Understanding Amazon Restricted Products And How To Sell Them

Trading on Amazon is undoubtedly one of the most promising avenues for e-commerce, offering unparalleled access to millions of customers worldwide.

However, many sellers feel a bit intimidated by the labyrinth of rules and policies, particularly when they come across what is known as ‘Amazon restricted products‘ and as many have learned, navigating Amazon’s policies can be like crossing a minefield blindfolded.

One misstep, such as attempting to sell a restricted product unknowingly, can have you waving goodbye to your hard-earned seller reputation.

Yes, the world of Amazon restricted products can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a roadblock on your journey to e-commerce success.

In fact, our founder, Jo Barnes, is a classic example whose remarkable Amazon journey tells us that with the right knowledge and careful planning, you can turn this potential obstacle into an opportunity.

So, let’s get started.

Understanding Amazon’s Restricted Product Policy

Amazon’s restricted product policy is a necessary measure to ensure the marketplace’s integrity, safety, and legality. It’s the company’s way of steering clear of any potential legal or liability issues tied to selling illegal, unsafe, or otherwise unsuitable products.

This policy, although it can seem daunting, is in place to protect both the sellers and the buyers, ensuring that every purchase made on Amazon can be done with confidence.

Regional Variations in Restricted Products

The list of Amazon restricted products and categories can vary depending on the marketplace. For instance, the list of restricted products in the United States might differ from the list in the United Kingdom.

The differences reflect local regulations and consumer safety standards, which Amazon respects and adheres to in each region where it operates.

Let’s focus on the US market based on the latest update from Amazon.

Here’s a list of categories that indicate one or more restricted products in them, so it is important for sellers to be aware of this to avoid getting in trouble:

  • Alcohol
  • Animals & Animal-Related Products
  • Art – Fine Art
  • Art – Home Decor
  • Automotive and powersports
  • Composite Wood Products
  • Cosmetics and Skin and hair care
  • CPAP Cleaning and Disinfecting Devices
  • Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
  • Dietary supplements
  • Drugs and drug paraphernalia
  • Electronics
  • Explosives, weapons, and related items
  • Export Controls
  • Food & Beverage
  • Gambling & Lottery
  • Hazardous and prohibited items
  • Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
  • Jewelry & Precious Gems
  • Laser products
  • Lighting
  • Lock Picking & Theft Devices
  • Medical devices and accessories
  • Offensive and Controversial Materials
  • Other restricted products
  • Pest control products and pesticides
  • Plant and Seed Products
  • Postage meters and stamps
  • Recalled products
  • Recycling electronics
  • Refrigerants: Ozone-Depleting Substances and Substitutes
  • Strike anywhere matches
  • Subscriptions and Periodicals
  • Surveillance Equipment
  • Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
  • Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
  • Upholstered Furniture, Bedding, & Other Quilted Products
  • Federal Emissions – Products requiring EPA Certificate of Conformity
  • Children’s footwear
  • Children’s apparel
  • Automotive tires, wheels, and rims
image for the subheading additional related policies according to amazon

Here are additional details regarding the above mentioned categories pertaining to Amazon’s restricted products policy.

  • Certain categories require prior approval from Amazon before listing items in those categories.
  • Certain categories require sellers to submit additional information and/or a supplementary guarantee prior to listing items in those categories.
  • For those engaging in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), it is advisable to review the FBA Product Restriction page, which outlines products ineligible for the FBA program.
  • Specific products are subject to further regulations within the state of California.
  • If you intend to list items for international purchase, it is your responsibility to conduct thorough research to ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations for the listed items.
  • Products that make claims such as “FDA Cleared,” “FDA approved,” or include the FDA logo in associated images must meet additional requirements (for more details, refer to: Is It Really ‘FDA Approved’? and FDA Logo Policy)

Getting Ungated: An Opportunity to Sell Restricted Products

Despite the restrictions, Amazon does not entirely shut the door on sellers willing to sell these products.

There is a process known as ‘getting ungated‘, where sellers can obtain special permission to sell in restricted or gated categories. This process is not straightforward and requires the seller to follow specific steps and meet certain requirements.

Learn How to Build Your Own 7-Figure Amazon FBA Business

Part of the Junglescout suite of excellent FBA tools, the learning academy is a comprehensive video training library containing hours of content, including training videos, webinars, and interviews with successful Amazon sellers.

