Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Oct 17 2015 14:55:22

Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon is banning some third-party merchants from selling Nerf Blasters, marshmallow shooters, super soakers, and other toys. The company sent an email yesterday to sellers to inform them that certain products they were selling on its platform had been identified as a toy gun or "imitation weapon" that is prohibited by Amazon's Restricted Products policy.

The move comes after Amazon entered into an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in August, along with Kmart, Sears, Walmart, and California-based ACTA, over the issue of toy guns. (We first wrote about the AG investigation last year.)

The AG's office said in its August 3rd 2015 press release that its investigation found that "from 2012 through 2014, these retailers - and third-party sellers operating through Amazon.com and Sears.com - sold more than 6,400 prohibited toy guns in New York without the legally-required distinguishing color markings."

And the NY AG said third-party sales through Amazon made up the bulk of the sales, totaling 5,017 prohibited toy guns sold in New York.

The email notification clearly came as a surprise to the toy sellers who discussed the issue on the Amazon discussion boards on Thursday. Sellers were trying to determine why some items were still available, and why some 3P merchants were allowed to sell certain items but they themselves were prohibited from doing so.

Some sellers seemed unsure of what to do with their offending inventory. And one seller pointed out that a book was the unwitting victim of the ban. ASIN: 188676896X, "Black Powder Long Arms & Pistols - Reproductions & Replicas" by Dennis Adler, was pulled from the site yesterday.

On another thread, a seller wrote, "What bothers me is the catalog is full of prohibited weapons yet many innocent sellers get blocked listings and/or account suspensions."

We asked Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh several questions relating to the issue, and he responded with the following statement along with a link to this page:

"Toys that do not violate our restricted items policy are permissible for sale on Amazon. Sellers should contact us if they believe their items were incorrectly removed in our attempt to apply our existing policies. We are happy to work with sellers on a quick resolution if they believe we've made an error. For more information, sellers can review our restricted items policy on our posted help page." 

Here's a copy of the email Amazon sent to sellers:

Hello from Amazon.
We are writing to let you know that the following detail pages have been removed from our catalog:

(ASIN/title affected)

This product has been identified as a toy gun or "imitation weapon" that is prohibited by Amazon's Restricted Products policy. State laws, including New York General Business Law Section 873, prohibit the sale of certain imitation weapons that can reasonably be perceived to be an actual gun. Amazon policy requires that third party sellers comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws. To help ensure that sellers comply with New York law and Amazon policies, we have suspended the ability of third party sellers to offer this product.

If you believe a product has been removed in error, please contact Seller Support, and we will review the product and make any appropriate adjustments.

For more information on our policies, search on "Restricted Products" and "Listing Restrictions" in Seller Help.

**Action Required: Within 48 hours of this notice, please review your remaining listings and make any changes necessary to ensure compliance with our policies.

Failure to comply with this request may result in the removal of your selling privileges.

We appreciate your cooperation and thank you for selling on Amazon.com.
Amazon Services

While sellers posting on Amazon were surprised about the ban, this thread from September discussed a similar notification.




Comments (17) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 17 16:42:57 2015

Won't be long before they ban pacifiers more than a half inch long.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Oct 17 17:26:39 2015

You can buy Nerf Blasters, Marshmallow Shooters and Super Soakers on eBay.

If Amazon keeps banning products eBay just might steal a few sellers back.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 18 00:41:44 2015

I'm glad I'm old and got to grow up without this type of lunacy.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 18 10:11:48 2015



 Smart Move,
 I would say long overdue
 recently In NY a boy was killed after pointing a toy gun at a police officer

 had that been purchased on ebay/amazon I GUARENTEE there would have been  an eight figure lawsuit with accompanying horrid publicity.

 in addition, in the world of Liability , there is whats know as the theory of Big numbers..  It essentially states that no matter how safe a product , or how many warnings are posted or how hard a manufacturer may try, If enough people use a particular product, SOMEONE will get hurt.  

If ten million kids use a Nerf blaster I can GUARENTEE one of them will figure a way to get hurt ,
And no matter how ludicrous the circumstance, there will be an army of litigators, drooling for the chance to sue

 I am actually surprised it took this long, No doubt ebay will soon follow suit

And yes, I know a multi colored giant water blaster looks nothing like a real gun....... Unless its pitch dark and a police officer has a split second to make a decision  

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 18 11:27:54 2015

A boy also got killed by cop holding a wii remote.

Excessive regulations fix nothing.

Banning things fix nothing

social justice warriors are killing our country

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 18 12:49:55 2015

"If enough people use a particular product, SOMEONE will get hurt."
This describes absolutely everything a human uses or eats.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Oct 18 12:53:16 2015

Agree with Bloggo. I grew up at a time when toy guns looked exactly like real guns (otherwise, what was the point of playing cops and robbers with them). When I was young, I didn't constantly hear about citizens being shot dead by the police. It seems more like a problem with the police being too quick to shoot people, than it does does with a fake-looking Nerf gun.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Oct 18 21:14:42 2015

No SuperSoakers!!!

Have to find a new source for the squirrel "gun" used for bird feeder stake outs.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 18 22:23:20 2015

These days, I can understand the issue with toys that look like real guns. But Nerf Blasters or Super Soakers? C'mon, that's just plain dumb.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Santini This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 01:52:15 2015

Won't be long before they ban marshmallows as well - gotta ban the ammunition too! And they're combustible to boot!

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Oct 19 08:40:59 2015

What about my "Laser Grip Ingrared Thermometer"? It can be mistaken for a Taser or a sawed-off pistol?
I better not use it outdoors in site of the police at night taking temperature readings of my compost pile.....

Where there people aggregate, the mob rules, whether it is for or against an issue, the golden rule applies: "He/she who has the gold rules".

Same with Amazon, eBay, the NRA. Same coin, different side.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: jj This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 09:47:32 2015

Absolutely ridiculous.  I got this email for a purple and orange Nerf gun that I sold last year but is still in my inventory. If anyone thinks this is a REAL gun, they have some problems.

They are way over-reaching.  Almost anything can look like a gun at night - so that argument doesn't fly.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Deacon Blues This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 10:30:35 2015

This reads almost like a Monty Python skit. "What if he's got a pointed stick?"

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: B-O-B This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 18:20:44 2015

Marshmallows if overeaten, will kill you faster than a toy gun will.

This nation is becoming sissified. And cops are way to quick to pull the trigger and are perhaps not trained enough.

We are a nation of 350 million people. One incident with a kid with a toy gun, and people want to get rid of all the toy guns for millions of kids.

Why haven't we banned swimming pools. Go look at stats on kids drowning. The difference, people are afraid of guns and just want them banned, even if they shoot marshmallows or water.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 19 19:06:00 2015

What do we stop kids from playing with next? Water balloons? Suction-cup dart guns? Yeah, remove the suction cup and you could put an eye out w/ that weapon!

Freakin' incredible.

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

by: Adamo Dagradi This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Oct 20 04:51:19 2015

This banning hysteria won't solve anything. Not as long as you can buy a semi-auto pistol by mail. I'm sorry but here, in Italy, it's true weapons that are banned and shootings in the streets are the rarest thing. Police have never shot the wrong guy for believing he was armed or dangerous either.  

Perminate Link for Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters   Amazon Bans Nerf Blasters and Marshmallow Shooters

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Tue Oct 20 09:41:35 2015

"Weird things happen to odd people when strange people stand by and do nothing"  First it's the CSA flag, then it's your Nerf Gun, next they'll be coming to take away the Nerf's themselves ... But let's hear a big HURRAH! for State's Rights!  



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