What You Need to Know About Amazon Compliance Policies – And How to Stay on Their Good Side [2024 Guide]

You’ve provided Amazon with necessary documents and you’ve got your products listed on Amazon Seller Central. You’ve added copy and creative to your product pages – all you have to do now is watch the sales roll in … well, not exactly.

Amazon prioritises customer safety above all else on their platform, so they’re constantly updating listing compliance documents and checking that all listings adhere to them. As a seller, it’s in your best interest to familiarise yourself with these policies – not only to increase your chances of selling success, but to earn your customers’ trust and avoid penalties that could result in your listings being suppressed, or even your selling privileges being removed.

Amazon’s listing compliance guides are vast and can be a bit daunting – but don’t worry, we’ve created a handy guide to help you make sense of them. So, let’s jump in and arm you with the knowledge you need to navigate the battlefield of Amazon’s policies for listing compliance.

What Is Listing Compliance?

First thing’s first, let’s clear up what we mean by “listing compliance”. Essentially, each product that’s sold on Amazon has a listing, and each listing must follow regulations and guidelines about their content.

This can include the copy, image galleries, A+, videos, and the attribute information on Seller Central. The categories themselves are also subject to Amazon’s regulations.

Amazon’s moderators and algorithm check every listing, and will flag anything that doesn’t comply with their policies or their ‘Seller Code of Conduct’.

What Happens if Listings are Non-Compliant?

It’s vital to get your product page right and follow Amazon’s policies. If you don’t, you risk your listing being suppressed and it won’t be discoverable by customers.

Depending on the severity of the violation, your product may even be blocked, and Amazon could revoke your selling privileges.

But don’t worry if you accidentally violate any listing compliance policies. Amazon won’t immediately shut you down without warning; they’ll let you know through the Seller Central account health dashboard. Check this dashboard often to keep on top of your listings, and find and solve any problems quickly.

To do this, go to “Performance” in the Seller Central menu, then click “Account Health”.

Look at the “Product Policy Compliance” section to find any errors.

You may also see “Suppressed” next to a listing in your inventory, which you can click to find out specifically what the problem is; it could be anything from missing item dimensions to a problematic word in the title or image gallery. A quick edit will usually solve this.

What Are the Listing Compliance Violations?

Amazon lists several types of policy violations – let’s have a look at them, and how you can solve them.

Suspected Intellectual Property (IP) Violations

These occur when Amazon suspects that you might be wrongly using someone else’s IP rights: you might have used the wrong brand name or brand field.

For example, if your product can be used with another brand’s product, including that brand’s name in your title could be a problem. 

Usually, Amazon sends you the suspected IP violation notice. If you ignore it, they may deactivate your product listing, so it’s important that you fix it quickly, and Amazon will reactivate the listing if necessary.

Product Authenticity Customer Complaints

This violation occurs when customers tell Amazon they think your product might be fake. Amazon considers these to also be IP violations.

But, just because someone’s made a complaint doesn’t mean that your product is indeed a fake. The customer might have made a mistake, disliked the packaging, or simply thought it looked too similar to another brand’s product.

Even if the claims are wrong, you still need to respond to them. If you don’t, Amazon could deactivate the listing.

So, check where your products come from, confirm that they’re genuine, and keep all your purchase records – you’ll likely need these if you have to prove the genuinity of your product.

If you’re a FBA seller, you can request a ‘bin check’, where someone from Amazon can thoroughly inspect your inventory at the FBA warehouse. 

Product Safety Customer Complaints

A customer could tell Amazon that they think your product is unsafe or fails to meet safety standards. These could relate to the product being damaged or appearing used, rather than the safety standards themselves.

If you don’t respond to the complaint, Amazon may suppress the listing, or even suspend your account. To avoid this, you’ll need to send them a Plan of Action and follow their steps to relist your product.

A Plan of Action should include the main reason for the violation, steps you’ll take to fix the problem, and how you will avoid the problem in the future. Amazon might ask you to add warning labels, provide instructions, test the product with a certified lab, or get insurance – you may also be required to write a letter of appeal.

Listing Policy Violations

You might get a warning for having duplicate listings, creating invalid variations, including problematic terms in your copy, and more. You’ll also be prohibited from listing certain items, like promotional samples, products expiring soon, or items that can’t be sold – doing any of these will suspend your listing.

