Suspension Prevention: Tips from an Amazon Insider
by Liz Fickenscher, on February 2, 2016
Chris McCabe, eCommerce expert and former member of the Amazon.com, Inc. (“Amazon”) merchant assessment team, sat down with eComEngine’s Colleen Quattlebaum. They discussed the things sellers on the Amazon marketplace might be doing that could land them with a suspension.
Oddly, not everything Chris discusses is obvious grounds for suspension. In fact, there are things some merchants might be doing unknowingly that violate Amazon marketplace policy. Chris offers expert advice that is well informed by his time at Amazon, as well as his current position as an eCommerce thought leader and third-party merchant consultant.Here is the webinar recap written by Becky Trowbridge:
This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.
Staying in good graces with Amazon should be a top priority for every merchant. Although you try to play by the rules, you may unknowingly be violating a policy.
The goal of the Amazon Product Quality team is to protect the marketplace, said McCabe, who worked for many years as an Amazon Investigation Specialist. This means that buyer complaints frequently drive a number of the automated warnings that sellers receive. Some common product quality issues include:
- Being accused of selling a used item as new
- Not following condition guidelines
- Packaging complaints
- Not following site policies
If you receive an automated warning, Chris says one of the most important things you can do is to take action to fix the issue. Any issues you’re having will only lead to more opportunities and subsequent warnings that could ultimately lead to suspension of your account.
Understand Your Supplier
Is your supplier an authorized reseller or the manufacturer of a product you’re selling? Do they have a positive track record with other sellers? Can they provide professional invoices to help you prove legitimacy if there is an issue with a product? McCabe points out that it’s important to understand your supplier in addition to maintaining detailed and accurate records to help verify product information in case a problem is reported.
Commingled Inventory Risks
It’s often better to sticker or label what you send to FBA. McCabe notes that a common issue is that when a customer orders an item from you and a warehouse closer to your buyer has that item in stock, the closer warehouse item will be sent to that buyer. If there’s a counterfeit complaint or other issue, you receive the warning because it’s your item…even though the item sent was not yours. According to Chris, it’s especially important to keep detailed records on high-risk items, such as consumer electronics.
Product safety and compliance is also an important concern, which is why expired inventory is returned to you within 60 days of the expiration date. Don’t expect the site to keep track for you; the best you’ll get is a notice at the 90-day mark. According to McCabe, a number of sellers have received warnings or suspensions for issues related to expired inventory. He suggests using an inventory management tool like RestockPro to help keep track of expiration dates to avoid these types of issues.