How to Appeal an Amazon Suspension

As store owner, we can lose sleep over lots of little things, from ornery employees to inventory issues. But there’s one fear that can really upset a good night’s sleep: a suspension email from Amazon.

If you’ve a solid Amazon seller, you’ve no doubt come across one of these at one time or another. Today we have Cynthia Stine on the show, who has been referenced in our private commmunity time and time again as someone that knows how to work the Amazon suspension system.

She weighs in on the timeline for a suspension, what she looks for and how to better handle the one thing we all love to hate.

You’ll learn:

  • Worst case scenarios for an Amazon suspension
  • The problems with Amazon brand registry
  • What Amazon looks for to list your suspension
  • Why agents often so “No” to reinstatements

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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com and Cynthia Stine of eGrowthPartners.com)

Andrew: Welcome to “The eCommerceFuel Podcast,” the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host, and fellow ecommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.

Hey, guys, Andrew here, and welcome to the eCommerceFuel podcast. Thanks so much for tuning in, joining me on the show here. And today, we’re gonna talk about something that strikes absolute terror into a lot of your hearts, I’m guessing, and that is getting that email from Amazon saying you’ve been suspended from their account.

It can range from, on the low side, an inconvenience for people who don’t do a lot of volume on Amazon, to, on the upper end, if you do a lot of Amazon sales, and especially if you have a lot of inventory that you’ve invested in that you only or primarily move through in Amazon, it can shut down businesses. It’s a big deal.

So to talk about this, I wanted to bring on Cynthia Stine from egrowthpartners.com. She’s built a reputation over the years as someone who really knows the space, can help her clients contest, fight, and win Amazon suspension. So we’re gonna talk about why Amazon sellers get suspended, if you do, how to come back from that successfully, and hopefully, the things you should be thinking about on a regular basis so you don’t have to deal with in the first place, so you don’t get suspended at all. So that’s what we’re talking about today.

Before we dive into the thick of it though, I wanted to thank our two amazing sponsors, first off, Liquid Web, who offers world-class hosting for your WooCommerce business, your WooCommerce cart. They claim to have amazing customer service, but do they really? So I thought I’d call their tech support line. I’ll bring you along with me for the ride, and I’m gonna drop you in here about 20 seconds in after, you know, the little automated message and a quick selection saying I wanted Linux support.

Scott: Liquid Web Support, my name is Scott, how could I assist you?

Andrew: Hey, Scott. My name is Andrew. I love this plan, I got a hold of you in 35 seconds, so I was kinda hoping for some of that funky, awesome, old music you guys, you know, that people have sometimes.

Scott: Sorry about that.

Andrew: Yeah, you think that’s something maybe you guys could fix in the future?

Scott: Yeah, I don’t know.

Andrew: I’m just curious. Like it seems like you guys could save a bunch of money by outsourcing your support, you know, off sea somewhere, I mean, lower our bills, things like that. Is that not something you guys think about doing?

Scott: Lowering bills?

Andrew: You know, by just outsourcing customer support somewhere else.

Scott: No. No, not really.

Andrew: Liquid Web, clearly not the WooCommerce host for you if you love long hold times with funky music, and overseas technical support. If that doesn’t sound like you, you can learn more about them at ecommercefuel.com/liquidweb.

And secondly, a big thank you to Klaviyo, who makes email automation easy and powerful to make you more money in your ecommerce store. One thing I love about Klaviyo is their Facebook audience thinking. And so you can do a couple things, you can create customer audiences in Facebook based on your list.

So you can create a list on Klaviyo for people who have abandoned your shopping cart, and retarget them. You can create a list for people who have purchased, maybe Product A, but they haven’t purchased the accessory kit for it, and retarget them on Facebook.

You can even create lookalike audiences from your Klaviyo segment, so you’re not just reaching only your existing customers, but you’re reaching much wider swaths of people who are very likely to be in that same demographic or segment, and reach out to them. So, very powerful Facebook integration, in addition to all the other features that makes Klaviyo who you should be using if you wanna market with email on your ecommerce store. You can learn more about them, and get started with a free trial at ecommercefuel.com/Klaviyo.

