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Complete Guide to Amazon Terms of Service

Apr 4, 2019

“Is this within Amazon’s terms of service?”

 

It’s a constant (and rightfully so) question posed by many Amazon FBA sellers. So, I took the liberty of doing some heavy-lifting and aggregating the crucial pieces as part of a definitive guide (to date) of Amazon’s terms of service.

Consider it the 80/20 or the crucial insights you must keep in mind as an Amazon seller to stay knowledgeable and tapped into compliant activities. And, it goes without saying, you’ll likely find the list of actions you can take considerably smaller than those you can’t. But so it goes and knowledge is power.

Tip: Be sure to bookmark this page to keep this guide at your fingertips!

Reviews

 

Can I link or direct a customer to my website?

Any attempt to circumvent the established Amazon sales process or to divert Amazon users to another website or sales process is prohibited. Specifically, any advertisements, marketing messages (special offers) or “calls to action” that lead, prompt, or encourage Amazon users to leave the Amazon website are prohibited. This might include the use of emails, hyperlinks, URLs, or web addresses within any seller-generated confirmation email messages or any product/listing description fields. (3)

Can I send marketing emails and messaging to customers?

Unsolicited emails to Amazon customers (other than as necessary for order fulfillment and related customer service) and emails related to marketing communications of any kind are prohibited. (3)

Can I ask for a positive review?

You can ask buyers to write a review in a neutral manner, but you cannot ask for positive reviews, ask for reviews only from buyers who had a positive experience, or ask a reviewer to change or remove their review. (3)

Reviews are important to the Amazon Marketplace, providing a forum for positive or negative feedback about product and service details and reviewer’s experiences. To ensure that reviews remain helpful, sellers must comply with our Community Guidelines. For example, you cannot offer compensation for a review, and you cannot review your own products or your competitor’s products. You can ask buyers to write a review in a neutral manner, but you cannot ask for positive reviews, ask for reviews only from buyers who had a positive experience, or ask a reviewer to change or remove their review. If you think a review does not comply with our Community Guidelines, click on the Report Abuse link next to the review. For more examples of prohibited actions, click here.

Can I incentivize a buyer to provide or remove feedback?

The ratings and feedback features allow buyers to evaluate the overall performance of a seller, which develops their reputation within the Amazon Marketplace. You cannot post abusive or inappropriate feedback, or include personal information about a transaction partner. This also includes posting ratings or feedback to your own account. You can request feedback from a buyer, however, you cannot pay or offer any incentive to a buyer for either providing or removing feedback. (3)

Can I leave a review on my own listing? Or competitors?

It is prohibited for a seller to post a review of their own product or their competitor’s product either in their own name or as an unbiased buyer. (7)

Can I compensate a buyer for the purpose of leaving/request a review?

You cannot offer compensation for a review, and you cannot review your own products or your competitor’s products. You can ask buyers to write a review in a neutral manner, but you cannot ask for positive reviews, ask for reviews only from buyers who had a positive experience, or ask a reviewer to change or remove their review. (3)

it is prohibited for a seller to offer a third party a financial reward, discount, or other compensation in exchange for a review on their product or their competitor’s product. This includes services that sell customer reviews and websites or social media groups with implicit or explicit agreements or expectations that an incentive is contingent on customers leaving a review. (7)

Can I refund or reimburse a buyer who has left a positive review?

A seller offers to provide a refund or reimbursement after the buyer writes a review (including reimbursement via a non-Amazon payment method). (7)

Can I use a third-party service for the explicit intent of capturing reviews?

It is prohibited for a seller to use a third-party service that offers free or discounted products tied to a review (for example, a review club that requires customers to register their Amazon public profile so that sellers may monitor their reviews). (7)

Can I segment or divert customers who have only had positive experiences?

It is prohibited for a seller only to ask for reviews from buyers who had a positive experience and attempts to divert buyers who had a negative experience to a different feedback mechanism. This includes cases where the customer proactively reaches out to the seller to express satisfaction with their products. (7)

Can I use a product insert to request positive reviews?

It is prohibited for a seller to use inserts to request a positive Amazon review or offer an incentive in exchange for a review into product packaging. (7)

Can I follow up with a customer who has left a negative review?

We encourage you to monitor reviews regularly and reach out to customers to resolve product or service issues. However, you cannot ask customers to change or remove their review, even after an issue is resolved. Also, you can reach out to customers by replying to their review on the product detail page and asking them to contact you through Buyer-Seller Messaging to resolve their issues. You cannot reach out to buyers via other means. (7)

Can I use a positive review for marketing purposes?

