Amazon sometimes contacts sellers to request test reports, label photocopies, and product certificates, for the sake of verifying that the product is safe and fully compliant with the national regulations in the concerned marketplace. Such a review can be trigged when listing a new product, consumer complaints, or by Amazon’s own internal compliance review team.
In this guide, you will learn why Amazon requests compliance documents from sellers, and what they normally expect. We also cover real-life case studies, to demonstrate how products are subject to different types of compliance document requests.
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Why does Amazon request compliance documents from sellers?
Amazon is concerned with ensuring that products sold by third-parties are safe and compliant with the national regulations and standards in its respective marketplaces. Amazon sometimes selects products in certain categories for compliance review – meaning that the seller must submit the requested documents within a set time frame.
It’s also worth mentioning that Amazon suspends the product immediately. Hence, submitting the requested documents is urgent.
A compliance document request may also be triggered by a complaint from a consumer. We are even aware of such reviews being triggered by consumers complaining about the smell of the product.
Further, a product can be subject to review long after its listing. You’re not exempt from ensuring that your products are safe simply because you have not received such a request until now.
What kind of documents does Amazon request?
Amazon requests the documents necessary to prove that the product is compliant. The specific documents requested depends on the regulations that apply to the product in question. Hence, Amazon is generally reflecting the national compliance requirements.
Test Reports & Certificates
In most cases, Amazon requires lab test reports and other compliance documents. The latter may include self-issued product certificates or declarations.
Amazon may also request photocopies of the product, to determine if it’s correctly labeled. Such labeling requirements refer to CE marking, country of origin, and so on.
Amazon also takes a closer look at the submitted documents to assess the following:
1. Is the test report/certificate valid for the same product?
2. Is the test report/certificate held by the right company?
3. Is the test report/certificate format correct?
4. Are all mandatory requirements/standards listed in the test report/certificate?
5. Are the labels correct?
Can I get these documents from my supplier?
Many sellers often turn to their suppliers for help after receiving a product compliance request from Amazon – assuming that the “factory should know”. What usually happens is that the supplier scrambles to dig up some outdated test report valid for a different product.
It’s rare that a compliance request can be resolved by submitting test reports and other compliance documents provided by a supplier.
Can I get my product lab tested after I receive a document request?
Yes, and that is also what most sellers do after realizing their suppliers cannot provide the necessary documents. This might work, as long as your products are technically compliant – meaning that they can pass the test.
That being said, it may as well turn out that your product is non-compliant (e.g. containing excessive amounts of lead or phthalates) – and thereby a failed lab test is inevitable.
Further, Amazon also checks product and packaging labeling. If your product is not already correctly labeled by the time Amazon requests photocopies – your only option is to get the stock back from the warehouse and relabel each product. Keep in mind that this may not even be technically possible to do.
As such, you should never wait until Amazon requests compliance documents, but ensure that your products are tested, correctly labeled, and fully compliant before the goods are even shipped to the warehouse.
By the time they come knocking on your door (or email inbox), it might already be too late.
Case Study A: CPSIA Compliance Request (USA)
Upon investigation, please be informed that your listing has been removed by our internal team due to product safety reasons where the team within Amazon that reviews existing ASINs for compliance with:
1) applicable laws for the marketplace where a product is sold.
2) Children’s Product Certificate (CPC) for the ASINs you are applying to sell
3) Test reports from a CPSC-accepted testing laboratory confirming each product was tested to the requirements listed below:
Please be informed this item has been suppressed due to an ongoing safety investigation. In order to relist your product, contact the manufacturer or brand owner for applicable product safety testing and compliance documents.
In this specific case, Amazon decided to classify the seller’s product as a children’s product, which in turn means that CPSIA is mandatory. In short, CPSIA compliance involves the following:
- The product must be lab tested by a CPSC accepted lab
- The seller must issue a Children’s Product Certificate (CPC)
- The product must have a tracking label
The seller did not have any of these documents, as they did not consider their product to be a children’s product. That said, the only solution, in this case, was to arrange a lab test and issue the CPC.
Case Study B: REACH Compliance Request (EU)
We are writing to let you know that the product(s) listed at the bottom of this message have been removed from sale on Amazon.co.uk.
Why is this happening?
As part of legal requirements and our ongoing efforts to provide the best possible customer experience, Amazon has implemented safety standards for all [PRODUCT NAME REMOVED] on the site and we do not have sufficient information regarding the affected ASINs to assess whether they meet these safety standards in compliance with REACH regulation. You can find more information on this program in the page below.
Amazon submitted this document request asking the seller to submit information proving that the product is REACH compliant. REACH is an EU regulation restricting chemicals and heavy metals in consumer products. The only solution to this situation is to submit a REACH lab test report, issued by a third-party.
It is not clear what triggered this document request. It is also the first time we have been informed of Amazon requesting REACH test reports.
What is also interesting here is the fact that REACH applies to all consumer products sold in the EU. Hence, it implies that any product could be subject to a REACH compliance document request by Amazon.
Case Study C: Hoverboards
Amazon removed the majority of hoverboards in late 2015 after a series of incidents caused by exploding lithium batteries. Amazon required that US sellers provided UN 38.3, UL 1642, and UL 60950-1 test reports to prove that their products are safe.
That said, most sellers were caught off-guard by this request and failed to provide any test report.
How to get your product relisted after a compliance removal
The only way to start selling your products again is by submitting the requested documents. There is no way around it. Trying to relist the same products again is prohibited and can – as expressed by Amazon – result in your seller privileges being removed permanently.