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Amazon Listing Errors: WTF Do These Mean?

Allison Lee
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April 25, 2019
April 25, 2019

Listing to Amazon isn’t exactly a breeze. There are numerous error codes that you can run into, many of which are hard to understand. What’s worse is that Amazon might notify you of these errors without giving you a clear explanation of what they mean or how to fix them.

Below is a rundown of some of the most common Amazon listing errors that we’ve seen sellers encounter. We’ve de-coded the technical jargon and provided some tips on how to correct each issue with Zentail.

We’ll be updating this blog regularly as we receive questions about specific errors—subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date and/or tweet us @ZentailCommerce with any questions you may have.

free downloadable report for amazon sellers who want to check listing quality

Amazon Error 13013:

We're unable to complete your request because this SKU is not in the Amazon catalog. If this was a deleted SKU, wait 24 hours before resubmitting it. If you tried to add this SKU to the Amazon catalog before, check your data and correct any errors before resubmitting.

  • What this means: When you’re importing your catalog into Amazon with a tool like Zentail, you’re essentially sending Amazon several different types of feeds including a pricing feed, product feed and inventory feed. Sometimes Amazon will process one before the other and return this error. Alternatively, this could mean that there are missing or invalid values in your product data feed, like an invalid UPC or EAN.

  • What to do: In Zentail, go to Dashboard → Listing Errors and simply follow the prompts to the exact product and item causing this issue. If there’s an issue with a value, fix it. In the below example, Amazon processed the price feed first before the product feed, which is what actually creates the SKU in Seller Central. When this happens, Zentail automatically resends the feeds so that you’re not required to take any further action. You can check back later to confirm that the error has been resolved.

amazon product feed error in zentail


You are attempting to change an identity attribute for this SKU. To proceed, please delete this SKU and recreate the SKU with the appropriate identity attribute. For more information and detailed instructions, see: http://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/23191

  • What this means: Your product details do not match the details that Amazon has on file for this SKU. Therefore, Amazon believes that the SKU is being listed to the wrong ASIN or is trying to prevent you from updating this ASIN with ‘incorrect’ data. This error can be frustrating because Amazon does not always provide enough context to easily identify the specific information causing this issue. Occasionally, this error can be due to a UPC conflict too (i.e., your product's UPC does not match the product's UPC on Amazon).
  • What to do: Make sure that this is the right ASIN for your SKU. Browse the product data in Zentail and see if there are any small, trivial details that deviate from the information on the ASIN page. If you feel comfortable making a minor change to your data to resolve this error, then go for it—and confirm that the SKU gets listed. Alternatively if you want to list with your existing data, you can create an alias SKU.

Amazon Error 8541:

The SKU data provided is different from what's already in the Amazon catalog. The standard_product_id data provided matches ASIN <value>, but the following data is different from what's already in the Amazon catalog: brand (Merchant: ‘My Product’ / Amazon: ‘Jenny’s Product’). If this is the right ASIN for your product, update your data to match what's in the Amazon catalog. If it's not the right ASIN, make sure that your data for standard_product_id is correct.

  • What this means: There is already an ASIN associated with your SKU. However, Amazon has a different value for the brand (e.g., Amazon has “Jenny’s Product” while you have “My Product”) or whichever field is highlighted in this error. You must match what Amazon has exactly in order to list with this ASIN. This includes any spacing between words, punctuation and capitalization.
  • What to do: Correct this field in Quick Edit or the regular SKU editor, or use EasyList in Zentail. EasyList is a listing template that only sends the SKU, ASIN, Title, Description, Condition and shipping group name to Amazon. Your title doesn’t need to match Amazon’s title when you use this. EasyList simplifies the listing process and protects you from receiving any more errors like this that could result in Amazon rejecting your SKUs.


easylist feature in zentail


You are not authorized to list products in this category. To sell products in this category you need to obtain approval by following the instructions given here: http://sellercentral.amazon.it/gp/help/200333160

  • What this means: Certain selling categories require approval from Amazon. You may also be attempting to list to an open category with restricted product types, such as specific software products, laser pointers and hoverboards.
  • What to do: You must submit a request for approval to sell to this category. Once approved, you will have to upgrade to a Professional Selling plan with a monthly subscription fee. You may also be subject to additional fees, performance checks and other qualifications.   

