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February 11, 2009

A Time of Weights and Measures.

We have all heard about the suspension of so-and-so’s account by The Seller-performance team for reasons untold. Amazon.com as a whole, including Seller-Performance and your account’s support (loosely known as Amazon Services) has information in your account to answer the following about account suspensions:

Why? Who? Where? When?

So here goes….

Why, why does Amazon.com take this action?

The short and simple answer is protection; protect the buyers, ourselves and other sellers. Though there is a unique reason for each unique account that is reviewed, there are simple reasons as to why this sort of thing happens to you or a friends account. If buyers are protected from less than savory sales then their confidence goes up, they buy more from seller (you) and Amazon.com (us.)  Not to say that every account that is suspended, or even a portion of the accounts that are suspended are “less than savory.”  But this is how we find them and make sure that they are not selling through our site as much.

Who, who does this to my account and how do I contact them?

The group is Seller-Performance, and their email address is seller-performance@amazon.com. However, before you email them directly, you should look through your Customer Metrics in your account and see if there is one or more that you are not excelling in.

Where, where is this information in my account?

After you are signed into your Seller account, you want to find the link to Customer Metrics Summary.



The symbols are easy, and color coded, Green=Good, Yellow=Warning, Red= not so good

Order Defect Rate encompasses the following:

Negative Feedback Rate

Filed A-to-z Claim Rate

Service Chargeback Rate

Simply, the Order Defect Rate is the number of orders that have one of above three, divided by the total orders. The goal for this is less than 1%.

The other area that is monitored is the refund rate. This is not intended to be 0%, as we know that there are times when a refund is required to resolve a buyer’s situation. Returns and refunds are an integral part of business and should be anticipated with all types of selling. In regards to your Amazon.com selling account, the refund rate should be as low as possible, keeping mind that it is a percentage of orders. Warnings may be sent based on the statistics of your account, but suspensions are based on human interaction and review of your account and customer metrics. If you have one order, and the buyer returns it, you will have a 100% refund rate, this would not be grounds for suspension as there are trackable statistics.



When, when was this information taken from?

There are different time frames that are looked at in this report, 7 days, 30 days & 90 days. Think of these as short, medium and long term. There are times when something will happen with this week’s orders and you will have a higher Order Defect Rate, but the medium term and the long term will only move a little bit. These time frames can give us an idea of if there are some issues within your account.

Why doesn’t Seller Performance have phone support?

Because this department conducts order and account investigations, all actions and concerns regarding your account must be communicated via e-mail for our records.

So, now you know about the things we are looking at in your account, remember this is not an all-encompassing list, just an overview of the available information regarding your account. In the end, it is your interaction with the Seller Performance team that will reinstate your account, or lift the suspension. There are things that they want to know about:

What is the root cause of the issue?

If your refund rate is through the roof because there was an issue with a truckload of inventory, a personal issue that caused you to be unable to ship for several days, or a technical issue between your system and ours. Whatever the reason, let them know.

What actions you have taken to remedy the root cause?

What actions you will take in the future to ensure the issue does not recur?

Now that we know that the trouble was, how can it be prevented in the future? So in the examples above, with a truckload of inventory that did not arrive to you on-time to send to buyers, you can advise you are ordering sooner, to prevent possible delays while you are waiting for inventory. As for the personal issue, we are all people, and therefore there will be personal issues that may prevent us from doing our jobs for a short amount of time. The easiest way to remedy this (aside from becoming a robot) would be to have another family member help out in your account while you are incapacitated.

Technical issues are a lot more time inclusive and may require multiple steps or phases to get it implemented correctly, but if you do not inform them of the steps and possible issues or fixes, how are they to know?

How do you plan to evaluate the success of your remedy actions?

So you know the problem, you know how to fix it, so how do you tell if it is working? I know, sounds like an easy answer, but it is one that requires thought and is intended to make us all aware that we need to verify that the change is a good thing. Though the change will ultimately result in buyers receiving their items in a timely manner, you will still want to do this within a manageable cost structure, and tracking changes and improvements will pave the way to addressing future concerns should they arise.


Author's note: The title is a play on words, your selling account may be weighed and measured, and found wanting. Then your account gets suspended, or you get a notice from Seller Performance. This is the time you must measure your time, and weigh your business options in order to make an effective change to your account and possibly the way you do business.


James M.


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Hi Xianglai Kong,

For technical issues or questions regarding your Seller account, please sign in to your Seller account and click on "Contact Seller Support".

I am a student and new seller who sell some of my old books. I am the first time seller and was suspended a week after opening saying mine was related to some account which was blocked previously. I am providing my real name with id and bank account and I am the first time seller as well as first time seller in my family. Really do not understand what's going on.

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