Resolve Problems In Setting Up Your Amazon FBA Seller Account

Are you having difficulties opening your Amazon FBA Seller account? You’re not alone.

Setting up an Amazon FBA account should be straightforward, but it often turns into a living nightmare. I experienced countless issues in setting up and verifying my FBA account, and spent many hours on the phone and writing emails to Seller Support trying to resolve them.

I’ve learnt that the majority of account setup problems stem from the fact that Amazon Seller Support is now predominately automated. This means that a computer checks your details for accuracy. In theory that’s fine — but in practice it means that accounts are frozen over trivial discrepancies. Common sense doesn’t prevail when you eliminate humans.

Common Problems Encountered

The problems usually start to occur shortly after (seemingly) opening your Seller account without any issues. You’ll be asked to provide additional details to verify your identity and business. It’s at this point where many of us end up running in circles.

Common problems include:

  • Being asked to provide multiple forms of personal identification (which aren’t standard for everyone).
  • Bank account details being rejected.
  • Being informed that the company details and/or documents cannot be accepted, without stating why.
  • Difficulties convincing Amazon that your company exists, or that you belong to it (even when it’s clearly listed on the HMRC government website).
  • Requests for signed, letter-headed company documents granting the account holder to operate an Amazon Seller account.
  • Being informed that your seller account is linked to “another seller account” which, for an unstated reason, means that you’re not allowed to open an account.
  • Inability to change an account type, or amend any personal details, once they have been selected.
  • Being asked to list a sample product that is representative of what you plan to sell on Amazon before the account is opened (which is difficult if you haven’t sourced the product yet).

This list isn’t extensive.

If you’re currently pulling your hair out trying to verify and setup your Amazon Seller account — stay calm. I can shed some light on the causes of most problems.

Rest assured that I’ve always managed to resolve the problems with Amazon… eventually. You can, too.

Causes Of Amazon Seller Setup Problems

1. Opening Multiple Accounts

It’s against Amazon’s policy for Sellers to have more than one account. While you may be able to open a second account without any difficulty initially, it’ll usually catch up with you down the line (e.g. 48hrs later).

Consider the following:

  • Have you registered for an Amazon Seller account previously? — if so, then reinstate that account. Amazon will treat the new one as a duplicate.
  • Do you use another Seller Account where you’re the primary contact? — if so, then you’ve got to register the new Seller account with a different primary contact. Ask a business partner to re-register with his/her details — but expect to be asked for a lot of documentation to convince Amazon that nobody is breaking their ‘multiple account’ policy.
  • Is there another Amazon Seller account with the same home or business address as yours? — if you have opened a Seller Account with an address that matches another Seller’s, then that’s likely to trigger the account as a duplicate. Always use distinct details.
  • Is your Seller Account set up with the same email address and/or other details to a regular Amazon (customer) account? — it’s possible that Amazon cross-references matching data between Seller and customer accounts. I recommend that you set up your Seller Account with a unique email address in order to avoid linking more than one individual to the primary contact.

2. Incorrect Address Format

Take care to enter your personal and company address absolutely spot on.

Your personal address on Amazon Seller needs to exactly match what’s on your:

  • Government issued ID (e.g. passport, driving licence)
  • Proof of address document (e.g. utility bill, personal bank statement)

Your business address on Amazon Seller account needs to exactly match what’s on your:

  • Official company documentation (usually listed on the government website)
  • Company bank statement.

My advice is to copy address formats — right down to the character spaces in the postcode — printed on official documentation. Then, if necessary, amend your other documents to match it. This might mean calling up your bill provider to edit your details.

For example, you must avoid adding any additional detail to your address. Such as “Greater London” instead of “London”, or “Upstairs Flat B” instead of “Flat B”. The system is extremely sensitive to minor discrepancies.

3. Inconsistent Names

It shouldn’t be possible to get your name wrong. But given how sensitive the Amazon Seller system is, you’ve got to take care.

Your personal name on Amazon Seller needs to exactly match what’s on your:

  • Government issued ID (e.g. passport, driving licence)
  • Proof of address document (e.g. utility bill, personal bank statement)
  • Official company documentation (usually listed on the government website)

For example, if you decide to include your middle name on Seller Central, then make sure it’s also listed on each item. Otherwise omit it.

Your business name on Amazon Seller needs to exactly match what’s on your:

  • Official company documentation (usually listed on the government website)
  • Company bank statement.

For example, don’t abbreviate “Company Name Limited” to “Company Name Ltd”.

4. Documents In the Wrong Format

When Amazon requests a document from you, be sure to provide it in the format they accept.

