Ahoy there! Does it sometimes feel like you’re adrift in a sea of danger as an Amazon seller? Seller Performance is lurking just beneath the surface of the waves, ready to strike at any time. Thankfully, SellerEngine is here with a bigger boat to help you navigate your way to a safe and successful business. What better way to gear up for the upcoming Prosper and ASD shows?
What can get you in trouble:
The first thing you’ll want to focus on when you’re trying to avoid a suspension are the potential ‘danger zones’. Certain categories can be considered “safer” than others. Books, for instance, don’t generally come with a high risk of a safety suspension. But other categories, such as jewelry, electronics, and toys have a higher risk. Toys, due to their nature, have additional safety concerns. Nobody wants to give their kid something dangerous. If you’re selling toys it’s always a good idea to be cautious. When you’re listing a toy on Amazon there are a few things you’ll want to check for:
- What age range is the toy appropriate for? Make sure to clearly state this in the description.
- Does it have small parts that a child could choke on? If so, then adjust the age range to an appropriate level
- What materials is it made from? Is it flammable? Is it sharp? Kids are creative. If it could be misused in any way that would result in injury then it might be best to avoid selling that item.
- Has anything in your inventory been recalled? Since recalls are always happening, this is sometimes hard to keep up on, but it’s always worth it to be vigilant.
- Have your items been proven safe? Some items (building blocks, for instance) require a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC), and need to be tested in a U.S. approved lab. Check if what you’re selling requires a CPC, and always make sure to have a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) form for everything.
How to get out of hot water:
Say you’ve done your best, but you still find yourself facing a suspension. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. What do you do now?
- Identify the issue: Figure out what went wrong. Was it a customer complaint? Was it a negative review? It isn’t always easy to identify, but if you can find the root cause, it will make the next steps easier. Dig deep.
- Fix it: Reach out to the unhappy customer (if one can be identified). Pull the stock from Amazon’s shelves, and pull any related items that could cause similar problems. Show Amazon that you’re willing to work with them to keep the customers safe and happy. Send refunds or even replacements where applicable.
- Prepare for battle: Get your paperwork in order. Did Amazon ask for invoices or SDS documents? If so then you’ll want to make sure they’re up to Amazon’s requirements. Invoices must be up to date, contain all the relevant information, and contain the word “invoice”.
- Write your appeal: If you’ve written one before then you know what Amazon is looking for. If not, then read on for some tips on how to get Amazon to listen to your argument.
Here’s a quick checklist of what Amazon is going to look for in an SDS document. If you can get the right paperwork it’s going to make your life a lot easier.
- Check with the manufacturer to make sure you have the most recent SDS (an SDS older than 5 years will not be accepted).
- Verify the SDS matches your product listing. Is the listing title the same as the product name?
- Verify the SDS includes supplier information (section 1 of the SDS) that corresponds to the supplier information on the product label.
- Make sure the SDS includes all 16 standard SDS sections.
Appeal Crafting 101:
When writing an appeal it’s best to take the approach that you’re just as upset as Amazon is about what happened. You’re sorry, you’ve identified the issue, and you’re actively fixing it. Amazon wants to hear that you’ve realized the error of your ways, so focus on the future and how you’re going to work harder to comply with their policies. Here’s a good template for your appeal:
Intro: Identify the issue. Show that you read the notification carefully. Cite it specifically if necessary.
Plan Of Action: Identify exactly what you plan on doing to avoid further issues. If possible, show them that you’re already actively doing the things you mentioned. Keep it concise, but make sure it covers everything they asked about in the notification.
Documents: Attach any relevant paperwork.
Then sit back and cross your fingers. Amazon is usually pretty quick about responding to these appeals but, in their busy seasons, they have been known to take up to two weeks. Be patient. If you contact them too much in this time period then they might not be receptive to your appeal. That’s why it’s best to make sure that it’s as good as it can be before you send it off.
Remember, if you need help at any point in this process, SellerEngine Services experts are here to help you. We offer a free analysis for any Amazon suspension case, and are always happy to hear from you.
We’ll be exhibiting at the Prosper Show & ASD March 11-14. If you haven’t purchased your ticket yet, you can use code 18xSellerE to save $100 on your ticket. Please stop by and say hello, or schedule a time to meet with us and we can answer any questions.
Vanessa is part of the Services Department and is one of the first employees at SellerEngine. She enjoys reading and cats, and goes by the saying “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”