If you are using Amazon as the main supplier for your dropshipping business, getting your account locked out may cause huge consequences for your online business. Because of that, you should know why Amazon is locking accounts and provide relevant information to unlock it. Some people believe that Amazon does not like dropshippers and they are restricting them but since dropshippers create millions of sales every year, why should Amazon hate them?
Why are Amazon accounts are normally locked?
1.1 Entering Fake Information
The biggest reason for getting your account locked is entering fake information.
Because most people think that dropshipping is not allowed by Amazon, they started entering fake information such as:
- Fake name
- Fake shipping address
- Fake billing address
Once you place an order, however (using your credit or debit card) Amazon matches your billing address associated with your credit/debit card and your default Amazon address. If they do not match, most of the times your account will be locked. Of course just as every system, sometimes there are sellers who sell hundreds of items a day with fake information in their account and still do not have problems but once the system detects them – there is no escape. Do not hate Amazon for doing this: they are trying to prevent potential fraud. Since they are the biggest online retailer in the world, they invest a huge amount of money for anti-fraud activities and technologies.
1.2 Overusing Gift Cards
Dropshippers LOVE gift cards, especially if they provide them discounts from the amount they are spending. But Amazon has strict policies for the gift cards since they represent your money in the platform. There are 2 main reasons Amazon is taking such strict actions for using gift cards:
- Amazon gift cards could be purchased from anyone
- Amazon may have special prices and deals with some retailers (or partners)
Nobody knows where these gift cards are coming from but dropshippers benefit from them. Since Amazon is trying to prevent people from reselling their gift cards, overusing them could lock your account, especially when your account is new.
If you have just created your PRIME account and you go and purchase a Gift Card – Congratulations you have your account locked. Just like every system, the new account does not have a reputation and history in the Amazon ecosystem, so they do not know who you are and what you want from them. So the first thing in their mind is “this is a scam, we have to check it”.
Be sure that Amazon does not want to ruin dropshippers since they generate millions of sales every year from them. They just want to prevent their system from fraud or money laundering.
1.3 Unusually high volume of returns
Just as every online retailer, Amazon knows how often an average every person (account) returns its products. The more returns you have, the higher the chance for your account to get locked. So, pay close attention to your returns (as you do on eBay) and make sure you keep them as low as possible. Since the returns are free for us (the buyers) Amazon pays for the shipping and guess what? – They do not want to. Thus they pay attention to accounts with an unusually high percentage of return rates.
1.4 Unusually high volume of orders placed (for new accounts)
After registering your new Amazon account, do not start with 50 orders a day because this will trigger the anti-fraud system. Of course, sometimes your account could not be locked but most of the times it will be.
Our advice is to start developing your account as you do on eBay. You can start with 5-10 orders a day and progressively increase the number to 20-30-40. Keep in: mind the more orders you make from one account, the higher the chance is to activate the Amazon security features. For us, keeping around 30 orders a day is a healthy operational volume.
1.5 Logging in from Different Locations
It is not that hard to detect account activity from different locations using a different IP address. If so, Amazon triggers its security system. When there are orders being placed in your account from different IP addresses, Amazon thinks that your account might be stolen or hacked, so there is a big chance for your account to be locked in order to verify that is you.
So be aware of sharing your amazon account with people, working from somewhere around the globe.
2. Who can unlock your Amazon account?
When you contact Amazon via live chat, phone or email you get a response from the customer service representative. They are not authorised to unlock Amazon accounts. Thus you have to reach out to someone at a higher level with the rights to do so. Usually, this is a supervisor or account specialist.
You have to request contact with one of them. Keep in mind that sometimes it could be hard to reach them so you have to be constant and tenacious. You may find other ways to contact them but they have the right to unlock your account, so they are your target.
3. 4 ways to contact Amazon to unlock your account
There are 4 different ways you can contact Amazon
- Phone (or request a call from Amazon)
- Fax (not recommended)
The Fastest ways to contact Amazon, of course, is by Chat or by Phone when you request a call from them.
Email is still an option but keep in mind that communication is a bit slower since you don’t know where the support is located and if there are a huge time zone differences, getting a reply from them could take day or two.
Fax is still a possible way but we do not recommend it since we are not sure whether the fax will go to the right place and of course, it is the slowest way to contact Amazon possible and we want a FAST answer from them.
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4. A step-by-step process for unlocking your account
Here is a step by step process how we have unlocked our Amazon account.
