AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Mon Apr 15 2019 22:55:46

Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Amazon sellers who were swept up in a crackdown on pesticides were given the all-clear by the company last week. Such crackdowns are always nerve-wracking, but sellers reported the products that Amazon had identified as pesticides were so far off in some cases that it was nonsensical, such as the seller who received the notice for a used book they had sold last year that was, surprise, not a pesticide.

In its initial notification email, Amazon said, "Pesticides and pesticide devices include a broad set of products, and it can be hard to identify which products qualify and why." But sellers reported getting notices for items including speakers, antivirus software, and a pillow that clearly had nothing to do with pesticides.

We recently reported on a similar problem in which sellers said Amazon was removing "innocent" ASINs because they were being inaccurately labeled "Rhino Male Enhancement Supplements." Are such incidents the result of programming glitches, mistakes on the part of certain sellers who mis-classify ASINs, or has Amazon set machine learning and Artificial Intelligence loose on its catalog with no human supervision?

Sellers began reporting on the pesticides crackdown on April 8th - the notification informed sellers:

"To continue your current offers on affected products after June 7, 2019, you will need to complete a brief online training and pass the associated test. You will not be able to create new offers on any affected products until you receive approval. You are required to take the training and pass the test only once, even if you have offers on multiple products. This training will help you understand your obligations under EPA regulations as a seller of pesticides and pesticide devices."

On April 10, an Amazon moderator posted an apology for the "inconvenience or confusion" the email had caused: 

"You may have recently received an email from us regarding new requirements to list pesticides and pesticide devices in our stores. Our new requirements do not apply to listings of media products such as books, videogames, DVDs, music, magazines, software, and videos. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion caused to you by our email. If you have any further questions, please contact Selling Partner Support."

There were multiple posts started by sellers concerned about the pesticide notification, and under one titled, "How Many Different Threads Do We Need on the Pesticide Email," one seller responded, "it's really starting to "bug" me." At least some sellers have a sense of humor.

More background: Amazon entered into a settlement agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency - according to a press release issued by the EPA last year (excerpt follows):

"Under the terms of today’s agreement, Amazon will develop an online training course on pesticide regulations and policies that EPA believes will significantly reduce the number of illegal pesticides available through the online marketplace. The training will be available to the public and online marketers in English, Spanish and Chinese. Successful completion of the training will be mandatory for all entities planning to sell pesticides on Amazon.com.

"Amazon will also pay an administrative penalty of $1,215,700 as part of the consent agreement and final order entered into by Amazon and EPA’s Region 10 office in Seattle, Washington."



Comments (7) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching   Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Tue Apr 16 00:18:11 2019

Seller responded to us via Twitter: "We have a number of Skechers sneakers that still can’t be listed on Amazon as they are showing as pesticides."

Perminate Link for Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching   Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Apr 17 15:45:21 2019

It was NOT overreaching.
Round Up , for instance, is notorious for causing cancer.
It can not be filtered out of ground water.
Nicotine based pesticides kill the honey bee populations.
STOP USING PESTICIDES.

Perminate Link for Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching   Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Apr 17 15:49:37 2019

What do pesticides have to do with books, DVDs, and sneakers?  

Perminate Link for Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching   Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 17 17:02:40 2019

They can all be used to kill a bug?

Perminate Link for Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching   Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 17 18:00:08 2019

Indian Amazon employees went on a listing pogrom last week and killed about ~20 of my listings. It took a week to get them restored.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching   Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Apr 17 19:21:48 2019

I never use pesticides. It kills the bugs that my garden lizards and song birds eat. I can still remember when I was young and living with my parents that my mother would put chlordane powder on everything in the garden because she wanted her flowering plants to look perfect.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching   Amazon Confirms Pesticide Crackdown Was Overreaching

by: SSJS This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 18 02:04:36 2019

I received the email. I make handcrafted bracelets. ???  I try to remember not to spray them with Roundup before I ship them.  But I guess you could swing the bracelet and swat a bug.  It was just ridiculous!



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.