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jamesray50
11-09-2012, 11:54 PM
I am wanting to start an e-commerce store and have been doing some research and reading and stuff, so I'm not ready to set a store up yet. So, in the meantime I decided I would just list some items on Amazon. I chose Amazon because they don't charge a listing fee. I've had problems with eBay deducting money from my account during months that I didn't have anything listed.

I listed maybe a dozen items and was making sales. I was doing everything required by their seller agreement. But, they didn't pay me for three weeks and then I only got the 1st weeks payment. They always hold back 14 days. I didn't like that, but I could live with it.

Then I got an email that my account had been inactivated while it underwent a review. I had no idea why they were reviewing my account. My metrics were good. I had over 50 sales and 1 refund, within their parameters. I also had an A to Z claim, but the buyer withdrew it and gave me a good review. So I appealed it.

I received another email within a few hours after I had appealed it that my account had been suspended permanently and would no longer be able to sell on Amazon even with a different ID. I wrote back and asked how I had failed the review. They wrote back and said they didn't have to tell me because of the proprietary nature of their business. They were going to hold my earnings for 90 days. They didn't have a phone number to call and they would no longer reply to any emails I may send them.

I don't understand any of this. I don't know what I did wrong, if anything. I borrowed the money from my parents who are on a fixed income with the understanding I would repay it with my first few payments. I had to tell them today it would be 90 days. (That was one of the hardest things I have had to do, they trusted me with the money and I feel like I have betrayed their trust.)

According to a section in the seller agreement, it states that if an account is suspended the funds will be held the shorter of 90 days or when the review is completed. The review is done so it seems to me like they should release my money.

I filed a complaint with the BBB in the state they are incorporated. They have had thousands of complaints, all resolved. I am thinking about filing a complaint the the Attorney General in their state of incorporation, but not sure if they would consider this a valid complaint. I don't understand why they can keep my money and not pay me any interest on it.

Does anyone have any suggestions or advice? I am so angry over this that I haven't even been able to enjoy the Nascar truck race this evening.

nealrm
11-10-2012, 10:28 AM
Amazona and Ebay are the 300 pound gorilla for the internet selling world. They also have the same level of customer service as a 300 gorilla. Since this is a civil not a legal matter, the Attorney General will not help. You will probably end up having to wait the 90 days. The other option would be to sue for the return of the money. However, I wouldn't expect that to shorten the wait.

Personally, I would look into starting a site of your own. The up cost is not that great, Blue Host and several other hosting providers have simple e-eCommerce templates that will handle a small start up. As you grow and better understand the nature of the web visitors, you can improve the site. I suggest you use a continuous improvement approach to the site.

Since you asked for advice, here it is. NEVER BORROW MONEY FROM YOUR RELATIVES. This is a good example of why. After doing everything you should have, factors outside your control prevented you from paying back the money. Unfortunately, these type of things are common with small businesses. Debt can turn a small issue into a large one.

Rover
11-10-2012, 12:17 PM
Sorry no advice (No experience with either) but WOW this puts me off to the idea of trying to use them. We have been toying with the idea of trying to aggressively sell through our online site but don't really have a store set up, will not be looking at amazon. Sorry this happened to you and I hope you keep this updated so i can see the whole process.

jimr451
11-12-2012, 04:09 PM
Sorry to hear about this bad experience.

Besides what has already been said, I would mention that if you are opening your own store, keep in mind the "marketing" costs and site maintenance
will be much higher than with amazon or ebay.

Those sites get millions of visitors, and bring traffic to your items almost immediately. If you offer a good value, you will start making sales.

When you run your own store, you start with 0 traffic. You need to put money into advertising and getting traffic to your site. Also there is maintenance of the site to consider. Software patches and upgrades, PCI security scans, SSL certificates, payment processing, etc.

I deal with a lot of small store owners, and it's doable, but it sounds like your budget may be tight, so I wanted you to have your eyes open prior to going in.

I'm surprised that Amazon would shut down your selling without more of an explanation. Maybe you could sell on another spot online, depending what your products are. Again, Amazon really cranks up the traffic if you can swallow their fees.

-Jim

MyITGuy
01-31-2013, 04:25 PM
I recently signed up as an Amazon seller as well to offload some inventory I had...and I can say I'm in the same boat.

1st - They don't allow me to specify the packaging size being used, dimensions or destination and instead give me a credit on weight only. This is a big issue as they only give me $14 in shipping credit for a package that cost me $60 to ship (And since it was an APO, I could only use UPS). Glad I had my product marked up enough to cover this...