First, you will see a screen which shows up this message:
Dropshippers who are locked will receive this message. If you get a message that your account is locked – THE REASON OF LOCKING IS COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. In 99,9% of the cases you would not be officially notified. Sometimes they may send you an email but most of the time they would not. So if you are entering your password and you get this message and nothing is wrong – probably your account is LOCKED.
4.1 Prepare your documents for verification
Before unlocking your account you have to prepare these documents:
- Gift Card receipt (if you have been locked for overusage of gift cards)
- Serial Number of your Amazon account
- Your Default Shipping address (electricity bill for example). You need to have clear evidence of your default address on Amazon
- Bank Statement with the debit/credit card used for payment with the Billing Address on it
4.2 Contact Amazon By Phone
You can reach them via other channels but contacting them by phone is the fastest and the most efficient way of reaching a supervisor or account specialist.
In this step, you will reach out customer support representative. Imideatelly you would like to be in contact with team lead (supervisor) – they have the right to chat with account specialist team which is 95% of the cases unlock the accounts (The supervisor unlock account very rarely – around 5 % of the cases.
The customer support representative would tell you that they are busy and that could not happen and you have to be very persistent. Then they will check your account info and you will be redirected to the team lead (supervisor).
You will have a call with the supervisor and you will explain that this is a mistake and have prepared all the documents needed.
4.3 Your account will be reviewed by the Team Lead for 24-48 hours
Then your account will be reviewed and you will be placed on hold. After that, the team lead would tell you the reason why your account was locked. In 90% of the cases, it is Billing info not matched your Default address or over usage of gift cards. Once you send them the documents, they will tell you that they will review all of your information and give you the answer after 24-48 hours
4.4 Contact them after 2 days (48 hours)
Of course, after 2 days in 90% of the cases, you will not get an answer from them, so you call them again (the fastest way to reach them out). Again you need to talk to the supervisor and ask for feedback about the documents which you have already sent. Most of the time they did not review them, so you have to send them again. Another waiting time of 24-48 hours for review.
YOU HAVE TO BE VERY INSISTENT AND PERSISTENT!
4.5 Call them again after 2 days and send them Fax via an app
Usually, Amazon requirements are to send the documents by fax but most of the cases email can still work, that’s why a lot of times you will not get an answer from them should try to reach them out in any ways possible.
Besides sending them an email with the documents, you can also send them a fax, using HelloFax or using the extension HelloFax Chrome Extension. Of course, you can use any online fax software. The aim is to try to reach out to Amazon on as many channels as possible.
4.6. Get your account unlocked
As we previously said you have to be very persistent and insistent. Once they review all of your information and if everything is fine (you provide them with clear and relevant info) they will unlock your account and you will be able to continue using this account.
5. Best practices to keep your account not being locked
5.1 Create Several Accounts Using Different IP Addresses (VPN or VPS)
Since Amazon is detecting your IP address, you should use a different VPN (Virtual Private Network) or VPS (Virtual Private Server) in order to manage your Login credentials.
Doing so will manage the risk of locking just one of your accounts without affecting the others. Also, the chance for detecting your different Log In IP addresses is very hard since you are using a VPN or VPS. The number of accounts always depends on the volume of orders you manage.
5.2 Ship 5-10 orders a day per account.
As we mentioned earlier – big volumes of sales can activate Amazon anti-fraud system and provoke them to lock your account. Our advice is – ship between 5-10 orders a day. This is a healthy volume of orders that would not bring you any troubles.
5.3 Redeem maximum 200$ of giftcards a day
Too much Gift card activity can cause your account being locked out. Based on our dropshipping community, we advise you top up to 200$ a day by using gift cards. This will reduce the change to activate Amazon anti-fraud system.
5.4 Listing low-cost Amazon items
This is a defensive strategy but still, you can diversify your risk by using it. Listing low-cost items from Amazon could prevent you from big financial loss because if you got locked then you would not have access to your orders and that will cause you huge loss if you are having expensive items.
5.5 Not recommended using Prime Service
Prime service is a special product of Amazon for its customers. Overusing it for dropshipping may cause locking your account. So if possible – do not use Prime service since Amazon is paying for the shipping (its free) and delivering huge quantities.
As a conclusion:
Getting an Amazon account locked is not the end of the world but it requires a lot of patience, persistence and effort to unlock it. Just follow these steps and you will have success in unlocking it. A lot of our customers already did it.