A large number of sellers are being caught up in Amazon's most recent round of account suspensions. Most of these account suspensions are because Amazon claims that they found your account is related to an account that may not be used to sell on their site. Sometimes these claims are justified, but during other times, they are not. In this article, we'll take a look at why these suspensions are happening and how you can appeal them.
Amazon-Related Account Suspensions
The account suspensions that have been occurring in October and November 2020 relate to Amazon deeming that the seller is associated with another seller that has a suspended account. Simply being related to another account isn't resulting in suspensions. It's being related to another account that is currently suspended.
The intent of Amazon is clear: they're trying to get rid of sellers who were suspended and used another account to operate. Unpredictably, there has been a lot of collateral damage with a large amount of sellers having their accounts suspended for seemingly no good reason.
Many of these suspensions are (right now) being done explicitly for seller's Amazon.ca selling privileges.
What Triggers Related-Account Suspensions
You could have your account suspended for several reasons:
- You had your Amazon account suspended and you opened another seller account, trying to get around the suspension. Your original account remains suspended.
- Amazon has deemed your account related to another account that is suspended. Amazon could consider this account related because of identical business addresses, business names, use of same wireless networks, logging into the accounts from the same computer, etc.
- You gave API access to a company who has had their API credentials revoked.
- You gave user permissions access to someone who also had a seller account that got suspended
How to Get Your Account Unsuspended
How you proceed with these account suspensions depends on the reason for the suspension.
- You must first figure out what account Amazon has deemed you related to. If you know this, proceed to the next step. If you don't know yet, call the Amazon Account Health team (go to your Amazon account health and there should be a “Call me now” button).
When you're on the phone, ask for the first three letters of the email address of the related account. The rep may or may not easily give this information to you, but with enough persistence, they should. Hopefully, this is enough of a lead to indicate what other account the related account is.
- While on the phone, insist you are not related to any other accounts. Be firm and persistent. This is sometimes enough to get your account quickly reactivated.
- Once you have figured out the suspended account, the easiest thing to do is to get that seller to get their account unsuspended. If you can do this, you should be in the clear for getting your account unsuspended on the first appeal.
- It's possible your suspension may be related to a service provider you previously granted API access to. Go to your User Permissions History page and look for any history of revoked access (ideally, one with the user name matching the first three letters you were given in step 2). If you see any, this is an indication of the related account, and you can use this information in your appeal.
- If you cannot get the related account unsuspended, you need to prove you are not related to that account. Utility bills, business license information, and the usual identity verification documents are a good start.
Why Are These Suspensions Occurring Now?
As mentioned, it's typical Amazon procedure to accumulate dirt on sellers and then suspend them in one massive swoop. For better or worse, their preferred time to do massive suspension sweeps seems to be shortly before the holidays.
There's a couple of implications for this:
- Amazon has a very clear record of your related accounts. I have viewed internal documentation about Amazon's account linking metrics they relate accounts on. It is well over twenty factors. Tread carefully knowing this information, i.e., be careful who you ask reviews from.
- Again, Amazon often does not suspend sellers when an infraction takes place. They keep the information and then act on it at one time. I see a lot of sellers using nefarious review tactics and thinking they're getting away with it because they haven't been suspended yet.
Moreover, many sellers are seeing only their Amazon.ca accounts suspended. My guess is that many sellers have had their Amazon.ca accounts suspended and then do not appeal it because Canada is a small portion of their sales. However, the suspensions are not just for Amazon.ca. While most sellers who have been falsely caught up in all of this are getting only their Amazon.ca accounts suspended, there are a lot of sellers getting their Amazon.com accounts suspended as well, normally justifiably (i.e., they knowingly opened secondary accounts because their primary accounts got suspended).
Amazon has been automatically reinstating many sellers even without appeals, which is good news. Many sellers are still in limbo with suspended accounts. Hopefully, the information here can help you get your account unsuspended.
Have you ever had your account suspended? What were the steps you took? Share them in the comments section below.