Arbitration for SAS Refund

Seeking feedback here. I was sold a bill of goods from Amazon in regards to their SAS Core and I feel defrauded by the service.

I only joined because they stated the best part of SAS Core is for the moments of emergencies where my Rep and her support team get on the ball to ensure issues are resolved quickly, outside the usual incompetence of Seller Support.

Other than that, they don’t really give any benefit. But, seeing I have an interesting history of seeing listings destroyed by Amazon automation and incompetence, I figured the monthly investment into SAS Core could be worth it.

It’s not.

Not only is there a benefit to be seen, but I’ve had two emergencies for SAS Core to handle, and they leave it with Seller Support, the same Seller Support that I can use for free. My rep admitted they were knew, and had no idea how Amazon worked, not exactly the person I thought I was paying for.

To this day, I’m stuck with listings that are updated and need an appeal done (I’m on day 32 I believe), but they, SAS Core, claim they don’t know how to make updates to listings go through and, of course, just leave it with Seller Support.

So I’m sitting on my hands awaiting review of the listings, and every time (so far), they claim they don’t see any changes. It’s insane. I write my SAS Core directly asking if she can maybe help Seller Support out or step in and I get absolute silence.

I need this money back. I’ve invested maybe $20K into this upgraded support and neither does it feel upgraded or support. I was hoping arbitrage would be the way or should I just request a refund? I feel at best Amazon scammed me, at worse is clearly running a fraudulent service.

What’s best steps?

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First off, I want to welcome you; glad you are here!!

I have never used SAS, but I did want to post a link for other Sellers who may not be familiar with the term SAS Core in order for them to weigh in.

Strategic Account Services** (SAS) Core

Strategic Account Services (SAS) Core gives you access to a designated account manager, a trusted advisor inside Amazon who can help you scale your business, reach new customers, and increase sales.

Program terms of service & fees

If you terminate your participation in SAS, you must continue to pay the SAS Participation Fee during the SAS Minimum Term.

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I think @ASV_Vites uses this service. Maybe they can help you.

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Interesting experience. I think with SAS it’s the luck of the draw who you get. We joined in January and it’s been the best investment we’ve made. Our manager is instantaneously responsive and has helped out a lot. I wish they had a bit more power / influence but it’s a relief to have someone at our disposal (for thousands a month of course) but nevertheless, we are satisfied.

We have 2 planned calls a month and other calls when needed. One of our monthly calls is dedicated to advertising and the person that manages our PPC joins and we have great strategic meetings that have proved to be invaluable at increasing our ROAS and dropping our CPC / ACOS.

We are 4 for 5 on resolving issues we never could have on our own. It still takes a lot of work / time on our part but it gets done.

As for getting your money back, I don’t think that’s going to happen. You agreed to the service. Even in arbitration, what exactly do you have to prove you were ripped off / didn’t get what you paid for.

SAS isn’t a magic bullet but it’s peace of mind for us and our SAS manager has been fantastic. Sorry yours wasn’t but I guess we got lucky because I have heard a lot more bad than good with the program.

Are you using the escalation function of the program? That almost always works for us when there’s something that can’t be solved any other way.

I hope your SAS manager told you about that and the workflow.

Good Luck
Steve

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Wow. I’d say my manager’s average response time is about a week (like 7 days).

If there is an emergency, she pushes it to maybe 72 hours.

What’s your account manger name? They said I can always request a new one.

Here is where I’m at with mine:

  1. We had 12 of our top selling ASINs removed as “Restricted Listing” on March 20. We weren’t given a reason, so this sounded like the emergency for our SAS Manager. So hit her up.

Couple days later she got back to me, and this is the timeline:

a. She told us that our listings were pulled due to antibiotic claims. I knew this couldn’t be the case, as I’ve been through that before, but was curious what we could change if it meant quick resolution. She said we stay our product “stays cleaner”. No mention of microbes, just cleanliness. After having a WTF moment, I edited the listings to not have that while explaining that shouldn’t be it.

b. Listings remain down another 5 days and I ask what the heck is going on, I do have "SAS Support - BUSINESS CRITICAL - [ ASINs DOWN INCLUDING TOP ASINs ] " ticket created on my behalf in Seller Support. And they are still looking into it. At this point…

c. SAS gets back to me and says it wasn’t the antibiotic thing, it’s because these listings are “incomplete” and missing important attributes, including my Brand Name. I know this can’t be the case, but I check each ASIN for the 5 attributes they say to rule it out. Of course, none of these things are missing. I say that isn’t it, but I resave all the listings for ■■■■■ and giggles to rule that out.

d. No feedback for a few more days, as they try to figure out why I’m restricted. I grow tired of waiting, and I submit a ticket with Brand Registry, asking them to look into it. To my surprise, Brand Registry gives me what I think is the right answer. I didn’t perfectly follow FTC Guidelines when naming/describing my product.

