Whether you focus on a few specific product types, or you list a broad range of items in various categories, it is important to consider FBA product restrictions and prohibited items. These distinctions are important domestically, and especially when selling internationally through Amazon.
Amazon’s requirements exist to protect customers from easily counterfeited product categories, or to keep customers and warehouse personnel safe from potentially hazardous materials. Certain Amazon FBA restricted brands are prohibited entirely because they are particularly susceptible to counterfeiting, or because they necessitate exclusivity with another company or channel. Educating yourself is key to preventing suspension on one of the world’s most popular marketplaces. To help, we’ve answered some common questions about FBA product restrictions below.
Why is it so important to understand FBA product restrictions and prohibitions?
Some products may be eligible for selling on Amazon, but prohibited from selling through the FBA program. It is important to know which items are prohibited, because Amazon has the right to refuse or dispose of those items when they arrive at amazon fulfillment centers without reimbursement. They may also block future shipments and slap you with additional charges for non-adherence. Some items are more obviously restricted, like alcoholic beverages and products that are illegal to sell in the US. Others may be less intuitive such as floating lanterns, tires, loose packaged batteries, or products larger than a certain size.
So, which categories require approval?
Several entire categories of products require the submission of an application, and subsequent approval in order to be sold on Amazon. A full list of Amazon seller restricted categories can be found here. The list includes product groups like food, collectibles, clothing, beauty products, jewelry, textbook rentals, and more. Keep in mind that other individual items may require approval, even if they’re not in one of the listed categories.
Are all hazardous materials off-limits?
Products considered to be hazardous materials by the Department of Transportation are met with strict guidelines, but are not always prohibited from sale. They are heavily regulated and are defined as “substances or materials that may pose a risk to health, safety, property, or the environment while storing, handling or transporting because they contain flammable, pressurized, corrosive, or otherwise harmful substances.”
Hazardous materials, or Hazmats, are accepted in certain cases and often in limited quantities. Some flammable gasses/solids/liquids, oxidizers, organic peroxides, corrosive or toxic substances and some other miscellaneous substances are accepted under certain conditions. However, explosive substances, toxic gasses, substances dangerous when wet or subject to spontaneous combustion, and infectious substances or radioactive materials are prohibited.
If your products are approved, it is important to provide current and correct safety data sheets and exemption sheets (if applicable) for these potentially dangerous goods. This is your responsibility as the seller, and failure to comply may result in products blocked from sale, required corrective action on your part, loss of selling privileges, and disposal of products at your expense.
What do I need to know about expiration dates and temperature requirements?
Date- and temperature-sensitive products also carry guidelines. Any ingestible or topical product is considered to be date-sensitive, and should have a shelf life greater than 105 days from the point at which Amazon fulfillment centers receive the shipment. Expiration dates must be printed on both the case and individual retail unit. These products must also be sealed. Further, font size and date format are required to comply with FBA regulations.
Temperature-sensitive items must be able to withstand temperatures at least as low as 50 degrees and as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit, without quality being affected. Products like chocolate that are at risk of melting, are accepted only from October 1st to April 30th of a given year. Items that require refrigeration or freezing are FBA prohibited items.
This is a lot to consider. How do I remember it all?
You don’t have to!
Use the amazon seller app to scan an item or look up the UPC. Amazon will let you know whether an item is restricted, and give you details on selling eligibility (for example, whether you can only sell an item in used condition).
You can also use the app to contact seller support, in the event that you have additional questions.
What else do I need to know?
As long as you follow the guidelines and review the restricted categories carefully, you should be able to get your items up and selling with a fair amount of ease. Aside from those guidelines, to list items that fall into Amazon seller restricted categories, you’ll want to:
- Have inventory on hand before submitting your application
- Have a sales history to point to for the items in question (this can be outside of Amazon sales)
- Be able to provide images that meet required specs
- Be prepared to provide invoices for products in certain categories
FBA product restrictions sound scarier than they actually are. Most of these restrictions are common sense. Follow Amazon’s rules, stay organized, and follow the FIFO inventory method, and you will have nothing to worry about.