What can't you sell on Amazon? A comprehensive guide to Amazon restricted items

Amazon is known as the ‘Everything Store’ but despite its reputation there are some products that even Amazon won’t allow on its marketplace. If caught selling any of these items, your account may immediately be suspended; your selling privileges terminated; and your inventory destroyed without reimbursement. Due to this, it is always a good idea to know exactly what is and isn’t allowed on the global marketplace. Amazon does however reserve the right to remove any listing it considers to be inappropriate for sale at any time.

When in doubt about whether a product may be sold, Amazon suggests that you do not list it

The general rules for what is prohibited on Amazon are: 

  • Illegal and potentially illegal products
  • Anything promoting illegal use
  • Stolen property
  • Offensive material
  • Nudity of any kind
  • Items that infringe upon an individual’s privacy
  • Advertisements
  • Products from  North Korea, Cuba, Syria, Iran, Region of Crimea or Donetsk People’s Republic
  • Products from Denied Parties such as terrorist organisations, narcotics trafficking or weapons trading.

All products sold on Amazon must comply with all applicable laws, Sellers are legally liable for their actions and transactions.

All alcoholic beverages must only be sold to customers aged 18 years or over.

Chocolate containing alcohol must contain no more than 0.2% litres of alcohol. Chocolates containing more than 57% ABV must be sold only to people aged 18 years or over and you have sufficient procedures in place to verify that the customer is aged 18 years or over.

You cannot sell:

  • Alcohol licences
  • High Strength Alcohol (70% ABV+)
  • Listings that don’t apply to the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising.

As long as the product is compliant with food regulations and is a non-endangered animal, any animal prepared as food is permitted. So are live shellfish, worms and insects, provided that the product is compliant with animal protection laws. Electronic rat traps and DIY pet microchip kits are also allowed.

You cannot sell:
  • Live animals unless otherwise stated above
  • Real fur, or products containing real fur, of any animal
  • Cockfighting “slasher” knives
  • Prong collars and any other collars that have inward-facing spikes
  • Glue traps for vertebrates
  • Cat traps and other traps claiming that they can be used for trapping cats
  • Mink oil produced in the UK
  • Wildlife items such as wild bird eggs and other items as indicated in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
  • Products promoting or media containing animal abuse
  • Electrostatic dog collars, including both training and containment systems
  • Parts, products or ingredients from or containing:
    • baby harp seal and hooded seal skins
    • seals or other pinnipeds (sea-lions and walruses)
    • cats or dogs
    • endangered or threatened species, such as alligators, caimans, crocodiles, elephants (including elephant ivory), kangaroos, mountain lions, coral, sea turtles (including their shells), snakes and most reptile skins
    • shark, whale, dolphin or porpoise
    • untanned animal hides and skins (either with or without hair/fur).

Road safety equipment such as helmets, high-vis jackets and warning triangles are all permitted. New automotive spare parts such as batteries and tyres are allowed but may need to be offer a “take back” solution to allow customers to return used goods for safe disposal. Fuel cans and motor oil and lubricants may also be sold but will have hazmat restrictions and comply with the requirements set out in the UK Petroleum (Consolidation) Regulations 2014.

You cannot sell:

  • Actual cars
  • Used automotive spare parts
  • Airbags and airbag components
  • Car appliances parts that lack the necessary ECE certifications
  • Vehicle seatbelts and seatbelt components.

Most clothing is permitted as long as it is new and doesn’t violate the restrictions concerning animals and animal products.

Concerning clothing, images are something that is much more prohibited to remain compliant. When the product is transparent and shot on a model, genital parts, breasts and buttocks must be covered. For this purpose, the model must be wearing clothes under the item. Also images must not show swimwear or underwear on a child model.

Only packaged beauty products that are appropriately described and labelled can be sold on Amazon.

You cannot sell:

  • Products that have passed their expiration or “use by” dates
  • Products that are not sealed in the original manufacturer’s packaging
  • Sample or “tester” products
  • Prescriptive products
  • Products that contain any of the prohibited ingredients listed in EU Regulation 1223/2009 on Cosmetic Products
  • Cosmetic products containing Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Products that contain or claim to contain snake oil.

You are able to sell Replica coins and replica stamps as long as they are clearly designed and described as replicas and precious metals. You are also allowed to list collectable coins and paper money that do not have legal tender status anywhere. However these product listings MUST claim:

  • Alterations
  • Authenticity of a coin or paper money, including if the seller is unsure of authenticity
  • Clear image of the item
  • Condition
  • Date of issue
  • Origin
You cannot sell:
  • Counterfeits and equipment intended for counterfeiting
  • Legal tender in any country
  • Cash equivalent instruments, eg. bitcoins, money orders, travellers’ cheques, gift cards, gift certificates, electronic stored-value redemption codes
  • Stocks and securities
  • Gold, silver or other precious metals.

General Sales List (GSL) medicines which do not contain aloxiprin, aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen, and which do not require a doctor’s prescription or sale by a licensed pharmacy are allowed. Authorised Veterinary Medicines of GSL (AVM-GSL) and health supplements that comply with all UK legal requirements (including labelling) are also permitted.

