Amazon Restricted Categories: A Seller’s Guide
When sellers start an Amazon business, it is often an awakening when they realize that they can’t sell an “in-demand” product. Why? Because it belongs to the Amazon restricted categories, where you need permission before you can sell.
Amazon is not selective about the kind of individuals who can sell on its platform. Anyone can sell on the platform as long as they provide the requirements to start a seller’s account. However, the website has a clear set of rules regarding which products are allowed on the platform. Not all products can be sold on the website by default. Some products even need special permissions before you can start offering them in your store.
Do you fall in the category of sellers who had to let go of a product they thought would do well because of this reason? Were you initially unaware of Amazon restricted categories? If your answer is yes, then this post will give you a better understanding of the Amazon restricted categories. Getting yourself familiar with these categories can help you stay ungated on the website.
What are Amazon restricted categories?
When you start registering on the website, you have two options to choose from. These are the Individual account and Professional Seller account. The individual seller account is free to create. However, you need to give AMZa commission of $0.99 whenever you make a sale if you sign up with an Individual account. Furthermore, you cannot sell on Amazon restricted categories too.
When you sign up for a professional seller account, you don’t have to pay $0.99 every time you make a sale. However, you need to pay a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 to use this service. There are many perks when signing up with a Professional seller account though. Aside from the fact that you can use other features such as third-party tools, you can also sell on restricted categories.
Amazon restricted categories are select categories on which sellers cannot just sell products. You need permission from AMZ before you can start selling on these categories. While this might be what you call “gatekeeping”, it is also essential to do this. Doing this ensures that all sellers are verified and will adhere to the platform’s high standards.
What does being “ungated” on Amazon mean?
Every industry has its lingo. Being ungated is the Amazon seller’s way of saying you have Amazon’s approval. If you’re new, you have probably wondered what it means to be ungated. There are several Amazon restricted categories that you are not allowed to sell your products in. Being ungated means they have already approved your request to start selling on these categories.
Gated categories are AMZ’s restricted categories and being ungated means you have been approved to sell in one of these categories.
For a lot of people, they’re quickly discouraged when they discover a product they want to sell is restricted. Several sellers avoid the approval process since they believe it is lengthy and complicated.
Most of the time, however, the process can be quite simple. Even restricted categories that you consider difficult to get approved for can be pretty easy, they just require a little more effort.
What is Amazon FBA’s influence on being “ungated”
There are two fulfillment methods usually adopted by sellers on the platform. These are FBM (fulfillment by Merchant) and FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon).
In FBM, the sellers are the ones who pick, pack, ship, and deliver the products to their customers. It is usually the default way of fulfilling orders even if you sell on other websites such as eBay, Etsy, or Walmart.
On the other hand, FBA utilizes and leverages the network of AMZ when it comes to fulfillment. All you have to do as a seller is send your inventory to AMZ’s warehouse. Once they receive an order from your customer, they will be the ones to pick, pack, and ship the orders. This means that you don’t have to worry about fulfillment anymore.
So what is FBA’s influence on being ungated as a seller? Simple. Using the FBA service gives you a better chance of being accepted in restricted categories. AMZ tends to trust sellers who use FBA because they can also offer free shipping and give access to Prime members. If you want to get “ungated” faster, using the FBA as your fulfillment method can definitely help.
What are the ‘Gated’ categories on Amazon?
AMZ does not have a standardized set of determining factors on whether you can list in a gated category without having to provide additional information for approval because the regulations for gated categories differ from one category to the next.
However, getting approval to sell in a particular category may require you to pay certain fees and undergo a series of procedures. Here is a list of restricted categories and how to sell in these categories.
Automobile parts and accessories include products designed for cars, trucks, and other motor vehicles. Products consist of tires, wheels, tools, fluids, and other products suitable for use in automobiles.
To sell any product in this category, you must:
- Be on a professional selling plan
- List all major brands using UPC (Universal Product Codes)
- Licensed refurbished Automotive & Powersports products must carry a warranty from the original manufacturer or remanufacturer.
- Have images that can be reviewed by independent websites or image hosting sites must be compliant.
- Have a website if you are a reseller, however, if you are a private label seller, you may not need to worry.
Expensive wristwatch brands such as Rolex, Cartier, Chopard, Rado, and the likes also fall under Amazon’s list of restricted products.
To list a product in this category, you must:
- Be able to test for waterproofing and timekeeping accuracy.
- Be on a professional selling account
- According to Amazon, meet all requirements set forth by a third-party watch certification organization.
- Meet the following Performance metrics:
- Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, and late delivery rate of 4% and below.
- List all products in this category using the manufacturer’s UPC.
Collectibles related to movies, music, television, and historical items that have been signed, are limited edition, or possess some other qualities that make them valuable to collectors are entertainment collectibles.
Although this category is considered easier to get AMZ’s approval for, sellers still have to follow certain guidelines. To list a product in this category, you must:
- Be on a professional selling account
- Maintain the stipulated seller metrics. Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, and late delivery rate of 4% and below.
- Stick to listing requirements for items in this category.
- Product order and purchase procedures should be carried out on the website.
Unlike other categories, sellers cannot apply for approval to sell in this category, online. To apply, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Items in this category include unique art pieces and these products are usually very expensive. AMZ does not permit sellers who represent themselves. Fine art is only available only for galleries and art agencies.
To list a product in this category on Amazon, sellers must:
- Have been selling art collections for at least 3-4 years
- Have a solid online presence
- Include a curatorial element by including yearly exhibition schedules, essays, or exhibition catalogs.