Worst Case Suspension Scenarios

All right, let’s go ahead and jump into Amazon suspensions, with Cynthia Stine. So, Cynthia, to kick us off and maybe to frame how important this is, can you…I’m sure you have plenty, could you pick one of the many, maybe, anecdotes of business owners, and the chaos, and the carnage that you’ve experienced or seen, that can be caused by an Amazon suspension. It could be a investment who lost her business to, you know, maybe even, you know, bankruptcy, just something to let us know like what a suspension can do to a merchant.

Cynthia: It can be really serious. I mean, I’ve had business owners, you know, crying on the phone with me because they were gonna have to go in the next morning and lay people off. I had a client that in the time that he was suspended, you know, he lost over a million dollars in sales. But he was suspended for almost two months before he came to us. So, yeah, I’ve seen it. You know, it’s terrible. I mean, it wrecks businesses. If you can’t get back, you know, within a week, it can really do serious harm to your business. You know, it’s heartbreaking sometimes.

Top Reasons Why Suspensions Happen

Andrew: And we’ll dive into, you know, all the different reasons, and a lot of the nuances in French cases, but if you had to generalize, what are the top two or three reasons why people get their accounts suspended?

Cynthia: They get their accounts, I mean, right now, and it is a moving target, but I would say the most common reason, and it has been for a while, are inauthentic complaints, sometimes counterfeit, and then lately, infringement. Ever since last May, there’s been a ton of infringement. And then we’ve had safety. So I’d say those are the big ones that have been taking sellers down consistently, and a lot of…

Andrew: And when you say “Infringement,” can you clarify what you mean by that? Like what would be…?

Cynthia: So a brand, you know, basically comes to Amazon and says, “Hey, these guys are infringing on my trademark. They don’t have the right to sell my products.” You know, this has always got on. I mean, there was always brands, you know, trying to enforce their intellectual property on the platform, but with Brand Registry 2.0, it became as easy as clicking a mouse.

And as so as soon as it got up and running within about two weeks, we were getting sellers who’ve been suspended, and some of them had never, I mean, they hadn’t even sold that brand or that product in years, and it didn’t matter. And so all of a sudden, the community had to scramble. And whereas Amazon had always told us, you know, “If you list on an existing listing you’re okay,” what the brands are coming in and saying is, “Oh no, I never gave Amazon permission to create that list,” and so you all go down.

Defining Infringements

Andrew: So this wouldn’t be necessarily someone coming in and selling, let’s use Nike, because they’re an easy example, not someone coming in and selling, you know, fake Nike shoes and getting hit for that, this would be someone who may be potentially a seller who had legitimate, authentic Nike shoes and they were trying to sell them on a Nike listing, but they got hit for infringing on maybe the, you know, Nike didn’t give them the permission. Is that what you’re talking about?

Cynthia: Yeah. So what happens, you know, the problem with Amazon is that anybody can create a listing, and so before Brand Registry 2.0, you know, people would create listings for all kinds of things, but the brand didn’t have permission for us to use their name, or their pictures, or their descriptions. That was a third party seller that was doing that. And that is, technically, infringement because they never gave permission.

And to make it more confusing, when a brand sold directly to Amazon, let’s say Nike, which is in fact selling directly to Amazon right now, but when they sold directly to Amazon through Vendor Central, or something like that, then they actually did give permission, because, you know, it’s in the fine print when you sell directly to Amazon, that they have the right, now, to use those images, or words, or the logo.

And so it’s really hard for a seller to tell. They look at their listings, you know, is this infringing or not, you know? Because they didn’t create most of them, the only ones they know about are the ones they themselves created. So this is where there’s a lot of confusion, there’s a lot of mistakes being made. Brands are taking down people they shouldn’t be, and then the seller is like, “I don’t know what to do because I can’t tell.”

The Risk for Reselling

Andrew: Yes. So how does someone like, if someone is reselling goods, how do they know today, 2018, if something is, you know, is open to be able to resell, if they have legitimate goods and they’re not gonna get suspended, or if they’re running at a suspension risk? Is there any hard and fast way you can look at a listing or a skewer in acing and say, “This is brand protected, I can’t resell against it,” or not?

Cynthia: You know, if you look at a listing and Amazon is selling that product, then technically, you should not be in danger of trademark or copyright infringement. But as we know, Amazon doesn’t sell everything, and then if they’re out of stock or something, one day you could look at it and say, “Oh, yeah, Amazon is selling it,” the next day it wouldn’t show it. But that’s one way to know that, you know, you’re probably okay.

