Amazon forbids certain products on their eCommerce marketplace. Amazon restricted categories protect buyers from purchasing potentially hazardous products, and without them, selling on Amazon would be a dangerous profession!
You may be asking yourself questions such as:
- "What are Amazon Restricted Categories?"
- "What can I sell on Amazon?"
- "What am I not allowed to sell on Amazon?"
Read on to get the answer to these questions! Or check out this article for more info on how to manage your Amazon FBM supply chain.
What are Amazon Restricted Categories?
Amazon Restricted Categories are products that are banned or gated by Amazon.
The reason for preventing the sale of certain items may be because they violate Amazon's policies, are dangerous, or because the category contains controversial items.
Why does Amazon restrict certain product categories?
Sometimes Amazon restricts products due to legal issues. For example, Amazon does not allow the sale of alcohol within its site.
Other times, Amazon may restrict specific categories because they believe that the products within those categories pose a risk to its customers. For instance, Amazon does not allow sellers to sell any type of firearm.
However, Amazon doesn't just ban certain products. Instead, it excludes entire categories of products. That way, it can control exactly which products sell on its website.
List of Amazon Restricted Categories
Restricted products are often illegal or prohibited for sale in the United States.
Amazon restricted products are products within several categories that Amazon defines as "risky." These include goods in the following categories:
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Adult Products
- Gambling & Lottery
- Jewelry & Precious Gems
- Cosmetics & Skincare Products
- Food & Beverage
- Medical Devices
- Hazardous & Dangerous Items
- Medical Devices & Accessories
- Offensive & Controversial Materials
- Lock Picking & Theft Devices
- Postage Meters & Stamps
- Surveillance Equipment
- Plant & Seed Products
- Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
How do I know if my product is a restricted product?
Amazon’s list of restricted products isn’t comprehensive and might not include categories of products that the government regulates where you do business.
With that in mind, how do you know if your products are in a restricted category on Amazon? There’s only one way to find out—conduct research for yourself.
You must review the Amazon restricted words and product lists so that you’re not accidentally adding the wrong information to listings or listing prohibited products.
Speaking to your legal counsel about laws and regulations in your area and within Amazon will prevent you from making costly mistakes. Otherwise, you risk adding the wrong item to Amazon.
While you’re building product listings, Amazon will mention that you must have approval as a reminder that you’re trying to sell in a gated category. After which, your business might need to submit business documents such as supplemental guarantees before you can list your products.
Why should I care about restricted products?
Attempting to sell products from Amazon Seller Central restricted categories can put your business at risk. Amazon will suspend and terminate selling privileges, destroy restricted products in FBA fulfillment centers, or withhold payments when sellers violate rules.
What happens to sellers who list restricted products?
If you attempt to sell these restricted products in your store, Amazon will prevent you from creating a listing, hide your listing, or ban your account.
It doesn't matter whether you have a physical storefront or not. If you list dangerous products on Amazon, they have the right to restrict your account.
There are two primary reasons Amazon will suppress your account:
- Amazon wants to ensure that all of its customers are safe when purchasing products.
- Amazon is trying to prevent the spread of false information regarding its products.
Can I sell a product on my site and still use Amazon's Restricted Categories?
Yes! You don't need to remove your products from a private website when it falls into Amazon's restricted categories. These categories only apply to Amazon and won’t impact your business site.
As long as you're selling your products on your website, you can sell products within restricted categories Amazon FBA without having to worry about getting banned. Amazon doesn’t check whether sellers sell products in restricted categories outside of Amazon.com and any regional versions.
In fact, selling a wide assortment of products through several channels is how many online retailers make money. They create websites where they list their products, and they also list qualifying products on Amazon.com.
Listing on multiple sites gives sellers more flexibility regarding what types of products they want to sell. They can choose to sell anything that they want, including items that Amazon considers risky.
Should I list my products on a different website?
It’s a good idea to list products on several eCommerce sites, in addition to Amazon! When it comes to selling products online, there are two main ways to set up your store. One way is to create a website where you can list your products. The other is to use a third-party site like Amazon.
Both have pros and cons, so consider selling products in categories that Amazon gates or restricts on your site or other marketplaces to increase business revenues. After having your account ungated, then you can rely more on your Amazon income.
If you're new to Amazon, you might think that all you need to do is create a product page and list it. That's true, but there's a lot more to it than that. Using Amazon-restricted words or needing acceptance to a gated category can complicate the process of selling products.
There are many different ways to get your product listed on Amazon, even if several categories require approval. Some categories are much more profitable than others. So before you start the approval process for selling within Amazon Seller Central restricted categories, you'll want to learn which ones are worth your time.
