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Amazon’s list of prohibited products

  • Published: 12.10.2022
  • Updated:

Amazon is known for its very strict seller policies. Learn about Amazon’s full list of restricted products before Amazon blocks your account.

Below you will find a complete list of product categories which are restricted by Amazon. Please note that the specific rules may vary between markets due to country-specific regulations.

list-of-prohibited-products

We describe the general rules on what and how you can sell on Amazon in a separate article:

What can be sold on Amazon?

Apparel

When it comes to clothing, two main rules apply.

No second-hand clothing items can be sold on Amazon
No animal fur may be sold, nor may clothing that has been manufactured or contains elements of endangered species, dogs or cats and a variety of other animals.

Zoological and animal-derived products

It is permitted to sell domestically compliant food on Amazon that contains zoonotic products from non-endangered species. However, there are a number of other rules in place, strictly regulating animal products. Amazon doesn’t allow the sale of any products associated with harmful activities towards animals. It is therefore prohibited to sell products such as:

  • Animal feed containing zoonotic products and other unauthorised additives
  • Ivory
  • Preservatives for fur and leather
  • Electrically powered collars
  • And other products related to animal cruelty and exploitation of endangered species

Alcohol

Alcohol rules are determined by the country of sale. Amazon UK permits the sale of alcoholic beverages and products containing alcohol with the exception of:

  • Liquor with over 70% alcohol
  • Alcohol license
  • Other products that do not comply with the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising

The rules are similar in most European markets, including Spain, Germany or France.

Of course, these concern selling to people over 18. years old.

In contrast, no alcoholic beverages and products advertising alcoholic beverages (e.g. 0% beers and wines) are allowed in Poland. However, accessories such as corkscrews or glasses can be sold, as well as sweets with low alcohol content.

Cosmetics

In order to be able to sell cosmetics on Amazon, they obviously have to have the necessary approvals regarding, for example, dermal approval, but there are many more conditions. The list of specific regulations and examples of prohibited products is incredibly long. Here are examples of cosmetics that are banned from being sold on Amazon:

  • Opened or second-hand products
  • Products in packaging other than the original
  • Testers
  • Counterfeit or imitating the products of another brand
  • Products requiring a doctor’s prescription
  • Products tested on animals or containing ingredients tested on animals
  • Products containing ingredients derived from endangered animals
  • Other products containing harmful substances

Vehicles and vehicle parts

The rules concerning cars, motorbikes and their spare parts are pretty straightforward. Prohibited products include:

  • All vehicles, both new and used
  • Used spare parts for vehicles
  • Airbags and their components
  • Seat belts and their spare parts
  • Any other automotive accessories and parts that are not certified or may be considered hazardous

Automotive-related products that can be sold include:

  • Motorbike helmets
  • New spare parts
  • Car batteries
  • Tyres
  • Warning triangles and safety vests

Collector coins and banknotes, gift cards and all other types of currency and means of payment

The main idea behind the following rules is to prevent fraud, counterfeiting and to protect the users. Amazon therefore allows the sale of collectible banknotes, coins, but there are a number of rules that regulate what exactly can be offered.

  1. They cannot have the status of a legal means of payment.
  2. They cannot be recognised as such in foreign countries.

It is also necessary to provide information on the authenticity, year of issue, country of origin and physical condition, backed up by a clear, sharp photograph.

Furthermore, if you offer replica coins or post stamps, then the offer must clearly inform users that they are not originals.

According to these rules, Amazon considers as prohibited:

  • Any counterfeit postage stamps, coins and collector’s banknotes sold as genuine (or inadequately described)
  • Genuine types of currency, regardless of their country of origin
  • Devices used to counterfeit postage stamps or money
  • Gift cards, cryptocurrencies, cheques
  • Shares and securities
  • Precious metals

Electronics

The vast majority of electronic devices can be sold on Amazon, as long as they are legal and authorised for sale in their respective region (e.g. the EU), cause no interference with other devices, and have the appropriate marking if required (e.g. CE, UKCA). Specific regulations may vary between markets.

The rules that apply to the sale of electronics, as with many other categories, are mainly aimed at preventing the sale of products that are dangerous, could be used in criminal activities, harmful to the environment and counterfeits. Examples of products not permitted to be sold include:

  • Devices capable of interfering with the official channels and radio signals
  • Satellite signal theft devices
  • Laser pointers and toys
  • Counterfeit games consoles and microchips enabling piracy
  • Lithium-ion cells
  • Certain types of halogen bulbs and lamps
  • And other products that can be included in the above-mentioned criteria

Drugs, dietary supplements, drugs and drug-related accessories

The regulations for this type of product are strictly dependent on the applicable regulations in the respective country. Nevertheless, in each case, they precisely define what exactly can and cannot be sold. When it come to rules that apply to any market, any illegal substances and prescription drugs are, of course, prohibited from being sold. It is also illegal to sell products containing legal CBD. Depending on the country, the rules for selling over-the-counter medication vary.

In case of dietary supplements, they must be adequately labelled and contain no information about their potential medicinal effects.