The problem with the Brand Registry 2 is that we don’t know who the other brands are who are registered. So you know, if you’re brand, you know yourself, but do you know all of the others? So yeah, it’s very confusing, and so sellers are now in the position of if they wanna create a new listing on the platform, they need to get permission from the brand before they do it.

Ignored Emails

Andrew: What about lack of customer support issues, in terms of people getting suspended, you know, emails not getting returned very quickly? Is that a pretty big issue, or is it get overhyped?

Cynthia: It’s a big issue. It’s better now, but it’s a big issue. Because seller performance, for entirely logical but not very compassionate reasons, does not wanna talk to sellers they’ve suspended. And so you have to do everything through your email, and that’s really tough.

What you’re really dealing with from seller performance is you probably dealing with a team out of India. There are some other teams around the world, too. You know, English isn’t even their first language. They certainly don’t understand business the way we understand business, and they’re pretty much following what I call the “Checklist,” right?

So they have certain things they’re supposed to look for in an appeal, and if they see them and they’re all there, well, then, it’s great, check, check, check, right? But if they don’t see it, or they don’t understand what the seller is trying to tell them, this is where some of my clients kind of get in trouble, because they’re trying to explain common business practices to a culture that doesn’t share them, and things like that.

It can be really difficult. It is slightly better today than when I started. Now you can call seller support and talk to them, they might give you some guidance, or hints, towards your appeal. Sometimes they’re able to tell us like if there’s something else that’s not being addressed in the appeal.

So that is a lot better, because when I started in 2015, it was a black hole and all you would get were form letters back, over, and over, and over again. So they would say, “Oh, no, we need more information,” and you’re like, “Great, about what? I mean, what is it that we have not given you?” You know, and you wouldn’t get anything.

And to some degree, that’s still true. I mean, they’re not, even when you talk to seller support, they’re not gonna just say to you, “Oh, dude, you need to do this,” right? They’re not gonna do that, but they kinda do give some hints like, “Oh, I think you should look at your performance metrics,” you know, stuff like that.

And so for us, working with our clients, it helps us help our clients more, because sometimes we can get some insight, especially when we’re hitting the wall and like cannot figure out why Amazon isn’t accepting our appeal because we know it’s a good appeal, we’re like, “What’s wrong?”

Checklist for a Lifted Suspension

Andrew: You mentioned a checklist in there for, you know, they’re not gonna tell you exactly but to allude to some of the things, what is…maybe kind of two questions but a lot of overlap, what is on that checklist that they look for? And kind of along the same lines, what is your process, or playbook, for getting a suspension lifted, in general?

Cynthia: So the way we look at a suspension is we know that Amazon wants our clients to, you know, articulate the problem so that they understand it, have a solution not only for today’s problem, but so that it won’t happen again on their account, ever. And so when they’re looking at the appeal…and I’ve not actually seen a checklist, this is how we think of it in our heads visually, though.

And so, you know, we usually have some kind of statement where the client takes responsibility for fixing the problem, and then we have, or I will lay out…and it’s different from client to client, which is why our appeals are, you know, written for each client. We don’t do templates.

And so then it’s like, “Okay, how did the problem happen? How did we fix it? How will we make sure it doesn’t happen again in some other category, or on another listing, or whatever it is?” So that’s what they’re looking for, is they wanna know that the seller is never gonna do it again, because they have a plan, a process, or a system in place. Amazon is very process-oriented. They’re TCM, right? The whole company is very big into continuous, you know, quality, continuous improvement, excuse me. And so that is what they’re looking for from their partner.

And then they want it to be short as possible, so we try to be very succinct, and be very scannable. So sometimes they do need a lot of information, because if it’s inauthentic, you know, you have to provide the invoices, then you have to type up in the plan the sources that you buy from, and so the appeal can get kind of long. So we try to make it really easy for them to scan, because they only have three minutes to read your appeal, make a decision, write up their notes on your case, and go to the next one.

I mean, I’ve had clients who literally had 30, 40, 50 invoices, and so our job was to make it really easy for the person reading it to get the information that they needed and just sort of flip through those 50.

Andrew: And when you say they have 3 minutes to go through 50, when you say invoices, I’m guessing this is because they were suspended due to a potentially, a counterfeit accusation, and so they’re proving, “No, these aren’t counterfeit. We bought them from a legitimate source, here’s the proof.”

