Here’s Why Amazon Doesn’t Sell These Things

Amazon has changed the way we shop, but you still can't buy quite everything on the site. Here are some items the online retail giant refuses to sell.

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black handgun in plastic Secure Storage Case


In its guidelines, the site states, “Amazon prohibits the listing or sale of all firearms, including assault weapons, black powder guns, handguns, muzzleloaders, shotguns, rifles, and starter guns.” However, they do permit the sale of “non-powdered weapons” such as BB, pellet, paintball, air and Airsoft guns. Amazon stays out of the firearms business because state and local laws vary around the country, and it would be tough for the site to comply with all of them.

On the flip side, you’ll want to check out these hidden gems sold on Amazon you’re sure to love.

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Happy dog on gray porch
Xabier Granja/Shutterstock


Thankfully, you cannot purchase the family pooch on Amazon. Pets, livestock and marine mammals are strictly prohibited from being sold on the site, and with good reason — none should be kept in a warehouse awaiting an order.

If you’re prepared to adopt an animal, one option is to search Petco’s listing of adoptable pets in your area. And, of course, rescuing an animal from a local shelter will do a world of good for your family and its newest member.

There’s so much to sift through on Amazon, but these are the items you should always buy from the site.

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lottery ticket

Lottery Tickets

Most of us wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to strike it rich, but you’ll have to wait in line if you want to score a lottery ticket. Amazon’s list of prohibited items include lottery tickets (and coin-operated slot machines, in the event you want to start up a hometown Vegas-style operation).

Rules and regulations about selling lotto tickets vary by state, and merchants must apply to become a retailer of lottery tickets. For example, the California Lottery asks that potential sellers have more than 200 customers daily, accommodate official Lottery equipment and be in a retail setting like a grocery or gas station.

Did you know you can buy a cabin kit on Amazon?

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Macro View of the cigarettes and tobacco stack. The tobacco plant is part of the genus nicotiana and of the solanaceae (nightshade) family. Close up with copy paste space, in the gray background


You can find all kinds of accessories for a smoking habit on Amazon, like ashtrays, pipes and cigarette paper. But don’t expect to find any actual tobacco products. E-cigarettes, whether they contain nicotine or not, are also a no-no on the site. It would be unwieldy for the company to verify the age of every buyer ordering tobacco products online. By taking itself out of the equation, Amazon ensures it isn’t violating any federal, state or local laws.

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Closeup of young woman wearing contact lens at home

Contact Lenses

Whether you’re looking for contact lenses that are purely cosmetic or corrective, you can’t buy them on Amazon. They’re on the prohibited list because “they do not meet the checklist requirements,” though which requirements those are isn’t clear. You’ll have to mosey on over to a place like CVS to pick up a new pair.

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Wine glasses in a row and corks on wooden table against grey background
Africa Studio/Shutterstock


Now here’s where it gets a little tricky: There are some pre-approved sellers who can hawk vino on Amazon, but they have to comply with federal, state and local laws. For instance, not all states allow the shipping of wine — Kentucky, for example. Amazon Prime Now customers can still get one- or two-hour delivery on wine if a store that serves their area sells it.

Verifying that a customer is 21 or older is tricky, so the site wants to limit the practice to sellers who have been pre-approved. Want wine delivered to you? You can always try Winc.

Check out our favorite kitchen tools on Amazon.

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Plastic container for motor oil in car repair shop


Sorry, partner, you can’t stock up on fuel through Amazon. This falls under their “hazardous and dangerous items” umbrella. Shipping gasoline is a truly bad idea. According to the United States Postal Service site, gasoline isn’t mailable under any circumstances. However, they will ship things like camp-stove fuel in limited quantities (Amazon also sells it).

You can get great prices on gas at Costco, and this is exactly how they keep it so cheap.

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New cars at dealer showroom
Greentellect Studio/Shutterstock


If you know about the online car seller Carvana, you would probably just assume that you could pick up a new set of wheels on Amazon as well. Not so. They prohibit the sale of motor vehicles that require registration — basically any vehicle you can drive on the road. Plus, you need these 10 hands-free driving devices in your car.

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4th of July, box of bottle rockets
Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock


This is a no-brainer considering how many states ban the sale of consumer fireworks altogether. Additionally, Amazon won’t sell you the milder types like sparklers or party snappers. Your best bet? Use some good old-fashioned air-compressed party poppers for any celebrations.

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Confederate flag flying
Paul Wishart/Shutterstock

Confederate Flags

After the Charleston Church Massacre that killed nine black parishioners in 2015, Amazon joined other retailers in banning Confederate flag merchandise from being sold on their sites and in their stores.

While Amazon didn’t comment on the ban, flag makers Valley Forge stopped producing the Confederate flag and shared their hope for the future with NBC News: “We hope that this decision will show our support for those affected by the recent events in Charleston and, in some small way, help to foster racial unity and tolerance in our country.”

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keys with house

Real Estate — Yet

Currently, you can’t purchase real estate on Amazon. But according to The Real Deal, there are rumblings that the e-commerce giant might buy up real estate site Redfin as a way to enter the marketplace.

“Really, both companies would be better together than they would be apart,” said housing and consumer finance analyst Jack Micenko with Susquehanna Financial Group in a 2019 report. But with so many regulations on buying and selling property that vary from city to city and state to state, it may not be in Amazon’s best interest to head into realtor territory.

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Close-up Of A Burglar With Gloves Picking Lock

Theft Devices

Criminals will have to look someplace else for crime-committing gadgetry. Amazon prohibits the sale of lock-picking devices, card skimmers, code grabbers, digital decoders and more. The site doesn’t like the liability implications, and what retailer would want to be associated with hawking items that benefit thieves?

Plus, you don’t need to spend a fortune to keep burglars at bay. Here are some inexpensive (yet effective!) DIY home security ideas.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest