I refuse anything from amazon for my baby. Hell, amazon even sent me an opened package of similac formula
Their rationale is that these items are perfectly good and were discarded due to slow sales or being discontinued. That's objectively false: most was discarded because it is either expired or defective. The "good" stuff is sold to Marshall's, Ross, NewEgg, or the rest of the multi-billion dollar "off-price" ecosystem. But people don't want to hear that and any attempt to caution them is downvoted to oblivion.
To be fair, Amazon has taken steps to ameliorate this. Certain categories are now restricted to large volume sellers, which weeds out the dumpster divers.
...until they find a different category or a different website, or a way to lie or cheat their way back into the old one. If all else fails, they go on /r/DIY and learn how to make children's furniture out of poison soaked pallets they can steal from their local hardware store.
What does party A's rationale for discarding something have to do with party B's utility of the thing? It's possible a merchant may not want to stock an item that someone else wants, perhaps because the merchant can't sell it at a profit or they want to protect their brand. Something about trash and treasure.
For food at least, the expiration date is usually the manufacturer's "best by" date, meaning when they no longer back the product with their brand, not whether the food is still good to consume. This, among other practices, leads to a mind blowing amount of retailer food waste in the US. I'm all for scavengers being able to profit from what would otherwise be wasted as long as they're honest.
A is the company whose products the dumpster diver B took. C is the marketplace where B lied and said the goods were as advertised by A. The aggrieved party is D, the end consumer, who thought they were buying the quality advertised by A or implied by relevant laws and regulations.
IMHO, most of the blame lies with B, but experience has shown that C will almost always turn a blind eye in the name of growth.
> For food at least, the expiration date is usually the manufacturer's "best by" date, meaning when they no longer back the product with their brand, not whether the food is still good to consume. This, among other practices, leads to a mind blowing amount of retailer food waste in the US. I'm all for scavengers being able to profit from what would otherwise be wasted as long as they're honest.
There are legitimate ways to reduce food waste, but this is not one of them. The main problem is that dumpster divers don't advertise their wares as "scavenged from a dumpster" or "expired" or "recalled" because that would result in lower profits.
eBay feels almost more honest now.
Example, I've owned just about every brand of electric shaver and hated something about nearly all of them. I finally dropped the $70 on a Wahl that has a third of the features but it's a beast. Couldn't even tell you how many kitchen appliances I have bought and thought were awful. Or bathroom mats, towels, patio mats, etc.
Personally I think a lot of consumer products just suck and Amazon is pretty much the equivalent of Walmart now when it comes to filtering through cheap crap. Products are half-assed most of the time and companies spend more money on marketing than making a good product (or the best they can for the price). Or they focus on one really big feature and skimp out on the rest.
I'm trying to buy a lot LESS but very high quality stuff nowadays.
I've had to stop using Amazon as my "buy-all" place. Almost felt like I was being gaslit by 5 star reviewers of shitty towels/etc when I finally discovered Frontage products and went "wow, lux Hotel quality towels DO exist." I don't want to use Amazon for cheap Walmart quality junk, I want it for its fast shipping and options.
edit: Frontgate not Frontage.. they make killer towels, I'm a changed man
I used to have this problem buying brand razor blades from eBay a few years back. They were counterfeit because they actually hurt to shave with, yet the supermarket version (same brand), were perfect.
Long story short, when it comes spare power adapters (e.g. Macbook), I only buy from Apple direct. I do fear getting a knockoff which is unsafe.
If you paid slightly above retail, it seems even less likely it was fake, and probably just shoddy QC.
As for the higher price, when I brought it was out of stock everywhere which limited my options to an Amazon seller. It was the run up to Christmas and after buying, other places got stock.
I did as much research as I could to spot it, even buying a new on from a trusted retailer.
But when the consequence could be fire it wasn’t worth the risk and I couldn’t face passing that risk to someone else by returning it. I wanted a proper investigation. That didn’t happen.
Those are being faked on Amazon. You can't know if you're getting the brand you think. It's a huge problem.
The problem is that Amazon commingles by default, so if you bought something from seller A, but seller B’s counterfit was closer to you, you will get the counterfit.
I don't know about the case of the 3rd party distributor, although it seems likely to be worse and not better.
Seems like these problems are just getting worse over time.
I hardly buy anything for myself off Amazon anymore because I don't want counterfeit stuff either. Since I stopped buying from them I also canceled my Prime account. Curious to see if this problem hurts them in the long run.
I also tell my friends and family that they should reconsider buying anything from Amazon anymore.
See this for more explanation: https://www1.avalara.com/trustfile/en/blog/commingle-not-com...
But yeah, some people do it and it's a big part of the counterfeit problem. As a seller you have to have to weigh dealing with counterfeits vs shipping logistics. "Your products take an extra week to get to me? Forget it, I'll buy from that guy."
