How To Fix & What You Can Do - Amazon Blocks Restrictions & Account Deletions
Published by Julian in Amazon, Restrictions
What to do when you’re going round in circles with Amazon Seller Support & Seller Performance
As an Amazon Seller, it won’t be long before you have your first brush with Seller Support or the more ominous Seller Performance. Seller Support is the customer service team helping to keep Amazon Sellers on track in Amazon Seller Central. The problem is they are often misinformed, have poor communication skills or even a poor grasp of the English language. Think as Seller Performance as the so-called Police of Sellers on the Amazon platform. The problem is that they can turn from Police into the Gestapo.
Seller Support usually has impressively quick response times. These are often within 4 hours if you remember to mark your query as urgent (if available). If your query is not urgent, it is still a good idea to tick this box. As often by ticking it means you get a speedier response and makes it more likely that your query goes to a more experienced rep. Unfortunately, Seller Support can often be pretty robotic with their advice. To put it simply, you need to take their advice with a pinch of salt. It seems they have little more than knowledge than support forums, that sellers also have access to when providing their support. However, their email replies can be useful, especially when needed as evidence if (hopefully not) required in the future as justification for any potential rule break. You may find that many reps will try to call you; We have a sneaking suspicion that this is as reps are reluctant to give you anything in writing. Just in case they get it wrong. Be persistent and make sure you to get it in writing too! Seller Support is notorious at giving wrong information which later gets you in trouble with Seller Performance.
Seller Performance is simply a poor team. A typical scenario is that you get some sort of threatening email outlining a misdemeanor you either did or did not make, either knowingly or unknowingly with various threats. Usually, these state that they are considering closing your account PERMANENTLY and usually some further details which make little to no sense. The main problem with Seller Performance in most cases only consist of some pre-written template and often these are without any true connection to your particular issue. This can be particularly confusing and frustration especially when you bear in mind their tangled in threats.
What can you do?
First things first, stay calm. Be prepared that you may get extremely unhelpful communication back and be prepared to work out the box to get the right resolution.
For the most part Seller Support is there to help sellers when they have questions or queries about trading on the marketplace. Usually, these queries are resolved in a message or two. You can leave feedback for the rep who answered the question at the end of almost all cases, once they have been closed. In some cases, you may find questions go unanswered or answering is avoided entirely. Or you could get a response to a question you did not ask for an example. With these issues and as first step, you can reopen the case and politely ask that the question is properly addressed. You can also ask that, if they don't know, can they please pass the case onto a rep that does.
Seller Support seems to be separated into various teams. The largest and general teams are based offshore and this appears to make up in excess of 80% of Seller Support. With more and more support being moved to low cost, lowish wage regions it can sometimes be a challenge to find a rep willing to help or even knowing how to help. Next, you have a middle team usually based close to your location and then finally a senior support team who are a little harder to get hold of (more on that later).
If you have a complaint against Seller Support, recontacting Seller Support should the first avenue as they are the front line of managing complaints. This complaint should be in an email. Be clear, concise and use as basic English as possible. With any luck, a competent rep will take over your case and push you in the right direction.
If you get a good rep it is important to work well with them, continue to be concise and polite. Remember you are the one who needs help. If you are getting on well with the rep it is also important to be fairly quick with your replies. The last thing you want is to be close to a resolution and then the rep finishes for the day and then another rep takes over.
Seller Support has some limited options. For instance, they can reach out to other teams but they are not guaranteed to get replies. If they do need to reach out to other teams it is important that you request that they direct their questions to a manager, especially if this is an ongoing issue. Directing your questions to a manager will prevent unskilled reps from picking up your case.
If you continue to get nowhere with Seller Support via email, the next step is by phone with case number/s at the ready. On the phone, you can escalate to management. Make sure to get all the names of the people you speak to and carefully annotate any and all issues you experienced. Be clear about the outcome you desire. If you are unable to speak to a manager on the call, you can request a call back which should happen within 48 hours (keep your phone close as it can be as they can call at any time). In most cases, once you speak to a manager or supervisor the support will dramatically improve and the information and advice you receive will become correct.
If it has gone as far as Seller Performance we need to carefully analyze whether you have or have not broken Amazon rules. In many cases, if you have broken their rules it makes it much easier to fix. Seller Performance will have preset instructions on how to handle and reinstate accounts for instance. This usually involves the seller apologizing profusely and seriously putting the time in to put in writing what you have done and how you will make sure it doesn't happen again. If it is your first offence this is usually enough. Various templates can be found online for an acceptably apologetic format, that Seller Performance usually accepts.
Unfortunately, Seller Performance has little accountability and email is the only way to normally contact them. Though again Seller Support can reach out to Seller Performance by email and although these emails are often ignored if you request that Seller Support marks any correspondence to them as urgent and for a manager, this should ensure that your case is properly looked at.
Thinking out the box - when all else fails
At the end of the day, it is your right as a business owner to receive a certain level of service. The laws of each country state this. There are generally 2 further options when you have hit a brick wall with both Seller Performance and Support.
Option 1: Reaching out to Senior Support
Firstly, as a seller, you can escalate your cases yourself. Though it is very important to note that if you escalate a case and it is not seen to be worthy of escalation you may not get any reply at all. If there is a genuine claim for complaint then usually by addressing an email to one of the below (depending on region), this will ensure your case is properly looked at. A complaint is logged concerning reps involved and a resolution is applied within days or weeks. It is vitally important that emails to the below are concise and to the point whilst including the most important information. Although unfortunately, these emails will not reach the inbox of directors; they will be reviewed by senior support who appear to report to senior management/directors. And that is almost as good...
Option 2: Leveraging politics
The last resort is taking up your legal rights. Of course, taking legal action against a company like Amazon is a futile task. However, the cherry on the cake to this article is prompting political action. When all else fails; speaking to your local politician can give unexpected clout. You will be surprised how quickly a giant company like Amazon moves when politics gets involved. Usually, your local politician will be more than happy to address a giant like Amazon and they can help by sending a signed official letter directly to Amazon office of your region.
We hope this article helps. Have you had any issue with either Seller Support or Seller Performance? How did you get it resolved, please leave your comments below...