It takes very little effort to weed out bad actors imo. Perhaps this is a case of the negative experiences only being shared? Or...I'm better at online shopping. I'm guessing the former, but it gets tiring watching companies grow from loved to hated once they reach such a critical mass.
Nobody likes to root for the favorite I suppose.
Until one day, I got one. Brand name product that I could buy at Walmart, tons of 5 star reviews, sold by the real manufacturer, legit product page. But still I got a fake item. Obviously fake. I sent it back, no problem, got a real one in return. And then it happened again. And again. I buy probably 2-3 items per week on Amazon, and one item every month or two comes in a fake. SD cards are particularly awful, but brand name cables are just as bad. I’ve gotten fake bags and clothes too. I ordered a brand name, well reviewed shower curtain, got what was obviously a display model for a retail store because it was about 6” tall. Not a real shower curtain.
I’ve also had their terrible quality control go the other way: four times in the past year I’ve bought one item and received one case of the item. Still only charged for one, so it’s a win. But it’s a sign of awful quality control. I ordered one 128GB USB drive and got a case of 6. I ordered one bag of sunflower seeds and got a case of 12.
I used to leave comments just like you, telling everyone else that it’s their fault they get counterfeit items from Amazon. And then it started happening to me.
See the Golden State Warriors.
I can see it being pretty awesome for small business users who need stuff like paper, pens, ink, etc on a regular basis - but honestly ever since I stopped compulsively buying crap on amazon I can't say that my life has gotten any worse. In fact I'm probably way better off.
A major reason I've stopped shopping Amazon are the reviews. It's crazy thinking that my on-line shopping changed from:
Researching for the best price (or searching for a coupon)
Researching if the reviews are actually "legit".
The last few products I purchased, where even "Fakespot" gave an "A" grade, the product was absolutely piss-poor in quality.
The cost of Prime seemed to be underpriced, and now it is just correcting.
Just get a prime subscription and never pay for shipping again.
> Sift through an onslaught of phony reviews and hope You get some working cheap crap
I read reviews from all over the web and then just buy it from Amazon. Never got a fake product.
(Not only that but not all items on Amazon are eligible for Prime)
"Pay an ever increasing rate for 2 day shipping per year?"
It's practically impossible to weed out the bad actors, since any time you order some thing sold and shipped by Amazon or FBA (unless you know the latter has opted out of commingling), you might get something sourced by a different party than the notional seller. Filtering out bad actors doesn't work when there is zero transparency about the only actor involved—the one sourcing the item—that matters.
Additional, counterfeits can be good enough that you don't know it's fake.
Since Amazon doesnt label which seller opts out, it doesn't give much incentive to do it.
Ordered several sets of '5-Pack' PNY USB sticks over several days, first sets the write time was 1 minute, but the second/third orders the write times were abysmal taking 5-7 minutes.
> Nobody likes to root for the favorite I suppose.
Paranoia is an acquired taste. There's certainly a powerful self-validation at work when you can count yourself among one of the few, wise ones who haven't fallen for the popular lie. Amazon conspiracy theories are a big thing, especially among the essential oils crowd, who are already prone to conspiratorial thinking.
The extraordinary growth of Amazon actually speaks to the fact that most people -- 100 million households and counting -- are pretty happy with the service.
I avoid buying gadgets from Amazon, but other than that... ::shrug:: They've got it nailed. Worlds better than brick and mortar for non-boutique goods.
Then I went on amazon - the only sheets that were on prime with a good rating were $60 sets of... dubious quality, and half the ratings seemed like they were fake (almost all "recent" reviews were 1 stars). I ended up finding a (much more expensive) specialized sheet co, but am waiting 2 weeks for the delivery (4 day delivery cost $30!!).
It really kind of sucks, because I used to rely on Amazon for this sort of stuff - I WANT to buy stuff on Prime but I might as well be shopping at a street market half the time.
Ended up getting them in a really weird B&M place. I'd never buy sheets on Amazon.
Also, I'll probably never get another calking sized bed.
My wife is obsessed with nice sheets, but feels like what we got from Amazon isn't what they said it was. I didn't even realize until now, how that might be true. So I'd like to buy some nice sheets from a reputable source. I don't mind waiting for shipping.
* Winter - flannel from Land's End. Super thick, warm, and comfortable. They feel like felt. $100-$150.
* Summer - linen (flax) from Linoto. These sheets are possibly the second thing I would grab in a housefire, after the baby. It takes a little getting used to sleeping on linen but they somehow are always perfectly warm or perfectly cool no matter what the temperature. $400, which sounds crazy for bedsheets but they are worth every single penny. We bought a second set from West Elm for half that but it was a mistake; the difference in thickness and quality is dramatic.
In addition to used stuff, you can get some new things because the casinos buy so much extra and hold it in a warehouse for when it's needed.
