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Amazon UK Suspends Sellers over Verification Issues

Amazon is suspending sellers who say they’re unable to get through the verification process in the UK despite providing evidence requested as part of the process. Sellers say a problem on Amazon’s end is preventing them from becoming verified.

One problem is that there is no easy way to contact the Verification team – they have no phone support, so sellers must email with huge delays, an Amazon seller in the UK told EcommerceBytes. “The whole verification process is a shambles, many users’ accounts are being suspended.”

On this thread on the Amazon UK boards, sellers discussed the problem. In one case, a sole proprietor said no matter how many times they tell Amazon by email and phone that they are not a registered business as a company, it rejects they documentation they’ve submitted.

Another reader who experienced some problems with the process said he believed the reason Amazon initiated a stricter verification process was a new EU directive, and he pointed to this page on the Amazon UK website.

Amazon published a video on the page explaining how to set up a “Sell on Amazon” payment account for UK sellers where it discloses the type of information it may request from sellers.

On its website, Amazon explains, “In order to open this account European law requires us, as a payments provider to ask our sellers to provide us with certain business and legal information. The law also asks us to take steps so that we can confirm the identity of our sellers. We protect and respect the confidentiality of your personal information in accordance with Amazon Payments Europe’s privacy policy. Please note that we may need to request additional information to fulfil these requirements and allow you to use our services.”

But industry boards reveal plenty of reports from sellers who say they submitted the information as requested but are then sent conflicting information from Amazon UK.

“The verification team just don’t seem to understand the concept of a “sole trader” in the UK, the first reader said. “The verification team seems to operate independently of all other Amazon departments, I think they’re based in the Philippines. The amount of personal information they’ve requested from some users is worrying. They often reject documents and give no reason why.”

The second reader said the Amazon boards and a private forum he belongs to have been overwhelmed over the past months with complaints and desperate requests for help “regarding the so-called Verification process that Amazon are putting all their Marketplace sellers through.” He said he had also fallen afoul of the problem and had had his selling privileges suspended for a month for no good reason until he was finally able to reach someone outside of the verification department and get the matter resolved.

One seller on the Amazon UK discussion board said Amazon initially refused to accept a VAT certificate printed online, which was the only way to get a VAT certificate if the business person register online. “They eventually accepted it after about 3 weeks, then a week later they decided it wasn’t acceptable again.”

In another thread on the Amazn UK boards, a seller wrote in frustration, “I have already gone through a 3 month long verification process and now (after trying to register for Germany and France selling) I have been requested to start uploading documents again! What is wrong with the verification system? You already have ALL of these documents… and have approved them!”

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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.