Amazon Suspension Series: Selling Safety-Infringing Items

This post was penned by Gabriela Brozba at SellerEngine Software. She’s part of a group of friendly Amazon experts in our Services Team who that handle listing and account reinstatement - or as she likes to call it, the ‘Revival Team’.

Lots of things can get you suspended on Amazon, but infringing safety rules is one of the more serious accusations. Have you ever fallen under the suspicion of endangering buyers’ safety? If yes, your listing may have been shut down. If no, you should still perform a safety risk assessment and act quickly, as Amazon might be looking into it.

We are here to guide you to where you need to look and for what in order to stay safe or get back on track. For safety reasons, keep reading…

There are four case scenarios that can occur when it comes to the Amazon safety policy:

I. Safety…plain and simple: marked in your notification as complaint type “Safety Incident” or appearing in your Safety dashboard (which is available only for the US accounts for now).
II. Safety + Not as Advertised/Wrong Item,
III. Safety + Used Item Sold as New,
IV. Safety + Expired.
For II-IV, the latter part appears in notifications under “Complaint Type,” but you are recommended to write to the Safety Team regardless.

A. Your Listing Has Been Removed. Now What?

Find out what caused the complaint and carefully check the complaints received for the product at issue!

Your product must have received complaints concerning the alleged Amazon safety policy infringement. These may be reflected in negative feedback, A-to-Z claims comments, buyer-seller communication or product reviews, depending on what you are being flagged for. Here are the possible infringements to look out for:

I. Safety Incident

  • allergic reactions
  • choking hazards
  • recalls
  • product causing side-effects
  • lead, phthalates or other poisonous substances above the accepted level;
  • heated cables or plugs
  • missing screws, exposing batteries
  • toxic plastic

II. Not as Advertised/Wrong item

  • incomplete items or sets
  • list of ingredients does not match/ is incomplete
  • different color, size, shape, brand, design, etc.
  • different/ not matching plug

III. Used Item Sold as New

  • does not function properly
  • wrapping material open or too flimsy
  • seal broken or tampered with
  • looks used

IV. Expired

  • passed / too close to the expiration date
  • stale taste
  • texture, color and other product feature indicates old age

B. How to Avoid Future Safety Concerns

Besides doing the check-up and brushing up on the Amazon safety policy in place, get your team to do the following:

I. Safety Incident

  • check for and add warnings on ingredients that may cause allergic reactions/ side effects;
  • modify product pages and acquire shipping labels to signal potential choking hazards;
  • regularly check the relevant pages for recalls (such as CPSC, NHTSA, FDA, Department of Agriculture FSIS, EPA recalls)
  • make sure you provide instructions and directions of use to prevent: kits, cables or plugs malfunctioning, misuse of devices, etc.
  • require and store (M)SDSs for immediate access/availability

II. Not as Advertised/Wrong item

  • don’t sell anything using a listing that doesn’t match your stock
  • check all batches and acquire “do not separate” labels for your bundles and sets
  • match the product against the manufacturer’s website before activating your offer

III. Used Item Sold as New

  • downgrade the condition of “New” items if anything is less than flawless
  • check that items function properly unless sold in “New” condition
  • acquire sturdier and shock-resistant wrapping material
  • make sure that seals are not broken or tampered with

IV. Expired

  • discard all items that are passed the expiration date or even too close to it (NB: make sure your limits for shelf life match Amazon’s)
  • check that boxes for perishable items are in perfect condition and the outer wrapping is intact (i.e. discard anything that looks suspicious)
  • check the storage conditions (temperature, humidity, light, etc.) to ensure proper service life and shelf life

C. What to Include in a Plan if a Suspension Occurred

So far, we have listed the things that need correction under A, and the things that help you with prevention under B. Apart from those, your plan can also include:

  • performing regular check-ups of your stock and matching it against your online inventory available for sale;
  • improving listings to be covering relevant safety information;
  • working better with suppliers to ensure optimal life service products and in top shape condition;
  • irrespective of your sub-reason type (namely and more specifically II, III or IV), it is highly advisable to include a section on safety in your appeal anyway, in order to avoid further exchanges with the Amazon performance team.

NB: Do not forget to supply and attach the MSDS/certificate of analysis or other item verification paperwork with your appeal! Do not hesitate to add any relevant information to your plan of action (e.g. your item has passed the electric safety requirements of standard EN 62115:2005, or the product is compliant with the requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008).

So, if you’ve had your selling rights revoked or your listings suspended, there’s no time to waste. Before you can start fresh, you need to get to the bottom of the problem, take preventive steps and then prepare your Plan of Action. Use our checklist above or contact our friendly Services Team for a hassle-free appeal to Amazon.

Bottom line, your motto should be: safety above all. Think safe, work safe, be safe!

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