‘Suspension’ is the Amazon seller’s least favorite word. But things are looking up for accounts with high cancellation rates. Find out what the Seller Performance Team has in store for sellers who don’t keep their cancellation rates low.
The Classic Approach to High Cancellation Rates
For as long as we can remember, high cancellation rates have triggered immediate suspension. How high? Our post on Amazon Performance Metrics can shed some light on that. Suffice it to say, you should aim for values under 2.5% – and the lower the better.
That said, it didn’t take much to persuade Amazon to reinstate your account on the first try. Provided your POA identified and suggested ways to address the issue, you stood a pretty good chance of being back in business.
There was some leeway when metrics went awry for legitimate reasons. For instance, you took a few months off but forgot to switch to vacation mode. Or you’re a seasonal seller and that wasn’t your season. But whatever the cause, the onus was, is, and always will be on you to bring it back down quickly.
Submitting a Pre-POA to Avoid a Suspension
We’ve noticed that Amazon no longer adopts the ‘suspend now, ask questions later’ approach for high cancellation rates. Whereas suspensions used to be preceded by a single warning, you now have a visual heads-up, a formal warning, and then a chance to explain yourself via pre-POA.
So, if your cancellation rate stays high, be on the lookout for the telltale signs of a possible suspension:
- a yellow banner on the Health Dashboard that says “Your account is at risk”;
- an email notification that asks you to fix your cancellation rate;
- an email from email@example.com that includes a Pre POA request.
We discussed the last warning briefly in our Amazon Pre-POA post. To recap, a Pre-POA is a plan of action that you send to Amazon for review before they decide whether to suspend your selling rights or your listings. Here’s what you should know if you’re ever in this situation:
Timing is everything. Don’t rush into it, but don’t procrastinate to the point where you miss your window of opportunity.
Getting it right the first time is important. You may get several chances to submit a Pre-POA, but you should make your first one count- especially if you took your sweet time drafting it.
Less is more. Before you put pen to paper, bear in mind that there’s only so much time an Amazon investigator can spend on your case. Stick to the facts. Observe the rules of font and formatting etiquette (i.e. headings and boldface – yes; all caps – no).
Good structure is crucial. As with any Plan of Action, a Pre-POA can be rejected due to lack of coherent structure. In a nutshell, you need:
- an intro that mentions your business and the reason your account is at risk;
- a brief explanation of what went wrong;
- a bulleted list of steps you can take to address the issues;
- tangible results and how you plan to gauge them;
- ongoing efforts you can make to avoid backsliding;
- realistic expectations for the future.
Sounds pretty straight-forward and far better than the classic approach, no? Yes, but don’t count your chickens. We’ve noticed another emerging trend.
Personally Reactivating Your Suspended Account?
More recently, some Amazon sellers have been given an entirely different option. An email sent by Amazon to several sellers with cancellation rates above 2.5% tells them their accounts are temporarily deactivated.
It then asks them to reassess their ability to fulfil orders. When they’re confident they can do so, sellers are advised to reactivate their accounts themselves by clicking a button featured in Amazon’s email.
The kicker is that the account reactivation link doesn’t seem to work. It simply points you to the performance notification page in Seller Central. So, you’re back to square one: sending a POA.
For now, the reactivation link raises more questions than answers. Will it be rolled out to all sellers for any type of suspension, or just this one? When it does work, will it take effect instantly? All we know is you have a 17-day window before listings are canceled, and your funds can be withheld for 90 days or more.
We’d love to hear from readers who have been in this situation before. In the meantime, please follow our blog to keep up with the latest news and maintain your competitive edge on Amazon.