I don't think there's a way for a buyer to know without messaging the seller.
As a seller, I would much rather you contacted me before buying. My average response time is 8 minutes and most big sellers I know are <3 hours.
> Used & new (28) from $19.99 & FREE shipping on orders over $25.00. Details
it's not really indicative of anything other than that someone else is selling it.
1. Click seller name
2. Click contact (seller)
3. Type "Is ASIN BXXXXXXX commingled?"
4. Hit send.
Looking at the seller rating is probably the best you can do aside from messaging or going somewhere else.
we quietly dispose of it
Silent disposal still rewards the counterfeiter.
I actually prefer to use Amazon over others because their customer service is incredible and their returns process is completely hassle free. I don't need to return stuff often, but they make it super easy when I do - they immediately send a replacement, and a courier comes to the house the next day to collect the return!
When an electronic item is defective, when an item you buy reoccurringly degrades in quality over multiple purchases, or when something stops working before it should those are all warning signs of a counterfeit.
I highly suspect 0.5% of my Amazon packages have been counterfeit. I've had hundreds of orders over the last 3 years.
Yeah, those things all happen to genuine products, too. It doesn't tell you much.
Companies like Walmart have in the past used Chinese companies fairly responsibly, e.g. forcing them to use new brands that are no one else's, or selling under Walmart's brands.
When Amazon moved to compete along the lines of ebay say, they didn't really care that much if it sold counterfeit goods. It's the brand's fault for not flagging Amazon's products.
I hear this over and over but where's the evidence that this is true on a significant scale? Sellers have been counterfeiting and selling knock-off garbage on Amazon since the 3rd-party marketplaces launched.
3P sellers are a NECESSITY for Amazon. They source and stock the hundreds of millions of long tail items that Amazon themselves can't/won't. For Amazon the benefits of 3P sellers far outweigh the costs.
Edit: Who's downvoting this and why?
The problem is that they comingle authentic products from brands with fakes from 3ps. You never know which it is you are buying.
Comingling increases sales on their platform, but encourages fraud. They need to stop comingling but won't until they are shut down by regulators because it decreases their turnover.
I'd be fine with 3rd party sellers if I could simply ignore them. When I can't trust stuff "sold by Amazon" if third parties also sell it, though...
You express skepticism that this really is a significant problem. Okay. Which you back up with arguments that the problem is: longstanding (has been a "feature" since 3P mtk launched years ago with no sign of a solution), and it's potentially vast (3P mkt stocks "hundreds of millions of items"), and probably unsolvable ("3P sellers are a NECESSITY for Amazon".)
So I'll guess that the downvoting had something to do with your thesis sentence.
If this was a serious problem wouldn't their be some noticeable effect? Possibilities:
• Anecdotal complaints aren't representative of overall customer experience
• Customers are willing to deal with the hassle of returning the occasional counterfeit item but it doesn't stop them from buying on Amazon
Their decision to turn a blind eye to fraud could easily have contributed to such a rapid growth rate. Of course their sales doubled; you have to buy two of everything in order to get one that works. Try buying car parts or batteries and you'll see what we're all bitching about.
The noticeable effect hasn't happened yet. Eventually consumers will catch on. People avoid the Dollar Store because the products, while brand-name and cheap, are noticeably subpar in quality. Amazon will develop a similar reputation if they keep this up.
"I bought some unspecified item on Amazon and as far as I could tell, it wasn't a counterfeit" is just as much the anecdote you are hastily generalizing the other viewpoint of.
> Customers are willing to deal with the hassle of returning the occasional counterfeit item but it doesn't stop them from buying on Amazon
You keep saying that you're skeptical, but so far most of your points have been neutral or defending the existence of counterfeit products (not refuting their existence), defending Amazon selling them (not refuting Amazon sells them), but in all cases you claim to be skeptical but not really back up your skepticism with any actual skepticism or counter facts.
So what's replacing their tax "avoidance" ? Bezos is done cheating the government, and of course now he's cheating his customers.
(sorry but I have very little respect for a man who is known to steal the businesses of his customers , and of course there's how he's (attempting to) use his customers as a weapon against Google )
All over this thread? All over the web?
"Are people canceling Prime accounts?"
Multiple people in this thread have said they had
"Are revenues down?"
Is that the driving factor of whether a business practice is moral/legal ?
Why are these anecdotes worth so much when other all available evidence (revenues, etc.) is to the contrary.
The original discussion was about whether:
> [product counterfeiting] is a major problem for amazon
When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
I'm pretty sure that if someone were to sell a counterfeited copy of a best seller, his store would be shut down in a matter of hours and his account closed forever. But a small store selling stuff difficult to find? They are doing them a service, almost.
Like everything else, there are rules against counterfeiting, but the enforcement should strike a balance for the overall wellbeing of the marketplace...