2nd - With a second purchase being placed, my account was put into a "Velocity Review", and even though I've provided all of the information they requested, I've not received a single response from them in two weeks...but meanwhile my distributions are placed on hold and I have to continue sending out orders. I wouldn't consider this a big issue if it were small amounts...but they are holding on to thousands of dollars of mine and its expected that I continue to ship out items worth hundreds of dollars a piece with no expectation of when I will get my funds.

After doing some research, the 2nd item appears to be pretty common if you sell more than $600 in a rolling 30 day period, and generally lasts 30-45 days. It would be nice if Amazon could at least confirm this by responding to my e-mails...but nope.

Pack-Secure
01-31-2013, 11:05 PM
I recently signed up as an Amazon seller as well to offload some inventory I had...and I can say I'm in the same boat.

1st - They don't allow me to specify the packaging size being used, dimensions or destination and instead give me a credit on weight only. This is a big issue as they only give me $14 in shipping credit for a package that cost me $60 to ship (And since it was an APO, I could only use UPS). Glad I had my product marked up enough to cover this...

2nd - With a second purchase being placed, my account was put into a "Velocity Review", and even though I've provided all of the information they requested, I've not received a single response from them in two weeks...but meanwhile my distributions are placed on hold and I have to continue sending out orders. I wouldn't consider this a big issue if it were small amounts...but they are holding on to thousands of dollars of mine and its expected that I continue to ship out items worth hundreds of dollars a piece with no expectation of when I will get my funds.

After doing some research, the 2nd item appears to be pretty common if you sell more than $600 in a rolling 30 day period, and generally lasts 30-45 days. It would be nice if Amazon could at least confirm this by responding to my e-mails...but nope.

Perhaps put your currently listings on vacation or hold mode, until the money is released.

jamesray50
02-01-2013, 01:50 PM
Sorry to hear about Amazon putting you on hold. I don't remember anything in the seller agreement about a Velocity level. I'm not really sure why they would care how much you are selling, but would think they would be happy that you are selling. As soon as they suspended my account for the review I put all my stuff as inactive. But, when I appealed they cancelled my account within hours. I never did find out why. And only the first email I sent was replied to. In fact, the email said they wouldn't reply to anymore.

I still haven't received my money yet, should get it next week. I was so angry over all this that I was not going to buy anything from Amazon again, but there are great deals on Amazon and I can find things that I can't find anywhere else. But, what I do now is buy from a seller and not directly from Amazon, even if I do have to pay a little more.

I also posted my experience on the Amazon seller forum. Big mistake. There are a few people who really gave me a hard time over it, saying I was dis-honest and greedy. That was far from the truth. I got tired of trying to defend myself and just started ignoring everything they was saying. But a couple of them searched the internet to find out who I was and posted the link to my product page on my website (it's an affiliate amazon page) and made comments about my character. Just a warning that you may not get any help or support from the Amazon forums.

Multimedia Marketing
03-01-2013, 06:22 PM
The Velocity Review if very frustrating when it happens. But it just really means you have a big spike in sales and they want to make sure that the customers are indeed going to get the goods. It is why shopping on Amazon is such a trusted experience. I have experienced that as well as the "hazmat review" when listing items in Amazon.

The best thing to do whenever you have any question or problem is give amazon a call and you can get someone on the phone immediately to answer your question. Their customer service is excellent on the phone. Do not email it will take forever and most likely will not be as effective.

I hope you can get your Amazon account back. You can make a lot of money with Amazon if you figure it out. It sounds as if you are shipping product to the customer from your house. I would encourage you to use the FBA program for better sales and to avoid a lot of issues. If Amazon has your inventory and they ship it for you...not only will they save you the hassle but you will not run into issues like velocity as much because they have the inventory on hand and know that the customer will get it. There are many more reasons to sell through Amazon through their FBA program check it out!

jamesray50
03-01-2013, 07:13 PM
I had a totally different experience with Amazon than evidently you had. They refused to tell me why I was being reviewed. When I followed their procedure to appeal, they cancelled my account the next day and have forbidden me to ever sell on their site again, even with a different name. They answered two emails but refused to explain anything saying they didn't have to. The emails also said they would not reply to anymore email. Their seller agreement states that they would hold on to my money either until they have finished the review or 90 days, whichever is shorter. My review was finished and closed but I did not get my money until 98 days later.

The lesson I have learned from this is not to sell on any of these auction type websites. I may still occassionally list a miscellaneous item on eBay, but not try to run a business by selling on any of those type of sites. I'll wait until I can afford to set up my own website and advertise it.

