Google Merchant - Misrepresentation

Solved
TGTN2020
Tourist
4 0 0

Hi, 

I have been trying to solve all reasons for account suspention and followed all possible steps I read about and I can think of (product info, tags, shipping, pricing, policies, contact etc) . I have made many changes I thought would be causing the problem, I have contacted the support without getting any specific answer. However after making the changes it seems I have different issues affecting all my destinations (before it only was the country of origin). Is there any way somebody who understands this subject can have a quick look at the page and direct me in the right way? Thanks, Monika. thegoodandthenatural.com    

Accepted Solution (1)

Accepted Solutions
Shay
Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
936 146 195

This is an accepted solution.

Hi @TGTN2020 

 

Thank you for sharing your store URL for us to review with you. I understand that you are having some issues getting your products approved with Google over claims of misrepresentation. While I cannot say for sure what the issue is I can definitely share some insight from my own experiences. 

 

The products you are selling are classified as pseudo-pharmaceutical. Which means that this is an over the counter product that offers claims of better health. This could be anything from curing dry skin, to weight loss, to increased fertility. If a health claim is made, it is classified as a pharmaceutical product in the eyes of advertisers. 

 

Pseudo-Pharms are notoriously difficult to get approved on advertising platforms. They generally come with a higher risk of chargebacks and the potential for legal complaints if the product does not live up to the health claims provided. The verbiage and wording used must be incredibly precise to what the product can truly live up to. 

 

For example, the National Institute of Health lists this as the scientifically proven benefits of Aloe Vera:

What Have We Learned?

  • Clinical research suggests that topical application of an aloe-based gel twice daily (along with medical soap and tretinoin gel) may improve acne.
  • Clinical research suggests topical application of aloe gel may speed burn healing. There also is evidence that treatment with aloe vera may reduce pain from burns.
  • Research suggests topical use of aloe also may help people with herpes simplex, lichen planus, or psoriasis.
  • Three trials (with a total of 236 adult participants) have evaluated the use of oral doses of aloe vera for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Results from one trial showed a benefit; the other two trials showed no benefit of aloe vera over placebo.
  • In a small European study, 44 adults with ulcerative colitis were randomly assigned to receive aloe vera gel or a placebo twice daily for a month. Almost half of the people treated with aloe vera responded to the treatment whereas 14 percent of those treated with placebo responded.
  • Aloe vera has been studied in clinical (human) trials for diabetic foot ulcers and dental plaque, but there’s not enough scientific evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for these conditions. A 2009 review article examined data from a mix of laboratory, animal, and clinical trials and concluded that more research is necessary to explore aloe’s clinical effectiveness for a number of different skin conditions.

Please note the first statement about Aloe Vera from the NIH and how it can treat acne compared to your product description:

 

Aloe gel is a great choice of many others to treat acne. Aloe vera can prevent breakouts, unclogg pores, diminish blackheads and with its well-known antibacterial properties, it helps eliminating acne-causing bacterias.

 

Those are two very different statements to make about a product. If I purchased this product and it did not prevent acne breakouts then I could potentially have grounds for a legal case against your business. That is obviously a worst case type of scenario, but I hope that this information helps highlight to difficult nature of misrepresentation within the pseudo-pharm product category. 

 

If an advertising platform helped to promote a product that does not live up to it's provided expectations then they also become complicit in that situation. If you need additional help on this topic it would be worthwhile to hire legal support who is familiar with this and can assist with the appropriate descriptions for your products. 

Shay | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

View solution in original post

Replies 7 (7)
Shay
Shopify Staff
Shopify Staff
936 146 195

This is an accepted solution.

Hi @TGTN2020 

 

Thank you for sharing your store URL for us to review with you. I understand that you are having some issues getting your products approved with Google over claims of misrepresentation. While I cannot say for sure what the issue is I can definitely share some insight from my own experiences. 

 

The products you are selling are classified as pseudo-pharmaceutical. Which means that this is an over the counter product that offers claims of better health. This could be anything from curing dry skin, to weight loss, to increased fertility. If a health claim is made, it is classified as a pharmaceutical product in the eyes of advertisers. 

 

Pseudo-Pharms are notoriously difficult to get approved on advertising platforms. They generally come with a higher risk of chargebacks and the potential for legal complaints if the product does not live up to the health claims provided. The verbiage and wording used must be incredibly precise to what the product can truly live up to. 

 

For example, the National Institute of Health lists this as the scientifically proven benefits of Aloe Vera:

What Have We Learned?