Amazon has become one of the most popular online shopping destinations in the world. This popularity comes with many benefits, but it also brings challenges. One challenge is dealing with restricted categories and preventing the sale of dangerous products to customers.
While some sellers choose not to sell their products in gated categories, other sellers’ success depends on getting ungated. With that in mind, let’s talk about the categories that restrict sellers pending approval from Amazon.
What is "Product Gating" on Amazon?
Amazon refers to limited access to some restricted categories as a category gate. A category gate is an additional layer of security that Amazon uses to prevent sellers from offering potentially dangerous products. Sellers can still sell in specific categories after receiving approval from Amazon and clearing the gate.
It works by requiring sellers to complete an application process before selling certain items. Before the product listing goes live, Amazon reviews the product listing to ensure it doesn’t break laws or make any untrue claims.
Access to product gated categories is only available for Professional sellers. After completing the steps above, navigate to Seller Central, Add Inventory, Add Product, and Selling Application Status to find your pending approval request.
Ungating: which categories require approval from Amazon?
Some categories are gated, which is different from being banned from the site outright. These categories are great for sellers because there’s less competition. Sellers must achieve specific marketplace metrics before listing products in gated categories, limiting the number of sellers who can offer products in some areas of Amazon.
Thus, you may wonder which categories require approval from Amazon before you can start listing products there. Although this isn’t an exhaustive list, it does contain significant product categories where Amazon sellers must receive approval before creating listings. Here are the gated groups on Amazon, which includes:
- Automotive and Powersports
- Collectible Coins
- Fine Art
- Entertainment Collectibles
- Sports Collectibles
- Major Appliances
- Holiday Toys & Games
- Videos and DVDs
- Streaming Media Players
Once you've decided which categories you'd like to sell, you'll have to go through the process of registering the product with Amazon.
After you fill out the form, Amazon will review it and approve or reject your registration. If everything checks out, then you can begin listing your fine art, collectible coins, or other gated products on Amazon.
How long does it take for Amazon to ungate your account?
It depends on whether or not Amazon approves your registration. Generally speaking, it takes between 24 hours and seven days for Amazon to approve your registration.
However, some categories take longer than usual to receive approval to sell within. Sometimes, it can even take up to 30 days for Amazon to approve registration. Everything depends on the application process because, in some cases, Amazon requires specific business information before reviewing your application.
How to sell in Amazon Restricted Categories
Now that we've covered what you need to know before starting, let's talk about selling on Amazon within gated categories.
If you have already logged into Seller Central, the next step is to create a new listing.
To do this, click on “Add a Product” from the “Inventory” menu at the top of the page. Afterward, search for the item you want to sell.
Next, a “Listing Limitations” link will appear if the product falls within a restricted category. After searching for a product you want to sell, click the “Request Approval” link, and you’ll begin the application to sell in restricted categories.
Are there any product regulations?
Yes, there are absolutely product regulations to know as an Amazon seller! As a seller, you must comply with all applicable state and federal laws when selling products on Amazon.
When you create your product listings, make sure to check that your products don’t break any rules, including:
- State Restrictions
- Federal Restrictions
- Do Not Sell To Minors
- Do Not Sell To Residents Of Your State
- Do Not Ship To Any State Where It May Be Illegal
There are also product labeling rules to know, which include:
- Keep in mind that product labels must be accurate, clear, and concise.
- Labels must be written in English and be legible.
- Sellers must place labels on the outside of the packaging.
As a seller in a gated category, Amazon may impose additional shipping requirements on your business. Amazon requires sellers to provide shipping information for their products. Therefore, you might need to provide information on the carrier’s name, tracking number, and delivery date.
Certain gated products require special labeling or shipping processes and a warning about the material. Sellers who fail to provide this information risk losing sales. That’s why business owners need to understand compliance regulations within their area and wherever they have customers.
Before we dive deeper into the process of selling on Amazon, let's talk about compliance regulations. Many countries have laws that govern the sale of products within their borders. Some of these laws require you to collect taxes on behalf of the government.
Other countries may require you to comply with local safety standards. All of these rules apply to both physical and digital goods. As such, you must familiarize yourself with the relevant laws in your area. Sometimes Amazon doesn’t set Amazon restricted categories for products within specific categories if they only break local rules.
Thus, it’s your job as a business owner to understand the laws and regulations of the products you sell online.
One of the biggest concerns of online shoppers is product safety. Product safety is a big concern for buyers who shop online for food, cosmetics, household appliances, and medical devices.
Amazon requires all sellers to follow strict guidelines regarding product safety. Specifically, Amazon mandates that you must provide detailed information about each product you sell.
This information includes data like ingredients, warnings, and instructions. In addition, you must also disclose any known health risks associated with the product. Its best practice for Amazon restricted categories and other products is a specific risk of using the product.
