Amazon considers each and every customer that visits their platform as their own customer. Regardless if they are browsing through 3rd party seller stores. Amazon has paved the way in providing the best in business experience to their online customers. They expect 3rd party sellers to adapt the same quality of customer experience.
Read below to see how Amazon sets the bar for sellers. The bar is set pretty high and if the 3rd party seller is not up to it, Amazon will suspend accounts that can’t comply with their standards. It can be a little discouraging but that is the price to pay when you want to sell on the biggest global marketplace website. To help you out here are 8 of the top reasons why sellers get banned by Amazon and how to avoid this issue.
- 1 Reasons Amazon Can Ban You and How to Avoid It
- 1.1 1. Poor Product Quality and Selling Illegal Products
- 1.2 2. Poor seller service, bad seller reviews or poor seller performance metrics
- 1.3 3. Bad history of delivery
- 1.4 4. Getting artificial positive reviews
- 1.5 5. Violating Rules on Listing Titles
- 1.6 6. Trademark infringements
- 1.7 7. Submitting false or inaccurate complaints
- 1.8 8. Failing UPC checks
- 2 Final Thoughts
Reasons Amazon Can Ban You and How to Avoid It
1. Poor Product Quality and Selling Illegal Products
The success of any marketplace relies on the quality of products being sold. Product quality is more crucial to online marketplaces because customers are called upon to do a leap of faith every time they buy products online. Unless specifically noted by sellers, all items for sale are assumed by buyers to be brand new and working.
It also against Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) rules and regulations to sell dangerous products that pose a risk to health and safety of handlers and is a threat to the storage facility. Such products include no brainers like highly corrosive or toxic products, hazmat and hazardous materials. Some products like cleaners and even cosmetics should be reviewed and assessed using Amazon’s restricted product list.
Selling of fake and counterfeit products is also prohibited and frowned upon specially if a seller attempts to pass the products as authentic. Examples of counterfeit products are bootleg DVDs of software products and movies, fake designer clothes and bags, imitation beauty and skin care products.
Common sense and a thorough check of Amazon’s FBA rules should keep you from listing products that can trigger a seller account suspension.
2. Poor seller service, bad seller reviews or poor seller performance metrics
A staggering 10 Million seller feedback reviews are being registered on Amazon every month. Most of these feedback are positive with only an average of 4% being negative feedback. This shows that Amazon required a high level of quality and customer commitment from all its 3rd party sellers.
To help sellers maintain a high standard of service quality, Amazon provides a portal that measures each seller’s performance metrics. Below are important numbers to watch out for when you are an Amazon seller.
- An Order Defect Rate (ODR) of over 1% is reason enough for Amazon to deactivate your seller account. An order is considered defective if it causes a bad customer experience.
- The Cancellation Rate (CR) of over 2.5%. This pertains to orders cancelled by a seller. Cancellations initiated or requested by buyers are not included in this metric.
- Return Dissatisfaction Rate (RDR) of over 10%. This measures your buyer’s experience when returning an item. Sellers are expected to handle and resolve return item requests as quickly as possible.
Sellers should also be prompt in answering customer inquiries and messages. Late replies or *gasp* threatening or unpolite remarks will trigger a review of your account.
We recommend that you reduce instances where shoppers can raise conflicts or cause them unhappiness. Engage and assure them that their concerns will be dealt with ASAP then follow up with your promise.
3. Bad history of delivery
Successful and on time delivery of online orders can make or break an Amazon seller’s business. Great products will be wasted if you have a poor fulfillment process. Product delivery not only means the time of travel between point A and Point B. It also includes back end processes like packaging and issuance of tracking order.
Amazon measures late shipment rate (LSR) by comparing confirmed delivery dates to expected delivery dates. Amazon requires sellers to have an LSR under 4% , anything above can have your Amazon account banned.
Order tracking plays an important role in the delivery process. Amazon require sellers to have a minimum tracking rate of 95%. Thus, it is important for sellers to partner with reliable logistics and delivery companies that provide accurate tracking information (e.g DHL, UPS and FedEx).
4. Getting artificial positive reviews
Vote buying is illegal, buying multiple SIM Cards to vote for your favorite American Idol is also illegal (but creative and hard to spot) and so is shopping or paying for positive reviews. Paying for reviews is unethical but some sellers circumvent this by giving free samples of their products in exchange for reviews. Another underhanded method is when sellers create numerous buyer accounts to issue positive reviews for their own products or store.
Amazon selling is such a profitable business that it spawned an entirely new market. A shady marketplace of “professional” reviewers that can be paid to provide stellar and fantastic reviews of otherwise poor products.
Amazon estimates that 1% of all seller reviews are not authentic, paid or just plain issued by prankers.
Getting caught for buying positive review will not only result being banned from selling on Amazon but could potentially cause you to have a criminal record. Amazon cracks down on this practice by using technology and some sleuthing. In the past 3 years, Amazon has sued more than 1,000 sellers for buying positive reviews.
Just stick with providing great products and services. The positive reviews from shoppers will pour in if you do business the right way.
5. Violating Rules on Listing Titles
Buyers will rely on the seller’s product marketing descriptions to arrive at a buying decision. Amazon has issued several guidelines on how sellers will list their products. This is of course meant to make the marketplace orderly and avoid confusing buyers.
Here are several circumstances that violate Amazon’s listing rules;
- Directly copying the listing of other sellers. Some sellers have a penchant for copy-pasting pictures and product description then passing this as their own. The seller with the original post can request Amazon to penalize the offender.
