If your Amazon account is suspended, or if you’re dealing with a bunch of blocked ASINs, it’s not unusual to receive the same generic response after submitting your appeal. Usually, it’s something along these lines:
Your account will remain deactivated. Your listings have been removed. Funds will not be transferred to you, but will be held in your account while we work with you to address this issue.
Of course, it’s unlikely that you will be able to get anyone from Amazon to work with you during an account suspension. And more frustrating, it’s likely that you haven’t even truly discovered what the issue actually is.
We don’t know why Amazon is still so notoriously vague when it comes to account suspensions, or why they don’t explain the possible resolutions to the sellers behind suspended seller accounts. In our experience, most Amazon sellers are more than happy to resolve any and all issues that led to their suspension — but they can’t do that if they don’t know what the issues are.
Although we probably all agree that the bulk of these issues would be best solved with more transparency from Amazon, for now, we’re left to decrypt the vague performance notifications on our own.
Here are some tips on figuring out why your Amazon seller account has been suspended, and some advice on getting Amazon to listen to your appeal.
Find Out Why Your Account is Suspended
It’s common for suspended Amazon sellers to be completely confused as far as the reason for their account suspension. If your seller account is suspended and you sincerely have no idea why, here are a few things to look at for some insight on why Amazon suspended your selling privileges.
1. Examine your Account Health Dashboard.
This is a fairly new feature from Amazon, which was introduced with the implementation of the Account Health Services team. If your account is suspended, look for any suspicious sections of your account health page — even if your rating is still “Green (Good)”. Not all of these types of violations will inevitably lead to a suspended account, but if you’re already suspended, this page can be a helpful tool for figuring out what you need to address in order to get reinstated.
2. Check out your Inventory.
Look for ASINs that you might not have noticed were flagged in the weeks leading up to your suspension (especially if you run a large story with several dozen or more product listings). Are there a lot of buyer complaints or restrictions on certain items or categories? Is it possible that you have listings that could be an infringement of another brand’s intellectual property? Did a whole bunch of listings get taken down at once before your account was suspended? Any of these things could be contributing to the reason for your suspension.
3. Learn about Section 3 Suspensions.
Many Amazon seller account suspensions these days happen along with a notification that says, “”Your Amazon seller account has been deactivated in accordance with section 3 of Amazon’s Business Solutions Agreement.” Let’s first figure out what Section 3 says within the Amazon Business Agreement. Here’s the exact text:
“3. Term and Termination. The term of this Agreement will start on the date of your completed registration for use of a Service and continue until terminated by us or you as provided below. You may at any time terminate your use of any Service immediately on notice to us via Seller Central, email, the Contact Us form, or similar means. We may terminate your use of any Services or terminate this Agreement for convenience with 30 days’ advance notice. We may suspend or terminate your use of any Services immediately if we determine that (a) you have materially breached the Agreement and failed to cure within 7 days of a cure notice unless your breach exposes us to liability toward a third party, in which case we are entitled to reduce, or waive, the aforementioned cure period at our reasonable discretion; (b) your account has been, or our controls identify that it may be used for deceptive or fraudulent, or illegal activity; or (c) your use of the Services has harmed, or our controls identify that it might harm, other sellers, customers, or Amazon’s legitimate interests. We will promptly notify you of any such termination or suspension via email or similar means including Seller Central, indicating the reason and any options to appeal, except where we have reason to believe that providing this information will hinder the investigation or prevention of deceptive, fraudulent, or illegal activity, or will enable you to circumvent our safeguards. On termination of this Agreement, all related rights and obligations under this Agreement immediately terminate, except that (d) you will remain responsible for performing all of your obligations in connection with transactions entered into before termination and for any liabilities that accrued before or as a result of termination, and (e) Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14, 15, and 18 of these General Terms survive.” (Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement)
We always encourage you to read the fine print — but we understand that Amazon’s agreement takes the term “fine print” to a whole new level. Most sellers don’t know what rules are actually laid out in this section, so we’ll do our best to translate. The main causes of a section 3 suspension tend to be linked or multiple accounts, abusive behavior or attacks towards other sellers, and any type of fraud (i.e., rank manipulation). We’ve also seen section 3 suspensions for confirmed intellectual property violations, usually against larger brands. Multiple dropshipping violations also fall under the umbrella of a section 3 suspension.
Zoom in on this part of Section 3: “(c) your use of the Services has harmed, or our controls identify that it might harm, other sellers, customers, or Amazon’s legitimate interests.” Technically, by maintaining a stealth account, attacking your competitors, manipulating the algorithm, or selling a brand you’re not authorized to sell, you’re in violation of section 3 by engaging in activity that might harm Amazon’s “legitimate interests”. The business agreement remains one of the most controversial documents in e-commerce, but if you want to sell on Amazon successfully, you need to abide by their rules – so please, read the whole thing.
4. Communicate with Amazon.
Over the years, Amazon has gotten a bit better at providing sellers with the information they need to successfully reinstate a suspended account. Many sellers get nervous about reaching out to Amazon, but that “Call Me Now” button on your account health page can be a very valuable tool. Although the Account Health team is not seller performance and doesn’t have the authority to reinstate your account on the spot, they do have the ability to check on the reasons why your appeal wasn’t accepted and provide some insight on what’s missing from your plan of action. So don’t be afraid to reach out — usually, for better or worse, you’ll get a better idea of what you need to do to get back to selling.
Kristen Leccese has been active in the Amazon seller industry for 10 years. With strong roots in writing, her expertise in suspension appeals has helped reinstate hundreds of sellers throughout her years as a consultant.