Why Can’t I Sell on Amazon? [Guide]

Amazon has become the go-to platform for buying and selling all kinds of products online. The company makes it easy for almost anyone to become a seller and tap into their massive customer base.

But some entrepreneurs run into roadblocks when trying to get started selling on Amazon. If you’ve asked yourself “Why can’t I sell on Amazon?”, this comprehensive guide covers the most common reasons and how to overcome them.

Benefits of Selling on Amazon

Before digging into the roadblocks, let’s highlight why you’d want to sell on Amazon in the first place:

  • Huge existing customer base – Over 197 million monthly visitors on Amazon
  • Trust in the Amazon brand – Customers trust buying from Amazon sellers
  • Fulfillment services – Amazon can warehouse and ship your products (FBA)
  • Exposure for new products – New sellers can quickly gain reviews and ratings
  • Advanced sales analytics – Amazon provides detailed reports on your sales performance
  • Global selling access – Ability to sell to Amazon customers worldwide

The benefits are substantial, so it’s understandable why many sellers aim to access this platform. But Amazon sets certain requirements and restrictions that not all sellers can meet immediately.

Let’s look at the key limitations that may be blocking you from getting up and running.

Requirements to Sell on Amazon

To start selling, you need to create a seller account and agree to Amazon’s policies. Here are some of the core requirements:

  • Government-issued ID – Provides identity verification and prevents fraud
  • Valid credit card – For Amazon to charge service fees and deposits
  • Contact information – Phone number and address to tie to your account
  • Tax information – Your tax ID number for reporting income

Meeting these requirements allows you to create an Individual seller account to list your products. However, if any information raises concerns, Amazon may deny your application.

For example, if you’ve had a previous seller account suspended, providing the same identity details could lead to another rejection. Let’s look closer at account suspensions next.

Account Suspensions

There are a few scenarios that could get your seller account suspended by Amazon:

  • Policy violations – Not following Amazon’s selling rules and guidelines
  • Poor performance metrics – High order defect rate, late shipments, etc.
  • Prohibited products – Attempting to sell banned, unsafe or illegal items
  • Inaccurate information – Providing false identity, contact or financial details

If your account gets suspended, you’ll receive an email notification from Amazon. You can appeal the decision, but Amazon may uphold the suspension for a set time period – often 90 days.

During the suspension, you won’t be able to sign up for a new selling account. Amazon will reject any appeal attempts until the suspension period ends. At that point, you can reapply for a new account.

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Restricted Product Categories

Another common roadblock sellers hit is having products rejected because the category is restricted. Amazon prohibits selling certain products without specific approval:

  • Jewelry
  • Artwork
  • Watches
  • Alcohol
  • Food

Trying to list prohibited products without permission will get those listings removed. You’ll need to apply for approval in each category you want to sell in.

For categories like grocery, Amazon requires verification steps like getting registered as a food seller in your home country. The application process can take weeks or months.

No Professional Selling Plan

Amazon has two main account types:

  • Individual – For beginners selling less than 40 items per month
  • Professional – For established sellers with higher volume

The Individual plan has several limitations:

  • Can only sell up to 40 items per month
  • No volume pricing discounts on fees
  • Lower priority customer support access

For serious sellers looking to scale their business, the Professional plan is essential. But you may find yourself stuck on the Individual account at first.

Amazon grants Professional accounts selectively to sellers meeting certain criteria around sales volume, performance metrics, and category experience.

Not getting approved right away for the Professional plan restricts many new sellers until they can build up their Amazon track record.

Limited Inventory Capacity

Once you’re selling on Amazon, storage capacity for your inventory can become a constraint. Amazon limits how many products you can have on hand based on your account type:

  • Individual: Up to 2,500 units across 250 ASINs
  • Professional: Up to 200,000 units across 25,000 ASINs

With the Individual account, it’s easy to hit the 250 ASIN and 2,500 unit limits. If you’re adding new products frequently, you may run out of available ASINs even if you aren’t near the items cap.

Professional sellers get much more leeway. But even then, high-volume sellers might eventually outgrow the 200,000 unit capacity. Expanding your limits further requires coordination with Amazon.

International Shipping Restrictions

Amazon operates marketplaces around the world, allowing you to sell globally. But not every seller account has international selling access enabled automatically.

Trying to list or ship to unsupported countries can get you suspended. You’ll need to apply separately to sell on each Amazon site:

  • Amazon.com (USA)
  • Amazon.ca (Canada)
  • Amazon.com.mx (Mexico)
  • And 10+ other European, Asian, and South American marketplaces

Until your account has proper permissions, you can only sell domestically within your home country. Applying for international access also doesn’t guarantee approval, especially if you’re just starting out.

