One of the best things about Amazon is that it is a sea of opportunities. You can earn big money in just a few months and years. You can also sell almost anything. But, take note that the operative word is “almost”.
Amazon doesn’t want to run the risk of having unsafe and illegal products on their platform. The legal costs are just too high. Plus, dangerous and government-prohibit goods can potentially tarnish Amazon’s reputation. This is the reason why the retail giant has to restrict, prohibit, and regulate the sale of certain products such as those available only by prescription and dangerous items.
Amazon regulates certain products in four ways:
Prohibit the sale of the goods – This means that Amazon does not allow sellers or vendors to sell these products on their online shopping platform.
Classify Products as Dangerous Goods or Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) – These products may contain ingredients or harmful chemicals that can lead to accidents during the storage and shipping.
Gate the products – Brand gating aims to minimize counterfeit activities on Amazon. Third party sellers usually have to pay a fee and provide documents before they can sell the gated products. This blocks unauthorized sellers and counterfeiters.
Require preapproval for some products – Certain product categories such as streaming media players, collectible coins, blu-ray, DVDs, and videos. Certain products that do not fall under categories such as laser pointers, software, and hoverboards require pre approval, additional information, and guarantee.
Before creating your product listing on Amazon, make sure to check the Amazon Restricted Products Page to make sure that your products are not prohibited. You should be careful and make sure that you don’t have dangerous products in your portfolio.
The eCommerce leader is serious in implementing these restrictions. Violation of Amazon’s policies can lead to serious consequences such as suspension and termination of selling privileges. You’ll also have to pay for damages if your violation or negligence can lead to the destruction of the inventory in Amazon’s fulfillment centers.
Keep in mind that violation of Amazon’s product restrictions can also lead to permanent withholding of payments and termination of the business relationship with the eCommerce giant. Plus selling unsafe or illegal products can lead to both civil and criminal legal actions.
If Amazon finds out that you are selling prohibited products or using dangerous ingredients, you will receive a notification that the product you’re selling violates the restricted product policy. Amazon may ask you to stop selling the product. But more than that, you may face the previously mentioned consequences such as suspension, termination of selling privileges, or you may even face a possible civil or criminal lawsuit.
Comprehensive List of Amazon Prohibited Products
Here’s a comprehensive list of restricted categories on Amazon:
As a general rule, alcoholic beverages such as beer or whisky are not allowed. But, there’s an exemption to this rule. Wines sold by pre-approved sellers are allowed. Beer and wine making kits that do not contain alcohol are also allowed.
Animals and Animal Products
You can’t sell pets, livestock, or exotic animals. You can’t also sell illegal wildlife products and insects that are classified as “plant pests”. You can, however, sell insects, worms, shrimps, crabs, and lobsters as long as you fulfill the orders from your warehouse.
You cannot sell the works of famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, and Andy Warhol. You can’t also sell sculptures or archaeological-based art. But, you can sell artwork from an unnamed artist. You can sell mass-produced hand-painted work.
Power Sports and Automotive
Motor vehicles that require registration are prohibited. You can’t sell oxygen simulators, EGR delete kits, used tires, GPS jammers, VIN plates, and high intensity discharge conversion kits.
Cosmetics and Hair Products
Cosmetic products such as perfumes, nail polish, skin creams, shampoos, deodorants, toothpastes, and hair colors are generally allowed, but you have to follow a comprehensive packaging and labeling guidelines.
Cosmetics should be brand new and unused
Must use the original manufacturer's packaging
The packaging must include unique codes and serial numbers
The label should include the name of the product, the ingredients, warnings, and name and address of the manufacturer or distributor
Your cosmetic products must be FDA-approved
Take note that there are also some types of cosmetics not allowed, such as:
Cosmetic contact lenses
Products that contain more than 5 percent of minoxidil, chloroform, methylene chloride, bithionol, and latisse. You should make sure that your products do not contain any of these products.
