We will not be able to re-open since Amazon has closed our Seller Account for No Warning, No Details, No Explanations!
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We will not be able to re-open since Amazon.com has closed our Seller Account! No Warning, No Details, No Explanations!

   Amazon has closed our seller account of 5 years with 99% of Lifetime 38169 ratings. They refuse to explain why and are not responding to our e-mail. Name: Quick_N_Easy Marketplace (www.amazon.com/shops/quick_n_easy) below is the letter we sent to top executives at Amazon, e-mail remains unanswered, no explanation for account closure is provided aside from generic "records indicate that this account is related to another selling account that was closed by Amazon." and that "Due to the proprietary nature of our business, we do not provide detailed information on how we determine that accounts are related." While we do understand the proprietary nature of Amazon's business, and understand why Amazon does not explain how they have determined that we had another account, but how would it hurt Amazon to at least tell us which "other account" are they talking about and when it was opened/closed. Where is the harm in Amazon sending an e-mail that looked like this: "We took this action because our records indicate that this account is related to another selling account (name of account: "BadBookSeller") that was closed by Amazon (on xx/xx/xxxx)."?

   Change.org petition against Amazon's policy of arbitrarily suspending and/or closing Marketplace Seller accounts and retaining the money in them for its own purposes used to collect only 1 signature per 3-4 days experienced a dramatic increase in signatures and now collects about 4-5 signatures per day! Interestingly, majority of the people that signed the petition have foreign sounding name (like the author of the petition Mo Madani who is Persian, is an American citizen, lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, is Chess Instructor teaching kids to play chess and is a great person) Could Amazon be profiling and targeting sellers because they have foreign sounding name? In recent month Amazon has been removing fake product reviews, have they also decided to rid of seller accounts just based on the sound of the last name? We do not have accurate statistics, but it looks like that in recent month Amazon closed more accounts than all of the last year combined.

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To: amazon-pr@amazon.com
Cc: jeff@amazon.com, jeffb@amazon.com, jbezos@amazon.com, selipsky@amazon.com, lwilson@amazon.com, mswann@amazon.com, pmisener@amazon.com, szkutak@amazon.com, cis@amazon.com, zapolsky@amazon.com

Dear Amazon,

   On 12/5/2012 @ 1:37 PM I received an e-mail informing me that the selling privileges of my company have been removed because your "records indicate that this account is related to another selling account that was closed by Amazon."

   Needless to say, our employees' families, friends, and partners were, at first, extremely outraged by the news of our account closure. Now this anger has turned into financial and emotional depression and hopelessness. We feel like we are stuck in some sort of Kafkaesque nightmare. It has been over a month since our account was closed and I still cannot figure out the real reason behind it, but I have narrowed it down to two possible reasons:

   1. False-Positive(1): Online research has yielded many stories of closed seller accounts due to false-positives. Yes, we have logged in from various public and friends' networks, and yes, we have had visitors that have used their computers on our network, but this is not grounds for our account closure. I have never had another seller account with Amazon. I have had one account for five years with excellent ratings(2). Every day was busy fulfilling orders and taking care of customers. Why would I knowingly open another account, violate some kind of policy, and have my account closed?

   2. Cleansing of Foreign Accounts and/or Fake Accounts: I noticed a recent disproportional increase of signatures on change.org(3) petition by owners of recently blocked Amazon accounts. The majority of those signatures are either located in another country or have a foreign sounding name, that made me question if my account got shut down because of my Russian name, Aleksey Zolotaryov(4), especially considering rising tension between the countries. I'm an American citizen and have lived in the US since 1991. I have graduated from an American university (UMBC), worked for a number of American companies, have no criminal records/arrests, and I own a plot of American land. In 2007, I opened Free Book Exchange(5) to provide the local community with free books and that eventually led to selling books on Amazon.com. My selling account with Amazon is definitely not foreign, nor a fake/robot account.

   I strongly feel that the closure of my selling account is a lose/lose situation for everybody involved; me, our company, our friends and families, our community, Amazon, ASPCA, and the United States as well.

1. Four full time and four part time employees, who all have families that depend on our business, have lost their jobs and for the first time in their lives will be forced to apply for Federal support programs like food stamps and unemployment.

2. The U.S. Government will be losing tax revenue since our business and employees have always paid Federal and State Income Taxes.