Cynthia: Yeah. Actually, yeah, counterfeit, yes, but also mostly inauthentic. So people get confused by the terminology that Amazon uses because “inauthentic” doesn’t mean that it’s not genuine. It means that the source that you bought it from may not be genuine. So it could be stolen.

It could be like, you know, there are Chinese warehouses that crank out products and then they make some for themselves on the side and sell it in the gray market. You know, things like that. They wanna make sure that you’re actually buying it from a real source, that, you know, either from the brand directly, or an authorized distributor. So that’s inauthentic.

But yes, you’re right, counterfeit is an issue. And so, of course, you have to show invoices for that. And then there’s, you know, some of the other…There’s several other reasons why they might need invoices, so we do a lot of invoice annotation and organization for our clients.

The Timeline for Lifting a Suspension

Andrew: What’s the timeline look like for, let’s say you come in, you got suspended, you write up a, you know, submit something to them that goes through…And just to review and make sure I remember right, you know, you acknowledge what you’re doing, acknowledge the problem, say it’s not gonna happen again, introduce a system that is gonna ensure that that doesn’t happen again, give them any documentation that they need, as concise as possible. You make it a scannable as possible.

What is the rough…and this is gonna vary, I’m sure, but on average, if you had to generalize, what’s your rough turnaround time for getting an answer, or getting reinstated, if you do? And do they answer you, will they like always answer you, or will they always, will they, you know, would they say a definitive “Yes,” or “No,” or you only know that it’s a “Yes,” if they reinstated you?

Cynthia: Yeah, you know, it’s a “Yes,” if you get the email saying that your account has been reinstated. So, yeah, every other thing that you get will be a, “No.” Basically, the turnaround time, I mean, I’ve had them respond in 10 or 15 minutes, and I’ve had them take days. It really depends on how backed up they are, because there have been times where for whatever reason, mostly because they’ve just suspended a hell of a lot of sellers, they get really backed up and so they’re not looking at appeals for days.

And literally, in 2015 July and August, it was taking more than a month. And they never sent any intro reports either, like, “Hey, you’re in the queue. We’re gonna get to you,” no. That was the worst of it. I mean, I think they were totally unprepared for what they unleashed on the community. Now it usually doesn’t get that bad, but yeah, people say, “Oh, when will they get back to me?” and well, usually within 24 hours, but we don’t know.

And then there’s different groups inside of seller performance, and they’re looking at different things. So if you have a group that’s just taking down a lot of sellers, they’re gonna be overwhelmed, even though the other groups within seller performance are not overwhelmed.

And so, you know, when we had bunch of safety issues come out, it was crazy. We weren’t getting responses for, you know, up to two weeks, and that was because they were overwhelmed, and apparently, it’s a small group. Like, “Well then, why did you suspend so many sellers if you don’t have the capacity to deal with it?”

Does Bezos Respond to Emails?

Andrew: You always hear about people emailing Jeff at amazon.com, where he, you know, infamously a few times, you know, magic things will happen if you email the man himself. Is there any truth to that? Like, have you ever seen that, or is that mostly kind of just like an urban ecommerce tale that gets passed around?

Cynthia: Yes, it works. And we’ve certainly done it on behalf of our clients before. Here’s the thing, you can’t go to Jeff unless you have tried the other options. And Jeff does read his own email, but he’s not always reading every email, and so he has a team of people that read his email, and sort it, and decide who’s gonna deal with it, and all that.

So if you go to them and you’re like, you just go to him first, you know, they’re gonna kick you down to someone else, because, you know, they’re like, “Well, you haven’t even tried the normal process.” So when you go to Jeff, you have to be really short, and I try to keep my appeals to a less than…five sentences, or less, and then I attach the longer appeal.

But the appeal that I’m making to Jeff is very succinct, because there’s no way he’s gonna read the whole thing, and there’s really no way that his team is going to. All they wanna do is make a decision like, who needs to deal with this? Is this worth looking at? And then they shuttle it all to someone else. So that’s what people need to understand when they write Jeff, when they send these long multi-page appeals, they usually just get kicked back down to seller performance anyway.

