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Amazon Restricted Products: Biggest Pitfalls To Avoid

In 2019 just about anyone can sell on Amazon, however, because of Amazon restricted products, everyone can't sell everything. With over 119,928,851 products on Amazon, there are many reasons why a specific category or product can restrict to Amazon sellers. Let's look at the common pitfalls Amazon FBA seller's need to avoid, in order to sell on on Amazon.com successfully.


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Biggest Pitfalls People Run Into With Restricted And Gated Products

Restricted products are products that every seller needs to watch out for. This goes for even seasoned sellers can get trapped by this.

As a seller, you'll see a good product opportunity. Then you just want to get in on it, but you need to make sure to look into these because just to be sure.

Gated products are sellable, but there's going to be some risk or some rules. You need to get a certification or you need to get approval from Amazon to sell it.

First, we're going to start out with restricted products and then we will go on to gated products. I'll tell you how you can get ungated.

 

Restricted Products On Amazon

So what’s the difference between restricted categories, restricted brands and restricted products?

Restricted brandsmake or manufacturer the products, such as Nike and Adidas. Third-party sellers are restricted from selling on Amazon. Restricted products are narrow product types, such as children’s toys containing lasers, that sellers need approval prior to selling. Restricted categories these are entire categories of products, such as Grocery & Gourmet Food. Sellers need approval to sell any product that falls within that category.

This is the official page about restricted products on Amazon. I suggest that everybody goes through and reads this.

I'm a big advocate for RTFM and Mark Cuban always says RTFM.

That's one of his main principles and that's how he became a billionaire. "Read The F*** Manual" (RTFM). That's what he says. So, do it.

Go read all the rules about selling. This is your contract, your agreement with Amazon. Learn it to a tee. I've learned so many things and I’ve received so much money back.

Really, I sell them faster than other sellers because I know all the rules. I just followed them.

I know which ones I can bend, which ones I can't, and which ones you shouldn't break. I've read a bunch of other books about Amazon too and talk to people that work there.

Don't sell restricted products. It's a good way to get your account banned and you're listing taken off.

In certain categories, you can get approved to selling them, but you have to get pre-approval before you even list in them.

Read more: 5 Steps To Success On Amazon FBA

 

Types of Restricted Products On Amazon

Alcohol

alcohol amazon restricted product

Photo: pexels.com

Nobody can sell alcohol on Amazon from my understanding. I know Amazon can though.

They now have a liquor license through the purchase of Whole Foods in every single state. It isn’t one of the main reasons. If you look up wine, you can’t.

You can get wine racks, but you can't buy physical wine on Amazon. It’s just the rules. So go through, read all of the categories.

 

Eclipse Glasses And Filters For Solar Viewing

That one was added by me. It would have happened regardless, but I was a big part of making this happening. 

What happens is basically these are restricted unless you have certification. Some of them you just flat out, can't sell. Some of them you can sell, but you have to get approval.

With eclipse glasses, there's a danger. Someone could become physically blind.

Whenever there's danger or loss again, the product becomes restricted and then there are further rules. Not everybody can just list it.

You have to have your company name, seller ID, email address, etc.

This is a big thing. You need to have your stuff with this exact certification. The certification is needed so that they know that you are a legitimate seller. That's what it is. Or you could say, “We purchase from one of these.” 

 

Organic Products

organic products

Photo: Pexels.com

Basically, if you're going to sell anything with a certification or whatnot, you have to prove that you actually have that because there are so many fake sellers that just go up there and say they have a certification and they don't. It happens everywhere, all the time.

This is where the world is going. This is where it's really, really important.

Getting your certifications and actually making sure that you have certified products from a legitimate company. You’re going to need it to even sell in a lot of categories. 

You need it to protect yourself legally in case of a lawsuit or just to protect your customers, everything. That's what we got to say. 

We've covered a little bit of what restricted products are. Some of them you need certification. Some of them you just can't sell.  

 

Gambling and Lottery

Photo: Pexels.com

You can't sell lottery tickets. It doesn't matter how many certifications. Amazon's never going to let you sell lottery tickets. It’s common sense.

 

Stolen Property and Lock Picking Devices (Lock Picks)

A lot of people you'll find look like they're going to make a lot of money.

Amazon doesn't want any liability at all. Think about that. That's driving, motivating force of Amazon.

They don't want any liability, so they're not going to allow you to sell stuff that's used to break laws. Sometimes, they will give you examples and everything. 

But here's the question and the takeaway. I want to be actionable.

How do you know if a product is restricted or if you could sell it because these rules are kind of vague and whatnot? 

 

Shoplifting Devices

What do they consider a shoplifting device? What comes down to the rep and everything? 

Here’s the rule. Go to Amazon, log in. Go to Contact Us on the top or right your Amazon seller account. Just contact them, pretty much about any other issue. You just need to get it through to the right person and ask Amazon.

That's what you need to do. You can ask for two things. Are you allowed to sell this and do you need any certifications to sell it on Amazon? That's basically all you need to know. 

If I found a lock pick and I wanted to know if I can sell a lock pick. I would go to 'lock picking device'. This is what is confusing about this because you'll look these up and you'll actually see products that would be like this 'Kit Set for Training'. 

These people are getting around the rules by not calling it a lock picking set, but it's a lock picking set. Let's be honest. Some of them will say lock picking kit, but they'll get taken down quickly.