3. We as a business have donated about 4,5% from each sale, for the past 3 years, to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Unfortunately, but understandably, we had to stop doing it when our account got closed. I can ask ASPCA to contact you confirming this fact and provide with the total amount of our donations. For us, as animal lovers, this has been one of the most upsetting aspects of this situation.

4. Local community has lost its beloved institution of Free Book Exchange as we will not be able to re-open it if we are unable to sell on Amazon. A lot of people will miss free books, pot locks, free movie nights and of course free community space.

5. Amazon has lost an experienced 5 star seller with thousands of satisfied customers. We were giving Amazon's third party sellers a good name, not to mention the revenue that Amazon will lose from our selling fees.

   Please, on behalf of all our employees, families and friends, we implore you to reconsider our account closure with compassion, and maybe you will see the mistake that has been made. We are good, hardworking, helping people. We did nothing wrong, we broke no rules, and we do not deserve this treatment. I will be more than happy to provide you with any additional information that might help you to establish that the account was closed in error.

 

Sincerely,

Aleksey Zolotaryov
Phone: (828) 768.2992
Skype: freebookexchange
Personal Email: alex[at]freebookexchange.org
In the news: http://www.mountainx.com/article/19025/Books-for-free

Footnotes:

(1) Here are some of the posts on the topic of false-positives:
"My brother's college roommate is banned --> brother gets banned as a result of a false-positive dupe account --> when brother gets home and logs into amazon I get banned." (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3348012)
"my seller account was closed with no appeal possible, Then, later, my parent's (completely separate and valid) seller account was also closed, again with no appeal possible." (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3349596)
"This makes me scared to use Amazon for selling stuff. I don't think I have the web presence required to prevent my account being locked down because of false positives. It looks like there really is no other option if their automated fraud detection system flags you..." (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3349828)

(2) We have been selling books and media on Amazon under the name of Quick_N_Easy Marketplace since January of 2008. Since we have sold over 300,000 items to almost 300,000 happy customers. Our rating is nearly perfect and comparable only to 1% of top Amazon sellers. (4.9 stars or 99% over the past 12 months (13173 ratings) and 99% of Lifetime 38488 ratings.) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aag/main?seller=A2SUF7Y73WB371)

(3) Change.org petition that used to collect only 1 signature per 3-4 days experienced a dramatic increase in signatures not long after the time when our account was closed and now collects about 4-5 signatures per day!
"Launch a Congressional investigation into Amazon.com's treatment of its current and former Marketplace Sellers."(http://www.change.org/petitions/amazon-crushes-small-business-marketplace-sellers)

(4) I have graduated from UMBC in Digital and Imaging Arts major(http://www.irc.umbc.edu/1992/11/01/day-you-were-born/), worked for a video game company "Day 1 Studios" (http://www.allgame.com/game.php?id=38622&tab=credits) Now my major focus is to live of the land, leave small carbon footprint, grow my own food, be green, be conscious, and help people in need.

(5) Free Book Exchange is community oriented space offering free books, free space for community oriented events, free potlucks and movie nights as well as fund raising concert and other events. Unfortunately due to expired lease we had close our last location and currently looking for another building to re-open this great local institution. We have been covered by local press, feel free to contact these members of the press to confirm my identity and their experience with Free Book Exchange:

"Books for free" By Senior News Reporter David Forbes of Mountain Xpress (Email: dforbes[at]mountainx.com, Twitter: @davidforbes, Phone: 828-251-1333 ext. 137) http://www.mountainx.com/article/19025/Books-for-free

"Funky and free" by Barbara Blake of Asheville Citizen Times (Phone: 828-232-2922 or Email: bblake[at]citizen-times.com)
Archived article can be accessed here: http://pqasb.pqarchiver.com/citizen_times/results.html?st=basic&QryTxt=zolotaryov

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The sad part is that once selling privileges have been removed, sellers are not allowed to establish new accounts. We have spent five hard years building this business from the ground up with a single goal in mind; to provide only excellent service to our customers. We have major investments in our infrastructure, and so far we have been very proud of our success. By no means are we rich, but this business has been helping our employees pay their bills.

For more info and all communications with Amazon: alexzolo.wordpress.com

Show your support if you can afford via PayPal or via [Heathers] Amazon

If you have any suggestions on what we can do, or know of an excellent pro-bono lawyer that might be interested in taking on Amazon, please contact us via Phone: (828) 768.2992, Skype: freebookexchange, or E-mail: alex[at]freebookexchange.org

 

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