Dirty Players of Amazon

Andrew: What do you see in terms of dirty attacks that Amazon sellers are trying to use to maybe take down other sellers that don’t have merit? Are you seeing a lot of like, a lot of dirty play on Amazon increasingly in 2018? If so, what is that looking like?

Cynthia: Well, it shifts so rapidly. I mean, I could write an entire book on dirty seller tricks. But basically, I see it a lot among people who have their own brands, obviously. So they’re sabotaging their competitors’ reviews, they’re having, like their mother buy a competitor’s product and leave a negative review.

They know all the keywords that will trigger the algorithm. I saw a dirty trick recently that really, insane, but what they did was they would hire people to leave reviews, you know, in a foreign country, but they would have them leave all these five-star reviews that were obviously fake, on their competitors’ listed things. So they’re hoping to get their competitors shut down for, you know, faking or buying reviews. And I said, you know, it’s a crazy world where now you have to look at your positive reviews as closely as you look at your negative reviews.

And then there’s just, they’ve basically shut down Vendor Express now, but for a long time, that was a way that sellers would inflict damage on each other. Because they would go into Vendor Express, they would again, pull up a competitor’s product, and they would start messing with the listing, so all of a sudden, the competitor’s product didn’t match the listing anymore, right?

They’ve changed the color, or the title, whatever. And, you know, again, if the seller wasn’t paying attention, and didn’t realize the listing had been changed, as people bought the product and it didn’t match the listing, they would complain. I saw so much of that.

Rogue Sellers with Brand Registry

Andrew: Do you see many people…if you have…let’s say you’re brand-registered, like 2.0 because 2.0, you have to get a trademark, of course, and it gives you some protection. But do you see many people coming after people who legitimately have a brand that’s registered on Amazon falsely claiming that they’re counterfeit, or they’re not authentic, and getting them bumped off for a while and having to fight it to come back on?

Cynthia: Well, when you’re saying “Getting them off,” who are you talking about, the brand taking down the sellers? Are you talking about sellers who are brands?

Andrew: So kind of rogue sellers somehow using a tactic to be able to shut down the listing of somebody who owns their own brand, is that possible, or not really?

Cynthia: Well, the only way they could probably do that, there’s two ways that I’ve seen. Obviously, they can go in and make false claims, like they can buy a product and then they can claim, “Oh, you know, it caught my house on fire.” Saw that one. “It made my skin burn and I had to go to the hospital,” seen that one. You know, basically, things like that that Amazon has zero tolerance for, that are immediately shut down.

But the other thing that I saw was with Brand Registry 2.0. We’ve seen it twice now, is a seller will go in and claim that they have the trademark for a brand. And they’ll, you know, somehow upload the information, and then Amazon’s like, “Well, who owns the brand?” And so we have this one guy, oh my God, bless his heart.

We’ve had to send all kinds of letters, we had to escalate it. We’ve had to get him legal help, because even though Amazon does agree, like, “Oh, right, we see you’re the brand owner, this is your brand, these are your listings,” these other companies keep doing it, and I’m like, they should not be able to do that. They should not be able to go on Brand Registry and claim to someone else’s brand.

And then the other thing that I’ve seen is people who’ve had brands for a long time on the platform, maybe under Brand Registry 1.0, where you didn’t need the actual registered trademark, so their competitors go and they register their trademark, and then once they get the registration, they go and they kick the other guy off the platform.

They go in and claim his listings, and kick him off because they own the trademark. So I always tell people, if you have a brand on the platform and it’s not registered, you better register it today because your competitors could be registering your trademark.

How To Protect Yourself

Andrew: There’s a lot of things that I’m tempted to ask you, you know, what can people do to protect against all that? But there are so many different things that are just probably not a neat and tidy answer, so maybe a better kind of question from something that’s a little more cliché, and you can do more systematically to protect the health of your account is, if you’re an Amazon seller, what metrics should people be watching on a daily and weekly basis to ensure that they’re not running into any potential suspension risk? Is there some health metrics that you advise people to really keep a close eye on?

Cynthia: Yes, because, you know, most people are really good about keeping an eye on their dashboard, right? So they’re looking at the performance metrics that Amazon gives us, but what they’re not really seeing is what’s happening with their returns. So the returns are the cause of a lot of suspensions, because if people return something for a negative reason like “It was not as advertised,” “Not as described,” “Is used, sold as new,” or even just a high rate of defectives returns, those will get you taken down.