Interestingly, in 2021, Amazon issued a statement in favour of legalising cannabis in the US, albeit citing reasons other than a desire to sell through the marketplace as motivation.

Food and beverages

The main selling regulations are based on the national and EU legislation, which defines what ingredients are allowed in food and what information must be included on the packaging. Moreover, if you are selling in several markets, this information available on the packaging must be provided in each of the respective countries’ languages. As with clothing or cosmetics, regulations prevent the sale of food items containing ingredients sourced from endangered species or resulting from animal cruelty, such as foie gras.

Gambling-related items

Amazon’s regulation in relation to gambling varies considerably depending on national legislation. For example, gambling machines (slot machines) can be sold in the UK, France or Germany by licensed dealers, whereas this is completely impossible in, e.g. Poland. The sale of lottery tickets and scratch cards is also prohibited.

In contrast, equipment such as card games or dice can be sold without any specific regulations.

Hazardous products

The list of hazardous products, and substances which are not permitted in products, is quite extensive. Restrictions are mainly related to flammability, explosiveness, harm to humans or the environment. All products that have been recalled by the manufacturer or are past their expiry date are also deemed to be unsafe products. Here are a couple examples of such items:

  • Fireworks (with a few exceptions, depending on the market)
  • Chemicals intended for commercial, laboratory or industrial use
  • Mercury thermometers and other mercury-containing products
  • Flammable and explosive substances
  • Certain types of batteries
  • Substances and devices classified as contributing to global warming
  • Substances responsible for the formation of the ozone hole

Jewellery

Amazon allows the sale of most jewellery, gemstones or watches, but there are separate regulations for each market due to local laws. These may regulate aspects such as:

  • Requiring proof of authenticity for jewellery
  • Restriction on the sale of uncut precious metals
  • Specific regulations on the sale of diamonds

Medical equipment

Amazon’s list of prohibited items regulates very specifically which medical products can and cannot be sold through the platform. It is fair to say that the vast majority of devices with medical applications cannot be sold. Exceptions depend on the target market, as, for example, contact lenses can be sold in France, but no longer in the UK. Depending on the country, such products are permitted to be sold on Amazon, for example:

  • Needle-free syringes
  • Breathalyzers
  • Blood pressure monitors
  • Tattoo and piercing equipment
  • Pregnancy tests

Products featuring controversial, offensive or dangerous content

In each marketplace, Amazon sets rules for products that may promote racial, religious, gender or sexual violence and discrimination, as well as other offensive and dangerous content. The Marketplace cautions that specific regulations in different countries may result from cultural differences between regions, making certain products permissible in some countries and not in others.

Importantly, these rules apply to products other than media (books, DVDs, games, etc.). For these types of products, Amazon applies a separate set of rules, although to some degree they overlap.

So, what products other than media are not allowed to be sold on Amazon?

  • Products that allude to or promote violence (with the exception of those that have historical value, to be determined by Amazon in case of any doubt)
  • Products linked to terrorist organisations
  • Products glorifying suicide
  • Products that promote racial, sexual or religious intolerance or contain offensive language towards these groups
  • Products relating to human tragedies or environmental disasters

Media (DVDs, books, textbooks, games, etc.)

As with the products listed above, when it comes to media, Amazon stipulates that the rules can vary widely, depending on the marketplace. The rules obviously apply to all content-related issues, so for example intolerance and violence, although it is not just the content itself that is strictly regulated.

What other types of content is not permitted to be sold on Amazon?

  • Illegal content of any kind (including, but not limited to, stolen, promotional material not permitted for distribution in the respective country, pirated material, content that infringes privacy or copyrights)
  • Pornography (with the exception of, for example, censored content and other content that is normally available for sale in bookshops)

Erotica and sex-related products

The rules regarding the sale of sex and erotica-related products are strictly related to and dependent on local laws and cultural norms. In most cases, for example, the sale of condoms or erotic material (not pornography) is allowed, but the rules regarding the sale of sex-related merchandise may considerably differ. However, in all cases, pornographic articles promoting violence in any way as well as any medicines or products described as promoting sexual health, are prohibited.

Tobacco products

As a general rule on most marketplaces, no products containing nicotine or that promote tobacco products in any shape or form are allowed to be sold on Amazon. So this applies not only to smoking tobacco and cigarettes, but also snuff, chewing tobacco and other products containing nicotine.

The situation is slightly different when it comes to e-cigarettes, as in some countries the sale of e-cigarettes and even liquids is allowed, along with the indication that they are nicotine-free.

Regardless of the market, usually the regulations allow the sale of ashtrays and other smoking and rolling accessories.

What else is not allowed to be sold on Amazon?

In addition to the products that have been assigned to any of the key categories, Amazon has also prepared a separate list of products that are also prohibited. It features a variety of items prohibited from being sold due to ethical, environmental, legal, safety or fraud protection reasons. As with most categories, specific regulations may vary between markets. These include:

  • Internet domains
  • Online gaming accounts
  • Real Estate
  • Mystery boxes
  • Poisons
  • Antiquities over 300 years old
  • And many other physical and virtual products
Kamil Kempisty Co-founder in Taxology and KP Consulting. From 8 years in the accounting business.