Restricted Product Policy Violation - Am I trapped?

Hi everyone!
Two of our ASINs have been deactivated due to restricted product policy violations. Let me begin by saying that I believe these products have been wrongly identified by the system.

Both ASINs refer to rice products, imported (correctly) from Italy to the US.
It is rice for cooking. We merchant-fulfill it from our warehouse here in the US.

The performance notifications go as follows:
We are writing to let you know that the following detail pages have been removed from our catalog: ASIN
This item has been identified as a rice seed product that the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has determined does not meet import requirements to be permitted for entry or sale in the United States…

Initially, I appealed for one of the ASINs to test the response, providing my reasoning for believing in the erroneous identification. I included a link to the USDA website, which explicitly states that “ready-to-cook rice” meets admission criteria and does not require special prerequisites.
But all I got back was an automated response: “We received your submission and after careful review we have determined that your ASINs do not meet the criteria for reinstatement. Why did this happen? Your listings do not meet our standards. This item has been identified as a rice seed product that the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has determined does not meet import requirements to be permitted for entry or sale in the United States.
That’s it.

I then checked the product listing and saw we used the term “seeds” in our bullet points
(I know…I should have done that before appealing)

Consequently, we removed this term and resubmitted our appeal, reiterating the link to the USDA and pointing out the removal of the term, which “we believe caused the deactivation”.

But no luck, got the same negative response.

We then attempted to appeal for the other ASIN, but encountered the same outcome, despite presenting a (imo) more comprehensive argument.

To try to avoid the loop of bot responses, I then opened a stand-alone case. However, we received an identical reply even in the new case.

Could you kindly provide suggestions on the potential reason for the initial deactivation or any steps I might be overlooking in my appeals?
Thank you very much for your attention.

Please find below our appeal for the second ASIN, including the USDA link for your reference.

"Dear Performance Team,

We value Amazon’s policies and guidelines, recognizing their critical role in maintaining the integrity of the marketplace. Ensuring compliance with these standards while delivering an exceptional experience to Amazon’s customers is our top priority.

After thoroughly assessing our listing and carefully reviewing Amazon’s policies, we believe the system has flagged our product due to the use of the term ‘seed’ in our bullet points.

This term was used in good faith to highlight the unique features of our product and provide the best experience for Amazon’s customers. However, upon further consideration, we have taken proactive measures to address this concern. We have updated the product listing to eliminate any reference to “seed” and have revised the copy accordingly to ensure compliance with Amazon’s guidelines.

We believe that the notified product is permitted for sale on Amazon.
We guarantee that our goods are thoroughly imported, customs cleared, and inspected by the relevant governing bodies, ensuring adherence to all necessary standards and protocols.

For your reference, please visit the USDA link provided below.
Specifically, refer to the section titled “Other Miscellaneous and Processed Products,” where explicit mention is made that our product (ready-to-cook rice) falls among the admissible items approved by USDA APHIS: USDA APHIS | Generally Authorized Non-Propagative Plant Products

We appreciate your understanding and kindly request a reevaluation of our product listing in light of these adjustments. Our goal is to ensure full compliance with Amazon’s policies while providing the best possible experience to Amazon’s customers.

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to a positive resolution.

Sincerely,"

Thank you!

1 Like

Salve,

I think it will be almost impossible to get out from this “bot loop”.
As you do FBM and you don’t have inventory in the amazon warehouses, I would try to create a new ASIN. To do so, you would have to relabel your products with a new EAN and then upload the new product to amazon, and see what happens.
Of course, erase the word “seed” from your listings.

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Your primary issue was almost certainly was the lack of responding in a format that Amazon likes.

– Root Cause

– Corrective Measures

– Preventative Measures

After that your response has to much fluff in it. When I read stuff like this I read the first sentence of a paragraph and usually skip to the next unless it holds some relative content. I suspect Amazon does the same.

I’ve worked several of these before with sellers and it often takes several tries.

  1. Make sure you fixed the SKU and give the specifics
  2. Use dates whenever possible
  3. Don’t generalize so much
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To go along with this, the more concise the appeal the better.

Each bullet point here should be like 1 or 2 things

Root cause is you mistakenly described it as a seed
Corrective measure is you updated the detail page
Preventative is something about how you’re going to do a thorough review of all new detail pages you create, and something like a quarterly compliance check of all existing detail pages

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Correction - Corrective measure is you updated your SKU

99% chance that the page itself was locked whenever the violation occurred.

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Root Cause - Amazon employees read English only as a 2nd or 3rd language

Corrective Measure - Amazon needs to hire more native English speakers

Preventative Measure - When interacting with support, request escalation and transfer to a US-based representative

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Salve :slight_smile: Thank you for your suggestion. Makes sense and would work for sure, but it is a bit risky for us, so I’ll take it as a last resort. Thanks!!

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Thank you for pointing me in the right direction! I didn’t imagine I would have to present it as a plan of action. I have resubmitted it as such. I will let you know how it goes

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Awesome! this as well is very helpful to me.
Thank you

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Thank you, everyone. I am pleased to announce that both listings have been reinstated!

Today’s lesson: Own it, even if you’re blameless!
…one of the ASINs was reinstated promptly, while the other one faced a subsequent rejection, as azon claimed that the Country of Origin attribute needed updating (although it was already correctly filled in).
I politely pointed out to Amazon that the attribute was already accurate, yet they rejected it again :dotted_line_face: I then proceeded to submit a mini-poa for this attribute, and guess what? It worked, and they reactivated the listing.

For those who may find it helpful, here is the brief action plan that I submitted and was accepted:

Dear Performance Team,

I am X from XYZ, responsible for Amazon operations. We are writing to appeal the suspension of ASIN Z, which was identified on DATE, as a rice seed product not meeting the import requirements set by the USDA APHIS for entry or sale in the United States.

We have conducted a thorough investigation to identify the cause of the issue and promptly remedy it. Furthermore, we are committed to ensuring full compliance with Amazon’s policies in the future.
As part of our response to this issue, we have taken the following actions:

  1. Identified the Root Cause of The Problem:
    We acknowledge that the primary issue stemmed from mistakenly describing the product as “seeds” in the bullet points.

  2. Taken immediate Corrective Action:
    We accurately updated the detail page to remove any reference to “seed” and ensured alignment with Amazon’s guidelines.
    It’s important to note that our product is not a seed but rather “ready-to-cook rice”, compliant with USDA APHIS regulations available at the link: www

  3. Implemented Long-Term Preventive Measures:

  • Moving forward, we commit to conducting thorough reviews of all new detail pages before submission.
  • Additionally, we will implement quarterly compliance checks of all existing detail pages to maintain adherence to Amazon’s policies.

Thank you for considering our appeal and for your time today.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,


That’s all…

Thank you again. You have been very very helpful

@oneida_books @GGX @notmyflag

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Good job!

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Glad to hear the good news.

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Identified the Root Cause of The Problem:
We acknowledge that the primary issue stemmed from mistakenly thinking that Amazon employed people with functioning brains.

Taken immediate Corrective Action:
We have moved the products in Question to Walmart, eBay, and Temu

Implemented Long-Term Preventive Measures:
Amazon Account Closure In Process

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Careful there, mentioning the word close (or some variant of it) in a case will actually get your account closed.

This will be my template for future occurrences :smiley:

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