Anyone who sells on Amazon risks having their accounts suspended for violating the seller guidelines and terms of service of the Amazon platform. Everyone should know what to expect if Amazon suspends their account. This article will explain what happens when your account is suspended, answer some common questions about Amazon account suspensions, and provide some actionable tips that can help you get back up and running as quickly as possible.
Anyone who has sold on Amazon knows the sheer terror that the words "account suspension" evoke.
You've heard the horror stories about people getting their accounts suspended for minor offenses and it taking weeks, sometimes months, for them to get their accounts back.
Well, in this article, I am going to answer some of the most common questions people have about Amazon account suspensions.
If you've gotten your account suspended, I recommend you read through this article completely. It's going to give you a better understanding of what to expect.
It also might give you a little more peace of mind, along with some insights into how to best prepare your plans of action and supporting documents.
Why Listen to Me?
Many of the articles out there are from people who have anecdotal experience with account suspensions. My experience is much deeper. I've written hundreds of Amazon appeals and helped to reinstate most of the accounts I've worked with.
In 2015, I had my selling account suspended for having too many user permissions open at one time. After the process of appeals, I realized a few things:
- The process was a nightmare.
- Other people could benefit from knowing what I learned.
Word traveled that I had been through this process, and I began writing appeals. In late 2015, I joined Cynthia Stine at EgrowthPartners.com (it was onlinesalesstepbystep.com at the time).
Since then, I have handled over 100 Amazon seller account suspensions and many more ASIN suspensions.
Things at Amazon seller performance are volatile and always in flux. What I am sharing in this post may not be an accurate reflection of how Amazon is handling suspensions at the time you are reading it. I will do my best to update this article as new information presents itself.
Amazon Suspension Frequently Asked Questions
These questions are from real sellers, and my answers are based on my 2+ years of experience. Please share your own opinions in the comments below or in the thread that inspired this post on my FBA Today Facebook group.
Why Do People Get Their Amazon Accounts Suspended?
An account suspension can happen for several reasons. It can be anyone or a combination of the following.
- Late shipments
- Used sold as new
- Not as described
- Intellectual Property Complaints
- Linked accounts (multiple accounts)
- Product review manipulation
- Business identity fraud.
- Whatever Amazon decides.
Yes, Amazon has the final say in what can lead to a suspension and if they will allow you to sell again.
What Are the Chances That a Seller Will Have His or Her Seller Account Suspended?
We surveyed our group over at FBA Today and found that a shocking number of sellers have been suspended in the past.
I estimate that the average seller who is following the rules as best as possible has a 5-10% chance every year of becoming suspended. If you've been in business for 5 years or longer, the odds that you've been suspended are high.
Can I Sue Amazon?
You are welcome to try, but they have enough attorneys to keep your case in court until you die.
I have heard of sellers having success taking Amazon to arbitration. I am not an attorney and have never even played one on TV.
Your best bet is to get your account reinstated by going through the standard process of appeals. Suing them is going to be a monumental task, although I am excited to see when it finally happens.
How Many Appeals Does It Take to Get Reinstated?
The answer varies, and the amazon reinstatement appeal process is painful, but there are a few constants…
First, Amazon will almost never reinstate you on your first appeal.
No matter how complete your first appeal is, Amazon will almost never reinstate you. Don't panic. You could write a seven page, perfect letter, and they will most likely not reinstate you on the first attempt.
Next, Amazon will not reinstate your account until you answer all their questions completely. If they want invoices and buyer information, you need to provide it. If you can’t, you need to explain why and essentially, beg for forgiveness.
Can I Get my Amazon Account Reinstated without Invoices?
This isn’t ideal, but it can happen.
If you have absolutely no invoices, you need to “fall on the sword” and explain to Amazon why you are such a crappy seller.
Seriously, you should keep invoices! If you get suspended, and you don’t have them, don’t fake them; just explain clearly to Amazon your situation, and hopefully they don’t close you forever for a one time mistake.
I wrote an article that will show you how to get Amazon to accept your invoices.
How Do I Upload My Invoices When Appealing?
Why Did Amazon Send Me a Random Email Saying “You Haven’t Sent Us a Plan of Action,” When I Definitely Did?
If you don't use the appeal decision button in seller central, in 17 days, you will get an email saying that your account is closed, and that they will not return your information.
This is a default thing. It does not mean that your account's actually closed. This is why it's important to submit your first appeal through the appeal button, even though, like I said in point three, they don't give you an option to actually attach invoices.
How Do I Submit My Second Appeal? There Isn’t a Button Anymore!
After your first appeal letter attempt, email Amazon from the email associated with your seller account.
If you email them from a different email, it will screw up the case. You get the performance notifications to the email. You'll get them in the notifications center and to the email that is on file with Amazon. You can use that email and reply to it with your new plan of action.
What Is the Seller Performance Phone Number?
Amazon seller performance doesn't have a phone number that you can call to discuss your cases.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, “Can you call seller-performance?” Or “What is the number for Amazon seller performance?
If you know someone who works there that will answer, for the love of all that is good and holy, email me!
You can call seller support all day, but that won't do you much good...but more on that in the next question.
Can Seller Support Help with My Suspension?
Seller support does not know anything about your account.
If you talk to someone in seller support, and they think that they can help you, and you think that they're going to help you, you are sorely mistaken. If anything, they will slow the process down and make things worse. I wish that it wasn't true, but you just cannot get help from seller support.
Why Is Seller Performance Sending Me Canned Responses?
Amazon is going to send you canned responses with little information.
Don't panic; this is totally normal.
...annoying as hell, but normal.
