Before we get started on the story of recovery, I want to showcase a few rules straight from Amazon:
Operating multiple Seller Central accounts: Operating and maintaining multiple Seller Central accounts is prohibited. If you have a legitimate business need for a second account, you can apply for an exception to this policy. Contact Seller Support and choose “Other account issues” from the “Account Settings” section of the form.
In your request, provide an explanation of the legitimate business need for a second account. To be considered for approval, you must have the following:
- An account in good standing with excellent Customer Metrics
- A separate email address and bank account for the new account
- No intention to sell the same products or services in both accounts
You will receive a response to your request within 2 to 3 business days.
So as we saw in post #2, I royally screwed up. I didn’t read the rules and I walked a line that even Johnny Cash couldn’t walk. There were a few different options I could do from my position:
- I could open up another account under my name and address and hope that Amazon doesn’t catch on to it (BAD IDEA – I would never ever recommend this to ANYONE – See the above rule straight from Amazon).
- I could give up and lie to all of you and say I sell a bunch of stuff on Amazon. Figure I could make enough money from monetizing our groups and forget selling online. That would be an asshole move and I couldn’t live with myself if I did that.
- I could give up and crawl under a rock and hope that no one notices I am gone.
- I could try to find a sneaky/crafty way to get back to selling on Amazon until I could figure out a way to legally get back to selling online (you find out more about this below).
- I could ship all my stuff to John Cyscon III and say: HELP!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?
A few things to note before I go into my story:
- There are multiple way to look at rules. Take the example of the constitution: Some people read it as it says exactly what it means. Nothing more, nothing less. Other look at them as “up for interpretation.” Some read in between the lines and look for ways to bend the rules almost to their breaking point (which I have done and I will never tell anyone to do – It sucks when you get caught).
- I was advised not to share this story by many people. I felt as if it needed to be shared to show that shit happens. You can’t control the universe and you need to know all the rules before you start into anything.
- In a time of craziness, decisions are made without thinking (which I don’t advise you to do). I hope you learn from my stupidity and make better decision.
And here we go:
So it was early June when I finally got the “letter” from Amazon that said they would no longer talk with me about my account. I was sitting there with $3,000 in my Amazon account and over 3,500 units of inventory and no way to sell any of it. I had to do something or I would be eating a crap ton of tacos and I would be set for when I have a child in the future. I was considering getting out of the game, but I couldn’t come up with a good reason to do that. I had to get creative to think of a way to get back to selling online.
I started off my accepting that I was suspended. I could keep fighting, but it was going to be at no use (I still fought, but it only lasted until the end of June). I contacted Nate MacAllister (too late) and tried to have him help a lost cause. I was too late – Nate, nor the Pope, nor Chuck Norris could help my account.
I then had to decide what I was going to do with all of my inventory. I could leave it in the warehouse and hope I can fix the account issue, or I could send all of the inventory back to myself. There was around a $1,500 cost to shipping it all back to me, but it was worth the cost to get my inventory and flip it for cash. Cash is the most important asset to a business. Keeping my money tied up in inventory was a horrible idea and I had to come up with a way to turn it into cash.
So I sent everything back to myself. All 3,500+ items. I am still apologizing to my UPS guy for the huge influx of packages to my house. I tell you. The boxes were crazy. I warned my wife before it started. I said: “We are about to get a lot of boxes. I apologize ahead of time.”
Everything got sent back to my house. It seems that Amazon refuses to send more than 3 items in a box. I swear. I even got in trouble with my neighbors for having so many boxes. I spent about a month organizing the items and shipping them back to Amazon.
Oh – That’s something I need to touch on before we go forward.
So you all have been wondering what in the hell I did with my Amazon account. I am a planner and I have always been concerned that I would lose my account (I walked a fine line and it was expected). I had an emergency plan in place that I had an incident come up. I had a friend called Jack (I will never tell his/her real name) and I had actually been grooming him to sell on Amazon for the last two years. I had helped him get a good feedback rating and he was ungating in all of the same categories as myself. I always thought: “If something happens to my account, I can always sell Jack my inventory for the amount I paid for it.”
So here is what I did:
I got all my stuff sent back to my house and made a deal with Jack. Jack and I had an understanding. He/she hadn’t sold a thing in over a year and did not have any interest in selling in the future. I sold Jack all of my inventory at cost and also bought Jack an Apple Watch for the trouble. I also told Jack that I would help him with shipping it all back to Amazon.
So the mass shipping frenzy began! I received and shipped over 3.5k items back to Amazon over the next month.
The lessons I have learned are endless, but the main things is: Never put all your eggs in one basket.
Where am I at now? This has to be a question all of your are wondering.
Jack actually cleared all of my old inventory and then I went through a process to purchase Jack’s account. I contacted Amazon and got approval from Amazon to keep Jack’s account alive (per the rule above). The rep I had at the time agreed with the “read between the lines” version of the rules and approved further use of the account.
I got lucky.
The rep was in a good mood. I was in a position where I couldn’t lose. Worse case. I was right where I was at. Best case. I got my selling privileges back. I asked and they allowed me to keep selling.
The moral of the story: Don’t break the freaking rules.
I got lucky. I have nothing more to say. I shouldn’t be selling on Amazon after the mess I got myself into.
I was given a second chance that no one should be given. I now follow every rule to a T and I will never tell anyone to break the rules.
Odds are, you won’t get as lucky as I did (Mike Garner could run the odds on that, but I wouldn’t advise it).
This blog is designed to help make sure no one makes the same dumb ass mistakes I did and to help build a thriving community of online sellers. I hope you all have pulled at least one lesson from this series.
Until next time,