I used to be able to trust Amazon. I could simply type in the type of item I wanted, search for the highest reviewed / rated and click buy.
Now, I have to:
1. Wade through the Ads and crap products to find what I actually searched for.
2. Read all of the comments, perform some type of judgement whether these are fake reviews, sponsored reviews, etc.
3. Figure out if it is "Fulfilled by Amazon" or sold directly (I only recently realized all of the "Fulfilled by Amazon" items get commingled, so I'm getting basically god knows what).
4. If Fulfilled, now I have to research how reputable the selling company is. Just yesterday I found a company selling baby formula, whose domain name was registered last month, and via a privacy service!?!!? If you can't list your business address, I'm not buying from you.
5. Now I need to determine whether the sold by Amazon item is fake or legit. Lets hope some other sucker buys it before me and posts a good review.
At this point, I would rather just goto Target or Walgreens, CVSm etc and buy the damn thing. Taking 20-30 minutes to research every purchase is getting very old.
...But hey 2 day shipping for $8/ month right!
That, alas, is the natural outcome of a metrics-driven management style. If you use short-term measures and see revenue increases as good, then you inevitably stop seeing your customers as people; human relationships are subtle and long term.
For a long time no competitor could have gotten my interest, because I trusted Amazon. But now I'd be willing to switch.
Personally, I do not own a printer. If the 20 dollar Amazon Basics backpack I buy requires me to metro to a library, print a shipping label, find or buy a box to send it back in, then walk to a post office, that can be 1-2 hours of lost productivity - often more opportunity cost than the item itself cost.
Now if something isn't urgent, I'm more likely to just go to a CVS or Walgreens - at least if the item fails I can return it.
Finding a box can be troublesome but I think this can be mitigated by saving whatever box you receive your item in until you're fairly certain you won't be returning said item.
All in all, I can't think of a more ideal return system. If you've ever tried returning something to other online merchants (e.g. Newegg, TigerDirect), you'd know that Amazon has the best solution.
That long-term thinking has let them get so far ahead of their competitors that even with experience quality declining, I'm sure they'll still do well for quite a while.
Me too, and I can add:
6. Spend time figuring out if the product is available locally for the same (or better) price. I feel like sucker buying from Amazon and waiting a minimum of 2 days to get something I could have gotten locally in 20 minutes for the same/cheaper price.
7. Deal with Amazon's new, terrible delivery service. Using untrained, un-unformed randos to deliver packages in their personal vehicles means my deliveries get screwed up much, much more frequently. I've had these people fail follow my package delivery instructions that are posted on my door (deliver to the apartment office, rather than leaving at the door), even after I've talked to them personally. No other delivery service has this problem. I blame Amazon for this experience far more than the drivers.
It's gotten to the point where I only go to Amazon for less-common long-tail stuff. If it's an item that may be reasonably available at a retailer, I just shop locally.
Many of the occasions they would call me asking for directions (one time a driver called me 5 times in a row from a washington number, never left a message. I was in a work meeting and though someone died...), then literally minutes later would mark the package as undeliverable.
I finally spoke to someone there one night named Sara and spent over 2 hours on the phone with her while she refunded the whole order (like $100 of random "IoT" stuff), stayed on the phone with me while she got GPS coordinates from me (with my offering them from an app on my phone), put my address in their system, put a bunch of notes about how to get to my house, made sure the package would be delivered the next day. The packages are finally getting delivered (i made sure to call back and make sure her manager knew how much she helped), but I still have issues where the drivers just won't deliver it, or will beat the crap out of it.
Hell just a week or 2 ago I found a bubble mailer blowing down the road, by chance I decided to pick it up to throw it out assuming it was trash, only to find it was addressed to ME! Turns out it was something that should have been delivered a few days ago.
I'm not reupping my prime subscription when it's up. I already don't go with amazon if I need anything quick, because there's like a 50% chance it will take 4-5 days to get to me, even with prime.
Oh my god, this. I also never seem to get same-day delivery, despite it being "guaranteed". Amazon seems to have a completely different definition of what a guarantee is. I have also had more damaged items from their own delivery than even FedEx, which is pretty sad when you think about it. I wish they would just buy FedEx and turn it around rather than use their existing rag tag delivery service.
"Guaranteed 2 day shipping" - ordered on Tuesday. That would mean Thursday, right? Wednesday, Thursday.
So why does it say that it's coming Friday _immediately_ after? Ridiculous.
And having done that, still not fulfill the guarantee.
God, this has bitten me more times than it should have before I stopped buying from Amazon. Several times they marked an item as delivered even though it wasn't (I was home all day and nobody came to the door for any reason, no trucks on the street), presumably because they have a package quota and they aggressively overstuff their drivers. Once they delivered it, but left it right at the head of my driveway. What a huge pain.
