About item and account disapprovals for product data violations

To create successful ads for your products and provide a good user experience, follow the product data specification when submitting your product data to Google. If your data doesn't meet the requirements, Google may disapprove an item, or your entire Merchant Center account. Since disapproved items can’t be advertised in Shopping ads, it’s important that you identify the reason for disapproval and then take the necessary steps to fix the issue and get approval for these items.

This article explains the different types of disapprovals and what you can do if you have disapproved items in your account or if your account is suspended.

Item disapproval

We regularly review your individual items submitted via data feeds and the Content API for Shopping. If we find that the data you provide doesn’t match the product information on your website, we may disapprove these items. Disapproved items will stop showing in Shopping ads. You’ll need to review the disapproved items and make sure that you submit accurate product data if you want to show these items on Shopping ads again.

If you have valid schema.org microdata on your website, you can choose to enable automatic item updates, a feature that reduces the risk of account suspension for price and availability mismatches and prevents temporary item disapprovals.

What to do

  1. Make corrections to your product data and re-submit it. Ensure you’ve implemented a long-term solution to prevent future violations.
  2. After you’ve updated any disapproved items with accurate information and then uploaded them again, they will be re-reviewed. It could take up to 12 hours to verify that the data violation has been fixed. 
Note: Disapproved items will be regularly evaluated, and will be re-approved if the issue is resolved. Automatically re-approved items are still subject to future disapprovals.

Request an exception from the 'gtin' attribute requirements

If you submitted a product without the gtin attribute when the gtin attribute would normally be required, your product will be disapproved. To get an exception from the GTIN requirements for your product, you can request a manual review through your Merchant Center account. You'll only be able to request a manual review when targeting Australia, Brazil, Czechia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

To request a manual review:

  1. Sign in to your Merchant Center account.
  2. From the navigation panel, click Products.
  3. From the page menu, click List
  4. Click on the title of the item to view the individual item page.
  5. Click Why is this item disapproved?
  6. Review the 'gtin' attribute requirements related to your item disapproval, then check the box that acknowledges that you’ve reviewed the information.
  7. Select Request manual review.

It may take up to 7 business days to complete the manual review. Items that are approved as the result of the review will be eligible to serve in Shopping ads within 24 hours.

Preemptive item disapproval

In addition to automatic item disapprovals, we also perform manual reviews of your product data. If we find items that don't meet the products feed specification requirements, we'll send you a warning email asking you to remove or fix these items. (See details on warning periods.) If you don't remove or fix the items within the timeframe provided in the email, we'll start disapproving the items mentioned, as well as other items that likely don't meet the requirements.

This is called "preemptive item disapproval" because we err on the side of caution and disapprove items that are likely to violate our requirements (for example, items that contain watermarks). You can still advertise other products from your account that meet the requirements.

Example

Suppose a manual review of your product data shows that you’ve submitted multiple images with watermarks. You’ll receive an email with examples of the images that need to be updated, as well as a timeframe in which to make changes. If you fail to make changes within the given timeframe, the items with watermarked images will be disapproved, as will any other items in your account that likely also don't meet the requirements. You’ll be able to see a list of all the impacted items using the link provided in the initial email.


Preemptive item disapproval might not be available for all product data violations. Egregious or repeat violations may still lead to account suspension rather than preemptive item disapproval. 

What to do

  1. Update your product data: Remove or fix any items that don’t meet the product data specification requirements. Users who’ve opted in to mandatory service announcement email notifications will receive an email with details about the violation, including examples. Update any additional items that violate the same product data requirements, even if they aren't included in the email.
  2. Make sure your product data returns to approved status: Once you update and re-submit your product data, wait until the end of the warning period, then verify if the items have been re-approved or contact us to request a review. If you already see preemptive item disapprovals in the Diagnostics section, you need to request a review of your account. Once your account passes the review for product data requirements, the preemptively disapproved items will automatically return to approved status, which may take up to 3 days.
  3. Make sure your product data meets the requirements to prevent disapprovals: Using the violating items listed in the email as a reference, you can plan an approach to avoid violating the product data requirements in the future.

Account suspension

If your account is suspended, you’ll receive a series of emails containing all relevant information about data quality issues and account suspension:

  • Warnings: We regularly review all Merchant Center accounts. If we find that your product data is not in compliance with the product specification requirements, we’ll send you a warning email with examples of the issues that you need to fix, and a timeframe in which to fix your issues. During the warning period, your items will continue to appear in Shopping ads. (The warning period is also displayed in your Merchant Center account on the Diagnostics page, under “Account issues”). During the warning period, you are eligible to request one courtesy review by either using the review request form or the request review button (if applicable).
  • Account Suspensions: If you do not request a review within the warning period, we will review your data once more. If all of your issues are resolved, the warning will be lifted and your ads will continue serving as normal. If any of the issues are not resolved, your account will be suspended and all of your items will be disabled from Shopping ads for that feed. You’ll also see your suspension status on the Home and the Diagnostics pages of your Merchant Center account.
  • Important: If your account is suspended, your items will no longer show in Shopping ads. They will, however, still be available for other destinations. The Google account used to access Merchant Center will not be affected and you will still be able to use it to access other Google products.

Note: Messages regarding data quality and account suspension are also temporarily stored in the Merchant Center message archive of the impacted account.

Keep in mind that account suspensions are specific to each country of sale. If you target multiple countries of sale, your unaffected products and feeds will continue to serve. 
 

What to do after an account suspension

  1. Make the corrections to your product data and ensure that you’ve implemented a long-term solution to prevent future violations.
  2. Submit your product data again.
  3. From the navigation panel, click Products, and then click List from the page menu. Here, you can see information that was most recently submitted to Google Merchant Center, and you can compare this data to your live website.
  4. Once you have fixed the issues, contact us or your dedicated account representative request a review of your product data.
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