If your listing is suspended, you may be able to fix it by editing the listing – this is usually the case when the problem is a missing required attribute or banned word in the copy. Or, depending on the violation, you might need to send an appeal and Plan of Action. 

If you ignore warnings for this type of violation, Amazon could remove the listing completely. If this happens, however, you can file a listing policy violation appeal to re-list the product.

Restricted Product Policy Violations

There are some products that require Amazon’s permission to sell, like toys, games, jewellery, and more.

Restrictions can be different in each marketplace and may change over time, so it’s a good idea to check regularly for any updates that could affect your listings.

Amazon may ask you to remove listings for restricted products; if this happens, you might need to show that your product is officially licensed or bought from an approved distributor. If you don’t remove the restricted listing, Amazon might deactivate your selling account.

Amazon will notify you if you’re trying to sell a restricted product. When you try to list a restricted item, a form to apply for permission will often appear in Seller Central to avoid any nasty surprises or inconvenience down the line.

Customer Product Reviews Policy Violations

Amazon forbids sellers from writing their own reviews or reviewing competitor products. You also can’t ask customers to leave, change, or remove a review, or offer a discount in exchange for a good review.

If Amazon suspects you of doing any of this, they’ll delete the reviews and remove your listing, and they might even suspend or permanently block your account.

Basically, be honest and don’t try to trick the system. No one wants a bad review but, if you get one, reach out to the customer to fix the problem, and always be friendly and respectful.

Responding to the review publicly will let others see that you’re trying to solve their problem, which can attract potential new customers to your brand.

A great way to appear authentic or to attract better reviews is to enrol your products under Amazon Vine, an invitation-only programme which selects insightful reviewers in the Amazon store.

They’ll act as ‘vine voices’ and give honest feedback on products. To join Vine, you’ll need to be listed as the brand owner in Amazon’s Brand Registry.

What Can You Do to Avoid Violations?

If you’re feeling a bit daunted by these Amazon policy violations, don’t worry; you’re not alone. The important thing to remember is that Amazon will let you know if there’s a problem, and it can be resolved.

But wouldn’t it be great to know what to avoid so that you didn’t have to worry about violations? That’s why we’ve got some top tips on how you should act as a seller to avoid the inconvenience of fixing problems, saving you a lot of time and letting you focus on selling successfully on Amazon. 

  • Never include misleading, inappropriate, or offensive language or behaviour in your listings, content, or images.
  • Avoid claims about your sales rank in the product titles or descriptions.
  • Don’t display a trademark where the product is a generic product and not permanently branded with your trademark.
  • Don’t create more than one listing page per product – duplicate product pages are prohibited.
  • Don’t add misleading or irrelevant information in any aspect of the listing to manipulate the Search and Browse experience.
  • Don’t offer warranties or free items as customisable options.
  • Parts or products from endangered plants or animals are prohibited.
  • Don’t claim that your product can cure or mitigate health conditions.
  • Only create valid and correct variations (colours and sizes of t-shirts vs. adding an umbrella with walking shoes).
  • Don’t include details of availability, price, or the condition outside of the relevant attributes on Seller Central.
  • Make sure that the brand name is correct and under your ownership. 
  • Do not include contact information or external links, such as to other websites.
  • Do not request positive reviews.
  • Do not add promotional material or watermarks to images or videos.
  • Avoid time-sensitive information, such as “hurry now” or “last chance” as this can put the customer under pressure.

How Do Your Listings Look?

Now that we’ve gone through an overview of what Amazon Listing Compliance is, the violations you need to be aware of, and what you can do to avoid them, it’s time for you to make sure that your listings are Amazon-friendly.

Check that all information is true and accurate, and that nothing will mislead the customer. Not only will this avoid Amazon stepping in and potentially suspending your listings (or your account!), it’ll also help you build trust with your customers.

Remember not to panic; if you see warnings in your account health dashboard, follow Amazon’s steps or contact support to find out what the problem is. 

We hope you found this general overview of Amazon listing compliance helpful. Stay tuned for more in-depth articles on Amazon compliance in the coming weeks, covering topics such as category restrictions and detailed listing guidelines.

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