Amazon Seller Horror Story: The Restricted Products Witchcraft
We have come across many strange things in the marketplace that leave us scratching our heads. One alarmingly common situation has to do with products getting flagged for alleged violations of Amazon’s Restricted Products Policy where Amazon is seriously (yet incorrectly) convinced that you are selling something illegal even though all the evidence suggests otherwise. It is almost like Amazon is under an evil magic spell which makes us wonder – what kind of sorcery is this?
The Terror of the Restricted Products Witch Hunt
Panic stricken. That’s how MJ Muggle described her initial reaction when she received the policy warning from Amazon that read:
“This product has been identified as product packaging that may be used to manufacture, produce, distribute, sell or consume illicit drugs or products that are not compliant with Amazon policy.”
Amazon yanked two of MJ Muggle’s best-selling listings. The products described under these listings are different color variations of silicone mold with the marijuana leaf design. These products were offered under the Home & Kitchen category.
As you can probably imagine, MJ Muggle was very confused and extremely worried. There was clearly a misunderstanding. She immediately reached out to Amazon by creating a case in Seller Central to explain why she believed her listings were suspended by mistake. However, the situation got weirder and weirder with each response she received from Seller Support.
First, Amazon made the leap from alleging that the MJ Muggle’s product packaging “may be used to manufacture, produce, distribute, sell or consume illicit drugs or products” to now asserting that she is selling a product that “has been identified as an illegal drug”. The communication from Amazon stated:
Hello from Amazon Selling Partner Support,
Thank you for your patience. We have reviewed your listing and have determined that the ASIN will not be reinstated. Please be informed that this product has been identified as an illegal drug. Illegal drugs are prohibited from sale and listing on Amazon. Hence the ASIN cannot be reinstated. (emphasis added)
Second, Amazon ridiculously claimed on another occasion that she was not allowed to use the word “mold” to describe her silicone mold product. The email, in relevant part, said:
Hello from Amazon Selling Partner Support,
My name is John from the escalations team and I’m here to help you.
From your email, I understand that your concern regarding this ASIN. To help you in this issue, I have checked your account and I found that this product has been identified as a pesticide product, pesticide device, or a product the pesticidal claims. The reason is it has been identified as pesticide as you have used the pesticide related claims such as “mold” due to which the product has been identified as a pesticide product. (emphasis added)
Finding no relief or help from Amazon’s internal channels, MJ Muggle began looking for lawyers who specialize in Amazon Seller issues and found our firm. She then scheduled a free consultation with us and recognized that we were a good fit for her case.
In a firm, well-reasoned letter, we brought this issue before Amazon’s attorneys and demanded the immediate reinstatement of her listings as well as the ability to use the words “marijuana”, “weed” or any other synonym to describe the shape or design of her products on Amazon.com.
Amazon’s Restricted Products Policy, in relevant part, states:
If you supply a product in violation of the law or any of Amazon’s policies, including those listed on the Restricted Products pages, we will take corrective actions, as appropriate, including but not limited to immediately suspending or terminating selling privileges, destroying inventory in our fulfillment centers without reimbursement, returning inventory, terminating the business relationship, and permanent withholding of payments.
We argued that MJ Muggle’s product is a silicone mold which is not a restricted product on Amazon. Moreover, the policy warning from Amazon referred to the Drugs & Drug Paraphernalia policy even though it is clearly inapplicable to the products in question. The products sold and described on these listings are not drugs, drug paraphernalia, or dietary supplements.
In reviewing ASINs in question, Amazon alleged that this product has been identified as product packaging that may be used to manufacture, produce, distribute, sell or consume illicit drugs or products that are not compliant with Amazon policy. However, Amazon failed to substantiate this assertion.
Further, in its review of these ASINs, Amazon also alleged that this product is an illegal drug. Yet Amazon has not provided MJ Muggle with any sliver of evidence to support such a serious claim.
More importantly, there is no restriction related to the use of the word “marijuana” or “weed” on any Amazon program policy, including the Restricted Products Policy, as evidenced by the fact that many of MJ Muggle’s competitors can freely use such terminologies to describe their silicone molds on the marketplace without any issue.
After investigating the issue and seeing the merits of our claims, Amazon complied with our demands.
Speak With An Amazon Seller Attorney at ESQgo®
Like MJ Muggle, if Amazon has falsely accused you of selling a restricted product, seek professional legal assistance immediately. These cases can be very difficult and by no means do we recommend handling them without help. Learn how an Amazon Seller Attorney at ESQgo® can help resolve your Amazon-related issues. Contact us today by calling 866-254-6503 or via our contact page. We offer a free initial 30-minute consultation.