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Amazon blocks myself and another book seller

for no apparent reason



4:18 am on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've been a Marketplace Seller on Amazon for about 8 years. Between my boyfriend and I somewhere about 60,000 transactions with 96% positive feedback. That's pretty good.

During an inventory move, I couldn't find a few books that got shifted and refunded. Mostly small, probably totaled about $60 of merchandise. Amazon froze my funds and then informed me that my account was terminated.

I tried to talk to Seller Support. I wrote them an explanation, etc. Tried to work with them. But each time they would send me
"after very careful consideration" you are still permanently terminated. Please keep in mind this is forever."

....After a couple of weeks I thought this is the universe's way that I shouldn't be sliding books in envelops for Amazon any longer that the good Lord was tapping on my shoulder with bigger things...(an arc maybe?).

So I took 2,000 of my books and listed them on Craigslist. i got a couple low ball offers from Amazon sellers, then got a similar offer from a construction worker who needed to earn some additional income. I told him I would teach him how to sell on Amazon.

I helped him open an account, hook up to his bank account, list a couple of sample items and wished him well.

I am not a partner with him. Never was. I am not involved with him, I am not related to him, I don't participate in these sales. He purchased my books from Craigslist.

Within a few hours of opening his account, Amazon, blocked his account for 90 days and won't allow him to sell.

I just wanted to take a moment to salute, Amazon's incredible sleuthing skills. Not only have they blocked a struggling poet. Hindered a hardworking honest man from an opportunity for a 2nd income. But no matter what...darn that inventory of 2000 rare and hard to find books, just can not cross their threshold.

I've tried to relax during this whole thing. Somewhere at the vortex of this is some 26 year old eager Barney Fife kid that's trying to create drama where there is none...As a great movie once said..

"Pay no attention to the little man behind the curtain..." or something similar.

When I was a management consultant, we use to say, "Here, let me hold the bullets, so you can reload and shoot yourself in the other foot."

2 Sellers with potential that only wanted to sell..

If only the Alliance Department would talk directly, they can figure out the good and bad. Maybe they don't have humanoids in the department?

Animals for my Arc, please email. Looking for male pomeranian.

Meanwhile Amazon has been successfully privileged to take away a lot of business from bookstores, publishers, authors, and great market share in many media and products. Perhaps their clout is going to their head. Check out Overstock. They're now at least 5% under Amazon with a huge inventory of everything you could want.

Needless to say, they lost me as their loyal customer.




4:46 am on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

60,000 transactions divided by 4% negative feedback complaints = 2,400 negative feedback complaints over eight years.

2,400 negative feedback complaints divided by eight years is 300 negative feedback complaints per year. That's almost one negative feedback complaint every day of the year.

Does Amazon consider that acceptable?

[edited by: Montresor at 4:49 am (utc) on Aug. 22, 2008]


4:50 am on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

...a few books that got shifted and refunded.

Amazon has a serious problem with sellers who are listing the same book for sale in multiple places and then not updating Amazon if it is sold elsewhere. I guess they figure you're doing that and banned you because of it. Unfortunately if a sale doesn't work out on Amazon, it's Amazon's brand which takes the hit rather than you personally - not to mention them having to field complaints.


5:24 am on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Ginger: Sorry to hear about your ban. Maybe your books were competing with Amazon listings, or the listings of another seller. That would explain why the construction worker got an instant ban.

Montresor: Your calculation is somewhat off because leaving feedback is optional. Buyers will make time to leave negative feedback, but many buyers (30%?) don't bother leaving positive feedback. You really need to count the actual number of negative feedbacks left divided by total number of transactions processed.

> Does Amazon consider that acceptable?

Amazon is not clear in their policies about what is expected in sellers


7:13 pm on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

It sounds like you fed this guy to the monster to save yourself.

He's got to be feeling like a sucker sitting there with all those books.

Did you tell this guy who bought all the books from you that Amazon froze your account for no reason?

[edited by: ispy at 7:33 pm (utc) on Aug. 22, 2008]


7:33 pm on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Regarding the %...The happy folks, on Amazon don't post. The negative ones do. So the negative feedback that you so isn't reflective of that many transactions. I got 3 negatives THIS YEAR. One for a .38 book that was offered a refund. So no..don't read it that way. Amazon does funny math. And your happy customers don't respond. They get their merchandise and forget about it.


7:38 pm on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

And no I wasn't listing through another service. I listed on Amazon only. And was a reliable seller with them. I found another outlet for the man who purchased the books. I would never ever sell to someone and have them be hurt by it. He's fine and will be fine. And so will I. If you ever get a negative mark, it's usually from someone who has self appointed themselves as the online police who errored in what they ordered and did a $.33 transaction. It's never your better buyers, that would try to hurt a seller. 99% of the folks that buy on Amazon are wonderful buyers.


7:42 pm on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

And no I didn't feed the guy to the monster to save yourself. In fact I gave him a great break on the books..next to nothing..to help him.
And hopefully Amazon will come to their senses..or is there strategy behind their decision in that they are positioning themselves for more sales across the board. That may be more like it. And my being cut is part of a strategic plan to take back all their markets online. I think that's more likely.