I was noticing a lot of my deliveries were defaulting to this last year, but we've had mostly UPS/USPS since then. I had assumed that AZ had shifted away from them, but maybe just in my area.
I don't have this problem. The only place within 20 minutes I can drive to to buy stuff is Walmart, so if Walmart doesn't carry it (and they frequently don't have the greatest prices), then I'm looking at a substantial amount of time just to go buy something. I live a couple miles from work (about as far as the Walmart), so this means I only go to farther-away retailers on weekends, usually as part of an all-day excursion, so if those retailers have crappy hours (very common), then that makes it even harder to visit them. On top of this, there's a $6 toll bridge in the direction of the nearest area with a lot of retailers. Because of all this, I get a lot of stuff online when I can: it's usually no more expensive, and it's far more convenient.
That said, I've been becoming more and more disappointed with Amazon over the last year as well. There's just way too many scammy sellers and Chinese sellers on there (and they don't make it that easy to tell which ones are in China either).
Lasersh*t strikes again
I think the main issue is that there's only one lady staffing the office part-time, so it's sometimes closed when the driver gets there. That's not a problem for the major carriers: their drivers are professionals who know their route and when to be at the office; and if they they're late, they just put the package back on the truck for tomorrow. Amazon probably pays their randos on a piecework basis and they're not incentivized to follow the instructions and return the package to the shipping depot when I'm not at home and the office is closed.
I have communicated the office's hours to Amazon Logistics, and they said they'd enter it into their system, but that has done absolutely no good: the problems persist. A good carrier would have drivers that could read signs and update and retrieve notes from their own systems without requiring customer intervention. Amazon Logistics is not a good carrier.
Did some Googling and found this:
> Amazon put enormous pressure on drivers, the reason drivers put parcels in recycling bins is due to the fact that we are reprimanded for returning to the depot with parcels. They expect 100percent delivered everytime.
No wonder they suck.
It's also rather unbelievable to me that big companies like Apple haven't come down on them like a ton of bricks for such large-scale facilitation of trademark violation. It's good that they are finally going after one of the individual vendors, but that's whack-a-mole at the end of the day. How big does the problem have to get before there is pushback against Amazon itself?
Well, it would be like a ton of bricks coming down on another ton of bricks.
The outcome of such lawsuits depends in a fairly large degree on the size of the bank accounts that support the litigation. So they would be fighting an equal.
So Oracle underpaid their lawyers?
So, someone set up a fake account on Amazon and got a lot of orders, then they disappeared.
I'm very disappointed that the "marketplace" has come to this.
You will eventually get your money back, but still, Amazon get your money for months on end, and you have no product.
Depending on the category, they're not even competitive on cost anymore. "Free shipping" has basically been baked into the costs, such that small items like groceries, home supplies and hardware routinely cost more than what's available at the local big box store. There's still bargains to be had on more expensive things, like electronics (as long as you catch the price flux wave at the right time), but you've got to do your homework.
At this point, Amazon is coasting on their market share. They're basically renting out their reputation to anyone with something to sell.
But there's still pain points. A lot of hard drive SKUs are tied to retailers, so the same Toshiba hard drive will have an ever-so-slightly different model number, despite being the same drive (and I know there are legitimate reasons for the same), allowing the retailer to deny the price match.
"I know these are both Toshiba X300 5TB 3.5" SATA 3 128MB 7200rpm drives, but this is the X300-BBY, not the X300-AMZN, sorry".
Here are a couple of such sellers (I suspect in fact the same seller appearing twice). I was conned by both when ordering some bicycle parts, despite checking their feedback very carefully at the time of the order. I still haven't had a refund from the second one.
This shouldn't be too hard. Have a few friends order a "product" you never ship or even pay a few people on Fivver to do the same. Costs $25 tops. Hell, you can ship them an empty envelope to put some tracking on it.
If I were the scamming type (and I'm not in the least) I think a decent scam would be create a really good quality private label product. Sell for six months at a very small profit margin. After the good reviews and best seller rankings pour in replace the inventory with shitty quality product at a huge profit margin. It would take a long time for the sales to stop. The initial sales inertia would take some time to slow down.
Maybe that wouldn't work, who knows.
The one thing Amazon has generally been really good with is customer service, and easy returns/refunds.
I'm not actually sure what the scam is. Does the seller disappear with Amazon's money? Or earns interest? Or maybe they speculatively list many lines and only manage to source a few?
