Amazon is loosening its seller suspension policy amid COVID-19 to account for supply-chain issues — read the note it sent to sellers (AMZN)

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  • Amazon is pausing suspension of certain seller accounts that are caused by supply chain issues amid COVID-19.
  • It will continue to suspend bad actors that sell counterfeits or engage in price-gouging.
  • It's the latest change that Amazon has made to help sellers deal with the supply chain lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Amazon looks at certain "performance metrics," like negative feedback and returns experience, to make sure its marketplace has quality sellers.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Amazon is pausing account suspensions for certain sellers to help them deal with unexpected supply chain issues during the coronavirus outbreak.

In a note to sellers on Friday, Amazon said it would stop suspending sellers for high "order defect rates" until at least May 15.

It also reminded them of its previously announced change that would pause seller suspensions for high cancellation or high late shipment rates.

"Effective immediately, we are also stopping suspension of selling accounts for high order defect rates," the note said. "These will stay in effect through May 15."

Amazon looks at a number of different "performance metrics" to determine whether to keep the seller on its marketplace or not. Sellers that fail to keep a healthy level across these metrics could end up getting suspended by Amazon. Those metrics include order defect rates that take into account negative feedback and refund failures, late shipment rates for packages that arrive after the expected ship date, and "return dissatisfaction rates" for bad return experiences.

According to Amazon's seller forum, the order defect rate is a "key measure" of the seller's performance that takes into account things like negative feedback and returns experience.

It's a welcome change for Amazon sellers who may have seen their account performances drop in recent weeks due to late shipments or negative reviews caused by coronavirus-related logistics issues. For example, Amazon has prioritized shipments of essential products in recent weeks, like medical supplies and household staples, causing certain products to take over a month to get to customers.

Amazon periodically reviews seller performance and suspends those that fail to deliver on time or receive too many negative feedback.

Amazon's spokesperson confirmed the change in an email to Business Insider, adding it would continue suspending bad actors that sell counterfeits or engage in price-gouging, even with the new policy in place.

"We understand the impact that COVID-19 has had on many of our selling partners and are working hard to help them during this difficult time," the spokesperson said.

To help sellers deal with supply chain issues, Amazon recently waived certain fees, including loan repayments and long-term storage fees. It's also recommended sellers to put their accounts on vacation mode if they're not able to fulfill orders.

Here's the full note to sent to sellers on Friday:

Pausing Account Suspensions for Order Performance

Similar to how Amazon is working to get our fulfillment capabilities back to regular operations, we have heard from many of you who are also facing challenges in running your businesses. To protect your account and ensure these supply chain and fulfillment difficulties do not impact your Account Health, beginning March 20, we stopped suspending selling accounts for high cancelation or high late shipment rates. Effective immediately, we are also stopping suspension of selling accounts for high order defect rates. These will stay in effect through May 15. We will continue to evaluate the situation, and let you know if we will extend this further.  

Making reliable promises for customers remains particularly important at this time, and so we appreciate everything you are doing to fulfill your orders successfully, and we encourage you to put your account on vacation if you are not able to do so.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to use our forums — our moderators and experienced sellers can help answer any of your questions.

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