Protecting Your
Amazon Seller Account

By Joe Waynick
February 20, 2014

To protect your Amazon seller account it’s important that you understand the rules when you begin selling things on Amazon. Many new booksellers are often confused about the proper policies and procedures they should follow when they begin listing books on Amazon’s website.

It’s important that all sellers follow the rules in order to protect the status of their account and to deliver world-class customer service to their buyers.

Failure to follow the rules could result in your seller privileges being canceled, negative feedback from buyers, or both. Consequently, it’s essential that you learn the rules and follow them to the letter so you can enjoy a long and prosperous career as an Internet bookseller.

Heed Seller Warnings

What we’re going to do is discuss some of the biggest mistakes new sellers make when they become third-party sellers for Amazon. Violating these rules can cost you your seller privileges, yet new sellers break them all the time.

Fortunately, Amazon will usually give new sellers a warning, sometimes two, when they detect violations. But depending on the severity of the violation they've been known to cancel seller accounts outright with no warning whatsoever.

Your success as an Amazon seller hinges on your ability to play by the rules and make a profit within the guidelines that have been established.

If you get a warning about your Amazon seller account make sure you read it carefully and make whatever adjustments necessary to bring your account back into compliance as quickly as possible. There’s no sense in provoking the source of your income. Meanwhile here are some of the most common violations committed by new booksellers:

Bribing Customers for Positive Feedback

This is a biggie. Negative feedback is a fact of life for online sellers. Of course, you should do everything possible to avoid it, but sometimes customers leave negative feedback when they feel that they haven’t been treated well, whether you think it's justified or not.

A common tactic for new booksellers to avoid Amazon’s negative feedback mechanism is to try and trade some sort of concession in exchange for the buyer removing their negative rating and/or comments.

This is definitely against the rules because the feedback you receive should be based on your performance without any external influence on the buyer. Amazon has controls in place to detect these types of offers and will impose severe restrictions on your account if they catch you.

Marketing to Buyers

This is another area that’s often abused. Many third-party sellers consider the buyers of their merchandise to be “their” customers.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Those customers actually belong to Amazon.

Your role in the distribution channel is that of an Amazon “vendor.” You don’t own the customer’s information.

In fact, the only information you can access barely extends beyond their name and address, because Amazon keeps everything else.

As a third-party seller you’re not allowed to include any advertising or marketing material in your outgoing packages. Nor are you allowed to solicit buyers via eMail or any other form of communication for offers that don’t currently exist on Amazon’s website. Violation of this rule is a sure way to get your Amazon seller account canceled.

Arguing with Customers

This is another area in which Amazon frowns upon. The entire philosophy of Amazon is to deliver the best possible customer experience to every buyer. Engaging in antagonistic and argumentative communication with buyers is strictly prohibited.

Amazon almost always rules in favor of the customer as part of their corporate policy. Nevertheless, there are times when sellers get the benefit of the doubt.

For example, when you have delivery confirmation that an order has been properly fulfilled and the customer claims that it hasn’t.

Having said that, you would be wise to do everything within your power to satisfy the needs and desires of every customer in order to remain in compliance with the overarching policy of your benefactor.

Besides, treating customers in the best possible way is simply good business—for you as well as for Amazon. All of the most profitable online businesses operate that way.

Get More Information

If you want a simple but more comprehensive look at Amazon’s expectations for ProMerchant's check out the following link in the Seller Central area of their website that explains how to be a good third-party seller:

Things you didn't know you needed to know to sell on Amazon

By making sure that you’re aware of the proper policies and procedures you can be a good corporate citizen by following all the rules and giving your customers the best possible by experience that you can and protect your Amazon seller account.

Joe Waynick is author of several eCommerce books covering the bookselling and publishing industry. Follow him on Twitter @JoeWaynick.

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