And usually, what happens is Amazon will take down the listing. So in the beginning, they’ll just take down the listing. They’ll say, “Hey, you know, you got a problem with this listing,” and then we help them reinstate the listing. But if they’re not looking at their returns every single week for potential problems, they will have a lot of aces taken down, and ultimately, Amazon will suspend their account.

Suspensions You Don’t Want

Andrew: Are there any suspensions that are harder, or even potentially impossible to get lifted? Like, are there any unforgivable sins in Amazon’s eyes that people should…obviously, you never wanna, you know, flirt with getting suspended, but places where people should, you know, stay far, far away from?

Cynthia: Yes. This is what drives me crazy, because some of the very straightforward. One thing that Amazon will not forgive is actual fraud, actual counterfeit, money laundering, criminal activity. If they catch you on that, you don’t even get a chance to appeal.

The other thing that has gotten quite a few sellers recently, is they have a new suspension for forging documents, and, you know, people asking me, “Oh do you do on-getting?” I’m like, “Sure, but we do it the right way, and we won’t forge a document for you.” And they’re like, “Oh, never mind.”

Andrew: Is there a number of strikes, like you mentioned the forging, and the fraud, is like a zero-strike policy. How does Amazon react to multiple suspensions? Let’s say you get suspended for something, and then…maybe you can categorize those into buckets: one, where you’re suspended again for something that you said you were never going to do when you supposedly put a system in place, and then also a suspension for something that maybe is a totally unrelated issue to previous suspensions. How much grace does Amazon have there?

Cynthia: Actually, they’re pretty forgiving. So my record, my personal record is five reinstatements for the same account.

Andrew: Over what period of time? I’m just curious.

Cynthia: This guy, it was about eight months.

Andrew: Oh, my goodness.

Cynthia: I know. Every time the phone would ring from him, I would seize up inside, because I was afraid he was gonna tell me he was suspended, and he was telling me he was suspended again. But this guy, we’ll just call him a slow learner. His saving grace was that every suspension was for something different, and so they were very forgiving with him.

With others that I’ve had where they get suspended for the same thing, I have gotten someone reinstated for the same issue twice, but not three times. And the second time, the only reason it worked was because there was basically something that they realized that their plan had not covered that they caught. So there was something new that they could say, “Look, we just didn’t realize this, you know, but now we’ve fixed it, you know. And all these other things that we told you that we did, we did do them.”

And that was the saving grace, because otherwise, they’re gonna, you know, they’re not gonna trust you. If you come back to them and you’re given a new plan that says you’re gonna do all these things and you obviously didn’t, they’re not gonna give you another chance.

You know, what sellers need to realize too is that the guys who do the reinstatement, if they reinstate somebody and then that seller gets suspended again, it counts against the agent who reinstated them. So they are literally incentivized to say, “No,” because it’s safer, right? Because they’re like, “Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know.” It’s safer for them to say, “No,” which is why they say, “No,” so much.

But if they say, “Yes,” you don’t wanna be suspended again, because God forbid, you get that agent, and you got him in trouble because you got suspended again, his metrics went down. So those are the things to think about.

Managing Multiple Accounts Correctly

Andrew: What about multiple Amazon accounts? Of course, you know, Amazon requires you really, at least from my understanding, fill like strictly one account. They don’t want sellers having multiple accounts, what if you, you know, legitimately need to have two accounts? Maybe you have two LLCs, maybe you bought a business, need to transfer account. Any advice, or thoughts, on how to deal with multiple accounts as a single business when you have a legitimate need to?

Cynthia: Actually, it’s pretty straightforward, because Amazon will let you have a second account if there’s a compelling reason. And like you said, if you got two LLCs, if you’re, you know, maybe one account is your wholesale account, one is your brand. That happens a lot. The thing is the people who are abusing the system are the ones who wanna have a backup account.

And they usually get caught pretty quickly for multiple reasons, but one of the reasons that they would get caught is they are selling the same inventory on both accounts, or the same category on both accounts. You’re not allowed to do that. This is not meant to be a backup, this is meant to be a separate account for a specified reason.

