“Amazon suspended all my listings when I changed seller account details”
Let me run you through a scenario that might sound familiar to some of you: you have just moved warehouses – stressful enough as it is – and you now have the unenviable task of informing all your suppliers, customers and service providers of your new address. If you are a multi-channel online seller, one of those service providers will likely be Amazon. So you simply log into your Amazon Seller Central account, click to edit your address details, enter the new trading address and you are done, right? Well, no. Not if you’re unfortunate enough to be flagged by Amazon. You may have just started a period where all of your listings are suspended while Amazon reviews this change, which can last anywhere from several hours to several days, costing you lost sales in the process.
Why does Amazon do this? There has been a lot of press coverage recently about the phenomenon of hacked Amazon seller accounts. Some sellers find their hard-earned sales proceeds siphoned off to a bank account they do not recognise or their login or contact details gradually changed, so that any Amazon notifications regarding updated financial information (such as bank account details) never reach the intended recipient. In response to the increased prevalence and sophistication of these ‘hacks’, Amazon has implemented a more draconian response to any account changes to protect buyers (and sellers) whereby a seller’s listings are temporarily removed until a human being reviews the change.
So what can a seller do to mitigate the impact of any changes and subsequent listing suspensions? Sadly, not a great deal. However, sellers can do a few things to give themselves the best chance of making it through Amazon security checks or verification relatively unscathed:
- Step 1) If you have an account manager or point of contact at Amazon, use them.
Contact your account manager via your Amazon seller central-registered phone number or email address before making any changes. Notify them that you intend to change details on your seller account, whether it’s your company name, address, contact details, bank information or a combination of the above in advance. It may not stop your listings being suspended altogether but it gives you a better chance of someone internally at Amazon reviewing notes on your account and concluding that it is a genuine change rather than the actions of a rogue hacker.
- Step 2) Get your house in order prior to making any changes
You could probably file this under ‘common sense’ but make sure you have supporting documentation to hand prior to altering any information on Amazon Seller Central. Although you may feel you are simply being proactive by updating your Seller Central account with your new address before the change is official, or amending your bank information before you’ve received proof of bank account ownership, such as a bank statement for example, in reality you’ll end up spending longer offline waiting to obtain such documents to provide to Amazon. Companies like World First offering an Amazon-compatible currency account solution can provide a same-day bank account ownership document upon request, so you can provide all of the required documents in a timely manner and make the Amazon Verification team’s life as straightforward as possible. Just make sure that all of the contact details that your bank account ownership document displays match up with your seller account details before you submit anything.
- Step 3) Choose your timing (and location) carefully
Before online sellers update any Amazon seller account details, it is important to think about the possible implications of your listings disappearing for 24 hours. If it is just before a period that you are expecting to be especially busy for customer orders, it may be best to delay any changes. Likewise, if you change account details just before the weekend, the likelihood of having your changes reviewed and approved within 24 hours diminishes. That is not to say do not change any details, just be mindful of when you do.
IP addresses and geolocation metadata can also trigger investigations from Amazon’s side, so always think about where you are logging in to Amazon from and on what device. If a fellow Amazon seller offers to let you borrow their phone or laptop for you to check your Amazon account’s sales performance, it will probably be bad news for you both as Amazon may then assume that your accounts are related based on IP and/or device details and suspend both storefronts.
Finally, all online sellers deserve a holiday but if you are managing your business from a sun lounger on a beach in Mauritius instead of your stated place of business, do not be surprised if Amazon mistakes your login as a hacking attempt and pre-emptively suspends your account. It may seem heavy-handed and it might not feel like it at the time but they are trying to protect you by ensuring you have sales proceeds left in your bank account to return home to!
We hope you have found this useful but if you have any questions around repatriating the proceeds from your Amazon sales or anything else e-commerce-related, get in touch with our dedicated e-commerce consultants for a no-obligation discussion on +44 (0)20 7801 1068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to understand Amazon’s enhanced seller fraud controls in 3 easy steps
- If you have an account manager or point of contact at Amazon, use them.
- Get your house in order prior to making any changes
- Choose your timing (and location) carefully