High Seller Fees

Amazon charges monthly and per-item fees that can really add up:

  • Referral fees – 15% of each sale depending on the product category
  • Variable closing fee – $1.80 on media items or 15% on non-media items
  • FBA Pick & Pack fees – Around $1-5 per item fulfilled by Amazon
  • $39.99/month Professional selling plan fee (Individual is $0.99/item sold instead)
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If you’re only selling small volumes or lower priced items, the fees can eat into your profits significantly. Some categories like grocery have lower commissions, but most sellers pay 15%.

Amazon does offer fee discounts once you pass certain sales milestones each month. But you may struggle at first when paying full price.

Getting Approved to Sell on Amazon

Now that we’ve explored the common restrictions, let’s go through ways to get approved for an Amazon seller account and expand your permissions.

Waiting Out an Account Suspension

If Amazon suspended one of your accounts, wait patiently until the suspension period ends, usually 90 days. Don’t try contacting seller support during this time, as they likely won’t reopen your case prematurely.

After 90 days have passed, you can reapply for a new selling account with the same details. Make sure you read up on the policies you violated so you don’t repeat any prohibited actions. Provide any clarification or additional identity verification Amazon requests.

With no recent violations on record, your new application should get approved. Just make sure you follow all the rules closely going forward.

Applying for Additional Categories

Before listing any restricted products, submit an application for that category through Seller Central. Provide details on:

  • Relevant experience selling that type of product
  • Suppliers/manufacturers you work with
  • How you’ll ensure listings are compliant
  • Any required licenses or certificates

Prepare any other requested documents like food handler permits. Undergo inspections if selling food.

It may take Amazon weeks to review your submission, but you should gain approval if you demonstrate your qualifications.

Upgrading to a Professional Account

Regularly check Seller Central for notification that you’re eligible to upgrade. You typically need:

  • Good account performance metrics
  • Low order defect rate
  • Quick shipping times
  • Positive feedback rating
  • Strong customer support response times

If eligible, you can instantly upgrade to the Professional plan. Otherwise, keep optimizing your account’s health until Amazon prompts you to switch.

Having Professional status lifts selling limits and expands your reach.

Expanding Inventory Room

As you near your inventory ceilings, reach out to seller support to request limit increases. Emphasize sales numbers that justify needing more capacity.

Also consider using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) which grants you more item allotment since storage is on Amazon’s end.

Over time and with consistent performance, Amazon will incrementally raise your inventory ceilings.

Using FBA Export Program

If you want to sell internationally, enroll in Amazon’s FBA Export program. This lets you ship your domestic inventory to Amazon warehouses abroad.

Amazon handles translating listings, managing promotions and traffic, and fulfilling international orders. This simplifies expanding globally through a unified FBA inventory.

Lowering Fees with Volume Discounts

All sellers can lower their fees by qualifying for volume-based discounts. Referral fees decrease for products if you sell:

  • 40 items/month: 4% discount

  • 2,000 items/month: 8% discount

  • 150,000 items/month: 10% discount

Professional sellers also get lower closing fees once exceeding certain thresholds.

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Achieving volume discounts just requires steadily growing your monthly sales.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it cost anything to create an Amazon seller account?

No, registering for a basic Individual seller account is free. You only pay Amazon fees on a commission basis for each product sold. Your credit card is charged monthly for any applicable selling fees accrued.

Can I sell on Amazon without paying for an account?

No, all sellers need an Amazon seller account to list products on the marketplace. The company uses your account information to track sales activity, process transactions, and collect fees. There’s no option to sell without an account.

What if my business is not registered or incorporated?

You can still create an individual seller account using your personal ID details, as long as you have a bank account and tax information. Formal business registration is not required. But you may need to form a registered company if you plan to scale up significantly.

Can I use someone else’s account to sell my products?

No, you must create your own seller account using your personal information. Amazon prohibits sharing or selling accounts. Each seller is required to sign up individually and take responsibility for their account activity.

How long does seller account approval take?

In most cases, Amazon approves new seller accounts instantly after submitting your details and having your identity verified. However, for accounts flags for any reason or requiring extra validation, approval can take up to 2 weeks. Restricted categories may take longer.


Selling on Amazon offers immense ecommerce opportunity, but also comes with hurdles to clear for both new and established merchants. Restricted categories, account suspensions, low sales volumes, and other factors can stand in the way of Amazon approval.

With persistence and care to follow Amazon’s policies closely, sellers can get their account fully set up over time. Patience and working closely with Amazon support as needed can help resolve many issues blocking your marketplace access.

Use the guidance in this article to diagnose and address the specific limitations affecting your Amazon seller account approval. With dedication to building your Amazon business properly, you can gain the permissions and capabilities to succeed on the world’s top online marketplace.


  • Adekiya Joscor

    Am a Tech blogger | Content Writer | Website designer | Freelancer | YouTuber. Need any of my help? Use any of the social handles below to get to me.

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