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Amazon Seller-Support Rep Spills All on Reddit

A former Seller Support rep at Amazon conducted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit. While we saw no proof of his (or her) identity, Amazon sellers discussing the session later said judging by the answers, it seemed certain “Formersesu” was legit.

As to be expected, many of the questions from sellers involved suspensions and policy violations – in fact, the word “terrified” was used to describe the fear in which many lived.

Formersesu set the stage early on by showing he had sympathy for sellers but believed many took the wrong approach in how they viewed the relationship with Amazon.

“It frustrates me that many sellers approach selling on Amazon as if it were a fundamental human right. The bottom line is that Amazon is a business that will run however it sees fit.” And, he said, “Many sellers want the visibility and benefits that come with selling on Amazon without understanding that that comes with upholding their end of the seller agreement that Amazon has built its reputation on.”

However, he said there was much room for improvement in the suspension process, but added, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a seller’s account put on permanent hold (as we like to say) for reasoning I wouldn’t agree with. Also keep in mind that I don’t have access to all information about why that decision was made.”

When sellers said they were concerned (or terrified) that Amazon would unjustly suspend their accounts, Formersesu recommended sellers diversify their revenue channels.

But he received pushback from sellers, such as one who said stories abound of sellers doing very well only to wake up some random Tuesday morning to learn they no-longer have a business. No explanation. No reason. No way to communicate with anyone and fix the problem.

The rule for surviving on Amazon seemed to be – when in doubt, don’t do it.

When a seller said they were scared their account could get suspended because they sell items that sometimes come in boxes that do not necessarily look authentic, the answer from Formersesu was blunt: “My best tip is to not sell anything that looks like it may not be authentic.”

Are suspensions triggered primarily by bots? “A lot of the suspensions are automated, some are manual. I can’t speak too much about that process or data.”

He offered plenty of advice in working with Seller Support. Be professional; don’t use Seller Support to vent. He said Seller Support does not have the ability to reinstate an account – “the annoying “contact Seller Performance” is really the answer.”

And, he noted, “Rarely can we advocate to Seller Performance on your behalf.”

“Be patient and work within our process. We know it’s so frustrating that cases can take days, weeks or even months to resolve, and that it impacts your business and impacts your life. We actually do as much as we can for you, and the hold up is always because we are waiting for information from other people.

“I regularly argued with internal teams on sellers’ behalves when policies did not make sense in their situation.

“The processes in Seller Support is not nearly as streamlined as you would imagine, as the service is constantly evolving and the company is so huge, there is a lot of lack of communication. We work with different teams all over the world and can be slow.

“I know how this can be if you have an ASIN blocked or something and are just told to sit tight while you’re losing sales. When that happens, there is a lot going on on the back end and Seller Support is doing as much as they can for you. There’s certainly room for improvement here.”

You can read the AMA on Reddit. And be sure to visit the EcommerceBytes Blog for the Top 5 Questions for Amazon Support and leave a comment about the Ask Me Anything session.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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/.