Amazon sellers are being suspended from selling on Amazon because of allegations of review manipulation. The following is a guideline for obtaining the reinstatement of your sellers’ account if Amazon accuses you of review manipulation.
Review manipulation is when Amazon claims you did something to obtain positive reviews. Review manipulation can be direct or indirect. When an Amazon seller actively contributes false or misleading content in effort to obtain or alter reviews or customer satisfaction ratings, it is direct review manipulation. “Incentivized reviews,” or reviews where the vendor offers free or discounted products to buyers in exchange for a positive Amazon feedback are examples of indirect “review manipulation.”
When an Amazon seller is suspended for review manipulation, it is not the end of the Amazon sellers’ account. Reinstatement of the suspended sellers’ account can be obtained by a persuasive Plan of Action or appeal.
In one case, an Amazon seller used an incentivized review software prior to the October 2016 change in Amazon’s product review policy. Our Plan of Action identified our client’s current compliance and understanding of Amazon’s current policies. Our Plan of Action for the suspended Amazon seller also identified a detailed list of corrective measures taken to ensure compliance with Amazon’s ever-changing policies. “Understanding Amazon’s policies and drafting a strong plan of action improves an Amazon seller’s chance of a quick reinstatement,” said CJ Rosenbaum, Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C.’s founder.
Amazon’s Anti-Manipulation Policy:
“Amazon maintains strict “Anti-Manipulation” Policies regarding its customer reviews. Amazon’s policy states that “If we determine that you have attempted to manipulate reviews or violated our guidelines in any other manner, we may immediately suspend or terminate your Amazon privileges, remove reviews, and delist related products. In addition, if we determine that an Amazon account has been used to engage in review manipulation, remittances and payments may be withheld or forfeited.” Amazon is clear as far as its stance on review manipulation.“
Drafting a Strong Plan of Action to Reinstate Your Account
One important fact an Amazon Seller must remember, is that the Amazon seller is always responsible….even when a situation is seemingly out if their control. Regardless of fault, a suspended seller must draft a Plan of Action to obtain reinstatement of their suspended sellers’ account.
Per CJ Rosenbaum, when a suspended Amazon seller is drafting their Plan of Action, the suspended seller should be honest and identify whether they used incentivized reviews when it was permitted. It is also important for suspended Amazon sellers to re-educate themselves on all Amazon seller policies.
Suspended Amazon sellers should explain their mechanism for maintaining their knowledge of Amazon’s policy changes, and identify the steps they take to ensure compliance with all Amazon policy updates.
“We have seen that Amazon may request that suspended sellers demonstrate that their suspended Amazon sellers’ account is unrelated to the buyer accounts that posted the reviews at issue, ” said Anthony Famularo, Esq., Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C. “A seller should perform a thorough investigation to ensure there are no connections between their business name, email address, physical or shipping address, bank accounts, or credit cards and the buyer accounts. Make sure that your plan of action lists, in detail, the efforts you have already taken to correct and prevent the alleged review manipulation.”
An Amazon suspension for review manipulation can be overcome. Suspended Amazon sellers should follow the above referenced guidelines in drafting a strong and concise Plan of Action. For more information, you may contact Anthony or CJ at Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C., AmazonSellersLawyer.com.
By: Travis J. Stockman, Paralegal, Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C.
Travis J. Stockman is a third year law student at Hofstra University School of Law and a paralegal at Rosenbaum Famularo, P.C., AmazonSellersLawyer.com.