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Ink and Toner Category

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 1
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭



For months now I've been going back and forth with Google Adwords support trying to figure out why my items are being automatically disapproved for an "automatic policy violation." No one can tell me what this policy is, just that Google is apparently cracking down on the ink and toner category and has included more restrictive policies without telling us. I've been a Google Shopping Ads and PLA customer since the day it came out and I've never had these problems.

A few notes: we're using Shopify and the native Google app called "Google Shopping by Shopify." We have no feed - the app automatically syncs all product information. These are the fields we can edit for each product:

  • Product Details: Title, Description, Type, Vendor
  • Google Product Category
  • Listing Details: MPN, Condition, Age Group, Gender
  • Custom or Unique product (check box)
  • Shopping Campaign / Adwords Details (grouping / labels)
  • Variants

From what a few Google reps have told me, the issue is that we're selling compatible toner cartridges. We sell OEM cartridges as well, just not as many. At first, I checked the box for a custom or unique product "Tell Google to ignore product identifiers" because we don't have UPCs for all our items. Then a rep said that it's against policy for ink and toner items to not have an MPN, so I fixed all of them by adding an MPN and brand for each item. This worked for 17 items out of about 250. The 17 approved items are printers and drum cartridges. All of my toner cartridges are still being automatically disapproved, regardless if they are OEM or compatible. I've tried changing the titles from something such as this: 



with no success. I've also tried changing the brand from HP to Renewable Toner (that's us) for compatible items with no success. At this point, I'm stumped, and I can't get Google support to call me back - I'm assuming it's because they have nothing new to report. Any and all suggestions are welcomed. Thank you!

1 Expert replyverified_user

Re: Ink and Toner Category

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

(1) a single disapproval can be caused by many multiple issues.

(2) titles cannot be mainly or mostly caps -- that is a policy violation,
not allowed, and will usually result in a disapproval or a suspension
from the program, at any time.

title should simply name the physical item,
using standard (english) capitalization rules.
Renewable toner 05X/CE505X compatible toner cartridge for HP P2055


the same similar capitalization, punctuation, and grammar rules

apply to most all attributes and values submitted; e.g. description.

(3) generally, oem or related compatible items cannot use the
global-trade-data of the originally manufactured item -- that
is not allowed and will usually result in a disapproval or a
suspension from the program, at any time.

global-trade-data are the brand, mpn, and gtin attributes
and values and cannot be self-assigned by merchants.

rather, submit the identifier_exists attribute with a value of FALSE
then, do not submit any mpn, brand, or gtin values, whatsoever.


if the required global-trade-data values do exist, assigned by the manufacturer
and usually stamped on the product or packaging at the factory then, the exact
values must be submitted -- all merchants selling the same item must submit
the exact same global-trade-data values; at least two valid values are required.


e.g. two valid values must be from manufacturer who actually built the cartridge

being sold, not the manufacturer that makes the printer or the original cartridge --

otherwise, identifier_exists FALSE must be submitted and gtin, mpn, and brand

should all not be submitted, at all, for the item.

(4) if the submitted data is created by a third-party or derived from the site,
then the best likely course would be to either (a) change the data on the site
to be compatible with all google's current rules and policies -- or (b) contact
whoever is handling the data (syncing and) submission so they can help with
any needed changes or submit the required information properly for the items.

Re: Ink and Toner Category

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 3
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Hello, thank you for your response. I find it interesting that none of the Google reps that took a look at our site and items mentioned the capitalization issue! That comes standard with our template and I will definitely look into changing it. As for the MPN, we have tried entering a value of false and not including any information except brand. A Google rep informed me that it's against the rules for any ink or toner item to NOT have an MPN. You can imagine changing everything back is somewhat daunting for me after being told that those value absolutely need to be there. As a side note, you mentioned that OEM items cannot use the global-trade-data of the originally manufactured items, but that is what OEM means (original equipment manufacturer), meaning that the item is original and genuine - manufactured by Brother, HP, etc. I just don't want to go erase this info and then have to put it back in. Thanks in advance!

Re: Ink and Toner Category

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor

first, you're welcome.

(1) global-trade-data (mpn, brand, gtin) can never, ever, have a value of FALSE

if any mpn, brand, or gtin attribute value does not currently exist then --
those tags must not be submitted at all, in the case of the api or an xml feed;
or those values must be empty, in the case of a tab-delimited or sheet feed.

otherwise, the values submitted must be exact, valid, and accurate.

mpn, brand, or gtin with a value a value of FALSE is never, ever,
allowed and grounds for a disapproval or suspension at any time.

(2) the identifier_exists attribute is what might have a value of FALSE

(3) what's required depends on the type of physical item and the current
global-trade-data assigned by manufacturer to the exact item being sold.

(a) if the required, proper, global-trade-data does not exist --
then, identifier_exists must be FALSE and the mpn, brand,
and gtin attributes cannot be submitted, at all, for that item.

(b) if the required, proper, global-trade-data does currently exist --
then, at least two valid and accurate values must be submitted.

any two valid and accurate values must be submitted for toner cartridges --
for example, a brand and either a valid mpn or a valid gtin are required.

again, the same global-trade-data values must be submitted
by all merchants selling that same item -- the values must be
assigned by the item's manufacturer, to the exact item sold.

for example, only apple can assign global-trade-data to an apple ipad --
all merchants selling that ipad must submit the same global-trade-data.

(4) as to oem -- in the context of that sentence -- the originally
manufactured item itself; meaning, the actual, physical, original
item -- not whoever manufactured the item.

that is, the original-manufacturer may (usually) creates two different sets of
global-trade-data; one for their original-part and another for their oem part --
if so, such global-trade-data cannot and must not be used interchangeably.


