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Be Careful! An Amazon Story

BradD

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Thought I'd share this as it could be valuable/prevent you from pulling your hair out, crying, possible divorce-

For those thinking of opening a second AMZ account for any reason (new/change in ownership, new business, etc), think again..

When we sold our business- we had a large amount of inventory (~$400k) worth of books that it was agreed would remain with the old business to be sold off. As part of the agreement, they would keep the seller names that were in place to benefit from the feedback/ratings that had built up over the years.

In the meantime, Newco setup seller names to list any of their new inventory acquired thru buybacks, rental returns etc. These new seller names were under 1) new ownership, 2) new bank accounts, 3) held different inventory (i.e. no overlap), etc etc

Well, months go by and everything's fine- then we get the dreaded "Your Account Has been Suspended" email on the new accounts, as well as the .com seller acct for the oldco. Anyone who's ever seen this msg knows just how bad it will F up your day.

Amazon TOS strictly prohibits opening new accounts, and we knew this, which is why we're sure that we were in compliance. We went back/forth with Seller Performance/ our rep w/ AMZ and nobody could assist in having the accounts re-activated. It was a huge setback as AMZ represented half our revenue at the time.

So, be warned, if you ever have even a thought about opening new accts, don't make me say I told you so!
 

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Thought I'd share this as it could be valuable/prevent you from pulling your hair out, crying, possible divorce-

For those thinking of opening a second AMZ account for any reason (new/change in ownership, new business, etc), think again..

When we sold our business- we had a large amount of inventory (~$400k) worth of books that it was agreed would remain with the old business to be sold off. As part of the agreement, they would keep the seller names that were in place to benefit from the feedback/ratings that had built up over the years.

In the meantime, Newco setup seller names to list any of their new inventory acquired thru buybacks, rental returns etc. These new seller names were under 1) new ownership, 2) new bank accounts, 3) held different inventory (i.e. no overlap), etc etc

Well, months go by and everything's fine- then we get the dreaded "Your Account Has been Suspended" email on the new accounts, as well as the .com seller acct for the oldco. Anyone who's ever seen this msg knows just how bad it will F up your day.

Amazon TOS strictly prohibits opening new accounts, and we knew this, which is why we're sure that we were in compliance. We went back/forth with Seller Performance/ our rep w/ AMZ and nobody could assist in having the accounts re-activated. It was a huge setback as AMZ represented half our revenue at the time.

So, be warned, if you ever have even a thought about opening new accts, don't make me say I told you so!
Was it the IP address?

Did the old company regain their access to their Amazon account?
 

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Thought I'd share this as it could be valuable/prevent you from pulling your hair out, crying, possible divorce-

For those thinking of opening a second AMZ account for any reason (new/change in ownership, new business, etc), think again..

When we sold our business- we had a large amount of inventory (~$400k) worth of books that it was agreed would remain with the old business to be sold off. As part of the agreement, they would keep the seller names that were in place to benefit from the feedback/ratings that had built up over the years.

In the meantime, Newco setup seller names to list any of their new inventory acquired thru buybacks, rental returns etc. These new seller names were under 1) new ownership, 2) new bank accounts, 3) held different inventory (i.e. no overlap), etc etc

Well, months go by and everything's fine- then we get the dreaded "Your Account Has been Suspended" email on the new accounts, as well as the .com seller acct for the oldco. Anyone who's ever seen this msg knows just how bad it will F up your day.

Amazon TOS strictly prohibits opening new accounts, and we knew this, which is why we're sure that we were in compliance. We went back/forth with Seller Performance/ our rep w/ AMZ and nobody could assist in having the accounts re-activated. It was a huge setback as AMZ represented half our revenue at the time.

So, be warned, if you ever have even a thought about opening new accts, don't make me say I told you so!
Went through this roughly 2 years ago and it was the damn IP address. We were on the phone with Amazon trying to explain that there were literally 2 different companies in the same building using shared office space and internet. Took about 3 months to get it back up.
 

KSR

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Violation of Control can be a bitch. Sorry to hear man and I sincerely hope you can recover it.
 

amp0193

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Thought I'd share this as it could be valuable/prevent you from pulling your hair out, crying, possible divorce-

For those thinking of opening a second AMZ account for any reason (new/change in ownership, new business, etc), think again..

When we sold our business- we had a large amount of inventory (~$400k) worth of books that it was agreed would remain with the old business to be sold off. As part of the agreement, they would keep the seller names that were in place to benefit from the feedback/ratings that had built up over the years.