The reviewer owns the copyright of the review. You can ask for the reviewer’s permission by responding to the review. (8)

Can I create a variation between two unrelated products to boost star rating?

It is a prohibited activity for a seller to create a variation relationship between products that are not actually related to each other in order to boost a product’s star rating. (7)

Can I as a seller (or my employees OR third-party partners) use review features such as marking a review ‘Helpful’?

A seller manipulates the ‘Helpful’, ‘Not Helpful’, or ‘Report Abuse’ features on any review on his or his competitor’s products. (7)

Product Detail Pages 

 

Can I use HTML in my listing?

Don’t use HTML, JavaScript, or other types of code in your product detail pages. As a special case, you can use line breaks </br>) in the description. (1)

Can I include product reviews in my listing?

None of the following are allowed in product detail page titles, descriptions, bullet points, or images:

    • Pornographic, obscene, or offensive content.
    • Phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, or website URLs.
    • Details of availability, price, or condition.
    • Links to other websites for placing orders, or alternative shipping offers, such as free shipping.
    • Spoilers on Books, Music, and Video or DVD (BMVD) listings. This includes giving away plot details crucial to the suspense or surprise ending of a story.
    • Reviews, quotes, or testimonials.
    • Requests for positive customer reviews.
    • Adverts, promotional material, or watermarks on images, photos, or videos.
    • Time-sensitive information, such as dates of tours, seminars, or lectures. (1)
Can I include contact information such as an email address or website on my listing?

None of the following are allowed in product detail page titles, descriptions, bullet points, or images:

    • Pornographic, obscene, or offensive content.
    • Phone numbers, addresses, e-mail addresses, or website URLs.
    • Details of availability, price, or condition.
    • Links to other websites for placing orders, or alternative shipping offers, such as free shipping.
    • Spoilers on Books, Music, and Video or DVD (BMVD) listings. This includes giving away plot details crucial to the suspense or surprise ending of a story.
    • Reviews, quotes, or testimonials.
    • Requests for positive customer reviews.
    • Adverts, promotional material, or watermarks on images, photos, or videos.
    • Time-sensitive information, such as dates of tours, seminars, or lectures. (1)
Can I create a unique product detail page even if it’s already in the Amazon catalog?

You must not create a product detail page for a product already in Amazon’s catalog. (1)

Sellers cannot create separate listings for identical copies of the same product. (11)

Creating a new ASIN when the same product already exists in Amazon’s catalog is prohibited and can result in your ASIN creation or selling privileges being temporarily suspended or permanently removed.

Matching your products to existing products in Amazon’s catalog helps drive a high-quality customer experience. Matching to an existing product instead of creating a duplicate listing allows you to more fully benefit from buyer interest and traffic for that product. (10)

Can I cross-promote or potentially up-sell on my detail page?

You must not use product detail pages to cross-merchandise or cross-promote a product. (1)

Can I use a 3D render for a main image?

Main images must be professional photographs of the actual product (graphics, illustrations, mockups, or placeholders are not allowed). They must not show excluded accessories; props that might confuse the customer; text that is not part of the product; or logos, watermarks, or inset images. (2)

Can I use Amazon logos in my main image?

Product images should not include any Amazon logos or trademarks, or variations, modifications or anything confusingly similar to Amazon’s logos and trademarks. This includes, but is not limited to, any words or logos with the terms AMAZON, PRIME, ALEXA, or the Amazon Smile design. (2)

Can I mention or use Best Seller or similar language/logos in my main image?

Product images should not include any badges used on Amazon, or variations, modifications or anything confusingly similar to such badges. This includes, but is not limited to, “Amazon’s Choice,” “Premium Choice,” “Amazon Alexa,” “Works with Amazon Alexa,” “Best Seller,” or “Top Seller”. (2)

Can I use my logo, watermarks or other unique elements in my main image?

The following is prohibited for main image standards in all product categories: text, logos, borders, color blocks, watermarks, or other graphics over the top of a product or in the background. (2)

Per Amazon, what should I be displaying with additional images?

Main images should be supplemented with additional images showing different sides of a product, the product in use, or details that are not visible on the Main image. Follow the image standards listed above to maintain the quality and consistency across all your product images. (2)

Can I use hidden keyword attributes to make my product more visible through Amazon search?

