Part Two: Amazon Suspension Types and Prevention Tips Series

Amazon expects sellers to be fully up to date with all the current Amazon policies and guidelines. This includes understanding all the different types of violations, and implementing the best methods in order to avoid running into issues.

The second article in this serious will focus on product related suspensions. Since there are multiple types of product related suspensions, this article will cover less complicated violations which can be resolved by applying inventory changes, and submitting an effective appeal.

These types of suspensions are generally initiated by bots or customer complaints.


1. Used Sold as New Product Suspension
Below are some Amazon Condition Guidelines:

– NEW items: Each item is confirmed to be a brand-new, unused, unopened item in its original packaging, with all original packaging materials included. Original protective wrapping is intact. Original manufacturer’s warranty still applies, with warranty details included in the listing comments.

– USED-LIKE NEW items: Each item is confirmed to be apparently untouched in perfect condition. Original protective wrapping may be missing, but the original packaging is intact and pristine. There are absolutely no signs of wear on the item or its packaging. Instructions are included. Item is suitable for presenting as a gift.

In order to prevent “used sold as new” suspensions, sellers must monitor their inventory constantly to ensure that the condition of their items 100% matches Amazon Condition Guidelines. Any inventory that doesn’t match the specific guideline for that condition type, needs to be removed, or downgraded to the correct category.

Retail and online arbitrage sellers run into this type of suspension pretty frequently. If a seller purchases new products at a retail store, website, our outlet, they’ll have a very hard time proving the exact condition of those products once a buyer files a complaint. Since Amazon no longer considers retail stores, websites, or outlets as valid sources for inventory, sellers run into issues when trying to resolve this type of suspension.

Make sure to check your inventory on a daily basis to ensure that each item matches Amazon Condition Guidelines.


2. Incomplete Product Suspension

Since the majority of sellers don’t manufacture their own items, they rely on distributors to provide complete versions of the items they are listing on Amazon. What most sellers don’t realize is that catalog pages are mainly created by other sellers, or the brand owners themselves. Due to this, additional items may be included in the listings, but sellers don’t check these details for every item.

This results in sellers listing “incomplete” items when they believe that they have provided the full version of the listing. It is important to check the product detail page for each listing to ensure that each product matches the item that is listed on the Amazon catalog.

Pro tip: FBA sellers need to check items even more carefully. If a seller sends a batch of incomplete items to FBA, the seller will need to incur costs to return these items if they are connected to a suspension.


3. Not as Advertised/Wrong Item/Materially Different Product Suspension

With these type of violations, sellers’ usually list items which don’t 100% match the Amazon product detail pages, and believe that these listings are “close enough”. Also, sellers often list products by title instead of using the UPC code, which is required by Amazon.

There may be minor differences between the products and the listings, and sellers try to include some additional information in the description portion of the listing. Due to the fact that Amazon used to accept this method of listing products, many sellers aren’t aware that this method is no longer allowed.

In other cases, sellers’ list generic items against brand name versions, and they don’t realize that the item needs to completely match the product listing. It is very important that the UPC code, title, brand, description, and product details coincide with the Amazon listing.

Make sure you check every product against the Amazon listing to ensure there are no discrepancies.


4. Expired Product Suspension

Amazon has very stringent rules on expiration. This type of suspension typically applies to sellers who sell beauty, medicinal, or grocery products on Amazon. There’s a list of Amazon expiration guidelines which most sellers are not aware of.

According to Amazon Guidelines for merchant fulfilled items, only products with a shelf life greater than 90 days are allowed to be listed to a sellers Amazon inventory. Therefore, if an item is close to the 90 day cut off, it’s best not to add the item to avoid issues.

FBA Guidelines are even stricter since the items are shipped from Amazon facilities. We are providing a few of the Amazon FBA Expiration Guidelines below:

  • Expiration-dated products intended for regular application or consumption must have a remaining shelf life that includes the consumption period in addition to the 105 days. For example, a 240-count bottle of daily supplements must have a remaining shelf life of 240 days + an additional 105 days at the time of check-in at the fulfillment center.
  • Expiration dates must be displayed in the format MM-DD-YYYY or MM-YYYY. If the expiration date is in a different format, you must cover the existing date with a printed label with the expiration date in the correct format. Lot numbers alone are insufficient.
  • When you ship expiration-dated inventory to a fulfillment center, only 1 expiration date per ASIN is allowed in the same shipping box. Multiple ASINs can be shipped in the same box only if all of the ASINs in the box have the same expiration date.

There are many other rules that need to be followed carefully before shipping any beauty, medicinal, or grocery items to FBA. Items that are within 50 days of the expiration date at the time of arrival will be marked for disposal by Amazon. Also, inventory that has been designated for disposal will not be returned to sellers. Therefore, sellers will lose the money they spent on the merchandise and shipping the items to FBA facilities.

These types of suspensions are easy to prevent if you are carefully monitoring all of your listings, and manually checking inventory on a daily basis.

The next blog in the series will focus on more complicated product related suspensions, and provide further tips for prevention.

We always remind sellers to closely monitor all notices and warnings. All notices and warnings must be addressed immediately, and solutions need to be provided to Seller Performance to notate the account. These account notations will either prevent account suspensions, or in the case of an account suspension, these notations will speed up reinstatement after a follow up appeal plan is sent.

It is best to consult a professional when you receive any type of notice or warning in order to get the account notated. If you want a professional opinion, in addition to Reinstatement Services, Sellercare also provides Risk Assessment Services and Suspension Prevention Services.

Pro Tip: It is the best to consult a professional such as Sellercare once your account is suspended. In most cases, significant changes need to be made to seller account logistics, inventory, and sourcing before the appeal is prepared.

For more on what causes Amazon suspensions check out part one of the Suspension Types and Prevention Tips Series. Also, be sure to check out Sellercare’s list of 10 Things Never to do After an Amazon Seller Account Suspension.

Evelin Goldin
Evelin Goldin is the COO at Sellercare LLC. Sellercare LLC provides consulting and reinstatement services to Amazon sellers, and manages hundreds of sellers on a regular basis, including some of the top Amazon sellers worldwide. Sellercare LLC has assisted thousands of sellers with account reinstatement. She has over 18 years of experience dealing with Amazon. She worked for a company which was one of the first third party sellers on Amazon. She is an expert on Amazon practices, guidelines, policies, and suspensions. She works with sellers on a daily basis to assist with Amazon account notations, suspensions, and business practice optimization. Check out her company (www.sellercare.com).