Limited e-commerce products that will get you in trouble

As the retailer knows, some goods can be sold without a specific license, but others can only be sold if you are licensed. Yet others cannot be sold at all. With online marketing and self-service e-commerce websites, often, you don’t even know you’re selling limited e-commerce products. This is where the water gets miserable, and you have to make sure you’re on the right side of the law.

Disclaimer: This article is written from a global perspective, and some of it may apply to one country and not another. The information here gives a general idea of ​​limited e-commerce equipment and is not a substitute for professional advice. Discuss a qualified professional before making any decisions about restricted or prohibited products.

Goods may not be sold to you, but you will not be authorized to trade only. In almost all countries, businesses require some form of certification or registration. In some cases, you face labor laws, environmental regulations, and strict disclosure standards. Also, depending on your joining form, you may need to create additional files and satisfaction. You can only be a retailer when you are fully compliant. In most areas, the regulatory environment for online businesses is different from offline businesses.

You can usually choose to sell, but this is not a specific item. So, do you have a fully compliant business with identification names, tax codes, and other registration numbers? Congratulations! This does not mean that you can sell all the goods. Here is a list of goods that you are not allowed to sell.


Alcohol sales are controlled in almost all countries. Some may take a temporary approach to beer and wine in particular but will not allow the sale of essential alcoholic beverages. So many countries have banned the sale of alcohol online.


If it’s easy to see why alcohol is a limited product, it’s easy to understand that guns and other types of weapons are illegal to sell online. There are very few forms of weapons that are allowed for retail in any country. And it also requires a license to buy as well as sell. If you run a virtual market, do not allow the sale of weapons online illegally; otherwise, you will find it very difficult to defend yourself in a court of law.


Alcohol and weapons are easy to understand. Some Pharmaceutical products can be equally dangerous if not used accordingly. As a result, more and more countries have stricter rules around drug retailing. As if that’s not enough, there are usually several types of medications, each with its licensing requirements. Many countries do not allow the sale of drugs online. That is why the administration fears that the rules and regulations associated with prescription and patient identification are tough to enforce. E-commerce advocates say that compared to corner pharmacies, digital platforms are improved to capture customer data securely.

The meal

This sounds like a weird addition to this list. Many types of food can be sold without a license. But in most areas, there are clear instructions on broadcasting and labeling on food packaging. For example, it is necessary to mention the date of preparation of all meals and the expiration date. In some cases, when food is fresh or cooked, there may be additional restrictions on how it is handled. There are many other rules around selling food. For example, an e-commerce business cannot sell packages individually designed for individual sales.

You may be allowed to sell certain goods, but there may be territorial restrictions.

Often, no one can be particularly limited unless you sell it in a specific area. But it may be prohibited or require specific permission to sell elsewhere. Linked to fresh food and seeds come to mind as they can interfere with the cultivation of a particular land. Also, there are national interests that may not be legal for sale in some countries. For example, in the ’90s, the US government made it illegal to export 128-bit encryption software because it feared it would be too difficult for US surveillance agencies to break into secure systems. Will make. This, of course, prevented international software companies from promoting their 128-bit inquiry software and selling it in their domestic markets.

The idea here is that many products come with regional restrictions. There was a time when books were published. I will buy reprint rights for popular titles from publishers in other countries. Naturally, the owners of real copyright did not want to sell me in their primary markets. So, my case with them was that I would only sell in certain areas to reprint rights. Such arrangements are not uncommon for products that have significant intellectual assets attached to them. And this intellectual property is not limited to copyright. These include brands, trademarks, and patents.

You may be authorized to sell all goods that may be sold, but not illegal goods.

Some goods are only illegal to sell. Nothing was pointed out earlier than some examples. This will include drug sales in more and more countries. Rules and sensitivities vary around the world. It would be illegal to sell certain animal meats. Still, in others, there may be issues about selling goods that are seen as unethical. Local health concerns make some products illegal in some areas.

And then some of it will go crazy.

We were surprised that in many border e-commerce situations, the sale of toy guns is illegal. We can only make sure that these culprits are found in the scanning system at any time. Every security concern must be triggered. After all, that is to say, what a real gun vs. a toy gun. And toy guns aren’t the only thing on this crazy list. Selling antiques from many countries is often seen as looting the country’s national heritage and is often taboo.

Here are some things that are prohibited or restricted in some countries. Some of the things on this list will surprise you.

  • Beauty products
  • Some hosts
  • Cosmetics
  • Shiny pot
  • Jewelry
  • The card is running
  • Silk
  • Strips hat
  • Watches
  • Knitted fabric

Have you heard of “hoverboards”? When they were initially introduced, they sold like hotcakes. Later, their sales and purchases were limited in some areas due to security concerns.


If you are an online merchant, you have to know that you are responsible for complying with the rules and regulations in each area. While more and more people have an unfortunate idea of ​​the laws in the country that they have grown up with, border e-commerce is a completely different ball game. And this creates the most problems. You soon find out that another country’s customs department has confiscated your goods, and a lawsuit has been filed against you in a local court. In cross-border e-commerce, you have to be careful about both: what is exported to your country and what is bound to be imported into the target country. You must also be careful about allowing your return policy to come back.

Don’t limit yourself to commonly available lists of prohibited goods. In addition to such listings, you must use your judgment and discretion in deciding whether to sell online. There was a time when e-commerce websites started selling marijuana, and sales did happen. But these sites were running on thin ice and repeatedly suffered the consequences.

And the list goes on.

If you export these items, you want to make sure that your country and the buyer’s country allow the sale. The fact that some of your products look harmful to you will not save you from legal action. It will be a greater idea to find out about any issues with product sales if you are considering sending the right samples. Technically, sender samples do not become sales, but they can still create a limited business transaction.

Adult products

  • Candles
  • Coral
  • Currency
  • Harmful batteries
  • Nutritional supplement
  • Explosives
  • Fire extinguishers
  • fireworks
  • Fuel
  • Gambling tools
  • gas mask
  • Helmet
  • Human growth hormone (HGH)
  • Jumpsuits
  • Lab reagent
  • Lighter
  • Live plants
  • and many more

Bottom line

Doing business was not easy. But the information here should not annoy you with e-commerce in general or cross-border e-commerce in particular. Thousands of e-commerce businesses, large and small, are selling millions of products every day in total. The idea is to follow the rules, regulations, and instructions.

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