When customers use Amazon’s search engine and browse structure, they expect to see relevant and accurate results. Any attempt to manipulate the Search and Browse experience is therefore prohibited. Prohibited behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Artificially simulating customer traffic (through Internet bots, paying for clicks on organic search results, etc.).
  • Providing misleading or irrelevant catalog information (title, bullet points, description, variations, keywords, etc.).
  • Adding product identifiers (brand names, product names, ASINs, and so on), even if they are your own, to hidden keyword attributes.

For more context and guidelines, see Optimize listings for search. (11)

Marketing

Can I direct Amazon customers to my website?

Any attempt to circumvent the established Amazon sales process or to divert Amazon users to another website or sales process is prohibited. Specifically, any advertisements, marketing messages (special offers) or “calls to action” that lead, prompt, or encourage Amazon users to leave the Amazon website are prohibited. This might include the use of emails, hyperlinks, URLs, or web addresses within any seller-generated confirmation email messages or any product/listing description fields. (3)

Can I include a link or URL in Amazon emails to my customers?

Any attempt to circumvent the established Amazon sales process or to divert Amazon users to another website or sales process is prohibited. Specifically, any advertisements, marketing messages (special offers) or “calls to action” that lead, prompt, or encourage Amazon users to leave the Amazon website are prohibited. This might include the use of emails, hyperlinks, URLs, or web addresses within any seller-generated confirmation email messages or any product/listing description fields. (3)

Can I intentionally impact sales rank of my product?

The best seller rank feature allows buyers to evaluate the popularity of a product. Any attempt to manipulate sales rank is prohibited. (3)

What, more specifically, are prohibited activities related to sales rank?

You cannot solicit or knowingly accept fake or fraudulent orders, including placing orders for your own products. You cannot provide compensation to buyers for purchasing your products or provide claim codes to buyers for the purpose of inflating sales rank. In addition, you cannot make claims regarding a product’s best seller rank in the product detail page information, including the title and description. (3)

Can I use broader terms to describe a “green” product?

Avoid broad, general claims regarding a product’s environmental benefits or qualities (ex., avoid “eco-friendly” or “environmentally friendly” or “green”).

All claims about a product’s environmental benefits or qualities should be specific, and all qualifications (or limitations) to environmental claims must be specific, clear and prominently displayed (ex., “product is made from 20% recycled materials”). (5)

Packaging

 

Can I highlight my “green” packaging that uses recycled materials?

An environmental claim that a product or packaging is made from recycled materials should accurately reflect the portion that is made from recycled materials (ex., “made from 20% recycled materials”). (5)

What is the California law as it pertains to plastic products on Amazon?
  1. Plastic products sold into California can only be labeled as compostable, home compostable, or marine degradable if they meet the applicable ASTM standard or have the Vincotte OK Compost HOME certification. If your product meets the applicable ASTM or Vincotte standard, it should meet the additional labeling requirements as set forth by California law, and such information should be included on the product detail page.
  2. Plastic products sold into California may not be labeled as biodegradable, degradable, or decomposable, or imply that the plastic product will break down or decompose.
  3. Amazon will restrict the sale of plastic products labeled with these prohibited terms into California.
  4. If you are a seller of a plastic product that meets the applicable ASTM or Vincotte standard, Amazon may require that you provide proof demonstrating that your plastic product meets such standards. (5)

General Business

    Can I create multiple seller accounts?

    Operating and maintaining multiple Seller Central accounts is prohibited. If you have a legitimate business need for a second account, you can apply for an exception to this policy:

    1. Go to Contact us.
    2. Click Selling on Amazon, then select Your account, and select Other account issues.

    In your request, please provide an explanation of the legitimate business need for a second account. To be considered for an approval:

      • You must have a separate bank account for each Seller Central account. We will not approve multiple Seller Central accounts that use the same bank account within the same region. If you sell across regions (for example in North America and Europe), you can use the same bank account for your Seller Central accounts as long as your accounts are linked though Amazon Global Selling.
      • Each account must have a separate email address.
      • The products and services sold in each account must be different.
      • Your Performance Metrics must be in good standing. (11)
    Aaron O'Sullivan
    Troy Johnston   Co-founder, Seller.Tools
    Troy Johnston is the Co-founder of Seller.Tools, a robust suite of optimization tools leveraging actual Amazon data. He sold one of his flagship brands for multiple 7 figures and quickly moved to consulting for 8 & 9 figure clients on Amazon.

    Troy is obsessed with creating data-driven solutions for Seller.Tools clients by empowering sellers with the best data alongside exclusive features. You can find Troy and an amazing community of FBA sellers through the Facebook community FBA Kings.

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