Amazon Error 20005:

We cannot associate an image with this SKU because the SKU was not created due to another error. Correct all other errors associated with it and resubmit your inventory file to resolve this error.

  • What this means: In our experience, Amazon may be incorrectly sending this error when you’re trying to add a new image to an existing listing. If you’re attempting to create an entirely new listing, there may be an error in your product feed (which creates the SKU in Seller Central) or Amazon just hasn’t processed your product feed yet, in which case Zentail will automatically resend your feed to resolve the issue.
  • What to do: Check your live listing on Amazon. If your image is showing as it should, open a ticket with Amazon Seller Central Support to get the error removed. If it isn’t showing, double check that your product data is correct in Zentail. You may be missing a required field, like color, for your category.

    For those using product groups: check for (and correct) any listing errors on the individual SKUs of your product group. To easily find your product groups, use Quick Edit to filter for SKUs where the master SKU isn’t blank or use the Groups View in your catalog. If you’re not sure how to proceed, follow these additional troubleshooting tips.

product group editor in zentail


XML Parsing Error at Line <#>, Column <#>: cvc-complex-type.2.4.a: Invalid content was found starting with element 'Department'. One of '{BatteryAverageLife, BatteryAverageLifeStandby, BatteryChargeTime, Size, Color, ClothingType}' is expected.

  • What this means: Your product category requires one or more of the details mentioned after “one of” in this error message to successfully list a product.
  • What to do: You’re most likely missing clothing type, size and color. Fill these details out in the SKU editor or Quick Edit and simply hit save to automatically resend this feed with the required data.

XML Parsing Error at Line <#>, Column <#>: cvc-enumeration-valid: Value 'Refurbished' is not facet-valid with respect to enumeration '[New, UsedLikeNew, UsedVeryGood, UsedGood, UsedAcceptable, CollectibleLikeNew, CollectibleVeryGood, CollectibleGood, CollectibleAcceptable, Club]'. It must be a value from the enumeration.

  • What this means: Amazon sees that you’re trying to list a refurbished product. However, when you’re trying to list your item via Zentail, you’ve forgotten to complete a few steps that tells Amazon that you’re a certified refurbished seller.
  • What to do: Confirm that you’re an approved Amazon Renewed seller. If so, check that your product includes "Certified Refurbished" in the title—this is a requirement for selling renewed products on Amazon. Keep the condition as “refurbished” in Zentail. Lastly, switch on ‘Certified Refurbished for Amazon’ using either the Amazon Advanced Options, Quick Edit or Import Export. This toggle ensures that Zentail sends a condition of “New” to Amazon, provided that ‘Certified Refurbished’ is in the title, while sending a condition of refurbished to other channels.

    That’s it! Remember to never change the product condition to “new” in Zentail when you’re selling a refurbished item because this may lead to miscommunication: Amazon will flag your account for having incorrect product details and attempting to inadvertently deceive your customers.

zentail editor for listing a certified refurbished item to amazon


XML Parsing Error at Line <#>, Column <#>: cvc-maxLength-valid: Value '<#>' with length = '<#>' is not facet-valid with respect to maxLength '500' for type 'LongStringNotNull'.

  • What this means: The value for the given field is too long. It exceeds the maximum length of characters allowable for this field, as noted after “maxLength” in this message.
  • What to do: Correct this detail using Quick Edit or the regular SKU editor.

XML Parsing Error at Line <#>, Column <#>: cvc-type.3.1.3: The value 'Size-Color' of element 'VariationTheme' is not valid.

  • What this means: You are trying to send a value (e.g., “Size-Color”) for a product variation theme that doesn’t let you differentiate items by this trait or requires the value in a different format. For example, when you’re uploading a product to the beauty category, Amazon accepts the field “Size-Color.” However, when you’re listing to a clothing category, Amazon only accepts “SizeColor” without the hyphen.
  • What to do: Contact us at support@zentail.com so that we can correct this line item in the feed you’re sending Amazon.