Well, speaking as a Amazon seller, this isn't quite true. Commingling is optional for third party sellers (and unavailable on some products). Also your third party sellers items get commingled with Amazon inventory so buying "sold and shipped by Amazon" doesn't prevent you from getting a commingled product.
>..But hey 2 day shipping for $8/ month right!
Free shipping is prepaid shipping and encourages you to buy a ton of crap to "get your money's worth."
Honestly, personally, I don't understand the appeal of getting my stuff in 2 days vs say 4days or whatever. If it was an immediate need I'd either buy locally or pay the upgraded shipping when I need it. That's just me though
As a buyer I have no idea (unless there is a way to see this now, as a buyer..). So I kind of have to assume that everything fulfilled by Amazon is.
I also misunderstood what you said, I thought you meant buying sold and shipped from Amazon avoided commingled inventory. You actually said the opposite.
As a seller I can tell if an item is allowed to be commingled if I add it to my inventory. You can't tell before you add it to your inventory as far as I know. Buyer has no idea. It seems random for what they forbid to commingle. Like one particular hard drive but not others.
If you buy from a third party seller you have no idea if they opted into commingled inventory or not.
It's killer for me and my family. Everything we get online instead of going to a store means one fewer trip out in traffic either 1) with the kids or 2) at night after they've gone to bed but we're tired.
I guess I see it this way: If I buy a whisk, or a hard drive, or a vacuum cleaner, or a video game I don't need it this second, I take the free or saver shipping and I get it when it comes, which is 2-4 days 99% of the time. Like the old fashion "put it on the shopping list" method. There's no urgency in me to get it in two days.
The non-perishables like toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, etc. I stock up on when they go on sale so I don't generally run out so there's rarely urgency. But paying attention to your stock accomplishes the same thing.
The few times I've needed something earlier, like when my phone broke and I ordered a new phone, I paid $6 to upgrade to two day shipping. That's the one case I can think of when I could wait two days but not four.
The typical Prime buyer basically never comparison shops or wait for sales. It encourages this behavior.
I get people have different proprieties than me though even though I can't personally understand it. When my brother moved into his own place he bought a bunch home type stuff and ordered it all off Amazon because "Prime." Later on I mentioned something about comparison shopping and he told me he didn't even think to comparison shop for any of that stuff. He was like "oh... I should have done that" (On a related note, ordering directly from the manufacturer on some of that sort of stuff gets you the best prices)
Then, for packages I don't need right away (which is a lot of them), I can pick "no rush shipping", which typically gives me a $1 Amazon Digital credit. Stack up a few of those per month and Prime becomes almost free. (We rent movies occasionally from Amazon.)
Then, extend Prime by a month everytime Amazon misses a guaranteed delivery date and Prime has basically no net cost to me. I was already ordering from Amazon multiple times per week before Prime was created. I'm sure Prime has increased that somewhat, but I still cross-shop Ebay, BestBuy, and others as well as checking camelcamelcamel.com on anything of non-trivial cost.
My big pet peeve are add-on items. I don't understand why they don't just give me the option to pay for shipping. I don't mind paying $10 shipping on a $1 item. It's still cheaper than driving to a store.
Edit: Just tried it, didn't work. Khaaaaaaaaaan!
I agree and when I order never concern myself with prime shipping. However I do find a slight distaste anytime I receive shipping information to find it won't be here for 3+ days. I'm not sure why but something about immediate item receipt is rewarding and waiting for more than a few days I am less excited about receiving said package.
Oh you haven't gotten thing you needed, you had to do the following up, and we screwed up? "sorry?".
I've had better experiences with my local stores and Aliexpress.
I canceled my prime membership (of 5 years) this past Feb and I've been happy about it.
Note.. if you want to let it lapse you have to cancel at the right time or strip off the CC on the prime account. If you completely cancel you prime membership it's gone right then and you don't get a prorated refund on the time it had left.
I cancelled my Prime membership (after 10 years) last week after spending 2.5 hours on the phone trying to figure out where a package 2 days past it's guaranteed delivery date was and if it was going to arrive or if I had to re-buy it.
I have no regrets about it. Everything I bought on Amazon I can buy from other websites, and when I have an issue I don't have to spend hours verifying my name and address with someone whose accent I honest to god can not understand (I am not a native American, it is very difficult for me to understand Indian accents).
Not sure if you're mixing up American Indian and Indian sub-continent Indian, or you think Americans can understand Indian accents. Either way, I'm amused.
I've had the same issue. Amazon packaged and shipped everything, it got lost in UPS. I did the legwork to track it down. The best I got from them, they could refund so I could get repriced on the items I needed.
