Being the largest online marketplace of all time, Amazon sure is a big opportunity for all the sellers out there. Almost every product imaginable is now there on Amazon. While the marketplace allows sellers to sell a number of products, one must note that it is also the ultimate decider. That means Amazon gets to approve or disapprove of your product if it breaks any of the seller rules. And even if somehow you manage to get your listing live, you’ll be susceptible to Amazon account suspension.
If your product is unfit for selling on Amazon, you might not be completely banned, but it wouldn’t rank or make a sale until it passes the scrutiny of the marketplace.
Common causes of Amazon account suspension
Multiple seller accounts without permission
It’s understandable that certain businesses have a legitimate need for a second Amazon seller account. But to go forward with it, you need to obtain prior permission from the marketplace. Failing to seek permission is one of the reasons why seller accounts are suspended. Amazon identifies accounts that are being accessed via the same IP address, bank info, email address, Tax ID, etc. To avoid getting into trouble, you must refrain from operating two seller accounts without Amazon’s approval.
Selling prohibited products
According to Amazon selling rules and policies, certain products that fall under unsafe or restricted category are banned. If you try to sell any of the restricted products, you might end up getting your Amazon account banned. So, before you list your products on Amazon, make sure that you first go through all the rules.
Suspicious account activity
Amazon seller accounts are a treasure trove of information for hackers. They often change bank details of sellers to siphon out funds. Amazon has a strong framework to identify such suspicious activities and immediately suspends the respective seller account. At other times, the seller figures out that their account has been hacked and informs Amazon. While the seller may not actually be at fault in such a case, it still ends up in account suspension. To avoid fund loss and suspension, make sure your account is protected with cyber security and appropriate account verification codes.
Copying someone else’s images and content
Many sellers copy another seller’s product images or product descriptions without permission. Such a theft of intellectual property is strictly prohibited on Amazon. Any seller following such practices will be immediately suspended. So, even if you are using someone else’s product image, make sure you have obtained the rights to do so from the respective seller. If it has been copied illegally, it is advised to take it down to stay out of trouble.
Too many complaints
Unhappy buyers often leave complaints and negative feedback behind. Since Amazon gives a lot of emphasis on customer satisfaction, repeated complaints can lead to Amazon account suspension. To avoid this, sellers must ensure that they offer quality products and customer service to their buyers. Sellers must also respond to buyer complaints and take measures to solve their problems as soon as possible.
Amazon is one of the most customer-centric eCommerce marketplaces out there. And they’re already striving hard to avoid anything that causes the CX to fall, which is why they have now introduced HazMat review. Let’s learn more about it.
HazMat review – The new Sheriff in town
HazMat stands for Hazardous Material. Simply put, Hazmat reviews are inspections by Amazon where it determines whether or not your product is safe to be sold on Amazon. If your product fails to pass the HazMat test, your listing could very well be suspended, thus losing out on sales.
The problem with this inspection is that it is quite unpredictable and has affected many sellers to date. Interestingly, some of them were old sellers who were doing just fine before they came under the HazMat scrutiny. Amazon has made the seller guidelines stricter, which is why Amazon sellers have to face this constant fear of getting their listings suppressed or suspended.
HazMat can be a bit confusing and often leaves sellers frustrated as to what to do to avoid getting their Amazon account closed. But there are things that you can do to protect your listing from a HazMat review and thus keep running your business on Amazon smoothly. Knowledge is the key. So let’s get down to knowing all about HazMat and Amazon account suspension.
What’s the fuss anyway?
You won’t get to the solution without getting a deep understanding of the problem. So, it makes sense to know more about HazMat reviews and the real deal with it. As the name suggests, Hazardous Material Review is an inspection that Amazon conducts to find out if a particular product is safe for customers and other stakeholders. Any product that poses a risk to health, property, environment, transporting, etc. will be restricted on Amazon. This goes for any product that is flammable, corrosive, pressurized or any other thing that’s harmful.
What does it mean for the sellers?
Clearly, Amazon is very serious about the safety factor. So, sellers need to ensure that the products they send to Amazon’s warehouses satisfy all the legal requirements and the related product information is complete, credible, and correct in all senses. Failing to provide correct information can get your Amazon account banned, thus debarring you from all the privileges of selling on Amazon.
Mind it, if your product is found to be unsafe at the time of arrival at the fulfillment center, Amazon will discard it (or throw it out) at that very instant.
HazMat is in to shake the sellers up – But why?
Amazon has been hit with many penalties and fines wherein improper labeling of the product proved to be hazardous during the shipment or post-delivery. This is a reason why Amazon is now taking every possible measure to ensure that everything is safe.
So, any product that contains even the tiniest amount of hazardous material will go under HazMat review. Let’s take a deeper dive into what kind of products are the most susceptible to this review.
Beware! Amazon’s watching you (and your products)!
Amazon is very particular about the security and safety of its employees and customers. So, don’t be surprised if your paperback book is called in for a HazMat review. Amazon will take anything under review including apparel, automotive, books, baby products, office supplies, beauty products, etc. Potentially anything and everything!
For example, one of the biggest industries that’s under scrutiny is the Health and Beauty industry. Beauty products usually contain liquids, semi-solids, gels, etc. which, if included in the improper composition, can be flammable and hazardous under certain temperature conditions and/or pressure changes. Such products are also difficult to ship as they need to be handled with care. So, ingredients in each of the products will be studied until it is made sure that they are safe to store, ship, and use under varying environmental conditions.