(5) importantly perhaps, a single oem item that is compatible with

many existing items can only be submitted once -- never multiple
times for the compatible items; submitting any physical inventory
item more than once, is also a policy violation, and grounds for a

disapproval or suspension, at any time.


Re: Ink and Toner Category

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 5
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Yes, I apologize - I meant the identifier, as in: "submit the identifier_exists attribute with a value of FALSE." We did that, and did not include any other information except for Brand. So, to clarify - I would need to resubmit a value of false for the identifier_exists attribute for each item to tell Google to ignore product identifiers, and then erase any information for Brand, MPN, etc.

As for OEMs, each OEM cartridge has a distinct MPN, and there would be no reason to enter it into our catalogue more than once. Even dual or variety packs have unique MPNs, numbers that the original manufacturer like HP assigned to that product. As far as I know, there is only one MPN per cartridge. So when I list the MPN associated with that item, it is the only one that will be universally used by the original manufacturer and every other seller across the board. An example: a popular HP item is the HP CE505A Black LaserJet Toner Cartridge. In this instance, if listing this item I would list the Brand as HP, the MPN as CE505A and the condition as New. I have done this with numerous items in our catalogue and they are still being automatically disapproved. It simply does not make sense that some of my other items such as printer drums and printers are being approved. Since this is the case, it would be logical to conclude that the MPNs and the capitalization of titles aren't the issue. It has to be something specific to the ink and toner category. If anyone out there has specific knowledge or experience with this category I'd love to hear about it. Thank you!

Re: Ink and Toner Category

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 6
Top Contributor

(1) yes -- if valid global-trade-data truly does not currently exist
then, submit identifier_exists FALSE and no brand, no mpn, no gtin.

the company store (brand) name is set in the account
and will automatically be submitted for all items --
but cannot be submitted as the product's brand.

of course, if google has a record that the physical item does indeed
have valid global-trade-data then, that data must be submitted or
the item will trigger or be assigned a disapproval or suspension --
usually until the exact, valid, proper, global-trade-data is submitted.

identifier_exists FALSE cannot be used if

valid global-trade- data currently exists.

(2) for disapproval issues, comparing two items is not a good indicator.

if an item has not been flagged yet does not mean
that the item will not be flagged in the future.

for example, if two items have a title with all caps
but only one is flagged that does not mean the other
will not be flagged, for the same issue, at any time.

some disapprovals are simply examples that require changes to all items
and google is constantly checking and rechecking submitted data against
the site landing-page, updated product information, and current policies.

multiple issues can trigger one disapproval.

(3) seeing the product (package) is about the only way to verify the data.

if the product being sold is merely compatible with the
hp product then, hp's global-trade-data cannot be used.

typically, the global-trade must be stamped
on the product (package) at the factory; e.g.

as to new -- the item must be brand-new, never been used, in its original
packaging, and never been opened, to be allowed the condition new;
or is otherwise a policy violation and grounds for a disapproval or
a suspension, at any time.

importantly perhaps, certain brands now also require valid gtin for new items:

(4) always check the processed item, by clicking on the item's title,
within the products-tab of the merchant-center-account -- to verify that
all data has been processed properly and being seen by google exactly as
submitted and required by the policies.

(5) forum-members cannot look into submitted data or accounts --
simply, common disapprovals for oem products is submitting
a physical item more than once for each compatible product;
other common issues that were mentioned that can trigger a
disapproval include excessive caps, FALSE as global-trade-data,
inaccurate global-trade-data, insufficient global-trade-data, or
any data that does not adhere to current specifications and policies.

otherwise, the best likely course would be to (continue) working directly
with a support-specialist since only someone at google can directly effect
an item's status with any certainty.

see also

Re: Ink and Toner Category

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 7
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Yes, I've worked with numerous support specialists who have looked at my data and website and gone through each item looking for possible disapproval reasons. We have addressed all possible concerns, and it has now been 2 weeks and I can't get the Google rep to return my phone calls. I've called and asked someone else to help me, and the answer is inevitably that they won't - they simply offer to pass along my message. So, is there any way to contact a manager or a senior member of the tech support team? I've tried the global support phone numbers and chat with similar disappointing results.

Re: Ink and Toner Category

Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 8
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
Sorry, one more thing - you said "the company store (brand) name is set in the account
and will automatically be submitted for all items -- but cannot be submitted as the product's brand." What about companies that manufacture their own products? In our case, we manufacture MICR cartridges. We buy the materials from different suppliers. The cartridge itself has no brand - we then fill it with MICR toner (again, has no brand). What then would we use as a brand or MPN if we are not allowed to assign it ourselves?

Re: Ink and Toner Category

[ Edited ]
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭
# 9
Visitor ✭ ✭ ✭

Ok, so I called Google support again and did get a few answers this time.
1) The ink and toner category has changed, and MPN or GTIN is mandatory. You cannot "submit the identifier_exists attribute with a value of FALSE then, do not submit any mpn, brand, or gtin values, whatsoever" or your items will be automatically disapproved.
2) If you manufacture an ink / toner item that has no GTIN, you must list the condition as Used, and include "refilled" in the title / description, even if it is new, and use the OEM MPN. This makes me particularly sad, because all our competitors on Google Shopping do not do this, and we would be competing with sellers offering New items at comparative prices.
I will try the above and see if I can get my products approved.

Re: Ink and Toner Category

[ Edited ]
Top Contributor
# 10
Top Contributor

(1) the policies for all (designated) branded items have changed --
not just ink cartridges; as was indicated by the earlier hp example.


designated branded items cannot use identifier_exists FALSE

(2) potential policy violations by others may be reported to google --

otherwise, that sounds like a bit of good news and thank you for the update.