In the meantime, Newco setup seller names to list any of their new inventory acquired thru buybacks, rental returns etc. These new seller names were under 1) new ownership, 2) new bank accounts, 3) held different inventory (i.e. no overlap), etc etc

Well, months go by and everything's fine- then we get the dreaded "Your Account Has been Suspended" email on the new accounts, as well as the .com seller acct for the oldco. Anyone who's ever seen this msg knows just how bad it will F up your day.

Amazon TOS strictly prohibits opening new accounts, and we knew this, which is why we're sure that we were in compliance. We went back/forth with Seller Performance/ our rep w/ AMZ and nobody could assist in having the accounts re-activated. It was a huge setback as AMZ represented half our revenue at the time.

So, be warned, if you ever have even a thought about opening new accts, don't make me say I told you so!

I know there are some cases where people have been able to operate a 2nd amazon account, in the case of having another completely unrelated brand. It required express written permission from Amazon to open.

I'm curious, did Amazon ever approve the creation of your 2nd account, or did you just go ahead with it, thinking it would be within Terms of Service?

Your plan is similar to my plan for transfer of ownership of my business (I'll be selling in the next 6 months).

The difference in my plan was that I would retain ownership of the original account, and simply transfer income from sale of inventory to the new buyer, until all inventory is sold. When my inventory is sold, the buyers account would then take over the buy boxes on the listings. I never touch his new account. He never touches my account.

Based on your story, I think this key difference should make the plan ok.

The reason being, is I'd like to keep the Amazon account to use for my next business.


Sorry that happened to you man.
 

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I know there are some cases where people have been able to operate a 2nd amazon account, in the case of having another completely unrelated brand. It required express written permission from Amazon to open.
I did this.

When I set up my second account I got express permission. I printed the email just in case.

When I sold that business, I got express permission again. Printed that exchange as well.

I've never had an issue. if I did have an issue, I'm not sure how useful those print outs would have been but my guess would be "much better than not having them".
 
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BradD

BradD

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Was it the IP address?

Did the old company regain their access to their Amazon account?
I believe it could have been, only overlap I can think of/only variable that wasn't changed- though AMZ will tell you that they need more than just an overlap in IP to suspend (otherwise starbucks, shared wifi, AMZ conferences etc would be a nightmare..).

The reality is, with AMZ, it's a black box and nothing is disclosed (as I'm sure you already know).. Can make for some frustrating conversations

Went through this roughly 2 years ago and it was the damn IP address. We were on the phone with Amazon trying to explain that there were literally 2 different companies in the same building using shared office space and internet. Took about 3 months to get it back up.
Yep, that makes a lot of sense- in your case, it sounds like there was no grey area in terms of violating the TOS, so I can see how you had a chance to re-open. Congrats!

Violation of Control can be a bitch. Sorry to hear man and I sincerely hope you can recover it.
Many thanks

I know there are some cases where people have been able to operate a 2nd amazon account, in the case of having another completely unrelated brand. It required express written permission from Amazon to open.

I'm curious, did Amazon ever approve the creation of your 2nd account, or did you just go ahead with it, thinking it would be within Terms of Service?

Your plan is similar to my plan for transfer of ownership of my business (I'll be selling in the next 6 months).

The difference in my plan was that I would retain ownership of the original account, and simply transfer income from sale of inventory to the new buyer, until all inventory is sold. When my inventory is sold, the buyers account would then take over the buy boxes on the listings. I never touch his new account. He never touches my account.

Based on your story, I think this key difference should make the plan ok.

The reason being, is I'd like to keep the Amazon account to use for my next business.


Sorry that happened to you man.
Your plan is sound and obviously you've given it a lot of thought (which 20/20 I would have done more of..). Obviously, you'll have a lot of legal around the sales/rev transfer, but since it's off the platform, should be ok.

I did this.

When I set up my second account I got express permission. I printed the email just in case.

When I sold that business, I got express permission again. Printed that exchange as well.

I've never had an issue. if I did have an issue, I'm not sure how useful those print outs would have been but my guess would be "much better than not having them".
That's right- you CAN request explicit permission from AMZ prior to opening the new accounts, but obviously my thought process was that this is only if you're operating from the same business/ownership structure etc. This was a completely new business.

I think part of the game is the first rep that answers your case will dictate the review process- in the event they disagree, almost impossible to get it overturned in my experience.

We still have a CA acct that's open and to my knowledge we're the largest marketplace seller in the book category here in Canada- perhaps that's why the acct has avoided the suspension.

Recalling this info is painful, excuse me as I pour myself a drink..
 

