We all know that with online sales, every second matters. It can only take a sale or two to tamper with your seller’s rating, and that every moment you are offline, your competitor is making all the sales. Naturally, selling on a massive platform like Amazon, with hundreds of thousands of sellers and millions of daily transactions, can be extremely intimidating. Not to mention the fact that most online marketplaces like Amazon and Flipkart sign a Service Level Agreement with their sellers, as a means to keep a tab on a certain level of efficiency in service that they want the customer to expect. If a seller fails to comply with these terms, the result can be quite devastating for their business.

When it comes to punitive action, Amazon does not distinguish between big and small sellers. Account suspension can mean loss of business, credibility and momentum that you may have acquired in the past few days. Not to mention that if a suspension occurs during peak sales season, it may even cost you your venture. We all know that the peak periods during the sales cycle are crucial for businesses to survive, especially those that almost exclusively rely on mainstream online sales platforms to sell consumer products. Since there is already someone else available to sell the product that you might have sold to the customer, your absence doesn’t make a dent in the system. But such a scenario can be disastrous for your company.

There are many reasons why your account may get suspended, and it is also not a matter of utter panic if that does happen. Better still, there are certain habits that you can inculcate that can act is pre-emptive and preventive measures against such a scenario to take place. But if it does, there are some steps that you must promptly take to make sure that the situation doesn’t escalate and you get back to selling as soon as possible. Let us look at these situations in a little more detail and get to know more about possible plans of action.

Why Would You get Suspended?

Amazon’s relationship with its sellers can be described as a carrot-and-stick model. While it believes in rewarding good performance, high seller’s ratings and customer satisfaction through bonuses and other benefits, it believes in taking strict action against mediocrity and fraud. There can be three main reasons behind an account suspension on Amazon –

Amazon measures its sellers’ performance through a variety of different metrics, which are consolidated into a seller’s rating number. These metrics help Amazon to keep an eye over the competition and make sure that it is healthy. A prolonged dip in your seller’s rating can be a reason why your Amazon account may be suspended. For example, if you have made an Amazon account, but haven’t been selling anything on it for a while, you shouldn’t be surprised if it has been suspended.

Amazon signs a Service Level Agreement (SLA) with all its sellers on registration. The SLA outlines in clear terms, certain expectations that Amazon has from the seller, including packaging and delivery times, customer response and product quality. If any of the terms and conditions of Amazon’s selling policy have not been honored, your account may be liable to be suspended. This may be a result of a customer complaint, a competitor complaint or Amazon’s own initiative. In most cases, Amazon will give you a warning and will expect you to act swiftly to comply with its terms and conditions, before suspending your account.

Finally, there are certain products that are deemed illegal or restricted on Amazon, which the company expects not to be listed on its website. These may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, certain includes prescription medication, drugs, narcotics, explosives, other restricted items, etc. Here is a detailed list of products whose sale is restricted on Amazon. If a seller is found listing any of these products on the website, it may result in immediate suspension, or worse, a ban from the platform.

Types of Punitive Action

Suspension is just one kind of punitive action that Amazon may take against a seller. Here are a few ways that Amazon punishes certain kinds of behaviour on its platform:

My Account has been Suspended. What do I do?

First of all, don’t panic. As we saw, there can be many reasons for account suspension. What you need to do immediately is try to find out the exact reason for the suspension. Try checking your Performance Notifications within Seller Central (Seller Central>Performance> Performance Notifications> location suspension notice). Also, check your recent emails from Amazon to zero in on the exact problem.

The next step is to appeal against the suspension. Here, you will have to go into detail and state your case in front of Amazon. If your suspension is due to low performance, you would have to come up with a corrective plan of action. The same goes for policy violations and customer complaints.

If the suspension is due to trademark or copyright violations, you get a chance to state your case in the appeal, or immediately remove the product and assure that it won’t be listed again.

There have been cases when competitors file frivolous complaints against each other to result in account suspensions. Amazon takes these complaints very seriously, and a baseless charge may result in damages to the complainant.

The important thing to keep in mind is to not let the situation escalate. The faster you get back to selling, the less damage this incident is going to cause. Hundreds of sellers are suspended on Amazon on a daily basis, so it is not something that should be blown out of proportion. The key point is to avoid getting banned, and to get back on your feet as soon as possible.

To know more about what to do in case of account suspension and other queries, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce experts, and we are always happy to help!

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