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Rare Seller Central Outage Disrupts Amazon Sellers on Wednesday

Problems with Amazon’s backend where sellers manage orders, print postage and conduct other selling activities prevented sellers from processing orders for about 3 hours on May 6th – and much longer for some sellers. Reports started coming in at about 11 am ET yesterday, and some sellers were continuing to experience problems after 4 pm. Despite many sellers receiving an error message, “Seller Central is Temporarily Unavailable,” an Amazon spokesperson denied Seller Central was down on Wednesday.

A seller summarized the problems on Ecommerce EKG:

Still down here. Getting all sorts of crazy messages when trying to sign in. 1- Alert The credit card information registered to your seller account is invalid. You will have limited access to your seller account until you provide valid credit card information. Learn more about credit card requirements for your select account. 2- Amazon.ca is constantly coming up. We do not have a amazon.ca account. I was told by our tech DO NOT change any information on your account. Best to wait it out.

An Amazon moderator acknowledged the problem at 11:12 am ET on a discussion board thread – “Greetings Sellers, Technical staff are actively working to resolve this issue. We apologize for the inconvenience this causes, and appreciate your patience and understanding while we work to resolve this issue as quickly as possible” – but the company provided no other updates about the problem throughout the day.

Many sellers said Amazon was displaying reports that their credit cards were invalid. The Alert read, “The credit card information registered to your seller account is invalid. You will have limited access to your seller account until you provide valid credit card information. Learn more about credit card requirements for your select account.”

“Seller Central is going berserk,” wrote a seller on the Amazon discussion boards. Sellers said the system also showed they were logged in to Amazon Canada instead of Amazon.com.

“Looks like it is up and down,” wrote one seller. “I think they are getting the Amazon Canada settings turned on. When you see no credit card it is because it has defaulted to the Canada account and you don’t have one setup for Canada yet. For me it will be OK for a few minutes and then get wacky again.”

Some sellers tried to lighten the mood while they waited to process orders. “Ebay cyber war has begun,” joked one. But the outage clearly had a serious impact on productivity – another seller wrote, “Has made for a very unproductive day.”

The system appeared to come back for sellers at about 1:45 pm, and at 2 pm, an Amazon spokesperson responding to our inquiry said, “Please check again. Looks like it’s up.” Things then began getting wonky again.

One seller wondered if sales were affected. “Can Amazon take orders and process payments? Or is the problem only with Seller Central?”

At 4:12 pm, a seller wrote in utter frustration, “Now I am stuck at update credit card page. Once I typed new card in, I got red flag in performance alert but I was unable to go into performance notifications to see them because I AM STUCK IN THE UPDATE CC PAGE! I cannot do anything but got stuck in that stupid page! And there is official announcement or ETA for this HUGE issue?”

Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh responded to our inquiries with a statement at 7 pm. “Seller Central was never down today but some Sellers experienced inconsistent page loads this morning. This did not impact a buyers ability to place orders, and it did not impact any backend services that support the retail website. No customer orders were impacted. Seller Central is functioning as normal and no sellers are currently experiencing accessibility issues.”

A few minutes later, an Amazon seller wrote to say they had been unable to access Seller Central from 10 am, and at 2 pm began being able to access the Orders portion of Seller Central. “We can access orders and send emails and that is about it. We cannot access feedback, payments or our inventory. We cannot add to our inventory or even correct our inventory. I have placed two calls to Amazon and they say that they cannot even access the seller central for the most part. ”


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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.