For many years, Amazon required sellers to prepare Plans of Action in order to get their suspended Seller Accounts reinstated. In early 2018, the company introduced pre-suspension phone calls, where merchants were phoned by so-called Account Health Team representatives and advised to submit their Plan of Action within no more than 72 hours to prevent account deactivation.
However, regardless of what Amazon did, third party sellers still overwhelmingly struggled to successfully appeal and have their suspensions or account blocks lifted.
What is a Plan of Action
A Plan of Action is basically a carefully drafted legal document, which cannot be written using a person’s ordinary language. It has to sound ”Amazonian” and contain their specific terminology. Honestly sounding appeals are commonly referred to by insiders as ”walls of text” and known to be rejected by the company at first sight.
Following Amazon Seller Account deactivation, unless you are a talented essay-writer or a lawyer (or both) and fluent in English, you typically end up permanently suspended from selling on Amazon.
What are ”Amazon Seller Account Suspensions”
Unlike on other similar e-commerce platforms, where getting suspended from selling is extremely rare and it only happens to sellers who knowingly repeatedly flagrantly violated its policies, on Amazon, getting suspended is a routine.
Every day, there are crowds of desperate suspended Amazon Sellers begging for help in Facebook groups, on Amazon Seller Forums, in Telegram groups, on Twitter, on LinkedIn and elsewhere.
The suspensions are often a result of something as innocent as a single negative Seller Feedback or a Product Review, where Amazon’s automated bots detected a specific phrase.
This way, thousands of established businesses are losing their livelihoods every day due to a very little fault of their own.
The “appeal expert” industry
This ”Amazon suspension nightmare” contributed to the growth of a completely new, extremely profitable industry of various “Amazon reinstatement experts”.
These experts are mostly shady unskilled people with no legal background, who are advertising their services through the internet under a complete anonymity and requiring payments of several hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the most simple assistance involving suspended Amazon Seller Accounts, which grossly exceeds the retainer fees of even the most senior actual solicitors. Usually, your service provider will either disappear after getting paid or cease all communication following his first unsuccessful appeal attempt.
There are a few exemptions of professional advisors, who are providing assistance under their real identity and operate a legitimate business with a strong online presence and a credible reputation. Those are a small minority and often end up getting pursued by their shady anonymous rivals – who will try to discredit them using all possible means, including illegal tactics.
As a genuinely successful Amazon seller and a law student, I dedicated years of my time to helping other Amazon Sellers appeal their suspensions for free through the Amazon Seller Forum. This caused me to get targeted by unsuccessful rival advisors, whose full time income was sabotaged by my free help. Here you can read my story: https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-for-victim-of-cyberbullying-on-Amazon-site .
After getting removed from the Amazon Seller Forum, I continued helping as much as I could through social media, including Facebook, YouTube and OnlyFans. However, to my disappointment, all of the rival “Amazon experts” who harassed me through the forum immediately restarted their business of pocketing thousands of dollars a day through the forum as soon as my free assistance was no longer available.
While pursuing a legal action using all possible means to achieve justice and have my standing in the community restored, I was getting news about suspended Amazon sellers becoming desperate with no one to help them on the forums (where I used to provide free assistance).
This was making me extremely sad and I wished that Amazon ended the whole ”suspension business”, which would put a stop to the abuse on their platform and at the same time save countless innocent sellers from the frustration of losing their livelihoods.
The new approach
Over the past year, Amazon occasionally offered sellers quizzes and ticking of boxes, which reactivated their accounts or prevented account deactivation. However, this was still a rarity rather than the standard process.
Recently, there has been a surprisingly positive development towards the right direction!
Amazon’s Account Health Team is now secretly allowing sellers to appeal through a phone call, without the need to submit a written Plan of Action!
However, remember that you shouldn’t be taking appealing by a phone call for granted.
You still need to answer the phone call on the first attempt. Also, it remains necessary to be very well prepared, perfectly able to improvise and present your case in a confident, fluent English.
The main difference is that you will be able to avoid the stress connected to appealing and the whole matter will be resolved in a form of a friendly talk with an Amazon representative.
How it works
Once your Seller Account is ”At Risk” of deactivation, especially over Order Defect Rate, Late Shipment Rate, Cancellation Rate or Valid Tracking Rate, you need to prepare yourself for a potential upcoming pre-suspension phone call.
- Make sure that your ”Emergency Contact Phone Number” is filled. This is the number, which will be used by the Account Health Team representative to contact you.
- Review your metrics and memorize what kind of defects you received – whether all of them were related to non-receipt issues or some were complaining about items being not as described – and how many of such defects were received.
- Then think about a way how you can explain what happened, what kind of steps and actions you can take to address the matter and what will you do to prevent it from happening again.
- If you don’t know what does a Plan of Action look like or if you are clueless how to deal with a matter like this, simply subscribe to my Onlyfans page for a small charge of $24.99, where you will find dozens of successful Plan of Action examples addressing every possible suspension reason.