We're probably among the more technically savvy Amazon users, but navigating through all the crap is still a nightmare. They can't expect everyone to sift through fake reviews, sponsored reviews, fly-by-night companies pedaling cheap knockoffs, "fulfilled by Amazon," etc.
People order "five star" products on Amazon, and pieces of junk show up on their doorstep two days later. It's Amazon's reputation that will take the hit.
eBay Daily Deals are often good. Sometimes for electronics refurbs and last model items are on the Daily Deals but often new current model stuff too. Got a great deal on my current model phone from an eBay Daily Deal. I buy several 10% off gas cards too when they come up.
(New) hard drives are usually cheapest on eBay.
Lots of traditional retailers have eBay stores as well. I've bought from Newegg's eBay store more times than I can count, for example. Manufacturers also have eBay stores.
There's a lot of room for niche products but it seems a lot less overwhelming than Amazon is with all their private label stuff and poor search results.
Lots of good selection of used stuff as well. Do I really need a new Chromecast? Nope, used is half the price and works just as well and is better for the environment.
I also hear it's a good place to get uncommon sized bras.
eBay has its flaws too though, avoid Chinese megasellers like the plague. Its usually a lot easier to spot a fake or shoddy product on eBay than on Amazon. I've found eBay's customer support to be good when you have a problem and an unreasonable seller.
 The good thing about eBay cashback portals is they rarely have restrictions other than giftcard restrictions. Target.com may have 2% cash back but excludes Apple products and Bose products. I've never seen brand exclusions on eBay's cash back through shopping portals. There's usually a 1-2% cash back portal for eBay and eBay bucks are a minimum 2% eBay gift card as long as you have over $5.
This is a flaw with Amazon, not Ebay. Ebay makes the Chinese sellers very, very easy to avoid: you just look at the selection list on the left side, and click "US Sellers only" or "North American sellers only". Voila! No Chinese sellers in the search results. Amazon makes this completely impossible: it's very hard to tell where a product is being shipped from on Amazon, and usually you have to go through checkout to see the shipping times and infer from that.
Recent HN story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12711353
Go follow the link to techpowerup and you will see 89 comments. Most of them quite negative about the current state of Newegg. The complaints seem to date to before Newegg was purchased by a Chinese company.
Ironically, many of the complaints there say that Amazon is better. Ha. It seems like they all suck now!
Last point, a lot of the product you buy on A is sourced at those very same stores.
Amazon picked it up and returned it for free and the second one came factory sealed. But it definitely ruined my evening plans and I ended up waiting four more days for an unopened package to arrive.
I'm still pretty sour on it, and Amazon has pretty much lost out on any big electronics purchases from me in the future.
Can't you ask your pharmacist or something?
Additionally, having a trusted source to send formula as a helpful gift so someone far away doesn't seem like a bad idea.
In addition, not everyone lives near those sorts of stores - when I lived in the states, I would have had to drive an hour or two to get to such places and I'm not certain the ingredients are readily available there. Furthermore, there is the issue of time. I'm pretty sure workplaces in the states must allow employees time to express breast milk, but do not allow time to make formula. Recipes range from all day to hours at a time: I'm unsure of the spoilage times on these.
Furthermore, not one of the recipes came from a site I would trust at first glance. I don't trust myself to know the nutritional needs of children enough to do this, let alone a lot of other parents uneducated in this area.
Also, I don't have children. I'd personally only buy this as a gift to help a friend, and only after asking first.
And if you haven't researched, developed, tested, and manufactured an adequate supply of your homemade formula before your kid is born, you probably aren't going to want to do it afterwards, even if you have the required skills.
On the bright side, at least they're honest - I've cancelled the orders a couple of times while they were sitting there because I found what I wanted for a better price somewhere else.
- A number of recent Prime purchases that have not come within the promised 2 day window (reiterated for/upon that particular purchase, by their site / purchase flow).
- Products now consistently poorly packed. Prone to rattling around in their packaging, or being crushed into packaging that's not really appropriate (e.g. "fold-over" cardboard wrappers as opposed to actual boxes). Frequently manifesting at least minor degrees of damage or "dings".
- Amazon Basics as well as other products that don't do what they are advertised to do, e.g. an USB C / USB C cable I just purchased whose page says it supports fast charging. Nope.
I already have Prime, and so far Amazon has never leaked my credit card information (something that concerns me with many other sites). Aside from that, for physical products, they are... hell, they already have -- turned into a crap experience. IMO.
Unless it's obvious that it's Amazon and only Amazon that's selling something, I just won't buy it. Buying at Amazon was supposed to be, and used to be, easy and worry free.
Free returns? I want it to work and be in excellent condition when I take it out of the box, and then forget about it. I don't need more work for no pay.