You cannot sell:

  • Prescription only medication
  • Unlicensed medication
  •  All illegal drugs including synthetic versions
  • Substances or drugs considered as legal highs
  • Substances identified as drugs or chemicals of concern
  • Ingredients to create illegal drugs
  • Drug Paraphenalia except hookahs & bongs
  • Products intended to defeat a drug test
  • Products that claim to treat cancer
  • Growth hormones
  • Products that have passed their expiration or “use by” dates
  • Opened or used products
  • Products that have been the subject of recalls or safety alerts.

All electronic items must be lawful for sale, comply with the relevant legislation and where applicable, be CE marked.

You cannot sell:

  • Products capable of blocking, jamming or interfering with licensed or authorised radio communications
  • Mobile phone repeaters/boosters or enhancers
  • Products that descramble, or gain access to, cable or satellite television services without permission
  • Laser pointers, laser flares, laser pens, pet laser pointer toy, 303 laser products and laser projectors
  • Kindle batteries
  • Spy cameras with an audio-recording function
  • Credit card reader terminals and portable magnetic stripe card-readers
  • Mobile phones sold with services contracts
  • Devices that do not support Prime Video or Prime Music.
  • Cylindrical lithium ion cell battery types: 14500, 16340, 18650, 20700, 21700, and 26650.

Food is permitted as long as it is correctly packaged, labelled and delivered, and complies with all applicable regulations. All food products offered for sale on an Amazon website must also (as a minimum) be labelled in the language of that website eg. English.

You cannot sell:

  • Foie gras
  • Food containing any illegal drug or sweets designed to resemble illegal drugs
  • Shark or whale meat
  • Other prohibited animal products and products made from endangered or threatened species
  • Food with an expired ‘use by’ date
  • Unregistered Novel Food products
  • Products labelled as “not for retail sale,” or “not intended for resale”
  • Food marketed with any health claim unless the product is a licensed medicine.

Slot machines by licensed sellers and non-functional or toy slot machines are permitted.

You cannot sell:
  • Lottery tickets
  • Instant win tickets or scratchcards
  • Slot machines and other gaming machines other than by licensed sellers.

You must be approved by Amazon to sell in this category. Once approved you can sell jewellery, gems and precious metals (gold, silver, platinum) with the required hallmarks. Sale of precious metals over 1gm must be by weight.

You cannot sell:

  • Precious metals that are not stamped in compliance with applicable laws, including assay marks on items described as “gold”.
  • Precious metals over 1gm which have not been weighted with stamped weighing and measuring equipment with the required degree of accuracy.
  • Rough diamonds that do not comply with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

Mostly all forms of medical devices are prohibited.

The listing and sale of these items products is generally prohibited on Amazon.co.uk, except for sellers participating in a limited, invite-only pilot. This pilot only applies to products listed on Amazon.co.uk and is not in place for other EU websites. The pilot is not accepting additional sellers currently.

Key products that are permitted are sexual lubricants, massage oils, condoms in sealed retail packaging and adult themed games. 

Sex toys are a grey area on the marketplace as they are technically prohibited but ARA Premium suggests that there is a high demand on the site. There are a number of sellers that appear to be selling them under different categories so it is to the discretion of Sellers to determine if selling sex toys are worth the risk.

Sellers should be aware that imagery, title and description might affect a product’s viability.

You cannot sell:

  • Hard pornographic materials, such as films rated 18 by the British Board of Film Classification
  • Sexual health enhancers, including dietary supplements, drugs and devices
  • Soiled undergarments
  • Pornography depicting violent, non-consensual or illegal acts
  • Child or juvenile pornography.

Certain collectibles and tobacco-related products which do not contain tobacco or nicotine and do not advertise any tobacco related product, such us ashtrays, cigar cutters can be sold on Amazon.

You cannot sell:

  • Tobacco and any product containing tobacco
  • Novelty lighters
  • E-cigarettes and related e-products that contain nicotine or look aimed for people aged under 18 eg. cartoon characters on packaging
  • E-liquid flavours that taste like child-friendly products (eg. popcorn, rainbow & bubble-gum) or other drugs eg. hemp & cannabidiol).

Weapons are strictly prohibited on Amazon.

Bows, self defence sprays (containing no irritants), scissors, carving & toasting forks are all classified as non-weapons. Several knives are also permitted provided that all merchant fulfilled orders are shipped with a permitted age verification eg. folding blades which are not capable of being locked open Kitchen knives, including cheese and steak knives, folding blades that are part of a multi-tool device and electric carving knives. 

Knives included in ordinary cutlery sets with forks and spoons are also allowed.

You cannot sell:

  • Firearms
  • Airguns
  • Accessories which assist the use of firearms (for example, silencers and converters)
  • Ammunition
  • Grenades
  •  Tasers
  •  Any other product that could be classified as a weapon.

You cannot sell:

  • Free samples
  • Poisons
  • Real estate properties
  • Internet domain names
  • ‘Mystery’ boxes or any listing that doesn’t explicitly state what it is in the title
  • Stolen Property
  • Confederate flag merchandise.
For more specific product categories visit Amazon’s restricted product page

There are certain products and categories that aren’t banned but rather they are gated by Amazon.

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