Amazon recently announced the Account Health Assurance benefit that gives sellers a chance to work against a possible account deactivation. Get to know more about it and who it really benefits.
How the Account Health Assurance Works
The Account Health Assurance (AHA) is a benefit given to eligible Amazon sellers that allows them to talk to an account specialist first before their accounts are deactivated. So when a seller encounters an issue that would otherwise result in deactivation or suspension, you will be notified first and given a chance to fix the issue.
When Amazon detects a problem that may affect your account’s status, an account health specialist will reach out to the seller. As long as they can reach you within 72 hours and you cooperate with them, your account will not be deactivated.
In other words, the AHA gives sellers a chance to defend their side, fix mistakes, or clarify misunderstandings before getting hit with selling privilege limitations.
Who Qualifies for the Benefit?
The Account Health Assurance is available to sellers who consistently achieve a high Account Health Rating (AHR).
The AHR is an indicator of a seller’s risk to account deactivation. The feature, which was rolled out in 2020, provides real-time account health status (a healthy score is between 200 and 1,000).
In order to qualify for the Account Health Assurance benefit, sellers need to
- have a Professional account
- maintain an AHR score of 250 or higher for at least 6 months
- have no more than 10 days where their AHR dropped below 250, and
- have a valid emergency contact number on file
Those who qualify are automatically enrolled at no additional cost. After enrollment, even if your AHR falls below 250, you will remain enrolled as long as you don’t have any policy violations.
As of writing, Account Health Assurance is available only in the US and Canada.
Account Suspension and Deactivation Have Always Been a Problem
An Amazon seller’s worst nightmare is having his account suspended, resulting in inventory that can’t be moved and, of course, lost income. Sometimes, account suspensions are justified, just like the mass suspension of Chinese seller accounts that were engaged in review manipulation. However, some sellers are suspended without their fault. For example, in 2021, a seller was banned from Amazon for false links to an erring Chinese seller.
For cases like the latter, sellers often have to jump through hoops just to get a direct answer from Amazon. Getting a suspended account reinstated is no easy task. And even if the reinstatement is successful, the anxiety and mental anguish that comes along with it have already done their damage.
This is why the Account Health Assurance is generally good news for Amazon third-party sellers.
However . . .
Is There a Downside?
As with anything Amazon, you can’t take any announcement at face value. The Account Health Assurance gives sellers a chance to explain their side and to halt a suspension, but it isn’t all roses and butterflies.
First, not all sellers can benefit from the AHA. Again, to be eligible, a seller must maintain an AHR score of 250 or higher for at least 6 months. Most small businesses, even if they’ve been on Amazon for years, do not qualify based on this threshold. So most small business owners may not enjoy this benefit.
Second, sellers who actually violated Amazon’s ToS and who are eligible for the benefit will have a chance to find an excuse because of the leeway. However, to be fair to Amazon, they did mention in their FAQ section that despite their AHA eligibility status, sellers who are believed to have engaged in illegal, deceptive, or harmful activities may have their accounts suspended immediately.
The Account Health Assurance is great news for qualified third-party Amazon sellers. Instead of going back and forth with Seller Support to try and figure out how to reinstate their accounts, sellers are given the opportunity to be heard.
In general, this is a fairer approach compared to summary suspensions, but it would have been better to have it available to smaller sellers.
We got a call alright. My phone rang every five minutes for 25 minutes while I was out playing tennis. When I did answer the Amazon representative could not answer the specific questions we had and merely repeated the same script over and over again. When we asked to speak to someone else in her department she said, “I am the only one who can help you.” Real comforting! Our call lasted 30 minutes but only two violations were reviewed. Mind you I was still sweaty from tennis and had no clue about this new procedure. We received our deactivation notice 60 hours later (we were told we had 72 hours to respond). Not a great improvement, Bezos!