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The problem with Amazon is the layer upon layer upon layer of bureaucracy. Just trying to get through the first line of defence and actually talk to someone who can actually do something rather than log your complaint and pass it on is bad enough. Then, if you eventually get through it can take months of back and forth to get anywhere at all an there is no guarantee of a successful outcome.

Violation of Control can be a bitch.
Says it all.
 
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BradD

BradD

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The problem with Amazon is the layer upon layer upon layer of bureaucracy. Just trying to get through the first line of defence and actually talk to someone who can actually do something rather than log your complaint and pass it on is bad enough. Then, if you eventually get through it can take months of back and forth to get anywhere at all an there is no guarantee of a successful outcome.



Says it all.
I wonder how it impacts their sales (if at all..)- understand they're trying to remove bad actors/those who operate in bad faith, but in cases where it's clear a seller has the best intentions/isn't trying to game the system.. Assuming they think/know that other sellers will come in and fill the void of lost sales (not sure this will always be the case). Also assume the intent w/ preventing multiple accts is to stop sellers from flooding a listing, but in cases where there is no inventory overlap it's a moot point.

It's interesting- I know of at least 3 major sellers on the .com market that have multiple seller names (4-5 in same cases, selling same inventory) that have managed to escape the wrath of AMZ (so far)- perhaps they're too big to shut down, perhaps AMZ hasn't caught them yet, or perhaps they're just really good at working around the system.
 

amp0193

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Obviously, you'll have a lot of legal around the sales/rev transfer, but since it's off the platform, should be ok.
yeah, that's true. I'm not sure whether or not I'll be able to convince a buyer to go along with it, but my broker thought it was a good idea and something we could try.


We still have a CA acct that's open and to my knowledge we're the largest marketplace seller in the book category here in Canada- perhaps that's why the acct has avoided the suspension.
Different international marketplaces are not linked in any way. You can be banned in Europe, but be just fine in the U.S.

Unless of course, you have one of the newer "unified North American account" that gives you U.S., Mexico, and Canada all in one login. I'd assume things would be linked up for suspensions in that case.
 

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BradD

BradD

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yeah, that's true. I'm not sure whether or not I'll be able to convince a buyer to go along with it, but my broker thought it was a good idea and something we could try.

Different international marketplaces are not linked in any way. You can be banned in Europe, but be just fine in the U.S.

Unless of course, you have one of the newer "unified North American account" that gives you U.S., Mexico, and Canada all in one login. I'd assume things would be linked up for suspensions in that case.
I think it's a smart move- I'd take a headache with a buyer (and a lawyer) any day over AMZ, they're easier to fix.

If I was selling an AMZ only business (or one w/ a heavy % of revenue dependent on AMZ), I'd make sure to have language in the contracts to indemnify in the event AMZ closes the acct for whatever reason they decide (i.e. it was colder than expected in Seattle today)

Yep I learned this, however it does appear that even the "unified" accounts are un-linked for performance/suspension purposes (in our case they closed the linked COM acct and left CA open). According to their logic, both should have been shutdown, but nobody ever said the logic was reasonable..
 

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Reminds me of my blog post about my suspension from a few years back.. Absolute nightmare, and scary to not be in control: Amazon Horror Story: How Suspension Crashed My Sales From $50K To Zero

I operate two Amazon accounts, but you have to get sole permission beforehand from Amazon. And make sure you keep the documentation that you got permission to open up another one.
 

Millenial_Kid5K1

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This terrifies me. I may try to set up a parent company, or 'distributor' and sell multiple brands from one account, like what P&G and Georgia Pacific do.

With my first product in the sampling stage, I hopefully won't have to cross that bridge for a little while.
 

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Yep I learned this, however it does appear that even the "unified" accounts are un-linked for performance/suspension purposes (in our case they closed the linked COM acct and left CA open). According to their logic, both should have been shutdown, but nobody ever said the logic was reasonable..

Good to know, thanks for sharing.

I've regretted my decision to "upgrade" to the unified account a few months ago, and wish I'd kept Canada separate. Sounds like I might be ok though.
 
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BradD

BradD

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Good to know, thanks for sharing.

I've regretted my decision to "upgrade" to the unified account a few months ago, and wish I'd kept Canada separate. Sounds like I might be ok though.
Lol np, if I had a nickel for all the Amazon decisions I've regretted! As someone that sells books, unfortunately the channel can't be ignored.. we sell on about 10 other marketplaces (Abe, alibis, Barnes, etc) and Amazon is 80-90% of the volume..
 

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