I Was Reinstated, but they Say My Account Is “Still Under Review.” Is This Normal? Should I Be Worried?
When Amazon Says, “You can continue selling while we complete your review,” It Almost Always Means You Are Good to Go.
Most sellers don’t gasp in relief until about 15 days after their appeal was “accepted.” 9/10, when your account is reinstated, and they are “still reviewing it,” you are fine.
Here is an example of what one of these "pending review" reinstatements looks like.
How Long Does an Amazon Suspension Last?
Suspension cases can take as long as several months to complete
The questions I am often asked:
- “How long does an Amazon suspension last?”
- “How long does it take Amazon seller performance to respond to my appeal?"
- “How many times can I reply before Amazon suspends me permanently?”
Sometimes the key to reinstatements is perseverance.
Can I Open a Second Account if I Can’t Reinstate My Suspended One?
Yes, but it is a nightmare.
Amazon makes it extremely difficult to open a second account (or as many call it, a “ghost account.”)
Amazon links things like…
- IP Address
- Mailing address
- Billing address
- Credit Card/Bank Account Info
- Mac Address (computer)
So, this is to be avoided at all costs. I have met sellers with 7 storefronts!
How Many Times Can I Have My Amazon Seller’s Account Suspended and Still Get Back?
You Can Be Suspended More Than Once and Still Get Back.
The difficult part is when you are making the same mistakes.
For example, if you were suspended for late shipment rates (merchant sellers only) and fixed that problem, but 4 months later you were suspended for “used item sold as new,” you could likely still get the account back almost as easily.
What Categories Are Most Likely to Receive Inauthentic Complaints
This is something that can change of course, but this has been my experience (as of November 2022).
- Beauty (make-up in particular).
Besides these, any item that has a great deal of “intrinsic value” (value that is perceived rather than part of the cost of the good) is at risk for counterfeit claims.
For example, a Burberry scarf would be easy to counterfeit because the materials cost far less than the price that people will pay just because of the Burberry name.
If I Was Suspended a Long Time Ago, Can I Still Reinstate My Account?
If you are at the point where Amazon has already shipped your inventory back to you, you are not looking good.
That being said, yes, you could reinstate a "cold" suspension. Some sellers report having reinstated accounts that had been closed for over a year.
Does Amazon Accept Retail and Online Arbitrage Receipts?
If your account was suspended, and Amazon wants you to reveal your sources and proofs of purchase (this is a requirement in authenticity suspensions and can be requested in other cases as well) you CAN slide by with retail receipts or online invoices.
This isn't ideal, but I have seen these documents work time and time again.
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Hi Nate,I appreciate your article – I can so relate to the issues raised! It saddens me deeply that a company that I once held in high regard has such horrible customer service for their ‘internal customers’ – the sellers who work so hard. My sob story is, as most are, long and full of frustration. At this point, I have no interest in being an Amazon Seller any longer, I just want them to release my money that is being held in reserve. Every time I get in touch with someone (which is pretty much never if you don’t count canned or automatically generated responses, whether in writing or on the phone) I “learn” something different. Round and round and round.. Today is August 8. My last payment from Amazon was June 11. I was told this morning that it would be October 30 or later before my funds would be released. Seems…unreasonable…unethical…unbelievable. I have written to a bunch of different email address including seller performance, payments, support, and about 10 others but have never had any semblance of personal response. If you or any of others on this thread have any advice on how to get to a decision maker or at the very least, someone who could actually tell me what is going on – I would very much appreciate it. Thanks!
Hey Chris, thanks for reading and I’m really sorry to hear you’re in the group of internal customers harmed by Amazon’s sweeping policies :(One email address you can try (it’s a shot in the dark) is [email protected] It has worked in the past. If you REALLY want it back, you should check with one of the attorneys who specialize in Amazon suspensions. They have done some things that I can’t do myself as an appeal writer. I’ve seen cases go on for literally close to a year though and the person somehow eventually got back. Don’t give up until you’re totally fed up!Thanks,NatePS: You can buy another account if you really REALLY want back in the game. It’s not white hat but Amazon can suck it lol
My amazon acc is suspended and they are asking for invoices.Since i was dropshipping what is the way out from this ? i need to re instate my account.
Hey Nate,Thanks for guide because my application has been suspended several times and now i am looking for a how, why and other guides. While finding informations related to that i got your guide and this one is very helpful for me.Thanks for sharing such useful information to the world.Pradeep Dixit
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Hi, if you can help reinstate please email me backthank you
I tried getting my account reinstated using those appeal services with no success after a buyer took advantage and tried to scam me. Amazon sided with them and my account got dinged and closed. Sucks when support doesn’t respond to you or simply ignores you.I was wondering if anyone has been successful on creating a new account? I found this guide: https://www.slideshare.net/AuctionEssistance/ebay-incognitostealth which seems more for eBay, but I don’t know if it could also be used to create a new Amazon account?
Before starting up your own business online it is important that you know what to sell by determining your audience. It is a must to that you have to follow proper procedures in setting up your account. This will help you minimize in having problems and successfully sell your products online.
Great article Nate. Big thanks !
Hi Nate,I see that you help with ASIN suspensions so I have a question. I had a product called a derma rollerthat sold over 100 in the first 30 days. Then Amazon claimed it was deemed a medical device. There are a TON of sellers for similar items but they wouldn’t allow me to put my listing on. I contacted the FDA but they just give you generic info. Any ideas or should I just try to sell the 200 I had just purchased for inventory some other way? I’m sitting on $1000 in inventory. So frustrating after the listing was fine for a month.Thanks for any advice.