- Special note: If the product that you want to sell already exists on Amazon look for the product detail page of this product and just add it to your portfolio with your own set of offers. If you still insist on new listing for existing Amazon products, then you will be guilty of duplicate listing.
- Duplicate listing of existing Amazon products that already has a UPC code.
- Wrong information on important details like pricing and product manufacturer. Placing hidden costs and creating false promotions that don’t actually benefit buyers.
- Inaccurate pictures and product graphic description.
Above scenarios are just some of the more common infractions by sellers. Can you get banned from Amazon due to a honest mistake? You sure can. Study the listing rules of Amazon and if possible consult with an expert. Some listing rules can be easy to miss and proper guidance can help save you a lot of headaches.
6. Trademark infringements
What is a trademarks and what constitutes a trademark infringement?
A trademark is a picture, logo, symbol, a catchy phrase or any unique identifier that distinguishes an individual, organization or corporation as the owner of a certain product or service.
For some products, the trademark often stands for quality, designer brands and special craftsmanship (e.g. Louis Vuitton and Apple). As such, these trademarks add value to products and people are willing to pay premium for these trademarked products. Some sellers (and manufacturers) will take advantage of this and use these trademarks to add value to their products.
Trademark infringement happens if a seller illegally uses a trademark or deliberately created something very similar to an established trademark to confuse a buyer. Amazon and most businesses refer to a test known as a “likelihood of confusion”. This test simply states that if a buyer looking at a mark assumes that this product is associated with another (probably the original owner of the trademark) product or company, then there is trademark infringement.
Amazon’s Infringement Report form can be used by intellectual property rights owners notify Amazon of alleged trademark infringements. Being the subject of such a report is quick way on how to get banned from Amazon.
7. Submitting false or inaccurate complaints
An Amazon infringement report is a way for sellers, buyers and Amazon users to report possible infractions on copyright, trademark or patent infringement. For reporting any type of infringement Amazon requires an individual to submit below documentations:
- ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) of the product in question
- The URL of each product being reported
- The brand name or trademark
- The submitter personal information
- Relationship or ownership to the trademark or intellectual property
One can also perform a “test buy” of the counterfeit and fake products as additional evidence.
When submitting an infringement report, you should be fully aware of the rule break that you are reporting. You should also understand the consequences of submitting a false or wrongful complaint against other sellers. Below is a transcript from the Infringement Report stating the gravity of the accusation.
“As an Amazon seller, I understand that submitting false or inaccurate complaints against other sellers may result in the suspension or termination of my Amazon selling privileges.”
Amazon will review and act on all properly submitted reports since they are legally binded. Realistically, the amount of paperwork received by Amazon for the thousands of reports filed might lead to some wrong judgements. It is then up to the accused to clear their name and prove the report as false.
For these cases, we recommend that you hire a legal team with experience on helping sellers from being banned from Amazon.
8. Failing UPC checks
What is a Universal Product Code (UPC)? It is a 12-digit barcode to identify products being sold in Amazon.
Why do you need to buy UPC codes for Amazon? Amazon requires you to have a UPC for every product that you will sell in their platform. Amazon will not accept your products without a UPC code.
Amazon will automatically check a product’s UPC and compare this against their database. A manual check can be requested if the seller is under investigation for infringement.
If a product’s UPC does not match with Amazon’s database, the product will be considered invalid or illegal. It will be then removed and the seller possibly banned on Amazon. Thus, it is very important that every product being sold on Amazon has a valid UPC.
Sellers can buy UPC codes from many Amazon certified providers. The cost of a UPC may hover around USD 5 for one code or multiple orders for about USD 0.10 per code.
Unfortunately, some sellers resort to obtaining a UPC illegally. Using an automatic generator to create invalid UPC or buying from shady providers that sell UPC at a much lower cost.
The risk is too great and the probability that Amazon will catch an illegal UPC is very high. Thus, buying UPC from accredited sellers is the ONLY legal way to acquire these codes.
Here’s a quick guide summary of the 8 reasons for suspension and how to avoid them.
|Reasons For Amazon Seller Suspension||How Can I Avoid Being Suspended|
|Poor Product Quality and Selling Illegal Products||Don’t sell fakes. Don’t sell defective items.|
|Poor seller service||Handle every conflict quickly with the aim to please the customer|
|Bad history of delivery||Partner with good logistic companies. Don’t mess up your tracking numbers|
|Getting artificial positive reviews||Get organic and REAL reviews|
|Always Violating Rules on Listing Titles||Read, then Re-read the listing rules|
|Trademark infringements||Always double check your products|
|Submitting false or inaccurate complaints||Bad to point fingers, especially if it’s not true|
|Failing UPC checks||Buy UPC only from Amazon accredited stores|
Selling on Amazon is a lucrative business and many entrepreneurs have created six and seven figure businesses by selling on Amazon. But nothing can disrupt a thriving Amazon business than being banned from Amazon.
We have encountered numerous entrepreneurs saying “Amazon banned my account” or “Amazon banned me” and “I can’t access my money making business”.
Being banned from Amazon means a permanent closure of your online store. Imagine spending years building your store and collecting a rabid base of customers only to get banned due to one honest mistake or a dubious report from a competitor.
If you had the misfortune of being banned by Amazon, we can help you be reinstated and get back your seller account. Partner with us and let us help guide you to avoid these pitfalls.
Our experience in the field of Amazon law is unparalleled with a near perfect 99.9% success rate for all our cases. This is possible because we have a very select team of Amazon experts that has all the right qualifications to handle any problem you might encounter on Amazon.
If you or someone you know has a suspended account in Amazon, we are just a phone call or email away. Contact us and let us help you solve your Amazon-related issues.