There’s no doubt that Amazon is a great platform for sellers to let go of their merchandise and make a nice profit while they’re at it. However, the commerce giant does have its limits when it comes to abusing the platform. It is really for that reason why a lot of sellers have been banned from Amazon. For those who are not aware, it is possible for sellers to be banned on Amazon without warning. If you are found to break their rules, your account will definitely get suspended.
Don’t think that sellers are the only ones that may get banned though. There are also a number of buyers that have been banned by Amazon. The main reason is simply that these people don’t know how to follow the rules when using the platform. Reasonably, Amazon won’t pull any strings if they think that you’re not using the platform properly.
That said, it’s highly advisable that you familiarize yourself with the various ways on how to get banned from Amazon. Doing so will help prevent yourself from getting suspended. Remember that whether you’re a buyer or seller, you will get suspended if you try to mess with the platform. Here are the things to take note of:
How Sellers Get Banned on Amazon
First of all, let’s talk about how sellers get their Amazon account banned. When you’re a seller on this website, you have to always remember that Amazon is giving you a privilege to be on their platform. This means that as a seller, you are following the rules that Amazon has set up for you. Once you cross those lines, then Amazon has every right to ban your account.
One of the things that Amazon would really take into consideration when banning accounts is bad conduct. It is pretty common to see Amazon banning accounts of sellers who are very disrespectful to the buyers. That’s just one portion though. The other part would be a blatant misuse of the platform in order to siphon out further personal gains. In other words, unethical seller behavior.
Can you get banned from Amazon permanently? Yes, you can. You may appeal to Amazon to bring your account back, but if Amazon decides to ban you permanently, you really do have the power to do so.
That being said, how exactly do you prevent being on the Amazon banned list? Well, the fastest answer to that is to simply follow the rules. Also, take note of these things that will get you suspended quickly:
Selling poor quality products
You think that this is a no-brainer for any seller, but you’d be surprised to know how many sellers try to rip off buyers by selling them poor quality products. Do take into consideration that Amazon takes product complaints very seriously. If your account happens to have a lot of product complaints regarding poor quality products, then Amazon is really going to consider banning you.
Ignoring customer messages
This is a surefire way on how to get banned. We’re not saying that you have to address all the messages right away, but you do have to address the complaints and queries of your clientele. After all, that’s what you’re on Amazon for – to sell. If you can’t even do that, then Amazon is not going to see you as a valuable seller.
With that, they have absolutely no reason to keep you anymore, so they’ll just ban you. While you’re on the platform, you always have to put the utmost importance in your clients so that you’ll be a valuable seller.
Performing poorly on the metrics system
You probably haven’t noticed it yet, but Amazon shows you metrics that would indicate your performance. From these metrics, you’ll be able to see your key performance indicators or KPIs. These numbers will tell you if you are doing well as a seller or not. Again, Amazon only wants to have valuable sellers in their environment.
If you’re not on par with the Amazon standards, then Amazon doesn’t have any use of you. If your monthly performance is constantly low, then be prepared for the management to take you out.
Giving wrong info
This is a given – you shouldn’t try to mislead anyone by trying to sell something with the wrong info. If there is a surefire reason for Amazon to ban accounts, that would be it. If you are found to have misled a customer with the wrong information, you will be taken out in just a few days or less.
Not addressing return shipments
Let’s say that you have an Amazon undeliverable – incorrect address shipment (this means that the product was returned because the address was wrong). You will have to address that once you see the status of the returned product. More often than not, sellers would just put the product back in their inventory and ignore the client who gave the wrong address.
The right thing to do is to immediately contact the buyer and inform him that the address was wrong. Once the buyer complains, it’s over for you. Therefore, you have to inform the buyer right away so that you won’t get into trouble.
Asking customers to pay for the return shipping fee
Under no circumstances, you can ask the customers to pay for the return shipping fee. Consider the above example of the Amazon undeliverable item that was shipped to the wrong address. Since the shipment will be sent back to you, there will be shipment fees.
To handle this, you should just use the prepaid return shipping label instead. That way, you have a shipping label that is automatically handled by Amazon. With this, you won’t have to cover the shipping fee on the spot, and your customer won’t have to pay for it as well. While it’s not mandatory to have a pre-paid return shipping label, it’s very much recommended.
Not giving refunds
Once again, we’ll use the same example of the Amazon package undeliverable – incorrect address scenario. Due to this, customers would sometimes ask for refunds. As a seller, it is your job to give refunds for the products you provided. Now, you may be asking, what if the consumer is being unreasonable with the refund? We would recommend that you give it anyway. If Amazon sees that the customer is being abusive of the sellers, they’ll take action against him while you’re safe. Therefore, always provide Amazon refunds for undelivered items.
Selling Amazon banned products
Amazon actually has a list of banned products in FBA. Some of these products include alcohol, tires, and lanterns. Once you are caught selling an Amazon banned product, then your account will be banned. Other than that, there are some products that are even banned from Amazon as a whole.
Some of the completely banned products include alcohol, animals, fine art, cosmetics, currencies, drugs, explosives, food, lasers, gems, body parts, burial objects, medical accessories, theft devices, pesticides, sex products, marijuana, plants, tobacco, surveillance products, and offensive products (such as Nazi shirts).
Making delayed deliveries
If you read Amazon’s policy, you would actually see that they require sellers to deliver the products of their buyers within two working days. Once the delay reaches more than three working days, Amazon will target your account. Amazon’s usual policy on delays would be that if you have a delay rate of more than 4%, you will be sent a warning message. If the delay rate doesn’t go down even after the warning message, you will be suspended. The same rules go for inputting the wrong delivery details. If the fault lies within the seller, he will be sent a warning.
