6 Common Amazon Seller Code of Conduct Violations to Avoid
When you’ve put a lot of hard work and long hours into building a successful business as an Amazon seller, the last thing you want is for your account to be suspended. Amazon seller code of conduct violations might seem like they’re easy enough to avoid, but you could wind up with a suspended account even if you do take the necessary precautions and run a legitimate, trustworthy business. Take a look at some of the most common Amazon seller policy violations, and find out how you can handle each one to get your business back on track.
1. Account Hacking
An unfortunate reality of operating a business online, even through Amazon, is that your account can potentially be hacked. When Amazon realizes that your account has been compromised, they’ll be quick to suspend it. This is ultimately for the best because it’s a protective measure for both your business and your customers, but it’s still inconvenient.
To reinstate your seller account, you will need to put together an appeal and send it to Amazon’s Seller Performance Team. This plan of action will assure Amazon that you are aware of the hacking issue on your account and that you’re actively working to correct it (or have already corrected it, hopefully!). After they review your case, you should be able to get right back to business.
Amazon itself is helping keep seller accounts more secure by implementing Two-Step Verification for sign-in so hackers can’t break into your account with only a password. Additionally, you should regularly change your passwords, avoid doing business in shared wifi spaces and try to limit the number of devices you put your business account info on. Giving hackers as few avenues as possible to get into your seller account will help stop them in their tracks!
2. Opening Multiple or Related Accounts
Having multiple seller accounts on Amazon won’t always result in suspension — provided you got permission to do so. Amazon will let you operate multiple seller central accounts if you give them a legitimate business reason, but if you simply open a new account and link it to the first, you will most likely end up with all your accounts suspended for violating the Amazon seller code of conduct. Many sellers try to open several different accounts to spread out products and maximize profit, but doing so skews the playing field in a way that Amazon deems prohibited.
3. Federal Regulations
All items sold on Amazon have to comply with federal regulations, from warranty laws to pest control standards. It can be tricky to stay within federal boundaries since many of them often change. The FDA, in particular, is always re-classifying the status of different drugs and supplements. So, for example, if a drug you’re selling is changed to “prescription use only,” it becomes illegal to sell over-the-counter and therefore prohibited to sell on Amazon.
The best way to avoid Amazon seller violations due to changing regulations is to simply stay as up-to-date as possible. You may want to hire an attorney to determine whether the products you will be selling on Amazon are compliant with federal laws. It’s also highly recommended that you get familiar with Amazon’s own policies — just because something is approved by the government doesn’t mean it’s okay to sell on Amazon.
4. Restricted Products
Outside of federal regulations, there are plenty of other products that are restricted on Amazon. Some sellers try to get around these restrictions by listing a product as something slightly different than what it is. Sometimes Amazon’s algorithm even messes up and notes a product as restricted even though it isn’t. Either way, having restricted products tied to your account can get you suspended.
Similar to the federal regulations category, the best way to avoid suspension is to stay up-to-date on Amazon’s restricted selling list and other policies. If one of your listings gets flagged and results in suspension, you should first make sure that the product is indeed restricted. If it’s actually permitted, you can take Amazon to arbitration and make your case. If it’s restricted, remove the product and make an appeal with a plan of action to demonstrate your commitment to following the Amazon seller code of conduct. After that, your account will hopefully be reinstated!
5. Incentivized Reviews/Review Manipulation
It might be tempting, especially when you’re just starting out, to ask friends and family members to leave positive reviews on your Amazon product pages. You might even think about working with influencers or other savvy shoppers through affiliate marketing to request that they leave reviews as well. However, as of late October 2016, the Amazon Code of Conduct no longer allows these kinds of incentivized reviews, which they now categorize as review manipulation.
Review manipulation might seem like a small thing to make a big fuss over, but on Amazon the customer is king. And if the customer chooses your business because of great reviews only to receive a product that falls below expectations, they’re not going to be happy. You’ll only wind up further behind because you’ll have a suspended account on your hands.
Instead of padding your product listings with fake reviews, focus on selling a great product and being responsive and helpful to your customers. You’ll get reviews organically this way and avoid any Amazon seller violations.
6. Negative Reviews
After a certain amount of negative reviews, your seller account could be suspended. There are multiple Amazon listing violations that customers could flag your products for, including:
- Used Sold as New
- Not as Described
- Not as Advertised
Of these violations, selling counterfeit or fake products will get you shut down immediately. The obvious solution here is to not sell counterfeit products and responsibly source the items you sell. However, if your item isn’t actually fake, you just have to provide Amazon with the paperwork to prove it’s real and belongs to you. Amazon can then investigate and, with any luck, reinstate your account in a timely manner so you can get back to business.
Keep an Eye on Negative Reviews with AMZAlert
On Amazon, it’s crucial to keep tabs on your reviews, not just because you want customers to get a good first impression of your products, but so you can avoid Amazon seller policy violations as well. Amazon seller tools from AMZAlert give you quick and convenient text and email notifications whenever you receive a review of three stars or lower. This allows you to respond to customers and alleviate problems in the blink of an eye — without having your eyes glued to a screen! To learn more about the many other features AMZAlert has to offer, view our features or contact us today.