We’re wrapping up our series on Policy Suspensions with a handful of miscellaneous and easy to avoid suspension reasons. That is to say, if you follow the rules and pay attention, you should never get flagged for any of these reasons.
The first is Forbidden/Restricted products. There is a slight difference here. Forbidden products must never, under any circumstances be listed for sale. Restricted items are kept under lock and key inside of gated categories. Only authorized sellers can sell in these categories. It’s fairly easy to get unlocked as long as you provide the checklist of items Amazon’s asking for in proper format, the first time. If you get denied and are sure you have provided everything in the proper format, try resubmitting at different times of day when shift changes occur. It may just be that your application needs a more seasoned eye to review it. I had to submit my application for Health & Beauty 3 times (and I didn’t change a thing) before it was accepted. It all had to do with the reviewer. Click the links to view Restricted Products, Forbidden Items, andCategories that need to be Ungated. Print it out and put it right in front of your face. There is zero reason to get suspended for this because you “didn’t know.”
Expired Items are another easy suspension to avoid as long as you know the rules. You typically only have to worry about expiration dates on food and health and beauty items, but there are a few others categories that could potentially be included . Basically, if the item has an expiration date of any kind, if it’s perishable or something that can be used on the skin, CHECK THAT DATE! Amazon will pull items from their shelves 50 days before expiration, destroy them, and charge you for the item. If you’re selling via FBA, do not assume Amazon will take care of this for you. They’re not your inventory or quality control manager. You are! They may do it once or twice for you, but any more than that and you will get flagged for suspension. You may have to do a bit of math to figure this one out, but here’s a good general formula:
50 days (Amazon’s policy) + Time it takes to ship to Amazon’s warehouse from you + Time it would take to ship from Amazon to customer (do not assume Prime shipping) + Sell Through Rate of product. Assuming you purchased retail arbitrage and are piggy-backing on an established seller, you can view the STR per month using a program like Jungle Scout to determine how long your item will sit in the warehouse before being sold. A safe bet would be to not send in anything less than 90 days from expiration, but a safer bet would be nothing less than 180 days from expiration.
Finally, we need to address Manipulating the Platform. Many of us have been guilty of this due to either being ignorant of Amazon’s definition of this or because we were taught by other Amazon StartUp Courses that versions of this are ok. So let’s break it down to make sure you don’t get caught in this net. First, and this should be a no-brainer, don’t offer services like ungating or ghost accounts if you are a seller. Amazon has highly skilled ninja robots that have the capacity to search out the connection between your selling account and your other business accounts. Don’t risk it for a little extra money! It’s not worth it.
Are you using a feedback email service like Feedback Genius? Cool! Just be careful how you use it. Asking for a review is one thing, but offering a discount code in exchange for one is a no-no. Emailing more than 2-3 times asking for a review is considered spam and giving a heads up about your other products and offerings is also not cool. Above all else, never ever, ever never, offer to pay for reviews whether it be via email or one of those slick websites where you can offer your Amazon merch for free in exchange for reviews. Any way you slice it, Amazon will cut you!
If you want to be slick… If you are unethical… If you want to take short cuts, you WILL get popped and it WILL be nasty. Amazon does not play around when it comes to their policies and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been selling for 20 days or 20 years with them. Amazon is no respecter of persons when it comes to policy violations. It is so much easier to avoid them than it is to fight them. So be smart. Be prepared. And be successful.