Edit: huh, this got downvoted too... First rule of fight club is we do not talk about fight club?
FWIW, there are multiple points in the guidelines your comment crosses.
"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation... Assume good faith."
"Please don't post shallow dismissals"
"Please don't comment about the voting on comments."
If you want to upvote someone, upvote them. If you want to reply, add something of value to the discussion.
There was a discussion of this on HN recently because a car company (Mercedes I think it was) caught Amazon itself selling fakes of their products.
But man this is an insightful comment. Of course, that's what the outsourcing wave will lead to.
Pirated real products. From toothpaste to electronics. Lower quality ... and even higher quality products.
Man how could I have missed this ?
I don't understand how your friend can get away with this.
I don't believe that sentence makes any sense. Do you have a legal background?
It could be that the system isn't working the way it's designed. It could be that the thieving authors have found a trick to fool the system. It could be that there's a single nefarious admin who takes bribes to override the system. I'll bet you can even think of a few more if you try.
Amazon thinks long term. Bezos's influence is all about that. Letting customers and authors alike be defrauded like this in order to make a few extra bucks in the short term is not what I expect from Amazon.
We're obviously pissed about these practises but I'm even more pissed off that there isn't even a decent way to raise this with eBay. Their feedback system is purely designed to go around in circles..
This is one of the reasons I don't sell via ebay/PayPal any more - too high a chance of someone claiming a fake refund.
I don't buy anything anymore without an actual picture of the phyiscal product. I didn't pay $150 for a book so that some guy could photocopy it, I wanted the original, real deal book.
There is a flip side to this. Being able to purchase a pirated DVD copy of Ford's official mid-1990s workshop manual and wiring diagrams (which is not a paper manual, but a win32 VB/ActiveX application) on eBay was invaluable for a recent project. The seller was up front that this was a DVD copy and charged a very reasonable $12. If you are really serious about getting factory manuals, there are communities out there with private forums and digital archives of these things. I don't do this seriously enough to get involved, so having a way to obtain that manual at all, without spending a bunch of time, was really valuable to me.
There's no incentive to create such a system (I'll be optimistic and assume Amazon doesn't actually have said system yet) until you're held accountable for infractions arising from lack of possession of such a system.
I just needed to tell them it was my own stuff and sent them some links and things went ahead. Don't know how carefully they actually investigated although it was quite obvious it was my own work.
Basically, publishers started off by suing Google, until they realized that it would probably generate a lot of new revenue for sales on books that were out of print, and that weren't currently generating money. With that in mind, they continued in their lawsuit, but started trying to use the lawsuit as a way to help Google instead of stop them - by using the mechanics of the class action suit, they could default opt in all authors, with the onus being on the authors to opt out, and then they would settle with Google for a nominal amount, thereby getting the permission of all the authors of those out of print works to be included in Google Books without going through the nearly impossible task of getting each author's explicit permission to participate.
This was looking like a great legal hack until Amazon and Microsoft complained to the Federal government (the FTC IIRC) that it would be unfair if this was allowed to happen, because only Google would get this permission.
So, counterintuitively, it wasn't really the publishers that stopped Google Books.
Amazon should just find some change and buy this company and integrate them.
Because of this there's a huge glut of counterfeit games on Amazon. Even worse, sellers also pretty clearly are also selling damaged "new" product at full price. I've received $100+ board games that were clearly damaged before they were shipped. It's a huge PITA when you can't even exchange since the game you wanted has gone out of print between when you ordered and when you received.
I would love to shop local, but my personal collection exceeds the stock of most FLGS's in size and they very rarely stock things I want at prices that are reasonable. I've mostly switched to buying from coolstuff unless I'm buying a game that's evergreen (that I somehow don't already have.)
Amazon needs to sort their inventory out.
The drawbacks are:
1. Lack of the huge audience that Amazon have
2. Lack of low cost transport costs
The first point is not really valuable anyway as there are lot of junk books on Amazon that come from Createspace. Usually it is books written in the XIXcentury but with a title that suggests they were written recently.
Amazon would really improve the value of its brand if it would remove this useless kind of books.
What problem does that solve?
If the book is not visible on Amazon, no ranking will be available, and no e-book version will be easy to find.
- Without ranking there is virtually no risk it will be targeted.
- Without e-book version, it will be more difficult to copy.
That said there are other ways to trick a Createspace author. For example many Createspace books are sold by independant sellers at a much higher price than the original, if there is a sell then the independant seller buy the original one and sell it to the customer, while making an easy benefit completely legally.
Ease of discovery on Amazon is extremely low if you're not a top-hundred seller, selling into a high-turnover genre, or have an effective marketing campaign.
So for niche titles it can be more effective to sell direct to a niche audience from a niche site than to put the book up on Amazon and hope someone notices it.