7:47 pm on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Dear Sun,

Thank you for your condolences. I agree Amazon isn't clear about what is grounds for termination. I can guarantee they have lots lots worse sellers than I was. The feedback left is a lot lower than 30%, unless you spend your time recruiting feedback, which some sellers do, but honestly, I hated sellers begging me for feedback and I didn't have the time to do it.

And the profit margins aren't there to spend a lot of time on each sale.


7:53 pm on Aug 22, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I just don't get how Amazon could possibly know that this guy got his books from you. So I feel like there is some missing information here.


10:06 pm on Aug 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I helped him open an account, hook up to his bank account, list a couple of sample items and wished him well.

I take a wild guess that you did this from your computer and hence most likely your IP address.

Suspended Account + New Account from Same IP = New Account Suspended Too. Amazon does it, as does eBay. I do it on a forum I manage.

Just a hunch.


10:44 pm on Aug 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yes, this is how Amazon closed his account, because of my IP address when I helped him open his account. But when he spoke to Amazon seller support, Amazon seller-performance, Amazon alliance, that this was not the case and wrote them from his own IP address. They chose not to believe him.

Or me, when I wrote them, and called them to let them know. Even though I've been one of their honest sellers for years.

Look. I wasn't selling hot merchandise. I'm not a thief. I was a many many years (8) seller with an outstanding reputation on Amazon.
But I feel branded and treated poorly because I what?..I refunded a few of the buyers in full--done with a personal letter of explanation to them. No harm, no foul.

Like I said. There are a lot worse sellers on Amazon that aren't being shut down "permanently--and this means forever".

Life goes on. I believe in karmic stuff. What goes around comes around. We don't have to do anything. It will eventually catch up with Amazon too.

[edited by: tedster at 12:34 am (utc) on Aug. 24, 2008]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]


11:49 pm on Aug 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

It's been my experience with Amazon that they don't really care too much about the Sellers. Their seller technical support staff is the slowest group of IT "specialists" that I've ever had to deal with. It once took over 2 weeks for me to get a response regarding a very simple problem (and the response was that they would look into it).

Unfortunately they are a giant with a very loyal base (myself included) and there isn't a whole lot you can do about the unfair treatment and slow support. It's a whole lot like the DMV: they can treat you badly because they know you don't have much of a choice but to deal with it.


11:13 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Amazon needs a reality check, Their Feedback system is bad, I sold items for 5 years, and all my feedback was positive. The last month my account was active I received 5 negatives in 1 week and all senseless feedback, one asking me to email them the tracking #, 2nd asking me if I didn't ship to cancel the order, the 3rd, asking me to contact them so that I can help them with setup of the product, the 4th Asking how can they return the product and the 5th was about replacing a broken phone the customer had for 3 weeks dropped and broke the glass screen and wanted free replacement. I emailed amazon that their action is not reasonable because customers feedback was not reasonable. They said, sorry your account is permanently terminated. I know that's not fair, but it's their site. But what bugs me is the 5th comment, the customer complained to amazon and they refunded him his money, and emailed him that he does not have to return the phone and held the rest of my balance for 90 days before allowing me to withdraw it. I talked to few legally savvy friends and they said that amazonís action in this case was gross negligence on amazon's part and can be sued for it.

Here are some hints, amazon keeps track of your IP address all the time, so if you have a blocked account and you create a new account and you still login from the same IP address, even once, then it will be closed when you attempt to sign up for the dispersment option.

I think what they do is keep a list of your Ips used in logins, and once they block an account, all those IPs become hot IPs and any seller login in from these IPs, will be investigated for type of merchandise name similarity etc...


11:21 pm on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You're right Kyle...except there are options out there as good as Amazon, I just gave Overstock a shot at a large order, and they did great.

And Reality check..you got screwed. What Amazon was asking you to do
was INSURE the breakage of an item weeks after the customer accepted it.
That's wrong in any retail business and unlawful to the seller.

Perhaps it will take a group of sellers to stand up for their fair rights.

Thanks for your input, Kyle and Realitycheck2...



1:14 am on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

replacing a broken phone the customer had for 3 weeks dropped and broke the glass screen

Reasonable to require replacement on the grounds materials are insufficiently durable for normal use. It is to be expected that phones get dropped and that they should withstand this.


2:05 am on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Geesh. Sorry to be the bad apple in the barrel but it's Amazon's business who they let in and who they don't.

Move on.


6:30 am on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

There are some good ideas here to start running your own show and stop selling through third parties. Same goes for using third party payment services

...like PayPal.

Can we start a new thread on PayPal? Please...


11:25 am on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Are you doing ad work for Paypal now, ispy? I see this same response of yours on two threads this morning.


6:47 pm on Aug 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Update...It took Amazon a couple of weeks, but they finally figured out that the new seller was not a threat, nor did they have any reason to get in the way of him selling....They are letting the new buyer sell.

Meanwhile their long term seller, (me)..is still terminated.


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