In all the years I’ve been doing FBA I never thought I would have my account suspended. And you won’t believe why. My account was suspended because I didn’t have the correct residential address on file.
Back in November of last year, I had moved into a new home and during my move, I had signed up for a post-office box. After signing up for the post-office box I changed my address for all my important accounts and documents including my Amazon seller account.
Fast forward to today, I had been traveling for my day job the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, within the first week of my travel, my laptop computer was stolen. It was around that time I started receiving emails from the performance team at Amazon. They were requesting that I provide documents such as my driver’s license and a utility bill that showed my residential address.
While I could read the emails on my iPhone there was no way I could get the documents especially the utility bill. I was stuck at a conference and not having an actual computer made it difficult for me to respond. And to be honest I thought that providing my residential address could wait until I returned home.
However, by the time I had returned home I was tired and sleep deprived from attending conferences and traveling. The last thing on my mind was to gather my documents and fax them over to Amazon. Then, this past Saturday morning when I tried logging into my seller account I was getting a message that my username or password was incorrect. Since the very first day of selling on Amazon, I always had the same password and I immediately knew that my account had been suspended.
While I should have submitted the information they requested when I returned home I was so fatigued that I had completely forgotten. I called Amazon support by phone, which by itself was a challenge trying to find the phone number, and had asked if my account was suspended. They confirmed that my account was indeed suspended and that it was out of their control. They said I had to email the Seller Performance Team and tell them what my “plan of action” would be.
I emailed the Seller Performance Team and explained what had happened and attached all documents that they had requested. After sending the email I received an instant responder confirming they had received my email and not to respond to it. So at this point, it was a waiting game.
During this time I felt hopeless as I’ve always had good metrics. I believe I’m one of the few sellers around who is always cautious as I preach to others to be ethical and to provide great customer service. To this day I get criticized because of the way I run my FBA business, which is to sell complete products including all accessories and manuals when necessary.
The scary thing about having my account suspended was that it was all across the board. When my seller account was suspended so was my Kindle, Merch by Amazon, and all other accounts I had with Amazon other than to purchase products. Thankfully, within 24 hours my account was reinstated.
There are three lessons I learned with my seller account getting suspended:
- Regardless of the reason for your seller account being suspended always take full responsibility. Blaming Amazon and pointing fingers at them won’t get your account reinstated. Find out why your account was suspended and come up with a written “plan of action” explaining what you will do so your account won’t get suspended again.
- Read all messages that come from Amazon regardless if you were traveling like I was. Amazon doesn’t care what’s happening in your personal life whether your laptop computer was stolen or if you were attending a funeral. It’s your responsibility as a seller to read all messages from Amazon and to take action in a timely manner.
- We all know it’s Amazon’s sandlot and the experience with my account getting suspended validated that. It’s their platform and at the end of the day, Amazon has full control. You can call it your “business” but we’re at Amazon’s mercy.
This whole experience was an eye-opener. I plan on changing up some things for the safety of my seller account. Take your seller account seriously and when you hear from them make every effort to respond in a timely manner regardless of what situation you’re in.