I will often peruse Amazon to discover if something exists, and what its variants are. If I can get in my car and get it this afternoon, then I do that.
Come on, basically every registrar forces private registrations on by default now.
It's very easy to lie in whois data, those that want to conceal their identities will just lie instead of using a proxy service.
While returns are still pretty easy to do on the buyer side, I used to trust amazon a lot more than I do now, and am considering dropping my prime subscription.
(rated 4 stars but 87% of reviews are 1 star)
Amazon calculates a product’s star ratings using a machine learned model instead of a raw data average. The machine learned model takes into account factors including: the age of a review, helpfulness votes by customers and whether the reviews are from verified purchases.
So a product would just need a small percentage of 5 star reviews in the beginning of the review period.
...or when the fake charger you unknowingly received catches fire or ruins your phone?
* It requires a printer, which I'd rather not even have in the house given security concerns and/or planned obsolescence costs (ink carts)
* It requires keeping the original shipping box around for a month
* It requires waiting around for the shipping people to show up, because they can't be trusted to pick up a package left for them.
* It requires waiting days for the funds to reappear.
Going to the damn store, receipt in hand, is actually easier.
For the ink cartridge thing, I'd look into a cheap laser printer. I have a Brother duplex model that I paid $80 for new. The smaller packed-in toner cartridge lasted me more than a year, and I don't expect to need to replace the full-size cartridge for years.
That's happened to me. There's a reason I use FedEx anytime I have a choice :(
The reviews can't be trusted. I've seen so many products with a seemingly five-star rating, but the top three up-voted reviews are 1-star. Yesterday I was searching for bedsheets. The term "bed sheet set" returns over 600,000 results.
I just want the top 5 or 10. I don't want to wade through this many. Problem is, if I can't trust the reviews, how do I sort the shit from what I actually want?
With some products, of course, this isn't a problem—books, for instance—but that's only because I know what title I'm looking for or my search is so niche that I'm only going to get a tiny handful of results.
There's big money in someone taking Costco's model of picking the handful of products in a category that will work for most people and applying it to Amazon. Either search needs to get a hell of a lot better or someone needs to bring in curation.
(I used to be skeptical of business models like Casper but now I get it—a lack of options can be a luxury)
Definitely. I worked for a couple of years on a startup that aimed to help people make better shopping decisions. In user interviews and tests, we really saw the pain. The technical term for this is "tyranny of choice". 
One important distinction here is that shopping behavior tends to fall into one of two modes, optimizer and satisficer.  Satisficers just want to pick something adequate; optimizers want to pick the best thing. Everybody does both, but people tend toward one side or another.
People here surely skew toward optimizer, so the problem is especially painful for us. Amazon's reviews have become so reliable that my first stop will often be something like Consumer Reports, Wirecutter, or SweetHome. Knowing that some other optimizer has already done the research lets makes me more comfortable making a satisficer-style choice.
Their unique features are curated filters (boatloads of them, extremely handy to narrow choices down) and accurate, non-fake reviews and ratings.
This removed 95 % of the annoyingness in buying hardware for me: 1.) Define requirements 2.) Apply filters on gh 3.) Check reviews for the few resulting choices 4.) Buy.
I'm surprised there's no service like that in US.
Did you mean unreliable here?
Overall the platform would benefit from at least a small amount of manual curating.
I want a 750W PSU, made by Corsair, Seasonic, Antec, or NZXT with at least 4 Molex, at least 1 GPU power (8pin) and a Platinum efficiency rating.
With newegg I can set those filters, then sort by lowest price or highest reviews or re-evaluate the filters.
With Amazon I can search for 750W Power supply, and then maybe have some of the choices on the left, but not every vendor lists their product correctly.
Newegg leaves a bad taste in my mouth. "Pay $3 extra to have your order processed _today_!" Do they still do that?
That said, B&H is quickly becoming my favorite photo/electronics store. But you have to buy from somewhere else when they go on a 2 week vacation (or sundown Friday to sundown Saturday ;)
Their closing on orthodox Jewish holidays takes a bit of getting used to, but I just consider it part of the brand now.
All in all, yeah, Amazon is starting to suck bad on quality of products, or rather, quality of searching of products.
Why not go to a normal shop, or that shop's website?
You probably know which shops sell budget, middle and high-end furnishings. They've made the effort to filter 50,000 products to the 10 or so which they sell.
For example, Ikea have 138 bed sheet sets. An obvious filter, like "green", leads to about 10 different products.
My local fancy department store has 160 sets, "green" filters that down to 18.
Amazon Prime is a lifestyle.