- Video, DVDs, and Blu-ray
This category covers all video media. Sellers who want to list products in this category must:
- Be on a professional selling account or upgrade to a professional account after approval
- Comply with the seller performance metrics. Pre-fulfillment cancellation rate of 2.5% or less, ODR 1% or less, and late delivery rate of 4% and below.
- Provide information on primary inventory sources, estimate no of units for sale, purchase invoices from your inventory source.
AMZ has put in strict regulations in this category to ensure that counterfeit DVDs and videos are not sold on its platform.
Collectible coins are some of the hardest Amazon restricted categories to get into. There are so many rules and regulations that you have to follow before you can sell in this category. And that is not for lack of prudence. Because of so many fake and counterfeit coins circulating around, AMZ requires a lot of things before you can sell products here. Not to mention the fact that counterfeit coins look so real that an untrained eye can easily get duped.
Below are some of the strict requirements before you can sell in these Amazon restricted categories and subcategories of collectible coins:
- Be a member of PNG (Professional Numismatist Guild)
- Maintain membership in ICTA (Industry Council for Tangible Assets)
- Be a member of PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service)
- Maintain membership in NGC/PMG – (Numismatic Grading Corporation/Paper Money Guarantee)
- At least 70% of the seller’s inventory should be graded by either PCGS or NGC
- Inventory of the seller should come from a legally-recognized mint (such as the US Mint)
- The seller should provide copies of its anti-money laundering program to Amazon
- Coins that are listed above $1,500 must be graded by NGC or PCGS
- Ungraded coins must be graded by the seller.
- Bags, tubes, jars, rolls, or any other unknown coins sold in bulk are not allowed.
- Sellers must maintain their own personal website where the coins sold can be viewed
- Be on the Professional Seller plan
When it comes to membership in the said organizations above, at least one organization is accepted. You don’t have to be a member of all the organizations to start selling in these Amazon restricted categories.
As you can see, membership acceptance in the collectible coins category is quite difficult. This is to protect the potential buyers from being scammed. This is really a heads-up act on the part of AMZ.
Just like coin collectibles, the sports memorabilia category is one filled with lots of counterfeit items. It’s very easy to modify and fake credentials such as autographs from famous players. Claims such as “game-worn” items can also be hard to refute as a buyer. This is why strict requirements are in place before selling in these Amazon restricted categories.
Here are some of the seller requirements in the Sports Collectibles category:
Be in the Professional Seller plan
Maintain a defect order rate that is lower than 75%
Products must be graded and authenticated (unless item is a sealed box of trading cards)
Some of the accepted authenticators are Beckett, Panini Authentic, Steiner Sports, Professional Sports Authenticator, Topps Collectibles, Fanatics Authentics, and James Spence Authentication.
Other Categories That Require Approval to Sell on Amazon
- Household products
- Toys and Games
- Amazon Handmade
- Videos, DVDs, and Blu-rays
What Qualifies As a Restricted Product on Amazon?
AMZ does not have a fixed set of guidelines to help sellers identify Amazon FBA Restricted products. Be sure to review Amazon’s list of restricted products to see what products can’t be sold via Fulfillment by (FBA).
Restricted products are also those that.
- Require you to provide additional information before you can list them.
- Products that carry the FDA logo in their listing images.
Amazon’s List of Restricted Products
- Animals & Animal-Related Products
- Art – Fine Art
- Art – Home Decor
- Automotive and Powersports
- Composite Wood Products
- Cosmetics & Skin/Hair Care
- CPAP Cleaning and Disinfecting Devices
- Currency, Coins, Cash Equivalents, and Gift Cards
- Dietary Supplements
- Drugs & drug paraphernalia
- Explosives, Weapons, and Related Items
- Export Controls
- Food & Beverage
- Gambling & Lottery
- Hazardous and Dangerous Items
- Human Parts & Burial Artifacts
- Jewelry & Precious Gems
- Laser products
- Lock Picking & Theft Devices
- Medical devices and accessories
- Offensive and Controversial Materials
- Other Restricted Products
- Pesticides and pesticide devices
- Plant and Seed Products
- Postage meters and stamps
- Recalled products
- Recycling electronics
- Refrigerants: Ozone-Depleting Substances and Substitutes
- Subscriptions and Periodicals
- Surveillance Equipment
- Tobacco & Tobacco-Related Products
- Warranties, Service Plans, Contracts, and Guarantees
- Upholstered Furniture, Bedding, & Other Quilted Products
How To Apply For Approval To Sell In Restricted Categories
Contrary to the opinion that many sellers have, gated categories are relatively easy to access.
Here’s what you need to do to see if your product qualifies:
- Log in to Seller Central.
- From your homepage, click on the ‘Inventory’ tab near the top-left corner.
- Click ‘Add a Product’ in the dropdown menu.
- Select the item you would like to sell.
- Then, click the ‘Show limitations’ button located to the left of the product information.
- Click on the ‘Request Approval’ button if you would like to start the application process. If approval requests are not being accepted, you will receive an email stating that.
‘Prohibited Product Claims’ policy
Product claims policy follows the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines around misleading advertisements.
Sellers are mandated to make sure they go through the FTC guidelines and make sure that their product advertisements are not deceptive or misleading. Also, AMZ’s claims policy does not allow sellers to claim that their products can be used to treat, mitigate, or prevent human or animal diseases except if the products have been approved by FDA for such use.
You shouldn’t have to let go of the next ‘in-demand product you get because it’s on the list of restricted products. Restricted categories have a huge potential for sales if you are willing to put in the work and comply with AMZ’s requirements.
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