What happens when sellers list hazardous items? Sometimes, customers complain about problems or file suits against manufacturers, producers, and other parties.
Amazon has a set of guidelines that sellers can follow when dealing with safety regulation complaints.
If you're not sure whether or not a complaint falls under one of these categories, you should contact Amazon support. They will be able to help you determine if you need to take action.
Amazon's policies are pretty straightforward. You simply need to respond to a safety regulation complaint within 24 hours. If you fail to do so, you risk losing your seller rating and might be unable to continue selling in gated categories.
What is Amazon's Prohibited Product claim policy?
The prohibited product claim policy states that sellers cannot make untrue, inaccurate, or law-breaking claims. It’s imperative to review your product description from prohibited product claims if you sell products internationally. Sellers must follow other EU laws, which can complicate the Amazon sales process.
Amazon restricted words can trigger prohibited claims reviews, which will pause your listing until approval to make a claim or you change your product listing information. Therefore, you should never mislead customers about the qualities of the products your brand sells.
Some examples of prohibiting product claims include implying or claiming that your items cure diseases, protect the environment (when you cannot prove it,) or that they have won an award when they haven’t.
Amazon will remove any product listing that breaks the prohibited product claim policy, regardless of whether it’s in an Amazon restricted category or not.
Nevertheless, it’s vital that you accurately describe your products, especially if there’s a dangerous aspect of your product that buyers should know. Otherwise, you risk listing removal or selling account bans.
How to avoid bans for selling within Amazon Restricted Categories
There are two ways:
- Sell Only Products In Ungated Categories (Or Within Gated Categories After Approval)
- Don't Violate Amazon's Prohibited Claims Policy
Let's look at each option.
Option 1: Sell Only Items in Ungated Categories (or Within Gated Categories After Approval)
This strategy is the best way to avoid banned listings, as long as you only sell items that are not in any Amazon restricted categories. Fortunately, there are several categories that any seller can create listings for, including:
- Baby Products
- Beauty Items
- Camera & Photo Equipment
- Consumer Electronics
- Home & Garden Goods
- Luggage & Travel Accessories
- Personal Computers
- And a lot more!
Although there are some regulations over the holiday season, sellers can create listings and promote items from those categories for most of the year.
Therefore, you’ll want to start your seller’s account by creating product listings that meet all regulations in ungated categories. Only after receiving approval to sell in gated categories should you begin creating those listings.
Option 2: Don't Violate Amazon’s Prohibited Claims Policy
Now let's talk about option number two.
Here, we will focus on the second half of our discussion - avoiding violating Amazon's prohibited claims policy.
To do this, you need to make sure that you don't make product claims that misrepresent each item. Before listing on the eCommerce site, make sure that you accurately describe the product and its features.
If you're unsure about a specific product claim, it's always best to contact Amazon first. That way, you can be sure that your products won't get removed from the site, and you can avoid any penalties.
Amazon also provides some helpful tips for avoiding prohibited claims. They include:
- Never lie about the age of your products.
- Do not misrepresent the condition or benefits of your products.
Of course, it's important to note that Amazon doesn't just ban you from making false statements.
The company actually removes your listings, pauses sales of your entire inventory, and even destroys illegal products when it finds evidence of such violations.
So, if you plan on selling on Amazon, you should read through their prohibited claims policy before starting.
What happens when sellers violate product restrictions?
If you decide to sell on Amazon, you need to precisely understand what happens when you violate Amazon's prohibited products claim policy.
In short, here are the consequences:
- You will lose access to your customer database.
- Your sales rank will drop.
- You'll no longer be able to sell any new products.
- You'll have to lower your prices or stop offering free shipping.
As you can see, selling on Amazon is much more than simply uploading pictures of your products onto the site. Instead, you must follow a set of rules and regulations. These restrictions help protect both Amazon and its users.
However, if you choose to ignore these policies, you risk losing access to Amazon's marketplace altogether. And that would mean that you'd no longer be able to earn money from your product listings.
So, if you ever plan on selling items on Amazon, make sure that you're complying with all of their policies. Doing so will help protect your business from getting shut down or banned for no reason at all.
In conclusion - Amazon Restricted Categories
In this article, we've discussed Amazon's restricted categories policy and how to avoid getting banned from selling in these categories.
We've also talked about Amazon's restricted categories claims policy and how to make sure your products don't violate these rules. By following these simple tips, you'll be able to stay within Amazon's guidelines and continue selling on the popular eCommerce site.
There's a lot to know, but with an understanding of local and federal regulations, as well as Amazon's policies, you'll be sure not to break the marketplace seller rules.
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