Receiving an email that says “Amazon Seller Account Deactivated” is a common occurrence for Amazon sellers. In fact, an estimated 20% of all third-party sellers on Amazon received a suspension in 2019. While we have previously written about the process and strategy for dealing with an account suspension here, this post examines some of the specific tactics you should use, and content you should include, in your Amazon appeal to get reinstated quickly.
Before diving into specific strategies, it is important to note that the first decision you should make after being notified of your deactivated Amazon seller account is whether you will hire an Amazon reinstatement expert like Appeal Wizards to handle your appeal. This decision is important for two reasons, both of which are driven by timing. First, because you only have 17 days to appeal your suspension, it is crucial to hit the ground running on your appeal quickly. This means that if you are going to hire an expert, there is no reason to delay. While Appeal Wizards can create an appeal letter within 24 hours, many other consultants can take up to two weeks to draft your appeal. For this reason, if you are going to hire an Amazon Appeals Service, we recommend contacting them within 48 hours of receiving your account suspension. Second, and on the flip-side of the first point, if you are going to draft your own appeal, you will likely need at least a week to put together a winning appeal. The Amazon reinstatement process is fraught with intricacies and complexities, so you will need time to get up to speed on how to write and submit your appeal, and then you will need time to actually write the appeal. It’s important to avoid the “Amazon Seller Account Deactivated” message at all costs.
If you choose to hire an Amazon Appeals Service like Appeal Wizards for your account reinstatement, your involvement in the appeal process should be kept to a minimum. The expert should handle drafting your appeal letter and plan of action, and should handle all correspondence with the correct Amazon seller performance team (including document requests, calls, and emails). If, however, you are a do-it-yourselfer who decides to write your own appeal, we recommend sticking to the below drafting best practices on how to reactivate your Amazon seller account.
#1: Hurry Up, But Take Your Time: Efficiency is Key to Reactivate Your Amazon Seller Account
Although you only have 17 days to submit your appeal to Amazon, it is important that you put the time into understanding the appeal process and what it takes to write a successful appeal. This is because you simply do not get many (if any) do-overs in the appeal process. If you write an unresponsive or ineffective appeal, Amazon may choose to immediately move your account to the permanent blocked list, without any further interaction between you and their seller performance team.
While this may seem like a draconian response, keep in mind that Amazon is policing over 2.5 million third-party sellers. This means not only that Amazon has very little time (or patience) for each individual seller, but also that they have developed extremely regimented and methodical processes for reviewing and addressing seller appeals. As a result, the Amazon seller performance team is looking for very specific things to be included in each appeal, as well as very specific things to be omitted — the former is necessary for reinstatement, the latter is sufficient for permanent blocking.
Simply put, it is important that you set aside the proper time to put together your Amazon plan of action, as submitting an ineffective appeal is equivalent to submitting no appeal at all.
#2: Identify Root Causes: Why Was Your Amazon Account Deactivated?
One of the most important things Amazon will look for in your appeal letter is your identification of, and adequate resolution of, the root causes leading to your appeal. Suspended Amazon Sellers often find themselves asking “Why was my Amazon account deactivated?” In practice, Amazon suspends sellers for specific reasons and therefore looks to confirm that a suspended seller has taken particular remedial actions addressing those reasons. Unfortunately, Amazon typically does not provide sellers with an exact explanation of the reasons for suspension, instead relying on vague, one-line references to their policy manual such as “misuse of ratings, feedback, or reviews,” “misuse of sales rank,” and/or “prohibited seller activities and actions.” Sellers must therefore engage in an exercise of self-assessment to figure out exactly why their account was deactivated.
While these root causes will obviously vary from seller-to-seller, absent hiring an Amazon consultant, the best thing you can do to identify your root causes is to Google the specific one-line description that Amazon provides in your suspension notice to see if you can pinpoint the underlying issues. This process of identifying, correcting, and communicating the root causes of your suspension is the most critical step in achieving reinstatement.