While this is true for some products, there are some others that have been identified as downright “dangerous” by Amazon. And so, these will only be accepted in very limited quantities. Any product containing “more than permitted” amount of the following ingredients will be banned on Amazon:
- Flammable solids, liquids, and gases
- Non-flammable and non-toxic gases
- Organic peroxides
- Corrosive substances
- Toxic substances
The products falling under any of the following categories are banned and won’t be accepted under any circumstances. No reviewing required, whatsoever:
- Infectious elements
- Radioactive materials
- Toxic gases
- Combustible products
- Products dangerous when wet
- Your product may be under review – Here’s what you can do.
Well, none of the products is safe and there’s a very good chance that almost all of them will be reviewed once. But don’t worry, if any of your offerings is under review, you will be informed. If your product needs to be reviewed, Amazon will contact you through an email via your seller account. They will inform you about the product under review along with the time it will take to get through the review process. The email would look something like this:
“Product Under Dangerous Goods (Hazmat) Review
This product is under dangerous goods (Hazmat) review, which can take up to four (4) business days. If the product is FBA-eligible, you will be able to create a listing at that time. You can also provide additional classification information.”
The timeframe may be longer than the one mentioned in the email but that shouldn’t affect you. In fact, there are more important things that you must do to avoid getting your Amazon account closed.
If your product is picked for HazMat review, here’s how you must proceed:
- You’ll need to prepare a case through which you will convince Amazon that your product is safe to store and ship and abides by all the rules of Amazon.
- All such details must be included in the SDS sheet i.e. Safety Data Sheet. This sheet will contain all the data from the manufacturer’s side, including the product’s history, nature of its ingredients, composition in detail, etc. Other than this, the sheet must also comprise information related to product handling and ways to dispose it off in case of leakage.
- Amazon safety data sheet should also be updated with details of the past five years and must match your product listing. The supplier information must be included and all 16 standard sections must be completed.
- As proof that your product is safe under all transportation conditions, you may also provide Amazon with evidence from a transportation agency that might have dealt with your product shipping recently.
Better be prepared than be sorry later!
HazMat review will probably not skip any of the products out there. So as an Amazon seller, it is better to be prepared in advance. Here are some more ways to avoid Amazon account suspension:
- Before you list a product, make it a point to check for FDA recalls, alerts, and regulations.
- Get a sample of the product and review its components at your end before you finalize on selling it.
- Check the list of restricted items by USPS to avoid dealing with a banned product in the first place.
- Always go through the HazMat list (as provided above).
- Since you’ll probably need to prepare an SDS, keep it ready by asking for the details from your supplier. This way, if your product goes under review, you’ll be prepared with your shield.
New listers! Watch out!
HazMat review may happen for both existing as well as new listings. So, if you’re a new Amazon seller and are about to list new products, here’s how you must proceed:
- During the process of uploading a new product on Amazon, you’ll be asked the following question:
- If you answer the question with a “Yes”, then the reviewing process will be initiated by Amazon at the earliest.
- You’ll need to provide complete product details to get it categorized appropriately and safe from getting blocked now and in the future.
- It must be noted that just because a similar or same product is already being sold on Amazon doesn’t necessarily mean that your product will be allowed without inspection.
- Get a detailed SDS prepared from the manufacturer.
- In case your product is marked as hazardous, you’ll need to get an exemption sheet prepared.
Find out the reason behind account suspension
If your Amazon account is suspended, two of the most common reasons could be poor seller performance or violation of Amazon’s selling policies. The reason for suspension, however, may or may not be limited to just this. So, getting an in-depth understanding of why you got suspended would help you plan more effectively. It would also help you take appropriate measures to avoid running into a similar situation again.
Get to devising a POA
It’s time for some damage control. And for that, you’ll need a plan of action. You see, simply being sorry won’t cut it. You need to lay it out to Amazon as to how you plan to fix things going forward. Here’s how you should devise a plan of action and come up with a convincing Amazon suspension appeal.
- Use an introductory paragraph or two to introduce yourself and your business in detail. Try to sound confident and credible with your details.
- Now, remember the research you conducted to find out the real reason for account suspension. Use that to explain the issue in detail and state a clear reason for the shortcomings. If you have some specifics and data available, include them too. Take full responsibility for what went wrong.
- Next, start explaining the measures that you have already taken or will be taken to fix the situation. All the changes you’re going to make in your procedures, team, products, etc. must be explained in detail here.
- Conclude your appeal with a summary of actions and a request to reactivate your account. You can then submit your appeal to Amazon.
- Amazon will then review your appeal and take action accordingly. The process may take some time, which is why you must remain patient.
“Is this product considered dangerous or hazardous material regulated for transportation, storage, and/or waste?”
Now, if your product contains some hazardous material that may prove to be harmful under certain temperatures or pressure changes, you may answer “Yes” to this question.
If your product doesn’t contain any of the hazardous materials, you may answer this question with “No” or “Not applicable”.
Note: Don’t even think about giving a wrong answer to pave your way out of HazMat review. Because you can’t. Amazon will eventually verify the details and lying could result in Amazon account suspension or you may even be outright banned from Amazon.
Amazon account suspended? Here’s what you should do:
In case you’ve already been suspended from Amazon, there’s no need to worry. You can file for an Amazon suspension appeal wherein you take full responsibility of your product and come up with a plan that clearly explains the issue and the solution that you’ll be providing to fix the situation. Follow the detailed procedure below to get your Amazon account reinstated:
Amazon won’t let anyone get away. So, if you want to keep benefiting from Amazon and generate good revenue from your online business, it is better to comply with all the rules and save yourself from Amazon account suspension.
Worried about your Amazon product listings getting flagged for HazMat review? All you need to do is be prepared. Data4Amazon can help you make your listing error-free and withstand the test of HazMat to keep your conversions flowing in like usual. If your Amazon account has already been suspended, we can help you with your Amazon suspension appeal to get things up and running again. Let’s connect. Write to us at email@example.com and get started at the earliest.
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