Amazon Violation Email: Should I be worried?

A few days ago Amazon's seller community was trembled by a small service letter from Amazon. For many sellers, this has come as a thunderbolt. And if you are reading this article, you probably also received the following letter and have lost in conjecture. Don’t worry, now we'll figure everything out!

That Amazon’s letter:

amazon-violation-email

Hello,

We are contacting you because you appear to have violated the policies of "Misuse of ratings, feedback, or reviews", "Misuse of sales rank", "Misuse of Search and Browse" on our site. Prohibited behaviors on Amazon.com include, but are not limited to:

  • Hiring 3rd parties to try to improve ASIN rank and/or reviews
  • Sending packages to addresses where the recipient does not order or expect them
  • Soliciting or accepting false or fraudulent orders
  • Placing orders for your own products
  • Compensating buyers for purchasing your products (including claim codes)

If this conduct continues, you will not be eligible to sell on Amazon.com. To learn more about this policy, we encourage you to review the “Misuse of Sales Rank”, “Misuse of Search and Browse” and “Misuse of sales rank” sections of the “Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions” page in Seller Central Help (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G200386250).

It's absolutely natural that sellers began to worry about their selling privileges. After all, this is the most expensive thing that a seller has on Amazon and those who have reinstated their account at least once know how difficult and nervous this process can be.

The first and most logical step is to carefully double-check every paragraph of the letter, whether it has even an indirect relationship to your business. In this case, I would divide the terms violations into explicit and implicit ones - those that can be interpreted ambiguously. Let's discuss this in more detail.

As for the explicit violations, everything is simple here. I refer to them the following ones:

  • Sending packages to addresses where the recipient does not order or expect them
  • Soliciting or accepting false or fraudulent orders
  • Placing orders for your own products
  • Compensating buyers for purchasing your products (including claim codes)

If you do something from the list, then I have bad news for you. These are pretty serious violations for which your account can be permanently suspended. It's in your interest to get rid of all these in the shortest possible time, as the immediate benefit can cost you much more.

With implicit violations, things are a bit more complicated. These include:

  • Hiring 3rd parties to try to improve ASIN rank and/or reviews

The fact is that sellers usually read only the first part of the sentence, which says about hiring 3rd parties. Then suspicion automatically falls on any services that help sellers simplify their work on Amazon. The second part, where it is said about improving ASIN rank, is often overshadowed, although it's much more important. Hiring 3rd parties to improve ASIN rank and/or reviews involves a direct impact on the product's listing. This can include the purchase of fake reviews or manipulations with bestselling rank. Mailing customers for the purpose of improving the customer service does not belong to these categories since it does not directly affect the product listings.

Feedback solicitation services fully comply with Amazon rules

Although sometimes Amazon may change its rules, the main rule always remains in force - the customer is the king. And to provide the best buying experience, Amazon allows sellers to ask customers' opinions. The main thing is that this opinion should not be biased and it is forbidden to offer any form of compensation in exchange for the feedback. More detailed information can be found here - https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/200386250. I just give a few brief quotes:

  • You may request feedback from a buyer, however, you may not pay or offer an incentive to a buyer for either providing or removing feedback.

  • You may ask buyers to write a review in a neutral manner, but you may not ask for positive reviews, ask for reviews only from buyers who had a positive experience or ask a reviewer to change or remove their review.

That is, Amazon allows to contact customers to find out their opinion about the service or product in order to improve it in the future. Actually, this is what autoresponders do, the only difference they do it much faster and more efficiently than if the seller sent letters manually. Just imagine how much time you will need to send, for example, 1000 emails.

Product reviews have nothing to do with the ASIN manipulation

A polite letter that does not contain a request to leave a positive feedback is not a manipulation of the ratings. The fact is that such emails do not directly affect the ranking of your ASIN or improve seller rating because a customer can always leave a neutral or even negative feedback (I hope, this will not happen with you though). Such letters do not complicate the work of Amazon algorithms and vice versa help to improve the customer experience. It absolutely complies with the rules.

Amazon does not distinguish who sent the letter: you or an autoresponder

If you think that Amazon recognizes that a message was sent using the feedback solicitation service and automatically sends you a notification, it's not. Autoresponders, including SageMailer, send letters from email specified in your Seller Central profile and using Amazon's messaging service, so their system thinks that all emails were sent by you personally. And sending emails to your customers is, as we already found out, absolutely legal.

What if I do not use 3rd parties at all?

Perhaps this is the most interesting question. After all, notifications from Amazon were also received by those users who never used third-party services or have long ceased to use them. How can this be? If we assume that these users did not violate the rest of the rules, then it's just... prevention from Amazon side. We came to this conclusion after studying many cases and we can say that the sending of this service messages was not systematic. The service letter was received by absolutely different sellers, who had nothing in common.

Perhaps, in this way, Amazon decided to improve their customer service even more, and at the same time remind the sellers about compliance with the rules. Well played Amazon. Well played.

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