To avoid any issues:

  • Send PDF files, as this is usually preferred. It’s also much easier to read by computers.
  • Download bills from your online accounts (e.g. bank statements). Do not send screenshots.
  • Avoid using camera photos as the quality is often too poor.
  • If you scan documents, send it in colour.
  • Make sure documents are up to date, and are not expired. Bills need to be dated with the last three months.
  • Documents are currently accepted in the following languages: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portugese, Spanish.
  • Do not send any single file larger than 10mb.

5. Wrong Account Type

When you set up your Seller Account you’re asked whether you want to register for a ‘personal’ or ‘business’ account.

  • Personal: means you’re not trading as a business via Amazon. You’re not granted full access to all of Amazon’s features, and it’s assumed you’ll only use Amazon to sell occasionally.
  • Business: you’re trading as a business via Amazon. This requires that your company has already been formed. You’re granted full access to all of Amazon’s features, and can sell as much as you like.

I’ve had difficulties in converting a personal account into a business account. So I would highly recommend that you setup a business first, and then register it on Amazon afterwards.

Please, for your own sake, do not register as a business on Amazon if you have not yet formed your company! That’s asking for trouble.

6. Tarnished IP Address

An IP address pinpoints the location of your computer, and could be the cause of some Amazon Seller setup problems.

You should avoid signing up to Amazon Seller Central on an IP address:

  • Where another Seller has signed up, or frequently uses to log into their account.
  • At a shared location, such as a public WiFi hotspot, which might be linked to other Sellers.
  • On a VPN, which makes it seem as if you’ve got something to hide.

Just use a regular IP address that’s completely unused by other Sellers. You don’t want to give Amazon a reason to think you’re breaching their ‘no multiple account’ policy.

7. Linked Company Address

Amazon are able to check your business addresses against others in their system. I believe this creates additional verification steps if:

  • Your home address is the same as your business address.
  • Multiple Seller accounts exist at the same building address.

I strongly suggest you setup your business with an address different to your home. Many Sellers I know rent a unique virtual address, or one provided via their accountancy.

8. Invalid Country of Origin

To sell on Amazon, you need to be resident in one of the eligible countries, have a valid phone number, and have an internationally chargeable credit card.

Learn more about eligible countries.

9. Bank Account Details

You’re required to enter the following bank details onto your Amazon Seller account:

  • Charge method: how you pay Amazon when you’re in debit (your card details).
  • Payment method: how Amazon pays you your account balance (your bank payment details).

There’s some simple rules you need to follow.

Use the correct charge method for your account type:

  • Business: set your account up with your business bank account details only. The payee is your business name.
  • Personal: set your account up with personal bank account details only. The payee is you.

Use the correct payment method for your account type:

  • Business: use a card with either the business name, or the primary account holder’s name printed on the front. Do not use any other cards!
  • Personal: use our own card. The name printed on the card must match the primary contact.

Note that you cannot use a prepaid credit card (e.g. Tide, Starling), as these are not accepted by Amazon. While it may be accepted by Amazon initially, it’ll be refused later on down the line. I was forced to switch my business account from Tide to Metrobank for this precise reason. I had no choice.

10. Products & Listings

While verifying your account you may be asked to list a sample of products representative of what you plan to sell on Amazon.

I found this request very frustrating. At the time I wasn’t ready to create my product listings, and didn’t have the images prepared. Nonetheless, I complied.

In this scenario I believe Amazon are looking for:

  • Competence: is the Seller competent enough to create a listing in standard Amazon format?
  • Professionalism: is the sample listing up to a high standard, with compliant images and text? Is this person/company worthy of becoming an Amazon Seller?
  • Safety: does the product pose a risk to customers? Is the Seller likely to list potentially dangerous goods?
  • Legitimacy: is the product already exclusively sold by another Seller? Is there a risk this new Seller is going to sell counterfeit goods?

These are just potential reasons to keep this in mind when you create a sample listing. If you follow the rules, and list a sensible product with a professional product description within the correct category, you shouldn’t have any problems.

Learn more about product page styling.

Stay Calm, Be Persistent.

If you’re about to completely lose your rag with Amazon, bare in mind that they’re are under pressure to ensure Sellers pay the correct taxes and sell safe, legitimate goods. So I believe that this rather lengthy setup process helps to weed out fraudsters from genuine Sellers, resulting in higher standards on the platform.

But no doubt, setting up an Amazon Seller account can become an incredibly frustrating and stressful ordeal.

It’s needless to say that you can’t afford to make any typos or silly mistakes during your account set up. Take your time and check your details thoroughly before you submit.

Try everything I’ve advised in this post. Stay calm, be persistent. You will get there in the end if you systematically eliminate every single possible reason that Amazon could reject you as a Seller.

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