Since I started selling on Amazon FBA in April 2011, I have been hearing about specific items that could not be sold. This goes beyond Amazon’s guidelines for Restricted Products and Prohibited Products. Apparently, there are also specific brands that seem to have become restricted. For different reasons, Amazon has agreed with manufacturers to not allow / remove listings for particular brands of items.
One of the first restricted brands I remember were the Oral B and Gillette brands. I had some of those items listed in 2011 when Amazon decided that 3rd party sellers (or maybe just me?) could no longer list them.
After receiving that e-mail I knew that I would no longer be scouting for any toothbrushes or razors from those two brands.
Since that time I have heard from other sellers (not Amazon directly) of several other brands that seem to be “prohibited” – like Dunkin Donuts, Warner Brothers and HBO. These are specific brands that are NOT listed on Amazon’s Restricted Products and Prohibited Products pages.
I started writing this article because I wanted one place where I could keep a list of specific items that I could not or should not list on Amazon. The list grew with input from the fabulous people in our Facebook Group.
As the list grew, so did the questions…
- Where does Amazon list these specific brands/items that are prohibited?
- Why might one seller be able to list an item when another cannot?
- Just how paranoid should I be about this?
- Are all of these brands that we think are “prohibited” really prohibited?
In an effort to get to the bottom of this, on April 20, 2013 I contacted Amazon directly about these seemingly prohibited brands. I wanted to know exactly which brands/items are prohibited. I wanted a list of specific items.
Here is what Sonia T. from Amazon wrote and my comments about it:
Amazon: “…unfortunately at present we do not have a list of items that are not eligible to be sold using FBA”
- Well isn’t that just “ducky”? Why is there no list? Wouldn’t it make sense to have a list? Let me read on more in this e-mail and maybe they’ll be an answer.
Amazon: ” Our category team keeps on auditing the ASINs and as per the business requirements, they take the decisions to make an ASIN eligible or not.”
- So items are restricted based on individual ASINs (each product on a product page has it’s own ASIN).
- That would mean, to me, that they don’t always have restrictions on everything under a particular brand.
Amazon: “I understand your concern as you do not want to waste money and time in purchasing items that are not eligible for FBA. To avoid this you can contact us anytime in regards to any ASIN and you can get a confirmation from our end for the eligibility of the ASIN.”
- Well, at least they can give me an answer on specific items – that is good. But what a pain in the rear to contact them every time. This makes me want to just avoid certain items/brands that I have “heard” others have had problems with to avoid the hassle (my opinion).
Amazon: “Sometimes the restrictions are seller basis and sometimes the product itself is not eligible to be sold.”
- This is a VERY important point. There is no black and white with these restricted brands. Some may be blanket restrictions – no one can sell it. Whereas with other items, I may be able to sell them, but Debra might not for some reason.
- Gee, it would be really nice to know the specifics of this. Who would be restricted? Why? How do I know if I would be restricted from selling a specific brand? (see the previous line in the e-mail).
- Add this to the reasons why I may just avoid listing certain items – not worth the hassle.
Amazon: “Please be rest assured Amazon will never suspend your seller account without any prior notifications. If in case any listing does not comply with the laws and regulations of Amazon, you would always get the chance to rectify it. ”
- I hope that this is true. Unfortunately, I have “heard” of sellers having their accounts suddenly shut down without notice. I have no way of knowing the full story on these situations though. Did Amazon contact them before the account was shut down? Did they perhaps have numerous violations beforehand? I don’t know.
- One thing I do know is that Amazon is a place where I choose NOT to follow the saying… “it is easier to ask for forgiveness later than ask for permission now”.
Why might these items be restricted?
Counterfeit or Stolen
From what I have been reading, there have been numerous counterfeit items being sold through Amazon. Obviously Amazon does not want this to occur so they will be doing whatever they need to do to protect their customers. This may include flagging you or me if we attempt to sell a heavily counterfeited item – even if we purchased it from a legit source.
Do a Google search for: amazon counterfeit and you’ll see a slew of articles reflecting this problem.
Here Is What I Have Decided To Do
After receiving that response from Amazon here are my opinions on these possibly “prohibited” brands that I have heard about from other sellers:
For me, I’d rather just avoid purchasing certain types of items and avoid the possible headache. Many of the items I sell are “one-of” thrifted items anyway and I don’t want to spend my time contacting Amazon for items I only have one of.
BUT… if I were to come across a large quantity of a specific item that may/may not be restricted, then I would definitely contact Amazon about that specific ASIN.
Those are my opinions – what you choose to do/not do is entirely up to you.
Here is the unofficial list of particular brands that might be prohibited for sale on Amazon.
NOTE: This is NOT a complete list of everything that you cannot list on Amazon, nor is it meant to be. You are responsible for understanding and following Amazon’s Rules/Guidelines. Also see, Amazon’s Restricted Products and Prohibited Products pages.
Counterfeit DVDs is a huge problem and Warner Brothers is one of the companies that is fighting against it. You can read more about counterfeit Warner Brothers DVDs Here.
- Warner Brothers
- Beach Body
Health & Beauty
- Oral B
- MAC cosmetics
- Bare Essentials cosmetics
- InStyler – many knock-offs of these were sold through Amazon, read more about the counterfeit InStylers Here.
- Excedrin Sinus Headache
- Theraflu Caplets
- Dunkin’ Donuts
- “Beats” by Dre headphones (problems with counterfeit ones being sold)
- speck iPad/iPhone cases
Discovery Kids – see below
May 22, 2013 – Marilyn Fowler Brownjohn shared this one: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thriftingforprofit/permalink/508354299213243/
Another one for the DO NOT LIST EVER list: Discovery Kids.
“Hello from Amazon.com.
We are writing to let you know that we have removed the following product detail pages from our site:
B006BDMF30 Discovery Kids 5 Ft Color Me Rocket Ship
B005GQV160 Discovery Kids Ec0-Friendly Color Me PLAY CASTLE,30477
B0072JPD3G Merchsource 1637891 “Discovery Kids” Color Me Playhouse – Approx 5′ Tall
B004E5A1G0 Discovery Kids Color Me Playhouse
B005MN3DO0 Discovery Kids Color Me Play Castle
You are receiving this notice because you have listed against one or more of these detail pages.
We took this action because we have been notified that the product(s) listed may infringe upon trademark rights.
To avoid the suspension of your account, please do not relist these items on our site.
If you have questions about this removal, please contact the rights holder at:”
The contact in question is a very serious lawyer at a very serious law firm. They aren’t messing around.
Marilyn also shared this one: Anything by Beach Body (Multiple Categories):
Updated June 3, 2013
Marilyn shared these that when on the list:
Excedrin Sinus Headache
Updated July 22, 2013
Marilyn shared this one:
Snoopy sno cone machine. Federal parts recall, banned an amazon, account warning if you try to list
Updated Sept. 4, 2013
Marilyn shared these that are new or upcoming:
& Molton Brown
Join in on the conversation about “possibly prohibited brands” in our free Facebook Group by Clicking Here. Not a Free member yet? Once there, click the “Join” button and we’ll add you ASAP.
Please help us keep this list up to date by sharing any additions/deletions in our Facebook Group or in the comments section below.