  • Clinical research suggests that topical application of an aloe-based gel twice daily (along with medical soap and tretinoin gel) may improve acne.
  • Clinical research suggests topical application of aloe gel may speed burn healing. There also is evidence that treatment with aloe vera may reduce pain from burns.
  • Research suggests topical use of aloe also may help people with herpes simplex, lichen planus, or psoriasis.
  • Three trials (with a total of 236 adult participants) have evaluated the use of oral doses of aloe vera for symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Results from one trial showed a benefit; the other two trials showed no benefit of aloe vera over placebo.
  • In a small European study, 44 adults with ulcerative colitis were randomly assigned to receive aloe vera gel or a placebo twice daily for a month. Almost half of the people treated with aloe vera responded to the treatment whereas 14 percent of those treated with placebo responded.
  • Aloe vera has been studied in clinical (human) trials for diabetic foot ulcers and dental plaque, but there’s not enough scientific evidence to show whether aloe vera is helpful for these conditions. A 2009 review article examined data from a mix of laboratory, animal, and clinical trials and concluded that more research is necessary to explore aloe’s clinical effectiveness for a number of different skin conditions.

Please note the first statement about Aloe Vera from the NIH and how it can treat acne compared to your product description:

 

Aloe gel is a great choice of many others to treat acne. Aloe vera can prevent breakouts, unclogg pores, diminish blackheads and with its well-known antibacterial properties, it helps eliminating acne-causing bacterias.

 

Those are two very different statements to make about a product. If I purchased this product and it did not prevent acne breakouts then I could potentially have grounds for a legal case against your business. That is obviously a worst case type of scenario, but I hope that this information helps highlight to difficult nature of misrepresentation within the pseudo-pharm product category. 

 

If an advertising platform helped to promote a product that does not live up to it's provided expectations then they also become complicit in that situation. If you need additional help on this topic it would be worthwhile to hire legal support who is familiar with this and can assist with the appropriate descriptions for your products. 

Shay | Social Care @ Shopify 
 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 
 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution
 - To learn more visit the Shopify Help Center or the Shopify Blog

TGTN2020
Tourist
4 0 0

Hi Shay,

many thanks for your input, I will definitely look into the correct wording in product descriptions and change it!

Monika 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1487 86 349

Your returns policy should be based on delivery day, not purchase day.

 

You are missing the availability status on your product landing page, make sure to show in or out of stock.

 

You are located in Portugal, but your website is in English. I recommend first building up a high level of trust with a Portugees website and targeting Portugal, once you have done that for half a year and build up reviews, and trust, you can expand.

 

I also recommend you read: 

https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/6363310/follow-the-merchant-center-guidelines
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/7052112
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/4752265

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
TGTN2020
Tourist
4 0 0

Thank you for these tips, I have corrected them, with the exception of the language which can't be sorted instantly. After all corrections I got a new warning this time as well about enhanced free listing being ineligible - that was fine before. All for destination Portugal. So it may indicate that untill I offer the page in local language (and every other local language of the EU that I intend to reach), Google will  not accept it and keep the account suspended..  

 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1487 86 349

Free listings are separate from Google Shopping suspension, but share similar policy requirements. The extra requirement for free listings are trust signals.

 

Such as having a track record of order fulfillment, ie having real reviews.

 

Having valid product identifiers.

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.
TGTN2020
Tourist
4 0 0

I have checked the identifiers and have made many other changes in order to correct the issues (Google didn't specify, except the general saying about policy violation and account suspention) yet now I am back on track for the shopping ads but still not approved for the enhanced listings (which was approved when I registered for the first time). 

(As for the Trust, fair enough point but wouldn't that mean no new shop could be eligible at the beginning of their operation? Not a real question, but doesn't explain the products were on free listings at first and now the opposite). 

I am looking into feeds now and slowly running out of ideas.

Thanks for your above mentioned tips, I have also read your articles

 

 

EmmanuelFlossie
Shopify Partner
1487 86 349

Google runs hundreds of bots to check issues, not just one. So seeing that you are sometimes approved, then not approved for free listings is very normal in the beginning. I look at hundreds of accounts and the only time free listings is stable, is when you meet all criteria. Some are known some or less known.

 

My recommendation, first follow the publicly known points: https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/9199328

I'm a Google Shopping Specialist and a Google Product Expert Education Award winner, a Google Ads Diamond Product Expert, and also a Google Partner.
Need Data Feed or Google Shopping support? Get in touch.