But as far as getting it done, I mean, there’s a form in Seller Central. You just go in, fill it out, make your case, they give you a decision usually within a day. And if you have permission, then you can just open up an account and get started. So I will tell you, there’s quite a few people who fail, but I do know that there are actually people who are able to do it successfully. You know, I just say to people, “Well, you know, more power to you.” We don’t teach people how to do that, because, you know, our job is compliance. That’s where people get in trouble on.

So part of what Amazon did to get rid of that, and to make it almost impossible to do that, is verification. Because it’s very hard for you to hide and have forged documents for your driver’s license, and your address, you know, and things like that. And so they have been catching out sellers like that. Or they’ll be sellers who may be have multiple accounts, but now they can’t expand overseas because they know they’ll fail verification.

And this has stopped a lot of the Chinese sellers. When I was in China, and they’re very good about hiding themselves, I was talking to sellers who very casually just told me they had 100 accounts. And so I’m like, “One hundred? I mean, oh, my God,” you know, and that they were able to keep all of those hidden from Amazon blew my mind away.

But again, now they can’t because they have to be verified, and in the U.S. now, if you’re opening a new account, you have to pass verification. And so I’ll say this, you know, honest, legitimate people fail verification. They definitely are good at catching the bad guys.

Cynthia’s Business

Andrew: Cynthia, your business and bloggers over at egrowthpartners.com, of course, you specialize in, your company specialize in reversing Amazon suspensions. But can you maybe just talk a little briefly, a little more about any other services you guys offer, and what people will find if they head over to your website?

Cynthia: Oh, sure. So we also offer prevention services, because the best way to not to get suspended is, you know, prevention. And so we have a monthly subscription service where there we help, we not only manage a lot of the admin stuff on the seller’s account, but we also look at it for compliance, we’re reading the returns every week, you know, we’re doing multiple things. For some of our clients, we’re handling their customer service, because they’re really bad at it and they need help. That’s our, you know, prevention services.

And then we’ve also got brand management, and growth services. So we are helping with Brand Registry 2.0, with, you know, various infringement issues. We work with an IP attorney, Jeffrey Breloski, so, you know, we’ve helped with lawsuits. Like right now, we’re helping organize a class action lawsuit against Telebrands because they took down a lot of sellers unfairly, and things like that.

So we also do stuff like enhanced brand content, A+ content, pay-for-click. We’re trying to help sellers across the spectrum, you know, whether they’re, they need help with prevention, if they want help with growth, or again, if they need our emergency services, “I need it back right now.” That’s what we’re there for.

Andrew: Great. And you also wrote a book about Amazon suspension. We’ll link up to that in the show notes. So if you’re interested in going even deeper than this podcast, we’ll link up to that resource.

So, Cynthia, this has been really insightful, really interesting, fun to dive into your experience with, you know, how much you’ve seen. So, thanks so much for coming on the show, really appreciate it.

Cynthia: You’re very welcome. Thanks, for having me.

Andrew: That’s gonna do it for this week’s episode. But if you enjoyed what you heard, check us out at ecommercefuel.com, where you’ll find the private vetted community for online store owners. So what makes us different from other online communities or forums is that we heavily vet everyone who joins to make sure that they have meaningful experience to contribute to the broader conversation.

Everyone who we accept has to be doing at least a quarter of a million dollars in annual sales on their store, and our average member does seven figures plus in sales via their business. And so if that sounds interesting to you, if you wanna get, you know, checked with a group of experienced store owners online, check us out at ecommercefuel.com, where you can learn more about membership as well as apply.

And I have to, again, thank our sponsors who help make this show possible. Klaviyo, who makes email segmentation easy and powerful. The cool thing about Klaviyo is they plan your entire catalog, customer, and sales history to help you build out incredibly powerful automated segments that make you money on autopilot. If you’re not using them, check them out and try them for free at klaviyo.com.

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Thanks so much for listening, I really appreciate you tuning in, and looking forward to talking to you again next time.

Want to connect with, and learn from other proven ecommerce entrepreneurs? Join us in the eCommerceFuel private community. It’s our tight-knit, vetted group for store owners with at least a quarter of a million dollars in annual sales. You can learn more, and apply for membership, at ecommercefuel.com.

Thanks so much, for listening, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again next time.


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Andrew Youderian
Post by Andrew Youderian
Andrew is the founder of eCommerceFuel and has been building eCommerce businesses ever since gleefully leaving the corporate world in 2008.  Join him and 1,000+ vetted 7- and 8-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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