It seems Amazon is easing up on its account suspension protocol.
Until recently, sellers would see their funds frozen and their accounts suspended immediately upon policy violation. Now, Amazon is giving them a little more leeway with something it calls a “pre POA.”
The Amazon Pre POA
POAs – or plans of action – were previously optional for Amazon sellers who found themselves in hot water.
When a seller was suspended, they’d receive a formal notice, their selling rights would be revoked, and they had the “option” of submitting a plan of action for fixing their failings.
In the meantime, Amazon would weigh in on the fate of the seller in the background, issuing a final decision weeks later.
Thanks to a new change, Amazon is asking sellers to submit POAs before a suspension occurs, allowing them to course-correct before serious action is taken against their account.
Here’s how it works:
- A seller commits one or several violations of Amazon policy.
- Amazon sends the seller an email from its [email protected] address, detailing the seller’s failings and violations. The email also requests a pre POA. These emails typically come with the subject line “You’re at risk of being suspended” or “Please submit a plan of action to avoid suspension.”
- The seller submits the pre POA, outlining exactly how they will address Amazon’s findings and improve their operation.
- Amazon weighs in on the future of the seller’s account. If a POA has been submitted, this will be taken into consideration during the decision-making process.
Though there is no deadline to submit the pre POA, it would certainly work in the seller’s favor if the POA is turned in before Amazon makes it final decision.
Showing you are committed to correcting your policy violations can put you in better standing with Amazon’s decision makers and, ultimately, help you avoid account suspension altogether.
What Your Amazon Pre POA Should Look Like
Don’t want to face Amazon account suspension? Then your pre POA better be good.
Start with a quick intro, stating your seller account name and your listed failures and violations. Then delve into those more in depth, discuss how these issues came to be, what misgivings in your back-end processes led to them, and express your remorse for the issues found.
Be careful not to give excuses; take responsibility for the problems at hand, and tell Amazon you are committed to fixing them and better serving Amazon customers.
Finally, break down the actionable, step-by-step plan you have for fixing your violations and improving your storefront.
Pro-Tip: Be as detailed as possible, and make it clear that you are making permanent changes to ensure these errors won’t occur again.
Some other tips:
- Use bullet points. The Amazon team sorts through thousands of these a day, so you want it to be easy to read and digest on first glance.
- Stick to the issues. Don’t bring in sob stories or make personal appeals. Keep it strictly business, and don’t waste their time.
- Organize your pre POA with headings, subheadings and bolding. Again, you want it to be as easy to process as possible.
At the end of the document, add a quick summary of your plan. Will you realign your back-end resources? Will you change your marketing strategies? Will you more clearly describe your products?
In one or two sentences, sum up the gist of your POA and leave the Amazon team feeling confident in the trajectory of your store.
How to Avoid Possible Amazon Account Suspension in the First Place
The best way to avoid writing an Amazon pre POA? That’d be not violating Amazon policy in the first place.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Watch your metrics carefully. Head to the “Account Health” area of your seller’s dashboard regularly, and look at your defect rate, cancellation rate, late shipment rate, policy violations, on-time deliveries, tracking rates and response times. Each of these should have a green checkmark beside them. If they don’t, take steps now to fix the issues – before Amazon takes notice.
- Be responsive. If you get a message from a buyer, respond as quickly as possible. Your response time plays a huge role in how Amazons views your account. You’re expected to reply within 24 hours or less.
- Work to remove negative feedback. Negative reviews happen, but that doesn’t mean you should take them lying down. Reach out to the customer and make it right. Offer a refund, and hope they modify they review, or offer to send them a replacement product to make up for it. Remember, the customer is always right.
Thankfully, the new Amazon account suspension policy gives you a little wiggle room if you violate policy. Just be ready to create a plan of action ASAP if you want to avoid long-term consequences.
According to Cory Rosenbaum, Amazon Sellers’ Lawyer, the most common reason sellers getting suspended is because of “intellectual property right complaints”.
“Intellectual property rights complaints have been skyrocketing. Congress recognized “trademark bullying” in 2006 or 2007. It’s a recognized term in the U.S. Patent Trademark Office. Now, it’s exploding for small manufacturers as well as huge,” Rosenbaum said.
“[Trademark bullying] is becoming very common. It used to be like 20-30 percent, and now it’s definitely around 50/50 between the [intellectual property] complaints and everything else—inauthentic, not shipping on time, not uploading tracking numbers. But if you add it all up, the IP complaints are about half of all the suspensions we’ve seen.”
If you’d like to learn more check out our full interview with Rosenbaum here, or contact tara@cpcstrategy for more information about Amazon pre POA changes.