Product Safety Team Deleted Our 3 Year Old Listing And Stopped Responding


#1

So on March 01st, the seller performance team sent a notice that our listing has been removed due to an Expiry complaint and we need to respond identifying cause of the complaint and provide the steps we are taking to resolve the complaint.

We have dealt with this issue before and we already know the product isn’t actually expired because we just shipped a fresh batch two months ago. The product was out of stock before this so Amazon has no old stock. It is usually a case of the customer reading the manufacture date as the expiry date. We provide our plan which had been accepted in the past for other products.

Three days later, the Product Safety Team responds that the information is not enough and they may not respond any further. We responded with an updated plan with more information including invoice of our recent shipment, picture of the actual product with the manufacture date on it and the new labels we would be implementing to avoid the problem.

Two days after that, Amazon responds stating that they are making our inventory unsellable because we have not provided an acceptable appeal within the last 60 days. Note, the first contact was only 5 days prior.

Now we can’t say for sure the expiry reason is due to the customer misreading the date because the only information provided by Amazon was ‘Expired’. So it could be possible that the customer didn’t like the smell or taste of the product too but we can’t address that because we don’t know. We just know the product isn’t actually expired.

Any suggestions on our next step? This product isn’t our best selling but it recently experienced a sharp increase in sales and we’d hate to abandon it not to mention lose out on the thousands of dollars of inventory at Amazon simply because of one invalid complaint. Below were our responses. I will only post the first Amazon email because I already summarized all of the information in the other emails.

Amazon’s First Email

Hello,
We have removed your listing below because we received a customer complaint that the item they received from you was close to or past its expiration date. Your listing will remain inactive while we work with you to resolve the issue.
Complaint Type ASIN Title Additional Information
Expired ASIN REMOVED TITLE REMOVED
To have your listing reinstated, please send the following information to safety-policy@amazon.com: and include the following information:
• Identify the cause of the complaint
• Provide steps you have taken to resolve the issue and prevent similar complaints going forward
Here are a few things to consider as you create your plan of action:
• Make sure you are sourcing the product from a trusted supplier.
• Ensure your items have a minimum of 105 days remaining before the expiration or use-by date at the time of receipt by Amazon Fulfillment Centers.
• Ensure that items that cannot be reasonably consumed or used within 105 days before they expire are received at Amazon Fulfillment Centers with expiration or use-by date that is greater than the intended use period.
We will review the information you send and get back to you. When we respond, we may ask you for additional details or to revise your plan of action. If we can confirm the information you provide and your plan of action sufficiently addresses the complaint, we will reinstate your listing on your behalf.
Learn more about our policies in Seller Central Help:
• Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/200386250)
• Product Detail Page Rules (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/200390640)
• Condition Guidelines (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/20033950)
• Expiration-dated FBA Inventory (https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/201003420)
Thank you and we look forward to working with you shortly.
Seller Performance Team

Our Response
Hello

Cause of complaint

This is a case of the customer misreading or ignoring the expiry date on the bottle as our bottles already have the expiry date. The expiry may be difficult for some customers to read due to the small size of the text.

The product is NOT expired. The stock at Amazon was manufactured 2 months ago and this product has a 2 year shelf-life.

Steps taken

We have since clearly labelled all bottles with the expiry date in LARGE printed text on the bottle. Attached is an example of the expiry label we will be using. The customer should not be able to miss this label in the future and hence should be clear on when the product expires. We will also add to the product description, an explanation stating the difference between manufacture and expiry dates.

All of our stock for this product is manufactured just before being shipped to Amazon and the product’s shelf life is two years. Our oldest stock currently in Amazon’s fulfillment centers expires in 2021. We will clearly label all inventory with a large expiry date label so that customers do not get confused. We will also continue to ship only recently manufactured stock to Amazon to avoid having expired inventory shipped to customers. All stock is manufactured new in an FDA approved and GMP certified lab.

Our Second Response
Hello

Cause of complaint

The complaint is caused due to a customer misreading the manufacture date on the bottles.

Plan of action

We will be adding a notice to the product label explaining to customers the MFG date as we have noticed a small percentage of customers do not know what manufacture date means.

We will remove current inventory at Amazon so we can add expiry labels as shown in the attached imaged printed in large text so that the customer will be well aware of the expiry date and should not get confused.

We will also add these large expiry labels to future inventory shipped to Amazon.

We will only ship stock for this product that is recently manufactured and that does not expire for at least 18 months. All stock is manufactured new in an FDA approved and GMP certified lab and the product labelling follows all FDA Guidelines as well as Amazon’s guidelines.


#2

Unless something has recently changed, adding on compliant expiration date labels when the manufacturer label doesn’t meet Amazon FBA guidelines for the format is a requirement.

If that is still the case, your root cause would be failure to follow those guidelines. Customers mistakenly thinking the product is expired is a result, not the cause.

For the solution Amazon wants what you have done…not promises you will do something. For example, “we have added labels with the expiration date in the required format to all products we are preparing for shipment to Amazon.”


#3

Thanks for the suggestions. I’ll try implementing them and see if we get any success.


#4

If you are using FBA, are you also using Amazon barcodes to cover your manufacturer barcodes?

I believe that the Amazon Barcodes have the expiration date coded into them to help avoid issues.


#5

Do they actually use that for anything? We submit the expiry date whenever sending an FBA shipment, but it seems like that has never had any impact on expiry complaints.


#6

Honestly… I am not sure. In reading the official Amazon guidance, even if you are the brand owner and have manufacturer barcodes on the label anything which is considered “consumable” must have an Amazon Bardocde on it, even if the product itself does not.

Some other forum posts indicate that people are still sending inventory in to FBA using the manufacturer barcode (Post 1, Post 2), but reading the Amazon guidance this is noncompliant.

Maybe tryi including this is as part of your POA response? (adding the Amazon Bardcode) Just trying to help


#7

Just wanted to post our solution to this issue in case it can help any one else. Checking the Voice of the Customer section and taking note of any recent complaints, then addressing those complaints in our Plan of Action solved the problem. The reason we didn’t do this before is because the complaints actually weren’t Expiry complaints but for some reason, Amazon labels them as such.

So if you have an expiry complaint, just keep in mind it may not be expiry at all and you basically just have to figure out which complaint it was and based your Plan of Action around that. Its all one big guessing game that Amazon likes to play which just wastes everyone’s time.


Product Safety Complaint: Close Dated/Past Expiration