Restricted Product Suspensions & What We Need to Know About Them
Amazon prohibits the sale of what’s called ‘restricted items’.
Restricted products include weapons, items not FDA approved for sale, toxic substances, offensive products, recalled products, and electronics that do not conform with FCC regulations.
Amazon sellers have a comprehensive list available to them on the site for reference. Now, what if your product ends up on the restricted product list due to the misinformed use of keywords or descriptors?
Similar to other reasons for an account suspension, if your situation is a prohibited or restricted item classification, writing out an effective Plan of Action for addressing Amazon should be your number one priority.
This plan of action should follow the same guidelines as for any other suspension reason: the restriction’s root cause, your immediate corrective action, and the long term or the systemic changes to your business that you will make so that you can persuade Amazon that they can trust your store to be reinstated.
Your second priority or step involved when it comes to restricted product suspensions is removing the item from the online shop if you are able to.
If you created the listing, we strongly suggest that you take down that listing. If somebody else created the listing, then remove yourself from it and recall your inventory if you have been selling through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If your process is to use a merchant for the fulfillment, take yourself off of the listing. If you’re FBA, remove yourself from the listing and also recall your inventory.
The third priority should be to understand Amazon’s error handling process.
Ultimately, avoid errors at all costs, avoid using words that could be associated with prohibited products, in every way, shape, or form. Here are some examples. If you use a word that is associated with your product but also can be easily associated with an alcoholic brand, or a tobacco product, or other prohibited substance, you may get flagged. Avoid medical terms as well, among other topics.
The problem is, it’s not even up to a human being to identify whether your product and the keywords you use to describe it match up. There are robots and algorithms that simply track word usage. They don’t look at the product page and think “oh, this isn’t related at all to cigars or alcohol, this product is good to go.” No, first the algorithm flags your product, and then reports are created with dozens of cases, that are sent to the Amazon teams, mainly in India, to review. The people then review those reports and decide who they’re going to suspend and what listings they are going to suspend.
If the initial Amazon algorithm or even the product reviewer has made a mistake and tagged you as selling a prohibited item, your plan of action needs to address that. Follow the format, but explain how the product you are selling is not restricted. You can also take screenshots of all the other sellers that are selling the same kind of product that Amazon has not flagged or marked as prohibited.