Everything You Need To Know about Expiration-Dated Products on Amazon
If you sell on Amazon, you understand very well how many different rules, requirements, and policies are in place to keep the marketplace “fair and equitable”. When it comes to expired products, you may be scratching your head about the policy warnings you see in Account Health.
Make sure you understand the necessary steps that you need to address when building your Plan of Action, or risk a negative result.
What Is An Expiration-Dated Product?
Amazon has a clear outline for what they consider to be an expiration-dated product, which essentially means that a product has a given shelf life and a date by which the product is no longer usable, edible, or suitable for use.
This includes any product with an expiration date printed on its packaging, a consumable or ingestible product, topicals and pet care products, cleaning products, and more. Some typical shelf life numbers to consider for expiration-dated products include 90-180 days for chips and snacks, 270 days for salad dressings and other oils, and up to 1825 days for cleaning products.
Making sure that you send these products to an Amazon Fulfillment Center within your expiration date – and with plenty of time to spare – is absolutely critical.
What About Labeling?
Anything that is ingestible needs to be properly labeled with either a manufacturing date or an expiration date – both are preferable. Additionally, baby food and formula should also be labeled clearly with a manufacturing date and expiration date.
- “Our system stores the expiration date information in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Due to time-zone conversions, the date on the box label might differ from what you originally entered.”
- “Items that are past expiration at the time of arrival at Amazon fulfillment centers will be marked for disposal. Inventory subject to disposal cannot be returned to you.”
- “When shipping product to our fulfillment centers, each box can have only one expiration date per ASIN. You can ship multiple ASINs in the same box as long as each ASIN has only one expiration date. If there are multiple expiration dates for the same ASIN, the products with different expiration dates must be shipped in separate boxes.”
With that in mind, you should have a solid understanding of the steps you need to take to remain compliant. However, what happens when something goes wrong and Amazon flags your products? They ask you to produce an acceptable plan of action to get your account or ASIN reinstated.
Writing An Amazon Plan of Action & Crafting An Appeal That Will Be Accepted
When it comes to writing an Amazon Plan of Action and composing your appeal, you shouldn’t send a couple of sentences and assume that you’ll have your account reinstated quickly. However, ensuring that your POA is well-written, well-structured, and well-planned improves your chances of acceptance.
There are 3 important parts to a successful Amazon appeal:
- Your root causes need to make it clear that you have a detailed understanding not just of what went wrong, but WHY it went wrong.
- You need to show Amazon that you have fixed the immediate problem at its source, and dealt with any issues that arose from the immediate problem. e.g. how did you make it right with the impacted customers, have you checked the rest of your current inventory.
- Show that you’ve put into place a number of preventative measures to prevent the same problem from cropping up again in the future. Show that you have a full grasp of Amazon’s policies and performance expectations, and have implemented a plan to make sure you adhere to them.
If you decide to lash out at Amazon, blame buyers, or criticize the actions of other sellers on the platform, you can likely kiss your chances of a successful appeal goodbye.
Skip the background history around your years in business, years on Amazon, or the amount of frustration you feel.
Stay clear, concise, and remain focused on the end-goal, which is your viable plan of action and getting back to selling. Keep it to a page, and use clear bulleted lists of the exact steps that you have taken for your POA.
Outline the ways in which you will implement safeguards to ensure that this – or similar infractions – won’t happen again. Amazon is notorious for suspending sellers more than any other online eCommerce platform, so make sure that you’re clear on what you plan to do to avoid becoming another one of those businesses.
Don’t write lengthy paragraphs, state in one or two clear lines the value of your corrective actions and then wrap it up with a nice conclusion that convinces Seller Performance you’re 100% ready to go.
You now have all of the information you need to ensure that you have the right measures in place to comply with Amazon’s Expired Product policy and to craft an appeal in the event that your account was flagged for violating the policy.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to me directly. I’d be happy to provide you with some more information so that you can get back to selling on Amazon quickly.