- Shortly after your metrics exceed their target, you will receive a phone call from an Account Health Team representative.
- THIS IS TRICKY! READ VERY CAREFULLY: The Account Health Team representative will advise you in the beginning of the call that you will have to submit a Plan of Action within no more than 72 hours using a button in the Account Health Dashboard. They will NOT WARN you that you can entirely appeal during the phone call!!! THIS IS A SECRET!
- Then, the Account Health Team representative will continue sounding very nice and friendly and will start questioning you whether you are aware of the defects and what kind of defects these were. He will ask you to explain the reason for exceeding Amazon’s performance metric targets, then invite you to describe the actions which you took to address the matter and lastly, you will need to tell him how you will prevent this from happening again.
- At the end of the phone call….. SURPRISE, SURPRISE, …. the representative will inform you that he/she just accepted your Plan of Action and you no longer need to appeal.
- Once you successfully avoid a suspension, your Seller Account will remain ”Watchlisted” by the Amazon Seller Performance – all disbursements will remain on a rolling reserve for the next 30 days. You will be e-mailed with a summary of your ”Plan of Action” – containing everything what Amazon decided to keep on record, out of what you said.
- On the 30th day, someone will review your account to see if your metrics improved and if you implemented all of the steps and actions mentioned. If your metrics worsen, your Seller Account will get suspended and you will need to submit an actual Plan of Action.
It looks like this is exactly what all sellers spent ages waiting for and it eliminates the need to hire an expert to prepare you an expensive Plan of Action letter.
Now, sellers can honestly explain the matter using their own words over the phone and for as long as they wish.
However, keep in mind that your appeal still has to be very good and include all of the standard steps and actions, just like a written Plan of Action.
The perfect solution is subscribing to my OnlyFans page on this link, where you will be able to immediately pull up dozens of Plan of Action examples depending on your specific suspension reason and help yourself during the phone call with an Account Health Team representative.
I strongly recommend you that you explain the matter as honestly as possible, while avoiding blaming buyers, competitors or Amazon – this never works and Amazon always rejects appeals like this.
Also, the second most important thing is that in order to pass a phone reinstatement, you will need to actually take some steps and actions BEFORE the phone call – so you can mention them!
For example, if you are having problems with non-receipt issues, you should:
- Refund complaining customers or offer replacements.
- Answer customer messages.
- Download the Amazon Seller App (to help you answer customer messages during outside of office hours).
- Appeal A-Z claims.
- Enter valid tracking numbers into any unshipped orders.
If you are having issues with Late Shipment Rate or Cancellations, you should:
- Increase your Handling Time.
- Remove out of stock products.
- Set your Seller Account on Vacation Settings.
- Stop dropshipping.
If you are having issues with products not being as described:
- Remove ASINs with complaints from your inventory.
- Offer returns or replacements.
- Improve product images and description.
When you proactively take some of above mentioned steps and actions, you can then suggest the Amazon representative to verify the accuracy of your statements by checking it for himself – inside your Seller Account.
It is absolutely the best to even mention the exact dates when you took each of the actions – this will impress the Amazon Account Health Team representative.
I hope you found my article helpful. Please share it across the Amazon Seller Community, so other Amazon Sellers can prepare themselves as well.
If your Amazon Seller Account is already suspended, read my article addressing what does the dreaded wording: Account deactivated in accordance with section 3 of Amazon’s Business Solutions Agreement, mean: https://seller-union.com/account-deactivated-in-accordance-with-section-3-of-amazons-business-solutions-agreement/ .
If you are unable to login to the Seller Central, then your Seller Account might be ”on hold”. In such case, read the following detailed article: https://seller-union.com/what-to-do-when-your-amazon-seller-account-gets-placed-on-a-hold/
Meanwhile, I am preparing a YouTube video regarding the matter. Here you can watch my older video, where I am providing tips regarding appealing Amazon Seller Account suspensions (don’t be confused by the opening of the video, where I am enjoying a vacation – it’s a part of the story):
How to reconcile invoices in Xero with incoming deposits from the sales channel
Once you have sent a settlement to Xero you will be able to reconcile the settlement against the disbursement Amazon, eBay, Shopify or Etsy will have paid out to your bank account.
If you need guidance on how to send your settlements to Xero from Link My books read this help article.
The good thing about settlement based accounting is that when you do so the amount shown on the invoice in Xero and the amount you receive into your bank from the sales channel will be exactly the same. This makes it really easy for you (or your accountant) to reconcile your bank account.
All you need to do is locate the deposit on your bank statement reconciliation in Xero and click on the OK button, as shown below:
This will work for settlements in your home currency, so if the invoice is in GBP and your bank account is in GBP too.
IMPORTANT – If the currency of the invoice is different to that of the bank account, then follow the instructions in this article on How to reconcile foreign currency settlements.
Why are some of my settlements being sent as bills instead of invoices to Xero?
When Link My Books sends your Amazon settlements to Xero we do so in the form of an invoice (almost always).
