I know one of the hurdles sellers have to navigate is strictly adhering to Amazon’s terms of service and policies. Non-compliance can result in drastic sanctions. 

Through my years working with Amazon sellers, I have continuously recommended familiarizing themselves with these terms and policies.

My aim in this article is to detail what these terms of service really mean and the purpose they serve. I’ll walk you through how to navigate them and, most importantly, how to comply with Amazon’s terms of service and policies. 

How to Comply With Amazon’s Terms of Service and Policies

Amazon operates within a highly competitive environment where compliance with its terms of service is crucial for the safety of everyone. It’s not uncommon, however, for sellers on the platform to unintentionally overlook the policies and regulations they initially agreed to when creating their accounts.

Terms of service written on a paper in a typewriter

It is important to understand and comply fully with Amazon’s selling policies, code of conduct, and prohibited actions to prevent consequences. 

What Are Amazon’s Terms of Service?

Amazon’s Terms of Service (ToS), also called Business Solutions Agreement, are a set of rules and guidelines that govern the access to and use of the Amazon platform by sellers.  

This agreement is typically between you or the brand you represent and Amazon. It specifies certain conditions you must meet, actions you must take, and conduct you must avoid to remain a seller on the platform. These terms usually cover: 

Who Are Amazon’s ToS For?

Amazon’s seller ToS exists for individuals and entities with a seller account on the platform. If you fall under any of the following categories, you need to comply with the ToS: 

Amazon’s Business Solutions Agreement Policies 

The Business Solutions Agreement on Amazon is legally binding. Therefore, sellers need to be aware of the essential points that it details. If you need a proper breakdown, you could contact an attorney

For instance, sellers are responsible for complying with applicable tax laws, including sales and income taxes. Sellers should consult with tax professionals to ensure compliance. Here are some of the other critical ones: 

A man and woman in an office, examining papers

Dispute Resolution 

All disputes must be resolved through binding arbitration and not through litigation. However, if a dispute proceeds to court for any reason, the resolution proceedings will be conducted individually rather than as a consolidated or representative action.

Intellectual Property 

Sellers must respect intellectual property rights, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents. They should not sell counterfeit or infringing products. Relevant provisions include the Lanham Act, which governs trademarks, and the Copyright Act.

Product Listing 

When listing their products, sellers must provide only accurate information. They must include a detailed description, high-quality images, and the right price. 

Sellers must also ensure that their products comply with all relevant safety and regulatory requirements, such as those enforced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Failure to comply can result in legal liability and regulatory action.

Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

Sellers using FBA must follow the agreement’s requirements, including appropriate labeling and maintenance of accurate inventory levels. 

A woman typing on a laptop in an office setting

Amazon Selling Policies 

Amazon has rules and regulations for the kind of products that can be sold on its platform, and sellers will do well to adhere to these requirements. Prohibited products on Amazon include: 

Prohibited Seller Actions on Amazon 

Sellers on Amazon are prohibited from carrying out certain behaviors that may compromise the safety of other sellers and buyers on the platform. These prohibitions also ensure that no seller cunningly derives an unfair advantage over their competitors. Some of the prohibited actions include:

Redirecting Traffic from Amazon

Attempting to divert traffic away from Amazon to external websites or competing platforms is strictly prohibited. This includes methods such as promoting external links, advertisements, and calls to action that urge customers to leave the site.

Multiple Seller Accounts

Operating multiple seller accounts without proper authorization from Amazon is prohibited. Each seller can have only one Amazon seller account, and creating additional accounts to bypass restrictions or manipulate sales metrics violates Amazon’s policies.

Inappropriate Communications Via Email 

Sellers must refrain from sending unsolicited or inappropriate emails, such as spam, marketing materials unrelated to orders, or offensive messages. The only emails that should be sent are those that promote order fulfillment and customer service. 

Misleading Business Names

Sellers must only use business names that they are permitted to use and identify them accurately. Using misleading or unauthorized business names can confuse customers and violate Amazon’s policies on transparency and authenticity.

Two businessmen in suits signing important documents at a table

Wrong Use of Customer Phone Numbers

Amazon prohibits sellers from using customer phone numbers obtained through orders for purposes other than order-related communication.

Consequences of Violating Amazon’s Terms of Service 

Violating Amazon’s ToS can result in significant penalties enacted on the violating sellers by Amazon. These penalties are designed to maintain the integrity of the marketplace, protect customers, and uphold fair competition among sellers. 

How to Comply With Amazon’s ToS 

Having seen the consequences of violation, there’s no doubt you understand why you must comply with Amazon’s ToS. However, keeping up with Amazon’s policies and terms and conditions may often seem difficult despite your best efforts. 

Here are some tips and best practices you can employ to ensure you comply with Amazon’s ToS:

Thoroughly Read and Understand the Agreement 

Before starting to sell on Amazon, or even if you’re already a seller, take the time to study and understand Amazon’s ToS thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the rules, policies, conditions, and guidelines to prevent unintentional violations.

Stay Updated on Policy Changes

Amazon frequently updates its policies and guidelines, and you must do your best to stay informed about any changes or updates. Do this by regularly reviewing announcements, policy updates, and notifications from Amazon Seller Central.

Keep Your Product Listings Accurate

Ensure that your product listings accurately represent the items you are selling. Provide clear and detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, and accurate information about product specifications, dimensions, and features.

Ensure Product Authenticity 

Make sure that you sell only authentic products that comply with the applicable laws of the jurisdiction in which you are located. Avoid listing counterfeit, fraudulent, or prohibited items, and ensure that your products meet safety standards and regulatory requirements.

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Do your best to provide your customers with excellent customer service that will satisfy them. You can do this by:

Fulfill Orders Promptly and Accurately

After receiving an order, ensure that you ship products promptly and provide accurate tracking information to customers.

Monitor Your Performance Metrics

Amazon expects its sellers to maintain a certain level of performance. Therefore, to keep selling on the platform, you must monitor your seller performance metrics, such as sales revenue, order defect rate, conversion rate, and inventory performance index. 

If you notice any performance issues, take active steps to address them and improve your metrics to meet Amazon’s standards.

A man in suit signing papers at a table during a business meeting

Follow Communication Guidelines

Strictly follow Amazon’s guidelines for communication with customers, including rules on email communication, buyer-seller messaging, use of phone numbers, and prohibited activities such as soliciting positive reviews or feedback.

Related Questions 

What Are the Consequences of Violating Amazon’s Terms of Service?

The consequences of violating Amazon’s ToS vary in severity, including account suspension, loss of seller privileges, delisting of products, withholding of revenue, removal of customer reviews, and even legal action. Sellers may also be banned permanently from Amazon and, therefore, unable to perform further transactions from the platform. 

What Happens if I Accidentally Violate Amazon’s Terms of Service?

Accidental violations of Amazon’s ToS can still lead to consequences such as account suspension, restriction from using community features, and product listing removal. This is why it is important to have a strong knowledge of these ToS and stay updated on any policy changes that may take place. 

What Should I Do if I Receive a Policy Violation Notice From Amazon?

If you receive a policy violation notice from Amazon and believe it’s unjustified, click on the violation in your account health page and click the appeal button. This will enable you to appeal the disciplinary action Amazon has taken. However, if you violated a policy, immediately cease such action, for instance, removing any non-compliant listings. 

Conclusion 

Violating Amazon’s ToS can have serious consequences for sellers. To ensure compliance, it is essential for sellers to first review and understand these terms and then take active steps to obey them. Follow the tips above to prevent violations from impacting your ability to conduct business effectively on the platform.