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peer September 15, 2020 3 Minutes
Categories: Ecommerce | Help for sellers

If the Amazon seller account is blocked, sellers often feel helplessly at the mercy of the e-commerce giant. The blocking is often based on an assessment of the Amazon algorithm, which, for example, uses a change in the account details or the email address as a reason for a blocking - and this without a previous review of the facts. This means not only a loss of sales, but also, in the worst case, a loss of ranking in the organic rankings. 

Reasons why the Amazon seller account may be blocked

Often, only formal problems cause a blocking of the seller account. For example, a missing telephone number in the imprint or an outdated privacy policy can already lead to a block. Such formal problems can usually be resolved within a few days. However, if Amazon blocks accounts due to violations of the Amazon guidelines or because the offer does not comply with the legal requirements, the seller must be prepared for a lengthy unblocking process. From Amazon's perspective, there are two main reasons for blocking a Seller account: Firstly, by blocking a seller, Amazon prevents itself from being prosecuted if sellers violate its guidelines. On the other hand, Amazon monitors the compliance with legal (consumer protection) regulations. 

Consequences for sellers 

If the Amazon seller account is blocked, this often has serious consequences for the seller. On the one hand, the seller no longer has the possibility to access the account to process sales. On the other hand, the account credit cannot be used. In the case of non-compliance with the legal requirements of an offer, the offer will also be removed from the marketplace - which means additional sales losses. Especially for sellers who offer their products exclusively via Amazon, the account blocking can lead beyond sales losses to the withdrawal of the economic livelihood. 

What to do if the Amazon seller account is blocked?

In principle, an unblocking of the seller account can be obtained by submitting a plan of action by way of an Amazon procedure or by forcing the unblocking by way of a legal enforcement. If there is no absolute urgency, it is advisable to first try to obtain an unblocking through the Amazon procedure. If this method remains unsuccessful, or if the unblocking of the seller's account is the seller's top priority, legal action can be taken.

Action plan by way of an Amazon procedure

After (!) the account has been blocked, Amazon carries out an internal review process and the reason for the block can be viewed via Seller Central. If a seller can subsequently convince Amazon that the reason for the blocking or the violation has been identified and that measures have been taken to prevent further violations, the account can be unblocked directly via Amazon. Therefore, it is advisable to resort to an action plan in order to explain the following action steps in a well-founded manner. The following three questions should be answered in the action plan: 

  • What is/are the cause(s) that led to the problem?
  • What actions will you take to fix the problem?
  • What actions will you take to avoid future problems?

Solution approaches should be explained clearly and precisely. It must be described exactly in which way internal business processes are optimized and which measures have been taken to ensure that the occurring problem remains solved in the future. 

Within the framework of the internal review procedure, however, it must be noted that this procedure is not designed for the purpose of verifying whether the blocking was justified or determining the (in)culpability of the seller. Within the framework of the procedure, Amazon can only be convinced that the seller will not commit any further violations. Especially with regard to the reason for the blocking, it should therefore be carefully checked whether the exact reason for the blocking has been identified and addressed. If the action plan is based on an incorrect reason, it will become ineffective. 

For this purpose, it is generally not advisable to assert one's innocence within the procedure, even if the blocking was unjustified. In addition, you should always respond calmly during the communication - even if the blocking of the seller account is often accompanied by considerable consequences. If a request for unblocking is rejected, Amazon will not consider the request a second time. Without legal pressure, the seller can no longer use the platform.  

If, on the other hand, the account blocking is based on complaints from third parties, for example, due to alleged copyright or trademark infringing offers, action should be taken against this immediately. First of all, the seller should find out what the content of the complaint is and who made it. Amazon has the obligation to provide the seller with information about this. 

Legal action against Amazon 

Anyone who has unsuccessfully submitted a plan of action is confronted with recourse to legal action. In order to save high costs for legal advice, the first step can be to write a letter to Amazon informing them that they will be forced to take legal action if Amazon fails to take action. If the letter remains unsuccessful, the only option is to go to court and force the unblocking of the seller's account. 

In order to counteract a blocking of the seller account in advance, it is therefore advisable to store required information (such as tax numbers) and to design sub-pages (such as the imprint) with the utmost care and to always check that they are up-to-date in order to prevent formal problems. In addition, it is advisable to avoid too strong dependencies on Amazon in order not to lose the only opportunity to sell the products in the event of a block.

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