This is follow-up from my original post, How not to deal with Seller Performance. If you haven’t checked that out yet, go check it out now so you have the full back story. I’ll give quick summary, but having full details will be helpful in seeing how quickly things can go south when dealing with Amazon’s Seller Performance team.
For those of you too lazy to read part 1, here is the cliff notes: I had my best ASIN suspended after responding to a temporary suspension for an inauthentic claim that quickly went south. I had very little competition with item being an online exclusive that I bought the stores entire stock any time it came into stock. Outside of disappointment of loss of future sales, I had over 125 units at Amazon Warehouses. With an average sale price of $70 and average buy price around $22 I was looking at having $2,750 invested into this item with potential profits over $4,000 if I could sell through at my average sell price. None of this would break my business as I’m not dependent on a single ASIN, but this certainly hurt and I wanted to get the ban removed as soon as possible, if that was even possible.
So now what? My initial move was to write a nasty response to Seller Performance as I was furious of how I could lose my best ASIN just because of a false inauthentic claim. I had receipts and order confirmations for ALL purchases and item clearly was not inauthentic. Seller Performance never once told me what the issue was that drove the inauthentic claim so I was clueless on what was the root cause and extremely frustrated with the situation. Add to the fact that initial email stated it was only a temporary ban and all I needed to do was review the listing and then relist if no issues. I somewhat came to my senses and posted my response to Seller Performance onto my mastermind group with the other admins of the Sourcing Simplifiers FB group. They quickly suggested that email might not be the best approach.
I knew I wanted to appeal, but just didn’t know the best approach. One of the challenges was I had no idea what the issue was that caused someone to file an inauthentic claim. I only had a handful of returns in close to 200 sales. None of the returns even came back defective or anything that would cause concern. I hadn’t even had a return since January and initial inauthentic claim came on April 11th. I triple checked this and still the same thing. No insights of what was causing the issues.
The next thing I did was take a closer look at the AZ listing for the suspended ASIN. First thing I did was read every single product review. My seller account is at 100% feedback and any negative I ever got removed was not related to this ASIN so I figured maybe I’d have luck with the product reviews. This is where I hit pay dirt as I found a review claiming item was fake. Specifically, the reviewer noted the item did not come in any packaging. I then cross referenced his name used on the review to individuals that bought my suspended ASIN and boom got a match.
So now I had a little more insight on what was driving this inauthentic claim. The suspended ASIN is an online exclusive that does not come in pretty retail packaging but just manufacturing packaging and I could potentially see how someone could question the packaging. I’m still not 100% certain that is driving the issue. Could Amazon have repackaged a return in something else besides the manufacturing packaging? Could one of my prep centers took the item out of manufacturing packaging and put item in another box or bag? I don’t have any concerns with my current Prep Center, WeShipUSA , but not as confident with the other two prep centers I stopped using.
Now that I have some insight on who filed the claim and what there issue was; how do I proceed? AZ was only asking invoices/receipts of my purchases and they were not asking for an action plan. However, do I include an action plan and admit fault like I hear so many people recommend for a full suspension? If admitting fault, what am I even admitting to? Do I contact the customer to see if I can get more details about his issue? Maybe even convince him to remove the claim, he surely will understand that I bought the item from a big box retailer for a 1/3 of the price. Hmm maybe that wouldn’t be the best idea.
I wasn’t sure best approach to take and determined best approach would try to get some feedback from people that had experienced similar issues. I reached out to Ryan Grant from Online Seller Experiment. I’ve had a few conversations with him over the past year and am part of his 5 Star Sellers group (for sellers selling over $100k/year) so was hoping he’d be open to providing some insights. I also knew he had been through a suspension and was able to get his account active pretty quick so he at least had some experience dealing with my buddies at Seller Performance. He provided some great suggestions about how I could handle it myself or and suggested the possibility of looking into an ASIN suspension service as those are the professions. He wasn’t the first one to recommend a service like this so decided it was worth looking into a little more.
Upon further research, an ASIN suspension service typically run $500 and rates are non-refundable. You get a consultation call and they write an appeal for you based on their vast experience dealing with Seller Performance. Not a cheap service and they get paid no matter what the outcome is. You are paying them for their expertise and time crafting a response and not for the outcome of their response. While I completely understand their business model, it certainly makes dropping $500 even more challenging. Besides the large amount of potential revenue that I had tied to this ASIN I really didn’t like the inauthentic claim on my account so I ultimately I decided this was going to be my next step.
Who did I pick to handle my appeal? Did I finally get this ASIN unsuspended? Did I get myself into even more trouble like I have a tendency to do? Well you will need to stay tuned for next week’s release in which I’ll bring this little mini-series to a thrilling conclusion. Until then, has anyone else used an ASIN suspension service (or ASIN or account suspension) and willing to share your experience? Feel free to comment here, our Facebook group or shoot us an email at email@example.com. I’d love to include some other feedback into the final part of this series