SAS never told me this, she was still trying to figure out where she misplaced her hat or something.

e. I alert her to this, and she then confirms what I need to fix. They explain I just need to change some wording and I’m back Active.

So I edit all the ASINs for compliance, that was about day 15 at this point. I started with one ASIN to ensure that was it and have the one reviewed for appeal, but they kept rejecting it saying I need to do them all, not just one. They weren’t understanding that if the one gets accepted, I now know the issue.

f. The only problem with editing my listing is they are all locked, so I can save the edits but they don’t push live. I tell them this around day 17, after they tell me they don’t see any changes from my end and are rejecting a review since I’m not making edits. I show screenshots that all the listings are updated and they just need to push the changes through, or re-enable the listings to the changes take place and then they can go forward with the review.

That was about 16 days ago, and I get this ticket update every 3 days. the same exact update:

Hope this email finds you well.

This is just a quick email to let you know we are still working on this issue for you.

We have been constantly pushing for an update, and we will surely get back to you once we are given additional details or updates.

Feel free to reach out in case you have additional questions or concerns.

We will get back to you soon.

Important to note: To reply to me about this case, it is necessary to do so from this link:
[link removed]

Thank you for allowing us to assist you,

Best regards,
Erick Q.
Amazon Seller Services

every 3 days. feels automated. And this is the only changes I’ve seen:

  1. a few listings now have titles that I didn’t create. So maybe they are testing stuff. The titles don’t even have my product name in the title.

  2. 3 of the 12 ASINs have gone from “Restricted” to Deleted Listing. It’s weird, they having been deleting each listing at a rate of 1 per day, leaving only 8 of my ASINs left. By the time we come back from the weekend I’m assuming I’ll only have 6 to 5 ASINs left, and will still have no word from SAS Core.

These are my top selling ASINs, I’ve spent at least $150k in advertising on amazon for ranking development. This is all gone.

I knew my SAS Core was dodging me to make it through the weekend, so I wrote her on Friday explaining that whenever she comes back from vacation, because she must obviously not be around, to take a look at this. As it’s maybe kind of important.

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Wait until you have a crisis and find out your rep is gone. Not being a pessimist, have read about it and seen it happen before here.

I stopped ranting on the forums about this.

Some people have not been burnt by Amazon, but many people have. The longer you sell on Amazon the likelihood that you will get burnt increases. Eventually, Amazon is going to screw you. I’ve been reading stories on the Amz forums for a LONG time. It’s heartbreaking and horrible.

For me, I made a decision that I won’t put up with their bullsh*t so I made a decision to change my business model. It wasn’t easy, but I did it.

I sell about 1,500 books a day. Only about 50 sell on Amazon, the rest sell elsewhere. F Amazon.

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:flushed: @casbboy that sounds like a friggin’ nightmare of pain and anxiety loops. Like why can they not push your changes?! I don’t get it and the replies make zero sense.

@ASV_Vites, if you do share the name of your SAS associate with @casbboy, please do so via PM. We don’t want a quality rep getting inundated and overworked. Plus…do you know your rep well enough to copy/paste or direct them to @casbboy’s post, for suggestions? :grimacing:

Seriously, I would be □□□□□□ if that was what I was getting for $$$/month. I don’t understand why this hasn’t been escalated. :woman_shrugging:

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A few reasons come to mind, Papy:

  1. SAS associate being worthless

  2. No internal quality controls

  3. Cr*ppy management

Where else do you sell? (if you don’t mind saying)

I also sell direct through eCommerce, but Amazon represents about 80-85% of all my sales.

I don’t mind you asking, but I keep that close to the vest.

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What drives me crazy is that I specifically agreed to do SAS Core because I had a similar “restricted word” nightmare over a year ago and when I used that example when doing my SAS Core pitch meeting, they said they would have had that fixed in no time flat with Core. It was the exact same thing. I edit the fix. they couldn’t push the update, adn a lot of waiting for them to push the update (plus find the actual offending word).

So this latest issue was the best chance for them to fulfill that pitch, and they are doing just as bad as general/free Seller Support. Which is not surprising, since they seem to be simply monitoring seller support anyway.

Alright, so I sent another ticket to that lest template response asking if they could give me a better sense of what is going on, since they are now just deleting my listings. The good news is, they haven’t deleted more of them 4 of the 12 have been deleted.