Once you identify your root causes, make sure that your appeal briefly and succinctly identifies the issue. For example, in the above Amazon suspension example, you would have to clearly identify the system your business had in place to gain reviews and improve sales rank, and what about that previous (lawed) system led you to violate Amazon’s Seller Policies and Procedures. Some examples of bad attempts to explain root causes include: discussing the issue of a specific customer, blaming the error on a person at your business (as opposed to a process that you can fix), or apologizing for a “one-time mistake.”
#3: Strategize and Pinpoint Process Improvements for Fast Amazon Account Reinstatement
Once you identify your root causes, you must adequately and succinctly identify the steps you have taken to address the causes. This requires both a clear causal connection between root cause and solution, as well as clear articulation to Amazon of why and how these steps have been taken. Remember, Amazonians are intelligent, highly engaged individuals with significant prior experience. It should therefore come as no surprise that Amazon is extremely adept at identifying superficial solutions to issues. Simply put, you are not going to out-wit or circumvent the appeal process through fluffy writing, no matter how polished or sophisticated a writer you might be. Amazon is looking for you to explain how you have overhauled your business processes to ensure that the problematic issues will not happen again.
The only way to write a successful appeal is through clear presentation of substantive, feasible solutions to an identifiable problem. For example, succinctly explaining the new process you have implemented that will catch the issue that arose before it happens again or discussing the additional layer of checks in your business. Examples of bad attempts at proposed solutions in a plan of action include “we fired the employee who messed up” or “we have implemented new procedures to ensure compliance with Amazon’s standards” — the former solution fails to address any underlying business processes, while the latter is overly vague.
Amazon is looking for you to own up to mistakes you have made, and is looking for you to propose specific, feasible solutions. Thus, personnel-specific solutions that fail to identify process overhauls or solutions that are overly generalized (i.e., vague references to Amazon compliance) will not prove to your case reviewer that you understand the specific issues leading to your suspension and that you have taken steps to address them.
#4: Provide Sufficient Documentation
It may seem obvious, but you must provide Amazon with any requested documentation to be reinstated. While it may not be immediately apparent why Amazon requests certain documentation or information, rest assured they view any such document requests as necessary to reinstate your account. These include, for example, seller account snapshots, internal emails to employees explaining issues or compliance procedures, and even excerpts of third-party websites that may have been involved in the issues leading to your suspension (such as discounting issues or vendor-specific problems). In short, be sure that your appeal package includes any supporting information or documents that Amazon requests. No matter how good the rest of your appeal might be, you will not be reinstated if your appeal is incomplete.
#5: Be Mindful of Tone and Format
Not to be overlooked in the list of crucial steps in the path to Amazon account reinstatement are the things not to include in your appeal. Principal among these are the tone with which you write your appeal – with no exceptions, appeals that are accusatory, flippant, critical of Amazon, or in denial of wrongdoing will be immediately rejected, with sellers likely to be permanently banned.
It is also important to avoid long-winded or misdirected content in your appeal; Amazon expects to see succinct, carefully crafted appeals that follow a specific format (particularly in your plan of action), and therefore the aesthetic way in which you structure your appeal is just as important as the substantive content you include therein. Write to the point of sufficiency, but do not negotiate beyond “yes.”
We have seen successful appeals as short as 150 words and unsuccessful appeals as long as 5,000 words. Be polite and professional in tone. Avoid any attempts at humor (even if self-deprecating). Be responsive, succinct, and on point.
If you are a classic do-it-yourself type of person who has decided to “go it alone” in writing your Amazon appeal, adhering to these best practices is essential to writing a winning appeal. Ultimately, a successful appeal requires a carefully crafted plan of action that specifically and completely addresses the issues leading to your suspension – a process that necessitates time, thought, and execution. Remember, Appeal Wizards is always available to review appeals you have drafted even if you are not interested in having us handle your entire appeal. If you need a second set of eyes or just want to talk, fill out the form and we will get back to you in 24 hours. Avoid the dreaded “Amazon Seller Account Deactivated” message!