helping you. I am forever thankful to Michael for messaging me and grateful for coming into contact with Happy Amazon Seller. The information and experience has made me a stronger, smarter and more knowledgeable Amazon seller.
I wish the best to all those who are currently suspended and to all those reading this.
If you ever find yourself suspended, stay faithful and hopeful and know it is very possible to overturn your suspended and have your Amazon selling privileges and Amazon account reinstated.
Edit: P.S as for my funds that Amazon was not going to release when I was suspended, they were released on schedule two weeks later. It was kinda of annoying to be honest that I had to wait another two weeks but it didn’t matter to me so long as they released the funds to me.
From my home office to you,
Jacob “Jake” Martinez