Running your Amazon business requires you to play by their rules. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting removed as a seller.
When you start selling on Amazon, you agree to some Selling Services Terms. You’re required to keep these terms. You can find these terms on Amazon’s Seller Central website here.
Amazon can also ban you for other reasons. Most of these reasons boil down to bad customer service. If the customer has a bad experience ordering from you when you’re going through Amazon to ship to them, you’re making Amazon look bad. The buyer doesn’t think of you the individual seller; they think of the platform as a whole. That reflects poorly on Amazon’s reputation, and they won’t have that.
Suspension vs. Ban
Amazon likely isn’t going to ban you outright for small infringements. Most of the time, they’ll send you warnings to let you know that a behavior you’ve engaged in isn’t appropriate. However, depending on the severity of the infringement, you might get outright banned with no warning.
Here are some specific ways in which you can get banned from selling on Amazon.
Creating Inaccurate Listings
Creating inaccurate listings is a way of misleading your customers. When buyers get items they didn’t buy, or when those items significantly differ from the photos you put up, you’re likely to get many complaints. Amazon is all about supporting buyers, so if something doesn’t work out to their favor, they’re going to come after you for it.
Selling Prohibited Items
Not all items are allowed for sale on Amazon. Selling any of these prohibited items is a surefire way to get removed as a seller.
- Alcoholic Beverages
- Defective items
- Expired items
- Gift cards or gift certificates
- Loose batteries
- Mislabeled items
Amazon prohibits these items from being sold because many of them are dangerous to ship or can cause issues while in transit.
Restricted products are those that aren’t completely banned, but they require approval before you’re allowed to sell them.
Selling Counterfeit Items
Counterfeit items are illegal, and Amazon does not associate with selling illegal goods in any way. Amazon prevents you from selling illicit goods. They won’t be liable for any lawsuits that come up when one of their sellers is found with illegal products on their site.
Doing so can result in legal consequences other than your account getting banned, such as money being withheld and destruction of the illegal goods within Amazon’s warehouse.
It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure that goods are sourced legally.
Counterfeit items include bootlegs, pirated goods, and products that infringe upon the intellectual property of another company. Keep inventory records to show the authenticity of your goods. If your books have been tampered with to hide the sale of counterfeits, your account will be terminated.
Ignoring Trademarks and Copyright
Related to selling counterfeit items, Amazon doesn’t allow you to sell products that you don’t have the copyright to reproduce. If you create things that have intellectual property that belongs to someone else, you can’t sell them on Amazon.
Resellers will sell name brand products as used. However, selling someone else’s brand as new is illegal and is a copyright infringement.
Many sellers also come to Amazon to sell their copyrighted products. Allowing other sellers to infringe upon that would be providing a less than stellar selling experience on their platform. Amazon wants to reward ingenious product creators and to do that they need to uphold copyright laws.
You also cannot use the photos or copy someone else has used in their product description, as those are copyrighted as well.
Selling Poor Quality Items
When buyers go to Amazon, they expect to get useful, high-quality items to meet their needs. Bad quality items reflect poorly on you and Amazon. Customers have specific expectations of product quality, and if it isn’t met, you’re going to get flagged.
Examples of poor quality include things that are expired, have significant defects, or products that break easily. If your product gets too many poor reviews, your account will attract restrictions and suspensions.
Neglecting to Address Shipping Issues
Amazon understands that sometimes things happen. But if you have shipping issues, or don’t offer tracking services for your items, you’re going to get in trouble.
When you regularly have shipping issues, consumers can’t rely on you to deliver your products and hold up your end of the bargain. Amazon considers this poor customer service because you aren’t delivering the goods promised.
When things go wrong, do everything in your power to deliver a stellar consumer experience. Issue a refund quickly, offer to ship another item for free, or inquire with your shipping provider to see what happened.
Buying or Otherwise Influencing Reviews
Buying reviews means you aren’t representing your product accurately to your consumers. Many of them rely on reviews to help influence their purchasing decisions.
Buying reviews is a dishonest way to represent your product as something it’s not.
You also cannot ask customers for good reviews. You can ask them to leave reviews once you’ve delivered the product, but you cannot influence what type of review it is in any way. Generally, if you provide excellent service and a good product, you’re likely to get a useful review.
Directing Buyers Away From Amazon
You cannot direct consumers away from Amazon in any way. Doing so is considered stealing away customers from Amazon, which they’ve worked hard to bring to their platform.
Activities that would fall under this type of prohibited action include:
- Sending emails to take consumers away from the platform
- Including links or URLs to sites outside of the platform
Amazon is not the place to try to build a platform for your website. You’ll have to turn to other marketing methods for that.
Canceling Too Many Orders
Managing your inventory is an essential aspect of running your Amazon business. If you don’t list the right number of products available in your warehouse, you won’t be able to fulfill all of your orders.
Too many canceled orders will result in your account getting banned.
Selling Your Account or Having Too Many Accounts
Selling your account is a big no-no on Amazon’s platform. The company expects you to be forthright about who you are, what you do, and whom you serve.
Seller accounts aren’t transferable. Each seller enters into an agreement with Amazon about how they use the account. Selling your account is seen as breaking that agreement. Additionally, someone who buys an account is not the person who entered into the contract. So they may not be bound to the same regulations.
You can add new users to your account so long as business ownership isn’t changing hands. Should that happen, you’re expected to create a new seller account entirely.
Any of these actions have the potential to get you removed as a seller. Avoid them at all costs and let your staff know that they need to stay away from these actions as well.