Season 1, Episode 16
Amazon doesn’t want to have a conversation with you
Chris: [00:00:07] Hey everybody! Welcome back to solar performance solutions. Our podcast for Amazon sellers. I’m a former Amazonian, and a current consultant for sellers on Amazon. And I’m here with Leah McHugh, who’s also consulting sellers. And then we’re at e-commercechris.com. If you haven’t gone to our website yet, otherwise, hopefully you’ve listened to this before. If it’s your first time, welcome. Today, we’re talking about the appeals process and the, I guess, unfortunate strategy we’ve seen of some sellers who probably maybe don’t know any better, who are appealing thinking that this is a conversation with Amazon, or you’re going to have some back and forth. Or maybe requesting more info. I mean, maybe that’s the most common mistake we see where they say, can you give us more info about why you suspended us? And they think they’re going to get a detailed response back.
Leah: [00:00:58] I guess it’s being treated like a case with seller support in a way where there’s an expectation of a back and forth when you click the appeal button. That is very much not the case. You’ll find that out when you don’t get a response to those emails, but more importantly than that, each of those intake messages that you’re sending kind of counts against you. It’s an appeal attempt every time you send something.
Chris: [00:01:26] Yeah. You’re burning appeals. We understand that if you haven’t been through the process before that you think that this is an exchange of information or an exchange of questions, or it’s just like an email thread, maybe not, like you said, a solar support case. I mean, it’s through sellers central hitting the appeal button so I can see why it would lend that impression. But this is not an email thread back and forth to seller performance. Like how can we work together to get my account back? Account health services exists to maybe help you write a POA. That is very, very different. A chat with them is not the same thing as appealing for reinstatement, which is what this is.
Leah: [00:02:00] I’m also seeing people when they’re requesting, Amazon’s requesting more information. They’re just replying back with one or two sentences. And again, I think that assumption is that the same person that looked at your original appeal is looking at that email. That is not the case. You need to include all of the relevant information. Every time you submit something by the appeal button, it, like I said, it’s not a conversation thread. These are individual appeals that you’re submitting. Every time you click that button.
Chris: [00:02:26] They just reject those. They think, you think-
Leah: [00:02:29] Or ignore them. I’ve actually more often than not. I’m just seeing those, just not getting any response at all.
Chris: [00:02:33] There’s no response where they send back a copy and paste message that says you haven’t sent us enough information. Again, I understand their messaging is very vague and very confusing and it sounds solicitous like, Oh, they’re asking me for more information, no translation. They rejected it. They sent you a copy and paste saying, this isn’t an appeal. I really wish Amazon would change the messaging to start saying. You just sent us a message. That’s not an appeal. We need an appeal from you. I mean, they do. It’s just-
Leah: [00:03:00] They do love the incorrect channel messaging. I don’t know why they didn’t use it here. This is the incorrect channel to ask questions.
Chris: [00:03:07] Yeah. If you’re not sending a plan of action in three parts root causes, section one. Root causes of this suspension. Section two is immediate steps taken to remedy the performance problem or the policy violation or whatever the third part is, future prevention, all the steps you’ve taken to ensure that you don’t violate the policy or commit those performance errors again. If you don’t send them that and they see that it’s just like an email. Or correspondence that’s vague and has no other, if they don’t see a POA, they’re probably not reading it at all. So not only are you maybe waiting a few days. Well, there’s also the passage of time. They might take three days to answer just to say no.
Leah: [00:03:46] And you’re, you’re essentially giving the investigator a gift. It’s like, Oh, I can quickly reject this and stay within my KPIs.
Chris: [00:03:55] Yeah . They’re getting credit for an investigation for that hour there. Their IPH is per hour. How many investigations they do well, then you’re giving them an easy layup because they don’t have to pay attention to you. They don’t have to read it. And the fact that, and a lot of sellers, unfortunately, are also putting in this language, I’m new. I don’t know what this is. I’m ignorant about this process. They don’t care. It’s up to you to learn about that process. They’re not hand holding. I think a lot of businesses are sellers that are new to this. Think that that’s an exchange because they think that will be some hand-holding because you’re new or because you’ve never, maybe you’re not new, but you’ve never been suspended before. Stop thinking that way immediately. They’re not catering to your needs. You are catering to theirs. And this is a one-way street.
Leah: [00:04:40] Yeah. Anything you’re submitting via the account health dashboard, you have to think of as a submission. You’re not having a conversation. It’s a submission. And I would say the same thing with product compliance, even though that is a separate team and the appeal button actually routes you to seller support. It does eventually end up with product compliance. It’s the same thing. If they come back and say, this is missing. You don’t just send that one thing that’s missing. You have to send all of the information again, because the person that’s looking at it is not going to be the same person most of the time. And they’re not going to look back at the previous information. Again, you’re not having a conversation with them. You’re submitting. And when they’re saying something’s missing, they want the whole thing, plus that not just the one thing that they mentioned.
Chris: [00:05:27] This is a formal appeals process. This is not a casual chat. Don’t be casual about it. If you want a conversation like Leah was saying, you’re going to account health services and you’re contacting them. You’re definitely not contacting seller support. And you’re definitely not messaging seller performance through the appeals process, through the submission of the appeal button. I mean, they do tell you it is an appeal button. So you shouldn’t expect to have ongoing threads and correspondence through an appeal button like that. But some people do. We understand it’s not a hundred percent clear, but listen to the sounds of our voices and don’t burn these appeal attempts.
Leah: [00:06:01] Eventually they take that button away. You only have so many chances to submit it before they take away your ability to appeal.
Chris: [00:06:07] And then you’re stuck looking for other paths to appeal, which is an unenviable position. Naturally we help people get unstuck. We do reinstatement work all the time. It’s our core service for account suspensions, but we’re doing podcasts and content like this to try to get you to the point where you’re still getting answers from these guys, and you’re not starting off on the completely wrong foot. So as early as you can soak up this info and avoid sending all these appeals that you didn’t think that were appeals, the better.
Leah: [00:06:36] Yeah. No questions. Just appeals.
Chris: [00:06:38] Any questions on this topic, we’ve been as clear as we possibly could be today. Come to e-commerce Chris, go through our contact form, reach out to me or Leah. We’re happy to answer questions because this is extremely important. And we also even have our own selfish reasons for wanting to get this info out there because there are people hiring us. Who have burned three appeals, four appeals, five appeals, just on random messages through this appeal button or random submissions. And my God that doesn’t help anybody, us, you, Amazon, everyone loses when you do that. So just reinforcing that notion as much as possible today. Any questions we’re happy to make time to follow up and answer you.
Hosts & Guests
Category Listing Reports are one of the more useful tools available to sellers, and most don’t know what it is! We use these reports to vet cases, identify abuse, all the way through to strengthening plans of action. Sellers should be using these to protect their accounts. BONUS: they can simplify your listing management.
Dealing with an account suspension is difficult for most sellers. Even more difficult is getting suspended for the same reason twice. Amazon only gives you so many changes, and that second reinstatement is hard to achieve. How do you prove to Amazon that you’ve REALLY implemented a plan of action to prevent future issues when you already failed to follow through on your previous appeal?