People are increasingly choosing to forego cars and live in trendy urban neighborhoods. Ground-level storefronts give these places energy and atmosphere and "walkability," but the practical retail (bodegas, drugstores) tends to be overpriced, and the rest of the retail tends not to be practical (my block is a "lite" version of this and includes boutique clothing, $10,000 furniture, and "tasting room" that could be mistaken for a bar except it closes at 9pm).
People want Target, Kohl's, IKEA, and other suburban shopping mall products at their suburban shopping mall prices, but when you're car-free, those stores are hard to get to and really hard to get back from with cargo. So you do your shopping on your laptop and let the UPS man do the hauling for you. Amazon Prime's delivery speed softens the blow of delayed gratification, so you prefer it whenever possible.
You might feel like a helpless child dependent on the real adults to bring things to you (or drive you around) - I know I did when I lived this way - but I have to admit the efficiency of a few rarely-parked usually-full delivery vehicles buzzing around beats acres of cars languishing in parking spaces until their owners' next shopping trip.
In Europe, trendy urban neighbourhoods and depressed urban neighbourhoods both have a good selection of local shops. The former will have the more expensive shops, naturally.
This includes food, furniture, electronics and so on. There's not likely to be a single store selling everything, but there probably are stores selling most electronics, or most furniture.
Once you've gotten used to this, paying the markup and dealing with the small selections necessitated by urban real estate costs is painful. It'd possible you'd find it perfectly normal, but someone raised in the US suburbs would probably not.
Depressed neighborhooods here are often considered food deserts as they have only fast food and convenience stores, but no supermarkets for miles.
They have three different underlying sets (not counting size combinations).
Similar with furniture, for each item there's typically a low-end, medium-end, and high-end option/style (relatively speaking) and only color variations for each.
Just recently there was a big controversy about Wal-Mart selling "Egyptian cotton" sheets that were sourced from Egypt. Good luck buying "Egyptian cotton" sheets on Amazon that aren't poor quality microfiber.
There are also outfits like The Wirecutter and The Sweethome that attempt to wade through all the stuff and find what's actually good. I wouldn't call either perfect but they are pretty good and a good place to start.
Places like Blue Apron are also now opening "marketplaces" that have specific stuff (https://www.blueapron.com/market) that seems somewhat better than randomly picking off Amazon or Google.
They're more or less attempting to do so with "Amazon's Choice", no?
Don't be so sure. I've run across counterfeit books on Amazon before. The quality of them was vastly inferior (covers printed on inkjets and laminated, basically), and of course no money is actually going to the author. I'd much sooner buy a real softcover book than a fake hardcover book.
Purchase only "Best Seller" items?
edit: In retrospect, I don't have any complaints about the chsrgers. I've never bought a store charger because the ones that come with devices work just fine. It's the cables that I have issue with. Even with things like the HDMI-lightning adapter ($50), they go to pieces without being under heavy use.
What I don't get is how come the cable part is such lousy quality compared to the sophistication in the PSU part.
It gets especially bad when you wrap the cable tightly around the sharp plastic hooks on the MacBook power adapter that are supposed to keep everything organized.
If people are walking by an apple store every day, but go bargain-hunting on the internet when they need an Apple product, then sure. Lower the price, get the customers away from Amazon, and you can make sure they get the genuine item.
But if customers are going to buy from Amazon anyway, it's impossible to drop the price far enough to make counterfeits unprofitable, because counterfeits can always be more profitable as they can target lower specs.
If a 2.5A fast charger costs $10 to make, and a shitty 500mA counterfeit costs $5 to make, the counterfeiter will make 100% profit even if the legitimate manufacturer sells at the cost of production.
I ask this a lot of times that I see someone complain about the quality of Apple cables: what the hell are you doing to your cables? I've still got 30 pin cables with cracked plastic on the 30 pin end, but they still work. After over 10 years of buying Apple devices that have cables, I count one cable that has gone bad.
More of a rhetorical question I guess, as we're just trading anecdotes. But I find it interesting that some complain about the quality of Apple cables, whereas I have piles of them that just refuse to die.
Plus I've had my kids tripping over them, folding them, playing tug of war with them. At least once a week something happens to one of my cables that probably ought to break it. Not one has broken.
WTF are people doing with their cables that's worse than what I do?
Since then, we've not had chargers that turned out that bad, but multiple iphone charging cables have broken quickly with normal use.
That said, I have plenty of failed micro USB cables for my Android devices too; there it is usually the plug that gets too loose to connect properly.
This leads to a lot of bending near the connector end because you can plug them in any which way. And then you get splits of the cable near the connector.
My 30-pin cables never went bad. My most used Lightning cable (of five) has.