Using trademarked or copyright items
This is another easy way to get taken out of Amazon. This is especially true for the photos that you use to showcase your products. Some of the products that you may use from Google have copyright or trademarks on them. Reconsider using them as this may get you taken out of the platform.
How Buyers Get Banned on Amazon
As mentioned above, it’s not only the sellers that can get banned from Amazon. Even the buyers who also try to abuse the system will also get punished by getting their accounts kicked out of the system. That said, here are some of the reasons why customers could get banned from the platform:
Having too many returns
First of all, Amazon hates picky shoppers. Picky shoppers would usually get their accounts shut down suddenly if they happen to return products too many times.
Remember the example we mentioned earlier about the buyer who gave an incorrect address then wanted a refund? Well, that buyer will be punished by Amazon if he repeats the same thing over and over again and that’s not rare occasions. The big question is, how often is too many? You see, Amazon usually bans customers who return too many times without any warning. One day, you’ll suddenly find out that you are no longer able to access your Amazon account anymore.
Making returns after using the product
Not only will Amazon take into consideration the number of times that a buyer returns the product, but they also consider the duration between the time where the customer receives the product and returns it. What Amazon is wary of is when the customer orders a product, uses it for a while, then return it for a refund. That way, the customer would have already benefited from the product for free.
If Amazon would see that you have several returns and see that there is a long duration from when you received the product and returned it, the company can see it as a clear abuse of the system. From there, Amazon can already suspend your account.
Using the purchasing platform for a selling scheme
Did you know that buying on Amazon for a cheap price then reselling it again is actually prohibited? There are a lot of Amazon buyers who have done this but haven’t really been caught yet. However, once Amazon sniffs up more buyers who do this, they will definitely take some action, and once they do, you might not be able to get your account back.
Asking for unwarranted refunds
You may ask for refunds if you are not satisfied with the product. However, you shouldn’t abuse this too much. If there is nothing wrong with the product and it has met all the specifications of the seller, then you can’t ask for a refund just because you don’t like how it looks.
You agreed to buy the product at certain specifications, so it is your negligence for not researching the product more. Now, if the product is defective or did not meet the specs of the seller (e.g. color, size, etc.) then you may ask for a refund. Of course, sellers may give you a refund just to get on the good side of Amazon. However, it will look bad on your account. If Amazon sees that you’re constantly doing it, then you will most likely get banned.
What is the Amazon policy of banning accounts due to returns?
Going back to customer returns, there are actually a lot of buyers who have claimed that Amazon handled their situations unfairly. There are many buyers who were pretty unlucky in getting defective products consecutively. Due to this, the Amazon system viewed it as an attempt to try to abuse the system.
As a buyer, you have to know your rights when it comes to being able to buy on the platform. Taking a look at the policy, there is actually no clear cut rule about when a buyer can get suspended for too many returns. According to the Guardian, Amazon doesn’t want to give their formula in computing how many returns is too many. What Amazon does is that track down return behavior through big data then evaluate the buyer.
While the Amazon return ban policy does not state the exact rules with regard to the return of products, the policy does state that Amazon reserves the right to terminate users who are deemed by the management to be abusing the system. This means that once you sign up for an account on Amazon, you are already putting yourself at the mercy of the platform. You will be subjected to scrutiny over your purchase and return behavior.
How to get back on Amazon after being banned?
Now that we know how sellers and buyers can be banned, what can be done if you’re unlucky enough to be banned? How to get back on Amazon with your account intact?
Well, the first thing to do is reflecting on where you went wrong. Did you do anything that was against the rules? If you are a seller, go back to the first section and see if you did any of the things that may warrant you a ban. If you are a buyer, do the same thing, and try to find records. If you think that you haven’t done anything wrong, then you may send Amazon an email.
Before Amazon would ban you, they would usually send over an email stating the reason(s) that you were banned (for instance, you are a buyer that reached 43 returns in the past 12 months). What you have to do is review the reason and try to do an investigation of your own.
A tip to investigating the return policy would be to check the percentage of returns to purchases. One recurring pattern would be that customers who have a percentage of more than 10% have a higher chance of getting banned. However, this is just an observation and is not a concrete figure. You can use this as a basis though. If you think that your returns are getting a bit too many, increase your purchases so that the percentage can decrease.
Another thing that you can do is to contest. Amazon allows its platform members to reach out to them in the event of any complaint so if you think that Amazon banned you for no legitimate reason (after you have done your investigation), then you can appeal by sending an email. Explain your side and request that Amazon bring your account back.
Take note that there is no guarantee they will bring it back. It really depends on how strong your case is. There are even some cases wherein the customer service representatives would even flat out refuse to help no matter how much evidence you provide. There are also those rare cases wherein you can get your account back at the onset already. This is really a hit or miss when it comes to dealing with Amazon.
However, persistence may be key here. One story recounted the experience of a certain Nis Nissim who told The Journal that he requested his account be reinstated. After several failed attempts, he finally emailed CEO Jeff Bezos himself. It was only then that another employee got back to Nissim and decided to help him fix his account.
This in itself already shows you that Amazon’s system is pretty strict when it comes to banning. If the system sees that you are doing something even the slightest bit fishy, you will not be able to escape.
Should you wish to file an appeal, however, you can actually do so by working together with a customer service representative. If that doesn’t work, you can do what Mr. Nissim did which was to email the office of the CEO directly so that appropriate action can be done. Of course, you will have to provide all the evidence that you can so that actual substance can back up your case. Otherwise, your account will remain banned.
The Bottom Line
If your account got banned by Amazon, don’t panic. It’s still not too late to fight back. Our professional Amazon lawyers will help you reinstate Amazon account and return you to sales in the shortest terms!
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