Obagi Nu-Derm product line
Gift Cards, Cash Equivalents, Coins, and Currency
You cannot sell foreign currencies, coins, paper money, gift checks, and non-monetized bullion. But, you can sell collectible coins and monetized bullions.
You can sell dietary supplements as long as they are FDA approved. The supplements must be sealed properly and the label must include supplement facts, ingredients list, and the name and address of the packer, distributor, and manufacturer.
But, some dietary supplements are strictly prohibited such as3 Days Fit, 8 Factor Diet, Adrenaline XR, Achieving Zero, Anorex, Biolean, Blue Slim, Boladrol, Casanova, Code Red, Danabol, Dexaprine, Enhance, Energy Max, Flouxetine, Fruta Bio, Gold Viagra, Halotestine, Lipo-6 Black, Maxiloss, Nutri Drops Grapefruit Diet, and Perfect Slim.
Composite Wood Products
Composite wood products comply with the EPA formaldehyde emissions standards.
Products with Export Trade Regulations
You should refrain from selling products that are subject to Export Trade Regulations, such as firearms, ammunition, guns, nuclear weapons, plutonium, and toxicological agents.
You can’t sell anything that can be used to steal something. You can’t sell lock picking, shoplifting, and card skimming devices.
Organic products are supposed to be good for you. So, why are they restricted? Well, these products are regulated by the USDA or the United States Department of Agriculture.
Before you can sell this kind of products on Amazon, you have to make sure that you comply with the organic labeling requirements.
You can’t sell diamonds that are not Kimberley Process Scheme Compliant. You must also avoid selling non-compliant silver and gold products.
You can sell pesticides and pesticide devices that are compliant with FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide) Act. But, you have to avoid unregistered and illegal pesticides.
Keep in mind that you need to request approval from Amazon before you can sell FIFRA-compliant pesticides.
Sex and Sensuality
You cannot sell products that contain nudity. You cannot sell X-rated movies and pornography.
But, you can sell sex health products as long as you get an approval from Amazon. Pre-approved sellers can also sell vibrators and other sex toys.
Chilled and Frozen Foods
If you’re planning to start a frozen food empire, Amazon is not the right platform for you. Chilled foods are prohibited. But, there are a few exemptions to this rule. You can sell refrigerated foods, as long as:
You are on the Professional Selling Plan
Your product must be temperature controlled to preserve its quality
You validate the chill chain
Human Parts and Historical Tombstones
You’re not allowed to sell any human body parts including sperm, tissue, organs, eggs, and blood. You can’t also sell historical grave marks.
Aside from these product categories, you must also avoid selling counterfeit stamps, certain menstrual cups, WaxVac ear cleaners, testosterone test kit, bugging devices, wiretapping devices, cigarettes, and illegal plants.
The list of Amazon products that are restricted or prohibited is quite long, and it’s quite impossible for Make sure that you check the complete list.
Take note that the list of restricted products is updated every now and then. Amazon has the right to prohibit a product that was allowed previously, so you must do your research and due diligence. Make sure that all items in your portfolio are compliant.
Restricted Items on Amazon FBA
If you’re enrolled in the FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) program, you must not sell the following:
Alcoholic beverages (including non-alcoholic beer)
Floating or sky lanterns
Gift cards or certificates
Poorly packaged batteries. You can sell batteries, but they have to be tightly packaged.
Damaged or defective products
Counterfeit items and replicas
Unauthorized marketing material such as non-Amazon stickers, price tags, and pamphlets
Temperature-specific items, such as fresh meat, fish, vegetables, and even fresh lobsters. But, beef jerky and pickled vegetables are okay.
Livestock and pets
Guns and ammunition
Products over a hundred pounds
Products over 12 x 8 x 8
Amazon is serious about banning illegal and unsafe products on their online selling platform. To keep your listing privileges, you must comply with Amazon’s restricted product policy at all times. Check the list of prohibited products from time to time as Amazon may choose to restrict a product that was allowed previously. If you’re shipping items to different countries, you must also do your due diligence and make sure that all your products are in compliance with the laws and regulations of those countries.