Updated: Sep 13, 2021
In the relationship between dropshippers and Amazon, the latter wields most of the power.
According to the Wall Street Journal, sellers report a 50% increase in profits once they join the Amazon marketplace. And with a reported 5 million sellers on the platform, Amazon can afford to play fast and loose when doling out account suspensions. Think about it, with every suspension, there are thousands of new dropshippers starting their new career.
Furthermore, with such a vast pool of entrepreneurs, investigating each infraction in detail would be a practice in futility. Particularly since suspensions don’t really dent Amazon’s bottom line.
Plus, Amazon’s entire business model hinges upon taking stringent precautions that ensure both product information and inventory are of the highest quality. Therefore, as easy as it is to get suspended as an Amazon seller, it’s astronomically more difficult to be reinstated — even if you aren’t at fault.
Below is what you need to know about some of the more common Amazon account suspension scenarios so you can build your dropshipping business the right way.
Selling a “Used-Like New” Product as “New”
As a dropshipper, this is one of the more likely obstacles you’ll have to dodge. Here’s how to differentiate new items from used-like-new items:
Contain original packaging with original packaging material inside
Contain original protective wrapping intact
Contain original manufacturer’s warranty
Contain warranty details in listing comments
Used-Like New items:
Are untouched and in perfect condition
Contain original protective wrapping is potentially missing
Contain original packaging is intact and in perfect condition
Contain no signs of wear on items or packaging
Are still suitable for gifting
When dropshipping, you don’t have direct contact with your inventory. So, it’s difficult to prove the pristine condition of a product when faced with a buyer complaint. Retail stores, websites, and outlets aren’t considered valid sources of inventory by Amazon, making it quite tough to resolve these kinds of suspension.
Make sure you’re purchasing items from sources that have a good reputation when it comes to meeting Amazon Condition guidelines.
Incomplete Product Suspension
Brand owners and other Amazon sellers create catalog pages that oftentimes contain additional items in a listing. Many dropshippers fail to sufficiently research the product page and don’t end up selling the item in its complete form.
Avoiding this snafu is relatively straight-forward. Simply cross-reference product detail pages to verify that your item is a direct match.
Utilizing reliable product research software will also help you obtain the correct product information.
Order Defect Rate (ODR)
Amazon is particularly unforgiving with defects.
If your ODR rate exceeds 1%, you’ll be facing an account suspension. As such, it’s integral to track your account health page on a daily basis and to quickly resolve any A-Z cases.
While you won’t be able to remove all negative feedback, Amazon does offer leeway if you make them aware of any complaints containing vulgar language. Also, if the buyer simply doesn’t like the product itself, the feedback will be stricken from the record books.
How to avoid ODR scenarios:
Check and assess feedback
If feedback fails to comply with Amazon removal standards, send a removal solicitation email that complies with Amazon Terms of Service (TOS):
Don’t offer any kind of compensation in exchange for feedback removal
No matter what, offer concessions in every A-Z scenario instead of arguing — even if the buyer is at fault.
If a disputed ODR claim ends up in your favor, it may still count against your metrics
Late Shipment Rate (LSR)
If your late shipment rate exceeds 4%, expect an account suspension.
As Amazon’s seller dashboard keeps updating, it’s seemingly conspiring against sellers. Multitudes of metrics are being developed to assess all facets of seller performance. These analytical tools require an increasing amount of information about shipments and tracking — meaning more chances for violations.
Late shipment rate, invalid tracking rate, return dissatisfaction rate, negative return rate (rejecting returns), and late response rate to return requests are the primary LSR metrics you need to track.
First and foremost, you should complete manual shipment checks to offset any problems. Also, reputable software with reliable order fulfillment tools (such as tracking algorithms) will help prevent issues with late shipments.
Pro Tip: OAGenius allows your team to confirm shipments and upload tracking numbers automatically. Try it free!
Failure to Address Intellectual Property (IP) Complaints
If you receive a notification from Amazon about patents, trademarks/trade dress, or copyrights, then you’re dealing with an intellectual property complaint.
After an initial notification, Amazon will remove the product listing and tell you to deal directly with the rights owner. Even if you don’t plan on selling the item any longer, it’s still best to deal with the issue because multiple complaints of this nature will result in a suspension.
The only way to get reinstated is by resolving the issue with the rights owner, so it’s best to nip this situation in the bud ASAP, just in case IP complaints begin to mount.
Pro tip: Check our constantly-updated list of restricted brands before sourcing a product.
Selling/Displaying Restricted Products
Putting it lightly, Amazon is quite nitpicky when it comes to preventing the selling of products that don’t adhere to their standards.
Always be aware of restricted products so you don’t succumb to such a violation. Note that Amazon is not infallible when flagging products. In fact, they have been known to incorrectly flag, most prevalently with health-related items.
Other sellers are actually encouraged to report any potential violations. Stay updated with your account so you’ll be made immediately aware of any flags. Then you can promptly contact Amazon support and manage the situation.
Appealing Your Suspension
While it is very difficult to get reinstated after a suspension, your chances are vastly increased via adhering to the best possible practices.
The proper way to appeal your suspension:
Go to Amazon Seller Central
Follow these prompts: Seller Central>Performance> Performance Notifications> location suspension notice> Appeal.
Create an appeal outline prior to contacting Amazon
Start with “Recovery Plan” to explain how you’ll handle the issue
Outline the steps you’ll take to prevent similar snafus from occurring again
Highlight how your store is a positive addition to the Amazon marketplace
In conclusion, the best way to avoid Amazon suspensions is to do things the right way — from product sourcing to order fulfillment to customer service. It can be a lot to keep track of, and that’s why we built OAGenius. Click here to learn how our software helps sellers source and list products, automate inventory levels, monitor prices, evaluate employees, fulfill orders, and analyze results. Try it for free!