If we look on Viral Launch, this is going to be killer. It’s going to be five stars. I guarantee it's going to look like a home run. Normally, restricted products look like home runs. If they don't do the research, it could say five stars.

 

Deeper Product Research And Knowing The Rules

I'll give you an example of my friends and I were just looking at. I went through the whole process with them and it was like, "Whoa, this sounds like a great idea!”

It was a capsule filling machine or something like that. This isn't the right term, but essentially if you look at these, they're doing crazy numbers it’s to make your own drugs or to make your own supplement.

I would actually use this because if I want to buy bulk supplements and then fill and make my own pills, I could save and pay one-fourth of the price as if I'm paying somebody else to supplement fill these for me.

Essentially just getting rid of the middleman and the private label but I'm not allowed to do that.

Looking this up it does $32,000 revenue with 32 reviews. You're not allowed to sell this. So, look in the restricted product categories.

 

Drugs and Drug Paraphernalia

Photo: Pexels.com

This one was what was questionable. This is an example. It didn't look like at first, but it's considered drug paraphernalia.

Examples of permitted listings

  • Drugs approved for over the counter

Prohibited listings Examples 

  • Products that simulate the effects of drugs, seeds or plants like stuff to grow drugs
  • Bath salts 
  • Drug pill Paraphernalia
    •  Dab kits
    •  Vapes

Even there’s a restriction on fidget spinners. You have to have certain certifications and approve certain stuff to them. 

 

Sex Products

Now, here's a big thing on sex. Not only do you have to have certain certifications, but you also have to list it on another Amazon website.

There's a dark Amazon site where this dirty sex stuff is and you can't show up on normal Amazon search. People have to go to this other Amazon site to search. It's very hard.

You can't do ads so it's very hard to sell sex products and rank them just giving you guys a heads up. There's a lot of money in it, though.

So, my friend did this. Basically, my friend, I told him to send a message to Amazon, give an example listing, and use my script.

 

Getting Permission From Amazon

So basically he said, "Hey, well, you know, we have a product that we were looking to sell or we're looking to sell a product identical to this. Are there any certifications or listings that are required for this for us to sell this on Amazon?"

Amazon will tell you if it's good or not. If you get it in writing from Amazon, you now have an email for proof so that if something were to happen to your account because of this, you could just be like, "Hey Amazon, you guys told me I could do this. I asked you."

Always ask for permission if you're going to do something that's potentially dangerous on your account.

So that's what we did here. It wasn't clear. But I told him to just read through all of it and send it in and delegate stuff.

He got an answer back from Amazon saying that he could not sell it. It's a restricted product.  So, he saved a lot of money. He literally put $4,000 in to buy this. 

There are bad Chinese sellers that are just doing this. None of these listings exist for very long. That's another thing to remember for a restricted product. Low reviews and the listings don't have a long history.

You could go and look at camelcamelcamel.com. You’ll be able to see what is a restricted product or not. 

Let's see, camelcamelcamel.com, put in the ASIN on there, or you could just copy the URL. That would probably be easier for people that are new. 

So, that's the name of the game. That is restricted products.

 

Amazon FBA Product Requirements For Approval?

  • Being on the professional selling plan
  • Completion of the application form
  • Good performance metrics, which generally means:
  • Order Defect Rate less than 1%
  • Pre-Fulfillment Cancellation rate less than 2.5%
  • Late Shipment Rate less than 4%
  • Evidence of authenticity (such as proof that your suppliers are licensed dealers)
  • Acceptable invoices for your inventory
  • A company website

 

Gated Products On Amazon

Now we're going to talk about Gated Products and what Gated Products are. These are different. This is an entire category-wide. 

There’s restricted and then there are products which meet specific criteria and then there are entire categories.

Categories are huge. The way that Amazon worked, in the beginning, is they would just do large category restrictions.

The Amazon bid first started out with only the category, books. Then they added certain types of big electronics and they slowly added products category by category. That's how Amazon actually got started. 

Then, they started to see problems and the certain categories required approval. Now, it seems they're taking less and less of the approval list. Now, they're just adding Restricted Products.

What they would do is if there was something potentially dangerous, like beauty, they would have it restricted and you had to get approval because there are some dangerous beauty creams if you have bad ingredients. That’s the way it works.

Now, it's just restricted for certain parts within the categories because the categories are so huge and broad.

I suggest whenever you're watching this, go and read for yourself. Look at the Amazon rules. “Read the f*** manual (RTF)”, Mark Cuban says.

It's always changing. You have to stay up to date.

 

Categories and products approved requiring approval:

  • Selling toys and games in the holiday season
  • Amazon watches with the warranties,
  • Videos, DVDs, Blu-rays
  • Collectible coins
  • Streaming media players

Examine additional category guidelines for every single category that you potentially want to sell it. Most don't have them, but some do.

There is, of course, restricted products like Hoverboards, laser pointers, and related products.

If you want to get approved for anything, you need to look at the documentation that's required. You need to provide that to them. Some of them will require you to get invoice from your supplier. 

Just know that if it's in a Gated Category, you have to get ungated before you can sell it.

And then, if it's in a Restricted Product, you have to get approved to sell that. Otherwise, it's could be very bad. So, don't do that.

Correctly doing product research and finding profitable private label products, is the key to massive success on Amazon FBA. Therefore, it is imperative that you fully under what you can and can not sell on Amazon, before investing in any products.

 

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