When I was in high school, my history teacher got in hot water for slacking off. It turned out he had been cutting serious corners when grading our assignments (how he was caught, I'm still unsure). Basically, he was grading assignments based on the current grade of the student at the time and not the work that was just submitted.
If you scored a “B” on your scantron graded multiple choice test, you got a “B” on anything else you submitted (ok, he sometimes gave a plus or minus).
Amazon seller support is like this.
The only way to get a better outcome is to provide better quantifiable data(like my history class and the multiple choice tests that couldn't be graded with bias).
When Amazon suspends an ASIN, or (GASP) your entire account, for claims that require product purchase validation, they want to see hard evidence that your product meets the criteria they are told to verify.
Unfortunately, even if you provide the proper documentation in the correct format, authenticity claims generally drag on… you will more than likely receive an email (or two or more!) that looks like this…
1. Annotate your receipts and invoices.
Clarity is king when it comes to verifying your documentation. Unfortunately, most sellers have invoices that are pages long, poorly itemized and downright overwhelming to Seller Performance.
Overwhelm Seller Performance and you'll be seeing that image above quite a lot.
Your best bet is to annotate your images and highlight the specific items Amazon is looking for.
I am not an accountant but buying an iPad and Apple Pencil to properly document your documents for your business sure sounds like a business expense to me. Are you a CPA and think I'm full of crap? Leave a comment!
There are plenty of free tools for image annotation out there. For a good free tool, check out Skitch by Evernote. If you want to pay for something a little better, check out Snagit by Camtasia (what I use).
Here is what a properly annotated invoice should look like (this was done with Snagit).
Note: I found this image from Google, it is not from a past client 🙂 Also, I made up the ASIN and the date on this receipt would most likely not fly with Amazon (well over 365 days old)
2. Include invoices as attachments AND URLs.
Amazon has one gigantic flaw in regards to their “Appeal Decision” submission form: THEY DON'T HAVE A WAY TO ATTACH INVOICES!!!
Crazy right? They ask for invoices and receipts, but give you no way to upload them.
At EGrowth Partners (the company I work through for my consulting and appeal writing), we use clickable URLs and paste them into the submissions to Amazon.
You can make these with Google Drive or a number of other tools (OneDrive, Dropbox, Evernote, just to name a few).
Here is an example of an invoice link (it is also annotated).
PRO TIP: I trust Seller Performance about as far as I can throw them, so sometimes I like to track what they are (or aren't) doing with my client's invoices. So, I will use a link click-tracking tool to cloak the Drive URL. I can then see if and when they clicked the link. James Bond, eat your heart out.
The tool I recommend for this is called Snip.ly. They have free accounts.
Here is an example of the same Google Drive link as shared above but as a shortened, trackable URL –> http://snip.ly/rg9up
3. Add Notes
You need to assume that Amazon doesn't have any idea what they are looking at. Your Ross receipt may make perfect sense to you, but Amazon Seller Performance may need a little clarification.
So, even if you know that a certain product code is your product, that doesn't mean Amazon does.
So what do you do? Whatever it takes! I have had clients who go to the store and get an employee to scan the product with a listing gun and show the product UPC matching the code. We would then make a note stating something to the effect:
Note: This product is not itemized clearly. We have attached another image that clearly shows this store item number correlates to the UPC (insert UPC) on file for ASIN (INSERT ASIN).
4. Name Your Image Files Properly
Don't send images with links like “3473298533.jpg” or something crazy.
Be clear and do something like: “ASIN XXXXXX Invoice #1 1.4.16.jpg”
Also, when you create your image URLs (as mentioned above) you should group ASINs into folders (if you have multiple ASINs to address).
5. Be as Complete as Possible
Amazon wants as much information as possible, as clearly as possible. Don't cut corners. Work to give them everything they want the first time.