Whether you’re just starting your business, or growing your brand, get expert training from Amazon sellers without the hefty price tag.

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Ungated

So, you’ve made your peace with the fact that you’re dealing with restricted products on Amazon, and you’re eager to embark on the journey of getting ungated.

But where do you start? Well, here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Step 1: Set Up a Professional Seller Account

To even begin to think about getting ungated, you’ll need a professional seller account. Sign up for one by complying the Amazon seller requirements. This isn’t a suggestion—it’s a requirement. And while there are exceptions for certain categories, for most of them, you’ll need this professional seller account.

Step 2: Establish a Wholesaler Account

Next, it’s time to set up a wholesale seller account. When you do, ensure that the address for this account matches the one on your regular account. Remember, if the name of your LLC and your Amazon name are different, make sure to include both.

Step 3: Start a Short Order History

This step is a bit of a commitment. You’ll need to purchase around 10 products from three different categories that you want to get ungated in.

For example, you could buy 10 collectible books, 10 grocery items, and 10 watches. While you might be tempted to start selling these items right away, remember that your goal here is to get through the ungating process.

Step 4: Get A Reliable Supplier

Once you have identified which products you want to sell, it is critical that you find a reliable supplier that not only provides you with good quality products but also ensures a steady and consistent supply for your inventory.

This is essential when you need to maintain your seller reputation and keep up with customer demand, which can also result in generating positive feedback and reviews for your store, especially when you are selling limited-category products.

Step 5: Collect and Scan the Invoices

When you get the invoices for your purchases, make copies of them and set the originals aside for safekeeping. You can make marks or additions on the copies, but not on the originals. When making copies, make sure the following information is included:

  • Your seller name is at the top.
  • Each product on the invoice has its ASIN, UPC, and item model number beside it.
  • Product images, if you’re trying to get ungated in Shoes, Clothing and Accessories, Luggage and Travel, or Handbags and Sunglasses.
  • The copies are in hi-res.

Step 6: Apply to Amazon for Selling Approval

Now, it’s time to approach Amazon for selling privileges in the category you want to get ungated in. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, so make sure to do it during normal business hours for a faster response.

If you get permission, you can start creating product listings and selling items in that category. If you don’t, Amazon will give you an explanation why, which should help you modify your application and try again.

This process might seem a bit daunting, but remember, once you’re ungated, a whole new world of selling opportunities will open up for you on Amazon.

And with a little patience and determination, you can navigate Amazon’s restricted products and carve out a niche for yourself in this vibrant marketplace.

How to Register Restricted Products for Selling

image for the subheading how to register restricted products for selling

Now that you have passed the ungating process, it’s time to obtain special permission from Amazon to sell in a category that doesn’t normally allow sellers to sign up and start selling immediately once their product gets approved.

To apply for selling in restricted categories on Amazon, you must go through Amazon’s category approval process. Here are the 10 general steps you would follow:

1. Sign in to Seller Central: Use your Amazon seller account to sign in to Seller Central. If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one.

screenshot of amazon seller central log in page

2. Go to the Inventory tab: Once you’re signed in, look for the “Inventory” tab in the main navigation menu and click on it.

screenshot of inventory tab

3. Select Add a Product: Under the “Inventory” tab, select the “Add a Product” option.

screenshot of manage inventory

4. Search for the item you want to sell: In the search bar, enter the name or UPC/EAN/ISBN of the product you want to sell.

screenshot of search options

5. Check if the product is in a restricted category: If the product is in a restricted category, you will see a listing limitations apply notification with a ‘Request Approval‘ button.

screenshot of a restricted product

6. Click on ‘Request Approval’: Clicking this will start the application process for that particular category.

screenshot of products pending for approval

7. Complete the application form: You’ll be asked to provide information about your business and your product. The exact information required varies by category, but it may include product images, invoices, certificates of authenticity, or other documentation.

8. Submit the application: Once you’ve filled out all the necessary information, submit the application.

9. Wait for Amazon’s response: Amazon will review your application and respond via email. The timeline for this can vary, but it’s usually within a few days.

10. Respond to any follow-up requests: Amazon may ask for additional information or clarifications. Make sure to respond promptly and thoroughly to any follow-up requests.

Please note that the steps may vary slightly depending on the category and the specific restrictions that apply to it, as well as any policy updates that may occur at any given time.

