Vendors and sellers offer all kinds of products on Amazon’s online marketplace, from t-shirts and tools to toys and toilet paper. Sometimes, a product may have aspects that make it dangerous in for Amazon to either store or transport. This may be because of some chemical or ingredient that makes it possibly unsafe, whether it is flammable, pressurized, corrosive, or otherwise harmful.
When Amazon identifies a product that may fall into the dangerous category, it gets flagged for a review. The most likely places/times this may occur is when converting a product from FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) to FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon), while creating a shipping plan, or when uploading a new product you will sell. This flag can also occur during periodic Amazon scanning of products and categories.
Amazon may even flag products that are not inherently dangerous, but the system errs on the side of caution as they don’t want to risk liability of possibly dangerous goods.
Products flagged for hazmat reviews can have an adverse effect on the business of a vendor or seller, especially if it had previously been one of their best-selling ASINs. Amazon will suppress the product by either making the detail page unviewable or making it currently unavailable in the buy box. The time that the product is caught in the review is time the product can’t be sold to shoppers, potentially losing a great deal of revenue.
How can you prepare for hazmat reviews?
It is best to determine if your product may be flagged for a hazmat review and proactively take steps to minimize potential financial loss.
· List products early to address restrictions and hazmat reviews as soon as possible
· Fill in all required possible details in listing or NIS, materials/contents/size
· Determine if the product falls under the regulations of carrier agencies or similar organizations such as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
· Determine if the product is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) · Stay updated with Amazon’s Hazmat list to see where your products may land
· Gather all the information and reports to fill out the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or Safety Data Sheet (SDS) which Amazon will prompt you to fill if your product gets flagged
Steps going through a hazmat review
Vendors and sellers can ensure they are ready for when a hazmat review comes and do their part in a timely manner to make sure products are back and available to purchase as soon as possible.
1. First, product listing will be paused or suspended so that shoppers cannot buy it.
2. Amazon will require and MSDS/SDS from the manufacturer or exemption form.
3. Vendor or seller needs to submit documents within 4 business days or the listing will be blocked. MSDS or SDS documents must be updated withing the last 5 years, match the product listing, include supplier info that matches product label, and include all 16 standard sections.
4. Amazon will review the document in 4 business days, setting the product in one of three categories.
a. Non-DG: Product is not dangerous; No hazmat restrictions; Business as usual
b. Restricted DG: Product can only be fulfilled through FBA if the vendor or seller is enrolled in FBA Dangerous Goods Program; Existing inventory may need transferring to an FC for handling dangerous goods (FBA will do this if possible); Units may be sent to fulfillment centers, but will count toward the seller’s dangerous goods inventory limit
c. Unfulfillable DG: Product is dangerous and cannot be fulfilled through FBA; Must create a removal order for the inventory and sell it FBM; Amazon will dispose of unremoved inventory after 5 business days; Option remains to request another review of the Dangerous Good classification by uploading a new SDS or exemption sheet
Tips and things to remember going through hazmat review
To ensure timely return of flagged products to being purchasable and profitable, there are a few things any seller or vendor will want to remember.
· If a product is marked as hazmat, you can create an alternate offer for the product that is FBM so you can keep selling the product; This is also known as Drop-Ship or Direct Fulfillment
· Official SDS documents that contain all needed information are already available at OSHA and international standards
· MSDS/SDS and exemption forms can be accompanied with other documentation of the product’s nature and history or support from transportation agencies
· Vendors and sellers have limited storage for FBA hazmat products in fulfillment centers, but they can request more if necessary
· Hazmat reviews are specific to the product, not the vendor or seller; All sellers of a flagged product need to submit documentation to clear hazmat review
· New product listings may be paused and not allow shipments until a Dangerous Goods review is done; This is easier than creating removal orders if they classify it as unfulfillable
· If Amazon takes longer than 4 days after you submit documentation, contact Amazon or create a case to inquire about the status of the review; Emailing the compliance team may also help
· Asking for a case to be sent to the hazmat team, or asking to be connected to them, can start a conversation that can resolve issues if the review has stalled
It may be frustrating when products get flagged and are suppressed for any reason, but it is important to remember that Amazon is trying to safeguard the safety of their employees. Completely filling the requested information from Amazon, communication, and patience are key to ensuring that ASINs can stay or return to being profitable.
If you have trouble with hazmat or other issues in your Amazon account, Navazon has the tools and expertise to optimize your catalog and streamline your operations for maximum profits. Contact a representative today to see how we can help you.