HomeAmazon FBA Identifying Amazon gated and restricted brands to avoid suspension
Identifying Amazon gated and restricted brands to avoid suspension
Amazon are gating and restricting more brands and this will continue throughout 2017. You need to be more aware of this in order to avoid legal issues which can lead to your Amazon Seller Account being suspended. There are different types of gating and restrictions on Amazon. There are gated categories, gated brands and restricted or high-risk brands.
With certain categories, you need permission from Amazon to list your products. These include Clothing, Health and Beauty, Grocery and Watches. Some are easier than others to get permission for. Generally, Amazon will require invoices from authorised suppliers showing the purchase of a minimum number of units.
More of the larger brands are getting their products Gated to protect against counterfeits and devaluing of their brand. To get ungated it is a similar process to category ungating. You will need to either provide invoices showing the purchase of a minimum number of units or have written permission from the brand owner. Getting written permission, or any reply at all, from the larger brands is virtually impossible.
Some brands are only gated in certain countries, for example, you may be able to sell in the UK but not in Italy. The most important thing is to be ungated in the country you send your inventory to. With some brands, you may be restricted from selling specific products or a range of their products, so for example with Canon you may be able to sell their printers but not their cameras.
Here is an example of the requirements to get ungated for a brand;
Submit required documents 3 different purchase invoices for ‘product X’ products from a manufacturer or distributor Make sure your invoices: • Are dated on or after 24-Dec-2016 (within 180 days) • Include your name and address • Include the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor • Show the purchase of at least 30 units across all invoices • Show the purchase of at least five different products of ‘product X’ across all invoices • Hide pricing information (optional)
Top Tip – To check if a product is Gated or in a Gated category use the Amazon Seller App or try to ‘Add Product’ in your Seller Account.
Restricted and high-risk brands
This is slightly more complicated and sellers often get caught out and suddenly find their seller account permanently suspended. There are brands on Amazon that are not yet Gated but the brand owners will still take action to stop people reselling. In a way, this is more dangerous than dealing with Gated products. Amazon will allow you to list the product but this could then result in an email saying you have been suspended due to Intellectual Copyright Infringement. At least with gated brands, you know where you stand.
Some smaller or private label sellers may not yet have the relationship with Amazon to get your account suspended. Instead, they will email you directly to ask you to remove the products and threaten you with legal action if you do not comply. You can ignore these emails but we recommend you stop listing the brand immediately. If they get the brand gated or develop the relationship with Amazon they can then take more aggressive and damaging action. Even if they do not have the ability to get you suspended they still have the option of taking legal action although this is unlikely.
These brand owners have shown a willingness to actively protect their brand on Amazon so it is better to switch your focus to lower risk products. Once your account is suspended it can be extremely difficult and expensive to get reinstated. If you are a new seller with no track record Amazon might suspend you permanently. It is virtually impossible to set up another account so you are effectively killing off any future Amazon business.
How to identify restricted and high-risk brands
We have tried to include all the brands we are aware of on our Restricted Brand List. You can get the full list of over 400 restricted brands emailed to you in a spreadsheet.
When searching for products to sell on Amazon it is helpful to be armed with the basic strategies for identifying high-risk brands. You can then make an informed decision on whether the product is likely to get you into trouble and your account closed. There are some categories that certainly carry a higher risk than others. For example, Sports and Outdoors, Baby, Jewelry, Watches, Grocery and Health and Beauty all now mostly contain products you cannot safely buy and resell.
You also need to look out for Private Label sellers who will protect their brand and listings. You can normally spot these because there is either only one seller or maybe one seller and Amazon. The seller can often be the brand name themselves. Also if it is a brand you have never heard of which is not commonly found in retail stores then this is a warning sign it is Private Label.
Sometimes the seller will sell various private label brands under their company name. If you look at the seller’s store you can normally see that they have one or more brands and they are normally the only seller on the listings. This is a clear warning sign. Increasingly Chinese manufacturers themselves are selling their own branded products directly on Amazon. If the seller is a Chinese based manufacturer this is likely to be a product you need to avoid.
When looking at the Amazon listing watch out for the Copyright or TM symbols in the title. Another warning sign is if there is a popular product with just a few sellers who are all established registered companies. The brand has probably taken action to clear all the smaller unauthorised sellers from the listing.
As you can see there are a lot of potential dangers. If you look carefully at the products you are planning to buy or list you can normally tell if there is likely to be a problem. We do also have a live list of brands we currently know to avoid. If you know any brands that are not on the list please let us know immediately so they can be added.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have any thoughts or advice please let people know in the comments below.
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