Amazon Listing Issues and How to Handle Them

When you sell on Amazon, your product listings are vulnerable to many different issues. Some are caused by competitors, whether innocent resellers or unscrupulous hijackers. Some might be caused by your errors or an employee’s mistake.

Some might even be caused by Amazon’s algorithms (robots mess up, too!). Regardless of the cause, it’s important to monitor your listings for any problems and address them quickly to avoid losing sales.

In this article, we’re sharing some of the top Amazon listing issues sellers face and what you can do to resolve them.

Amazon Listing Issues and How to Handle Them

Listing Gets Suppressed from Search or Deactivated

Some listing issues are worse than others. Among the most harmful are issues that cause your item to be hard to find in search results, ineligible for advertising, or even unavailable to buyers.

For example, your listing might get search suppressed or deactivated. Search-suppressed listings cannot be found in search results. Inactive listings can be found, but cannot be purchased.

Why would this happen? Both of these listing statuses–search suppressed and inactive–can be caused by many factors, but one of the most common is that the listing’s details aren’t compliant with Amazon’s guidelines. You, your employee, or another seller who sells the same product might have added images or words that violate Amazon’s policies or made the listing title too long.

To find these types of issues, visit the Fix Your Products page in your Seller Central account to see whether any listings are suppressed or inactive. Luckily, Amazon shows you a reason why the status changed, so you can fix it. Then, check again 24 hours later to make sure the listing went back to active and that there isn’t another issue to fix. Or, set up a monitoring tool like SellerPulse by eComEngine to get alerts as soon as a listing changes to suppressed or inactive, or when it returns to active status, so you won’t need to keep refreshing Seller Central.

To prevent these types of challenges, double-check Amazon’s policies on listing titles, images, descriptions, and back-end keywords. Make sure you’re following all guidelines.

Occasionally, a listing might be unexpectedly deleted. If you or your employees didn’t delete the listing, Amazon might have merged it with another listing that it believes is a duplicate. If this is incorrect, contact Amazon Seller Support and show them clear evidence that the two items are different and need separate listings.

Black-Hat Competitors

On the Amazon marketplace, it’s normal to share a listing with competitors who are selling the same item. To keep things organized for buyers, everyone who sells the same product needs to create an offer on a shared listing. To win the sale from a customer, you need to try to become the Featured Offer (a.k.a win the Buy Box) by having the best price, shipping speed, and customer service.

But if you’re the owner of a brand or private-label product and you don’t expect anyone else to be selling the same item, a new offer on the listing might be bad news. If you notice an uptick in negative reviews or unexpected changes to the listing details, it’s definitely bad news.

You can make a test purchase from the other seller to see if the item is genuine. If not, take photos and report the counterfeit item to Amazon. Amazon says that it is dedicated to eliminating counterfeit items from its platform, so it should be responsive to a case like this. You can also enroll your products in Project Zero for extra protection against counterfeits.

Suppose the competitor appears to be messing with the listing details purposely to cause the listing to be suppressed or deactivated, or possibly to convert it into another product (while capitalizing on your positive reviews). In that case, you have a listing hijacker on your hands. Send a Cease and Desist letter, and make sure you apply for Amazon Brand Registry if applicable so that you can keep control of the listing details for your product.

Of course, it’s best to monitor new offers on your listings, changes to listing details, Buy Box wins and losses, and new negative reviews all the time, so you’ll know right away when anything suspicious occurs.

Pricing and Shipping Problems

Speaking of the Buy Box, did you know it’s possible to lose the Buy Box even when you’re the only seller on the listing? The Buy Box can go away and be replaced by a smaller message that tells the shoppers to “see all buying options” and make their own choice of what seller to purchase from. This is called Buy Box suppression.

A Buy Box gets suppressed when no offers qualify as good enough to win. Most often, this is related to the price being too high, although account health metrics (like Order Defect Rate) and shipping speed also play a role. Keep your account health metrics healthy by shipping orders on time (or using Fulfillment by Amazon to let Amazon do it for you), then asking politely for feedback after the order is complete (just once per order).

It’s important to follow Amazon’s messaging policies when asking for feedback. You can stay on the safe side by simply clicking the “Request Review” button on the Order Details page for each order. This button triggers a message that asks for both a product review and seller feedback. Or, automate sending the same request with a tool like FeedbackFive.

Also, make sure your promised ship time is accurate: you may think that giving yourself a few days’ buffer is a good idea, but Amazon will take you at your word. If you say it takes three days for you to ship out an order when you typically ship it in just one day, Amazon will prioritize other sellers who promise to send it in one day. So, accuracy is the best approach.

Bring your business to the next level and be globally competent with accurately indicated shipping times as one of your essential. Amazon global logistics depends on the timeline you provide. If you calculate the shipping time incorrectly, Amazon can give sellers who ship faster the priority. It’s all about precision and keep your prices competitive as well, matching or lower than those of competing platforms for identical goods. Being competitive is crucial for your success in the global market because Amazon strives to provide the lowest prices available online. For improved worldwide shipping efficiency and streamlined logistics, think about using Forceget Digital Freight Forwarder’s services and ship smart internationally. You can smoothly book, track, and manage your shipment, and get full control of your supply chain with this magic-like tech platform. International shipping has never been easier.

Lastly, keep your prices as appealing and competitive as you can. This includes keeping your prices on Amazon equal to or lower than your prices on other websites for the same product; Amazon wants to have the lowest price on the internet for its shoppers.

Inventory Issues

An Amazon listing may go inactive just because it’s out of stock. Make sure you have an organized replenishment process to keep inventory in stock and avoid losing sales.

Some sellers find that the restock suggestions in Seller Central help them stay on top of inventory replenishment, but others find that they can get better recommendations (and preserve more privacy from Amazon) through third-party tools. You can use software like RestockPro to keep your Fulfillment by Amazon inventory replenished and to examine the rest of your supply chain for potential bottlenecks. A freight forwarder like Forceget can help you keep everything running smoothly.

Product Gets Restricted or Flagged as “Adult”

If your sales mysteriously plummet and your item is no longer eligible for advertising, Amazon’s system may have flagged it as a restricted product (like something poisonous or explosive) or an adult product.

If your item is not anything dangerous or age-sensitive, this might happen by mistake if something in your keywords or description accidentally triggers the flag. Double-check everything and roll back any changes you made recently that might have triggered the flag. Also, contact Amazon support to have a human review the listing and remove the flag if it’s unwarranted.

Sadly, there are many stories on the Seller Forums of products being mistakenly categorized as adult items. Amazon won’t alert you when this happens, so you’ll need to keep a very close eye on your sales to notice any changes. SellerPulse can alert you when the “adult” flag is applied to your product on Amazon’s back end.

How to Manage All This

If keeping track of all this sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Every Amazon seller deals with the same issues and has to put out fires all the time. Luckily, there are plenty of software tools that can help you monitor issues, so you don’t have to do it all manually for every listing.

eComEngine offers a variety of Amazon seller software solutions to help you monitor and resolve listing issues, get more reviews, and manage your FBA inventory. We also provide free resources for the seller community, from a cease-and-desist letter template to webinars with experts on profitability and supply chain. We’re here to help!


Rachel Hoover (headshot link:

As Customer Education Manager at eComEngine, Rachel Hoover helps Amazon sellers connect with their customers and manage their seller reputations. She is committed to helping each seller find the right email strategy to improve feedback ratings, gain product reviews, and enhance customer service.