I consistently have to replace those bricks due to fraying cables.
Apple could go a long way by making the cables on both ends of their adapter cheaply replaceable.
They could change the design to put the MagSafe part on the 'brick'.
I'm not sure how well that would compare to the current system but I bet it's been considered.
I'm pretty sure they are incentivized to do this because of all the shady knockoffs.
Consequently, I ordered direct from Apple.
That's typical for my shopping on Amazon: I buy specific known brands usually, when I'm just browsing for something, it's pile after pile of crap... gotta sort it for the gold buried there.
same reason you would buy almost any apple product i imagine.
it's not the outdated, overpriced hardware; its the experience and the fit and finish.
Out of all the sites we've investigated and sent takedown notices to, Amazon has by far been the worst. The marketplace is full of counterfeit products, and we've been having a very hard time trying to get them removed, even though we have copyright over the design and trademark on our brand name.
Quote Amazon on our latest batch, "We respect a manufacturer's right to enter into exclusive distribution agreements. However, we do not help to enforce these agreements. This is a matter between the manufacturer and the distributors.".
But that's distracting from the real problem. That problem being that even genuine Apple cables are overpriced and shitty. If Apple provided quality durable cables of various lengths at reasonable prices, nobody would buy buying them from Amazon instead of from Apple. Every time someone goes to Amazon to buy a cable, it's because their Apple one disintegrated.
As for chargers, the Apple ones are just fine, but they only charge one device at a time. There are plenty of small, inexpensive, and high quality charging devices available that can charge 5x or even 10x devices at once. The third party products are just better.
The advantage is you can get at both ends, and add remove length at will, plus you avoid having excessive tension. Downside is you can't really throw long cables and have them unwind which can be really useful.
I bought my wife a Nutribullet from Amazon (marketplace seller) only to find it was counterfeit. It even cost more than my local store. Amazon weren't consistently helpful either. After being really supportive speaking with them, they just didn't follow through. They then asked me to return the item to the seller, but I refused as the seller would only list it again. If it wasn't a safety risk to others, I wouldn't have cared as much. I did get my refund after a lot of effort.
When it comes to power adapters I don't risk cheap third party makes.
But since Amazon commingles many products there are no guarantees. However, at least it is easy to get refunds on items Amazon fulfills.
- any peripheral for Apple not directly sold by Apple or Amazon
- Gilette razor blades (yes, I've tried straight razors, my skin and hair are awful)
- SD/MicroSD cards
I know Amazon will instantly refund me and pay for return shipping if I do get a fake, but I'd rather just spend a bit extra and buy it somewhere else where I know it won't be an issue.
Counterfeits have been a problem on Amazon for several years. There was a time when only places like eBay or Rakuten had these issues. On Amazon you could just clearly see which products come directly from their warehouses and which you thus could trust 100%, and which from e.g. their Marketplace sellers (which has always involved a little risk). I am really puzzled when / why they decided to mix both worlds up, in visual disguise. Apparently at some point they have made the bad decision to become the Western Alibaba-like marketplace.
I had hoped that they, having some very intelligent employees, will eventually solve this issue; but I don't see this happening right now. In online shopping trust is extra important, and regarding the counterfeits they are gambling with their strong customer trust quite a bit.
Get a double-edged safety razor. It takes some practice to learn to use it well, but it's worth the investment. Personally I like the Edwin Jagger razor handles.
So Amazon babies are a thing now?
Otherwise you risk headlines like "Counterfeit devices flood market after Apple registry hacked, AAPL down XX%".
And Amazon has definitely changed in terms of the sketchyness of its store experience. I expect that is a change in leadership and I really mourn the fact that Wall Street has rewarded them for it by boosting their stock price.
I observed Ebay trying to "get to Amazon's level" and of course Amazon has been coming down to Ebay's level and they are meeting somewhere in the middle, a global cutthroat marketplace with the buyer having to seriously up their game in order to avoid scams.
But the case in point is counterfeit Apple products being sold both by Amazon and by people using Amazon as a sales platform. It would be useful if there was some blowback on Amazon itself for facilitating fraudulent sellers as that would provide some incentive for them to crack down on it. In much of these cases when it is a lot of disconnected individuals getting hurt there isn't an effective feedback mechanism to get it corrected.
 Disclosure I do hold AMZN stock but not very much.
Two screenshots from last year, when I was trying to shop for electrical receptical covers:
The first is categorized under "Tools & Home Improvement > Power & Hand Tools > Hand Tools > Pliers > Snap-Ring Pliers".
The second is categorized under "Musical Instruments > Drums & Percussion > Folk & World Hand Drums > Timbales".