'supplier_declared_dg_hz_regulation' is required but not supplied.

  • What this means: This is a new FBA-related requirement enforced by Amazon for the product you’re trying to list.
  • What to do: Use Quick Edit or the regular SKU editor to toggle these settings ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ You can find this setting under the “Legal” section of your SKU editor.

'batteries_required' is required but not supplied.

  • What this means: This is a new FBA-related requirement enforced by Amazon for the product you’re trying to list.
  • What to do: Use Quick Edit or the regular SKU editor to toggle these settings ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ You can find this setting under the “Other Attributes” section of your SKU editor.

Got Questions?

We’ve got answers. From firsthand experience, we know that managing your Amazon catalog can feel like more work than it’s worth. That’s why we developed Zentail to automate, monitor and help correct issues related to your product listings. Contact us at hello@zentail.com if you're ready to accelerate your business forward and want to learn more about our software, or if you simply want us to address any error messages or questions you have about selling on Amazon.

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However, review manipulation is only one tactic among many that unscrupulous sellers are using. Here are several other underhanded practices that are cropping up. Beware of suspicious activity that resembles these—and avoid succumbing to them yourself. 

8 Common Black-Hat Tactics 

  1. Click farming. A seller will hire bots or workers in “click farms” to search for their products on Amazon, then click on their listings repeatedly or add items to their carts. The increase in click-throughs and engagement is intended to trick Amazon’s algorithm, so listings will appear higher in search results.
  2. Sabotaging competitors with negative reviews. A seller will post negative reviews on a competitor’s listings to hurt their reputation and/or get their listings suppressed by Amazon. The seller may even mark negative reviews as “helpful” via other fake buyer accounts to make those reviews more visible to shoppers.
  3. Sabotaging competitors with positive reviews. A black-hat seller will generate and post dozens of carelessly fake and unverified positive reviews on a competitor’s product—raising red flags in Amazon’s system.      
  4. False brand infringement claims. In this instance, a hijacker will claim to be the brand owner or manufacturer of a product, then file an infringement claim against a reseller. Amazon usually acts quickly in such cases and will suspend the reseller’s ASIN. While a reseller can get his/her ASIN reinstated, it may require some chasing—Amazon will want to hear from the brand “owner,” who won’t typically won’t respond to these requests. If this happens to you, your best bet is to ask the real brand owner or manufacturer to write a statement to Amazon confirming that they did not make the claim. 
  5. Posting a bogus safety claim. A hijacker may actually buy a product from a legitimate seller, then post an over-the-top negative review claiming that it was dangerous. The hijacker will cram words like “hazardous,” “risk,” “choking,” and “fire” to trigger an immediate removal of the listing.  
  6. Counterfeit switcheroo. There are a few ways that counterfeiters can nab sales from another seller. The most common way is for a counterfeiter to list his/her inventory (of knockoff goods) to an existing listing. Or, counterfeiters may buy their competitor’s product themselves, then return a counterfeit version. They will subsequently complain to Amazon and/or leave a review claiming that they received a counterfeit. To protect yourself from this, take a page from our Brand Control playbook and serialize individual units of your product. 
  7. Hacking listing content. A bad actor finds a listing for a product that’s only slightly different from the one they’re selling. They start selling on the listing and submit a new title, description and image that matches their product rather than the original. People who buy the original product then complain that it’s “not as described,” and the original seller gets suspended. 
  8. Posting prohibited content. A seller may also upload vulgar or controversial images to a product listing, or change copy to include outlandish claims, leading to the listing’s immediate removal. 

How to Protect Yourself from Black-Hat Sellers

Keep in mind that Amazon is aware of these issues and getting better at detecting abuse. In early 2019, the company introduced Project Zero, a program that lets sellers automatically remove counterfeit listings without involving Amazon. It’s expected that Amazon will continue developing tools and processes to handle multiple types of hacks, especially as new scams are being publicized.