MyITGuy
03-01-2013, 08:10 PM
The Velocity Review if very frustrating when it happens. But it just really means you have a big spike in sales and they want to make sure that the customers are indeed going to get the goods. It is why shopping on Amazon is such a trusted experience. I have experienced that as well as the "hazmat review" when listing items in Amazon.
It occurred as my second sale was processed. So while it would be considered a big spike for a new customer...it wasn't big in terms of the volume of merchandise I had listed.


The best thing to do whenever you have any question or problem is give amazon a call and you can get someone on the phone immediately to answer your question. Their customer service is excellent on the phone. Do not email it will take forever and most likely will not be as effective. I did call and was told that the department I needed to speak too could not communicate via phone and all correspondence had to be done via their e-mail platform.


It sounds as if you are shipping product to the customer from your house.
I can't speak for the OP, but I am selling from my storefront business which is incorporated in Florida. I provided documentation (FL Incorporation, Storefront Photos, Tracking numbers of items shipped, positive feedback from Amazon Purchasers and etc...) to Amazon when I signed up and again during the review process...but that didn't seem to help any.


I would encourage you to use the FBA program for better sales and to avoid a lot of issues. If Amazon has your inventory and they ship it for you...not only will they save you the hassle but you will not run into issues like velocity as much because they have the inventory on hand and know that the customer will get it. There are many more reasons to sell through Amazon through their FBA program check it out!

Eh...I don't like the idea of having to pay to ship something to Amazon and then pay them for storage and processing costs. Especially when I may be selling the same item(s) via multiple channels (eBay, Craigslist, In Person, Amazon, NewEgg, my own ecommerce platform or any other variety of sources).


I hope you can get your Amazon account back.
I believe this is more towards the OP...but in my situation they finally released my funds this past Friday. Now I'm curious to see if I list more merchandise with them if I'll get the same velocity review issue again if I cross some threshold of theirs....

Multimedia Marketing
03-01-2013, 09:16 PM
Eh...I don't like the idea of having to pay to ship something to Amazon and then pay them for storage and processing costs. Especially when I may be selling the same item(s) via multiple channels (eBay, Craigslist, In Person, Amazon, NewEgg, my own ecommerce platform or any other variety of sources).




What's interesting is the inbound shipping rate is incredibly cheap. It can be as low as $.50 per pound with the special rate they get from UPS. If I have 50 widgets and I send it in in one box it is a lot cheaper and less time consuming than keeping that inventory in house and have to mail out 50 individual widgets to customers.

Plus, you will sell more due to the fact that Amazon prime customers (which there are many) are not going to order from a seller that fulfills themselves if Amazon has it in stock. So any perceived expense of having Amazon fulfill will be trumped by the profits from additional sales made to Amazon prime customers.

As far as selling from other venues it is just as easy to have Amazon fulfill all your eBay, Craigslist, orders as well. We would use Amazon to fulfill all our orders both on a retail and wholesale level regardless of where the sale came from.

Matter of fact one year ago we had sales coming in at a rate of 2-3 per minute for a period of about 4 weeks 24/7 for a particular product. If we had not had the inventory fulfilled through Amazon we would not have been able to keep up with the volume which would have really been a mess.

Storage fee's are minimal in the scheme of things, compared to the cost of your time.

Multimedia Marketing
03-02-2013, 08:18 AM
Eh...I don't like the idea of having to pay to ship something to Amazon and then pay them for storage and processing costs. Especially when I may be selling the same item(s) via multiple channels (eBay, Craigslist, In Person, Amazon, NewEgg, my own ecommerce platform or any other variety of sources).




What's interesting is the inbound shipping rate is incredibly cheap. It can be as low as $.50 per pound with the special rate they get from UPS. If I have 50 widgets and I send it in in one box it is a lot cheaper and less time consuming than keeping that inventory in house and have to mail out 50 individual widgets to customers.

Plus, you will sell more due to the fact that Amazon prime customers (which there are many) are not going to order from a seller that fulfills themselves if Amazon has it in stock. So any perceived expense of having Amazon fulfill will be trumped by the profits from additional sales made to Amazon prime customers.

As far as selling from other venues it is just as easy to have Amazon fulfill all your eBay, Craigslist, orders as well. We would use Amazon to fulfill all our orders both on a retail and wholesale level regardless of where the sale came from.

Matter of fact one year ago we had sales coming in at a rate of 2-3 per minute for a period of about 4 weeks 24/7 for a particular product. If we had not had the inventory fulfilled through Amazon we would not have been able to keep up with the volume which would have really been a mess.

Storage fee's are minimal in the scheme of things, compared to the cost of your time.