Here is their new response:

I am writing to apologize for the inconvenience caused by the recent removal of your products. I understand that this has caused frustration and concern for you, and I want to assure you that we are working diligently to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

We are actively investigating the situation and are in the process of identifying and addressing any potential issues that may have led to the removal of your products. Our team is working around the clock to find a resolution, and we will keep you updated every step of the way.

Once again, I apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this has caused. We value your partnership and hope to have this issue resolved soon.

Important to note: To reply to me about this case, it is necessary to do so from this link: Amazon Sign-In.

Thank you for allowing us to assist you,

Best regards,
Erick Q.
Amazon Seller Services

The weird part is that we know what was the issue, and it’s been corrected.

Is there anything else I can do?

Honest question. Tomorrow is day 35 I believe. This was done intentional. It was done to end my selling of this item. There is no way SAS is the incompetent unless they are intentionally doing so.

Also, the reason I was pulled, I was the only one. Every seller save one other has the same offenses. I reported it to Amazon and of course their rules don’t apply to all.

@ASV_Vites I’m frustrated that I’ve never been offered Amazon PPC advice or account management. How did you broach the subject? Also, if you don’t mind saying range, how much do you spend on PPC per month or per day? Trying to see if there is some limit to qualify.

With my listings down and only a couple up, I’m spending only about $225/day. But with the listings all active I’m doing a little over $400 per day in spend on average.

@casbboy I think it’s fair to say that @ASV lucked out with his rep. This is not the norm. Like various other services amazon pushes like a ppc manager etc - I have always been vary of the pitches and when I ask basic probing questions - I’m left sorely disappointed.

As for involving a rep even if it’s an SAS rep - I literally can’t fathom it having any effect on PPC which has nothing at all to do with support at any level. Now, the fact that ASV is having meetings with SAS and his agency rep will almost never translate across SAS reps, your particular niche and your particular brand - at least, unless it’s explained - I wouldn’t give this much credence as far as it being a strategic option/move for your business.

Lastly, @ASV has demonstrated an ability to navigate through red tape and policy unlike many other sellers - like myself. This is, most certainly, not the norm.

At this point - I would just stop the service instead of bleeding cash on what seems to be an utterly useless rep.

All the best!

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There’s something called the “Sport Report” that all SAS managers get to share with their accounts. This is the inside view of account performance that can be a valuable tool for those that know what they are doing with Amazon advertising. That’s not me but we have someone on staff that does all of our advertising and reviews monthly and gets on 1 of our 2 calls per month to review with us and SAS.

We spend less than you do on your max ($400) per day. It shouldn’t matter whether you spend $10 a day or $1000. It’s a report that’s generated for each account automatically monthly and sent to the manager (SAS) of the account for mutual review.

I believe I need to keep my managers name / email addy confidential and it doesn’t matter anyway because SAS managers have a max number of accounts they can manage. Even if you wanted and could move over to my guy it could take months or years depending on his workload and account tenure.

There was no broaching. We were told about this by our SAS manager.

I think it’s absolutely insane that you were never offered advice or talked about advertising as it’s such a big part of running a successful business, especially on a super-saturated fraud filled marketplace like Amazon.

With 7-day response times and clearly missed standard opportunities, you do appear to have been hosed by the program. I still don’t think you have a leg to stand on in terms of a refund and the way that shady marketplace works you may be punished by pursuing one sadly.

With that said, everything you should be getting was in the 15 page welcome packet which I hope you received.

You should have been given access to your SAS managers bosses email as well which I would have used by now if you weren’t getting what you wanted / needed out of the program.

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These internal investigations / escalations can move slow.

We lost our “winning contributor” status on our best seller which is brand registered and it took about a month to get it back. Whomever got control of it was deleting our listing images.

In fact, just got this email this morning because I was pressing to know WTF happened.

Bottom line is a competent and attentive SAS manager should be able to get your listing(s) back even if they pass some time period although FBA inventory timing could be a major concern. I do feel bad for you but your SAS experience is pretty common. We took a risk with the program knowing we would be locked in for 3 months minimum and thankfully got someone with a brain in their head that appears on the surface to have a vested interest in our success, up to and including eliminating wasted PPC spend which really shocked the ■■■■ out of me… This guy will probably get fired for offering advice that actually makes Amazon less money not more.

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I’m thinking of trying this program if we can get our sales up another 25%.

That, or I find a trustworthy PPC specialist to manage my Amazon ad campaigns.

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If your only issue is advertising, I would suggest option B.

Honestly, if we didn’t have someone competent sitting with us on the PPC side of things, whatever was presented to us by SAS would be useless.

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