In your day to day, you’ll also want to be vigilant in monitoring your Amazon store. Pay special attention to your high-performing listings. If you see any suspicious activity, report it right away and don’t stop at opening a case with Seller Support. Escalate the issue to a team or category manager, and do so the right way. You don’t want to haphazardly put together a complaint or POA, only to get rejected for submitting confusing material. 

Finally, you’ll want to take proactive measures, like getting your brand registered, to receive more protections from Amazon. Stay away from any questionable practices yourself—follow the mantra that if something seems sketchy, it probably is! 

free downloadable ebook on brand control strategies for marketplace merchants

8 White-Hat Tactics that You SHOULD Consider

So if you want to power up your listings the right way, consider these tactics.

  1. Make sure your product data is complete. The more detailed your product descriptions, the greater chance you have of getting ranked on Amazon and earning your consumers’ trust. Heed expert tips on how to optimize each component of your listing. And if the idea of manually enriching all of your listings makes your eyes glaze over, take advantage of Zentail’s SMART Types system, which automatically adds essential attributes to your listings. It’ll also format your listings according to Amazon’s requirements so that your ASINs remain compliant.
  2. Take advantage of Amazon’s Enhanced Brand Content (EBC). EBC is available to any registered brand. It allows you to add custom imagery and text to capture your consumers’ attention, and to build trust around your brand. It’s easy to use, so if you can, why not put your best foot forward?    
  3. Offer product bundles and kits. List your products as multipacks or special bundles to offer your customers a good deal and create unique, non-competitive ASINs. Of course, you’ll want to first read up on Amazon’s ground rules for bundling. You’ll also want to look into tools like Zentail’s inventory and kitting automation to ensure that kits/bundles don’t come at the cost of accurate inventory. 
  4. Cross-promote your Amazon listings on social media and other websites. Leverage multiple channels to drive consumers to your Amazon listings. This increase in engagement can improve your ranking in Amazon’s search engine. You may want to even consider investing in advertisement to gain initial traction on new or slow-selling items. 
  5. Take advantage of the Early Reviewer Program for new products. Amazon created this initiative (available to any U.S. registered brand) to address the fact that new products often have trouble selling because of their lack of reviews. If your product is enrolled in this program, Amazon will solicit reviews for up to a year or until your item receives five product reviews, whichever comes first. You can enroll any ASIN with fewer than five reviews that costs more than $15. To participate, you’ll also have to pay $60 for each SKU in the program (but you only pay after you receive your first review).
  6. Improve text matches. Ensure that your titles and descriptions include the right keywords, in addition to related keywords, without sounding robotic. Cut out any sales fluff to make room for genuinely helpful and descriptive content.
  7. Make sure your products are readily available. Unsurprisingly, Amazon will de-emphasize listings that are out of stock. Once your listing goes out of stock, it’s reportedly harder to recover your rank. So before you get to this stage, establish a reliable method for syncing quantities to the actual inventory in your warehouses and/or inbound stock. Use inventory thresholds to avoid stockouts, while employing an automated forecasting tool to keep you ahead of demand.  
  8. Ensure your pricing is competitive. You don’t have to be told twice—pricing matters. It’s the second-most highest factor when it comes to winning the buy box (second to your fulfillment method). Even for brand owners, having a competitive price is key to earning a top spot. For resellers, the best type of repricer is, hands down,  an algorithmic repricer. An algorithmic repricer will adjust to buy box winners in real time without killing your profits. In fact, it’ll incrementally increase your price to keep you winning at the highest possible price. 

In Summary

The competition on Amazon is only intensifying with time. But as we reported earlier this year, though the number of third-party sellers seems to be growing, 28% of sellers are dropping out year over year. The ones who remain not only deliver great service and products—they employ white-hat tactics to increase brand visibility, without putting their ethics on the line.     

Of course, many are also tapping into automation to make managing these tactics exponentially easier. Zentail is an industry-recognized COM platform that helps in this manner. With AI-powered automation and an easy-to-use interface, Zentail simplifies your workflows and multiplies your productivity. Manage every aspect of business in one place to move fast and unlock new opportunities for growth on Amazon. 

Contact us at hello@zentail.com for more information or to speak with one of our seasoned Amazon experts.


Written by:

Allison Lee

Marketing Manager