You may have noticed that we sometimes send your settlement (or part of it) as a bill instead of an invoice and wondered why we do that…
Since Xero does not allow negative total invoices, if you have a settlement which is for a negative amount then we have no choice but to send it as a bill instead.
Why would I have a negative invoice for a settlement?
There are two main reasons as to why you may have seen this happen in your Link My Books account.
- You have a negative settlement. This can occur if your Amazon fees and advertising costs are larger than your sales amount. In this case Amazon will actually charge your card on file with the settlement amount and produce a negative total settlement report.
- If you have a settlement that spans two months and you also have a large reserved balance by Amazon. In this case we split the settlement by month so we create two invoices but because the reserved balance will always fall in one or the other invoice it will end up meaning that one of your invoices will be for a negative total.
How to reconcile foreign currency settlements through Xero
Reconciling foreign currency settlements against their local currency amounts in Xero differs depending on whether you use Amazon currency conversion tool or not.
If you have entered your GBP bank account as the deposit account for all your Amazon funds, including those in EUR, USD and CAD, then Amazon will use their Amazon Currency Conversion platform to convert your EU, USD or CAD payments into GBP before they pay them out to you.
If you have added local bank accounts for each of the different currencies that Amazon uses then they will pay you out in those currencies without first converting them to GBP.
If you are using the Amazon Currency Conversion platform then when your settlements are sent to Xero we will add their converted amounts to the invoice references like this:
“(€5.79) LMB-FR-1012345678-1 (converted to GBP 4.88)”
This makes it easier to find and match the foreign currency settlements with their GBP bank lines.
To do so if you take the amount you received in GBP and simply search for that value in the reference search box and untick the show GBP items only box, then Xero will show the invoices which have that figure in the reference which should make it much easier to identify them.
The steps are:
- Click the “Match” tab
- Un-tick the “Show GBP items only” checkbox
- Copy the amount you received in GBP and paste it into the “Search by name or reference” box
- Click “Go”
- Tick the invoice and hit reconcile.
Should you be worried when your ODR exceeds the 1% target?
Many Amazon Sellers are contacting me through my OnlyFans page daily, seriously worried about their Seller Accounts being labelled as ”At Risk” of deactivation. But does this orange warning status actually mean anything bad? Learn more in this article!
Amazon has their minimum performance targets for Order Defect Rate, Cancellation Rate, Late Shipment Rate and many other metrics. Whenever a Seller Account exceeds the maximum permissible defect rate, a warning will appear.
Typically, the affected seller will also receive the following e-mail from Amazon Seller Performance:
|Warning: Your order defect rate is higher than 1%|
We have identified that your Order Defect Rate has exceeded the target rate. If this problem continues, it may result in account deactivation.
Why did I receive this message?
We have taken this measure because your Order Defect Rate has exceeded the target of 1%. Order Defect Rate is the percentage of all orders that result in negative feedback, an A-to-z Guarantee claim that is not denied, or a credit card chargeback out of total orders during a given 60-day time period. Amazon’s Order Defect Rate policy can be found at: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/200285170.
We’re here to help
If you have questions about this policy or your account, or believe that this was sent in error, please contact us at https://sellercentral.amazon.com/cu/contact-us.
What can I do to avoid account deactivation?
Please ensure that you no longer violate the above policy. Review your orders to determine the cause of the issues contributing to your Order Defect Rate. You can appeal any A-to-z claim, negative customer feedback, or service chargeback that you believe should not be counted in your Order Defect Rate by visiting the following links:
— Appeal A-to-z Claims: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G202041210
— Request removal of seller feedback: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/20231
— Appeal Chargeback Claims: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/202145040
You do not need to submit a plan of action to us at this time.
You can view your account performance at https://sellercentral.amazon.com/performance/dashboard?reftag=ah_em_op or by selecting Account Health on the home screen of the Amazon Seller app on your iOS or Android device. The Account Health page shows how well your account is performing against the performance metrics and policies required to sell on Amazon.
Seller Performance Team
In regards to Order Defect Rate, Late Shipment Rate or Cancellation Rate, if you are a small seller, your metrics will typically greatly exceed the targets following a single defective order. Seeing this on your Account Health Dashboard can be quite alarming.
However, please note that no Seller Account will get suspended over 1-2 or 3 defects. Amazon can see, that you are a small seller. Even if you have a 50% Order Defect Rate with 1 defective order out of two, you are not worse off than someone with an 1.02% ODR!
Many Amazon Sellers wrongly believe, that the best approach is to try to get into touch with the buyer at all costs and make them withdraw the A-Z claim or negative feedback. They are trying to achieve this by offering free items, full refunds or even extra credits issued on the top of a full refund.
Doing this is a terrible idea, as it can be picked up by Amazon’s automated bots as a serious violation of their Seller Code of Conduct. My advice is to never contact buyers who left a negative feedback or opened a valid A-Z claim in an attempt to have the defect removed. The best thing you can do is avoid getting additional defects and complaints by learning from your mistakes and implementing preventative measures.
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