So always refer to Amazon’s Seller Central for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Also, keep in mind that getting approval to sell in a restricted category does not guarantee that all your products in that category will be approved. Each product must also comply with Amazon’s policies and guidelines.

Bonus Hack: Using Restricted but High Ranking Search Terms

image for the subheading bonus hack with a bonus tag and a magnifying glass focused on a key

Here’s a tested hack by some sellers for using high-ranking but restricted keywords on Amazon.

But take caution and tread carefully, as Amazon has strict rules against keyword stuffing or using misleading or incorrect keywords. It also prohibits the use of brand names or other protected words unless you have the right to use them.

Violating these rules can lead to penalties.

1. Identify Suitable Keywords: From your keyword research, identify high search intent keywords that are relevant to your product but are restricted, such as “pesticides,” “heal,” “mould resistant,” etc. Make sure these keywords truly apply to your product and are not misleading in any way.

2. Formulate a Question for the Q&A Section: With the selected keywords in mind, form a question that incorporates these keywords and is related to your product. The question should be something that a potential customer might genuinely ask.

3. Answer the Question Using Restricted Keywords: Provide an answer to the question you’ve posed using one or more of the selected restricted keywords. Make sure the answer is informative, accurate, and naturally incorporates the keywords.

4. Monitor Your Product Ranking: After implementing this strategy, keep an eye on your product’s ranking for the targeted keywords using Amazon seller tools. Amazon’s search algorithm has been found to index and rank these keywords used in the Q&A section.

Remember to always follow Amazon’s guidelines and policies when implementing any kind of optimization strategy.

Misleading customers or trying to game the system can lead to penalties, including the suspension of your seller account. Always prioritize providing accurate, useful information to your customers.

Amazon Restricted Products- FAQs

What happens if I sell restricted products on Amazon?

If you sell restricted products on Amazon without proper approval, your selling privileges may be temporarily or permanently removed. You may also face additional legal and financial consequences, depending on the nature and severity of the violation.

How do I get approval to sell restricted products on Amazon?

You can apply for approval to sell restricted products directly through Amazon Seller Central. The approval process may require you to provide additional documentation, such as invoices, licenses, or certifications.

Are there any fees for selling restricted products on Amazon?

There are no additional fees for selling restricted products specifically, but standard Amazon seller fees still apply. In some cases, you may need to pay for necessary certifications or licenses.

Can I appeal if my request to sell a restricted product is denied?

Yes, if Amazon denies your request, you can appeal the decision. However, you’ll need to provide new or additional information that addresses Amazon’s reasons for the denial.

Are all restricted products also prohibited on Amazon?

Not necessarily. A product being restricted means that there are extra steps or requirements for selling it, but it doesn’t mean that the product is completely prohibited. However, some products are both restricted and prohibited.

What’s the difference between a restricted and a prohibited product on Amazon?

A restricted product is a product that requires additional approval or qualifications to be sold, whereas a prohibited product is not allowed to be sold on Amazon under any circumstances.

Can I sell used versions of restricted products?

It depends on the product. Some restricted products may be sold used if they meet Amazon’s conditions for used items, but others may require that they be new. Always check the specific restrictions for the product you wish to sell.

Learn How to Build Your Own 7-Figure Amazon FBA Business

Part of the Junglescout suite of excellent FBA tools, the learning academy is a comprehensive video training library containing hours of content, including training videos, webinars, and interviews with successful Amazon sellers.

Whether you’re just starting your business, or growing your brand, get expert training from Amazon sellers without the hefty price tag.

Amazon Restricted Products- Summary

Selling on Amazon is a great opportunity, but it comes with responsibilities. As long as you follow the guidelines and respect the rules, you’ll be able to grow your business successfully on this platform.

Always ensure that you’re familiar with Amazon’s list of restricted products for your country or marketplace, and if you’re looking to sell in a restricted category, be prepared to go through the ungating process.

Remember, Amazon’s priority is to maintain a safe and trustworthy marketplace for its customers, and as sellers, it’s our responsibility to uphold that trust.

By respecting these restrictions and guidelines, you’ll be able to build a successful business on Amazon’s platform without any unwanted surprises or penalties.

About the author

Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links, from which, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and services I’ve used or would use myself. If you choose to purchase from any of my links, thanks so much for your support! 😊

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