How does that even happen? Can't they use some machine learning to detect that this is so obviously wrong?
(2) Outlier detection is a thing, even if they included the bad data. It would be trivial to detect that a small percentage of things categorized as "musical instruments" have extremely dissimilar facets/descriptions/images to all other things in that category, and very similar to things in a completely unrelated category.
why doesn't apple just use a generic standard? its in the best interests of everyone involved. they can still make official cables...
i'd also give them a bit more credit if they made these things to a decent quality standard - like actually earthing my macbook when its plugged in instead of lacquering over the connector so it looks shiny but can't possibly work. i've never owned anything that so frequently gives me small shocks - and i've heard the same story from everyone who uses these things in the uk... (maybe other regions get some better quality... our plugs are after all their own special type)
they are getting better though, the new iphone 5 and later charger cable actually has a practical level of build quality. unlike the previous generation of official apple cables, which seemed almost designed to fail.... that weak connection on the charging end that always wore out, always developed kinks, and in the hands of the naive would end up as frayed wires... and thats after a mere 6 months to a year of light use. worse build quality than any usb cable i've ever owned.
It would be interesting to know how many they looked at on Amazon and decided not to purchase (presumably because the appearance and price were not suspicious). That would shed more light on the true percentage of "Apple" chargers/cables on Amazon that are fake.
Last purchase I made, took them ten days to get it to me, even though it was supposed to be next day delivery. I wasted three seperate days waiting at home for it all day, while there tracking showed it was out for delivery, only to find that it was far far away from me and had arrived at the wrong depot that morning (Why did nobody call or alert me of this?)
They kept blaming the delivery company but it was Amazon's own delivery company that finally delivered the item. Even then on a different day than they promised and luckily someone else happened to be home.
They then offered me a free month of prime, I couldn't care less about prime. It's a total rip off, basically a next day delivery service with a few half assed add on services, that if you wanted, you would pay someone else for a real version of the service, ie Music - Spotify etc, Movies - Netflix.
Almost entirely across the board, Apple's hardware hardware quality is absolutely unmatched or comparable with industry leading standards except for their flimsy cables which routinely fall apart for so many people. Whichever person inside their company fetishizes thin cables is 100% evil. Not just in terms of deliberately designing a failing product that needs to be replaced after a year or so, but in terms of putting people at risk for fire and shock. This is a well known problem with Apple's products.
The idiotic knock off companies should forget trying to copy Apple here and just make some normal slightly thicker cables with proper strain relief that don't break if you look at it wrong. You eliminate your lawsuit risk from Apple and you sell to a growing market of people who hate Apple's cables.
I disagree. Not all products have this problem. I may be in the minority here, but I actively throw away my crappy power plugs because of the risk they pose. That's an uneeded risk I don't take.
Looking in my apt I have:
- Anker chargers for my USB stuff
- An Apple power adapter for my mac
- A Vizio TV with built in PSU
- AudioTechnica PSU on my speakers
- General Electric Microwave
I'm sure I'm missing some PSUs that plug into the wall (as opposed to internal ones) somewhere. But the point is, I have a reasonable guarantee of safety when buying from an established brand. General Electric is over 100 years old. By allowing counterfeiters, my expectation of good engineering when buying from established brands is eroded. It diminishes my safety. If you don't use crappy PSUs, then crappy PSUs are not a problem.
- didn't care that the products were fake, or
- couldn't tell the difference between the two
Between that and the USB-cable-review-fiasco, I now no longer trust cheap knock-off cables. The chance of them destroying your devices or catching fire is just too great.
That's the whole point of trademark law: the average person can't reasonably detect whether a product is genuine or a ripoff based on its physical properties, so we make it illegal to pretend.
The same isn't true for counterfeit products in other categories of goods such as designer clothing or accessories, which often use inferior materials, and are easier to detect for the average person.
This blog has down a tear down of a number of different knock-offs: http://www.righto.com/2014/05/a-look-inside-ipad-chargers-pr...
They never are, so this is a worthless question to ask. And if the person actually wanted a genuine Apple product, then the person is still being defrauded.
You're going to have to do a lot better to explain why some rando on Amazon should be able to sell their product as "genuine Apple" when it is not.
I agree that defrauding people is wrong. But why can't counterfeit goods match or even exceed the quality of the so-called originals? We all know there is a huge markup on "original" products that has nothing to do with cost of materials. So they should be capable of at least matching the quality of the original and selling at a discount.
Because they don't care enough about that. They want to pump and dump.
"So they should be capable of at least matching the quality of the original and selling at a discount."
But why do that when you can do what they're doing now, and make even more money? Especially because you know there is no consequence for doing so.