When the casinos redecorate or rebrand, the old furnishings, etc... go to the liquidator. They don't sell old sheets or mattresses, because that's illegal.
I also landed a (used) desk from some suite at Caesars Palace that looks like it's straight out of a 1960's Elizabeth Taylor movie, with lions on it and everything. I feel like a king at my computer. Also, a bunch of those folding wooden luggage racks for a buck a piece. Very useful.
Thread count isn’t everything. These use a percale weave so the individual threads are larger so it feels much higher quality. I highly recommend them. Especially at the price.
shameless plug: https://share.brooklinen.com/x/vtsX0h
Belo Gray from link below, half off right now
The entire segment is rife with sellers using blackhat techniques. It goes way beyond faking reviews and lying about thread counts.
The thread count looks low, but it’s percale so it’s actually a better woven fabric overall (from what I’ve read).
It's interesting how they reinvented the Walmart model of selling low quality knock offs of 'name brand' items. The difference is Walmart gets company's to sell lower quality goods through them where Amazon get's third parties to fill their sales channels with counterfeit goods.
It feels like Amazon is missing the boat by not using their market position to institute some sort of manufacturer's vouching system, where sellers could try to achieve some verified status (for a specific item), and that could be used to good effect.
Reply-All just did another podcast on Amazon weirdness, where listing hijacking was explained. In short, since Amazon will collapse identical items into a group, and within that group show in some order (maybe by price), people can get knockoff items identified as real items (even if it's just one guy selling his own stuff he manufacturers), and their knockoffs will affect the impression people have of the product and be listed higher if it's cheaper.
I dont care if Amazon sells Folex watches, but it's fraud to say they are Rolexes and charge Rolex prices.
Walmart items may not be the best quality, but what you see is what you get.
I may just intuit what to do and what to buy. That can happen. :)
If it was Home Depot, he'd probably wander around for 45 minutes trying to find someone who works there.
It doesn't matter when I go there - mid-day, mid-week; or prime time, weekend. There's virtually no employees.
I usually end up going to the Customer Service desk and waiting 10 minutes while they summon someone on the radio/phone thingy.
Once the only person in the entire store was the lady at the self check-out aisles. And she couldn't help me because she wasn't allowed to leave her station because she was the only person in the store.
Try a different location if it's not much further away.
Fake Dove Soap: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17217290
Fake Diapers: https://jenniferlabit.com/2016/07/21/counterfeit-baby-produc...
Fake Eclipse Glasses: Tons of stories
Amazon has a bad counterfeit problem. The way they co-mingle stock is crazy. You can't even trust reviews because the review might be describing a completely different product.
EDIT: Counterfeit books! http://davidgaughran.com/2017/06/03/amazon-has-a-fake-book-p...
My floor lamp is a knock off of a famous designer lamp. The particular knock off I have is rather desirable, to the point that other companies are making inferior knock offs of it!
Searching through the gunk is incredibly time consuming though.
I used to buy indiscriminately from Amazon. If Amazon had it, it was the best price. Why bother shopping around?
I've been bitten multiple times now with ordering something only to realize some reseller has jacked up the price and I didn't notice.
(e.g. buy baby wipes for $10, later re-order same baby wipes and think "hm, $18.50 seems higher than I remembered. Oh well, I need baby wipes!")
So now I shop around for everything. Since Amazon is "forcing me" to shop around, I've started to exclude them out of spite.
I get it, it's capitalism. If some Amazon reseller (including the "fulfilled by Amazon!" resellers) dupes me, I'm the sucker. Amazon's not to blame for capitalism. But... I still blame them. :)
Give one of them a try, sometimes they find you nicer prices.
Didn't take long to realize that no way were they the real thing. First shave was horrible and it was downhill fast from there.
Amazon sources indiscriminately, because they’re not a seller in the traditional sense; they’re basically a flea market with warehousing and logistics. So you have no guarantees one way or another whether the thing they’re selling is genuine or not.
I have no problem recommending them to anyone. Quality is acceptable and more importantly it's the only option at a price point I'm willing to pay.
Edit: Thanks to whoever downvoted this.
(this sounds more combative than I mean because internet text is hard - i'm genuinely curious)
Their return policy helps with this, but I don't have anywhere near this level of problem at Best Buy or Newegg. So I don't buy electronics on Amazon anymore, even if they're cheaper.
This is what your argument looks like when put through reductio ab asurdum. It's certainly fine for you to be weary of these claims since your experience has been different, but to say this is indicative of anything when it's your 1 anecdote vs all of the other anecdotes is a claim with little force behind it
Well you wouldn't, if the counterfeit's were any good.
It could be I'll order Dove soap, get counterfeit, and incorrectly assume Dove soap sucks, but mostly I'm ordering brands too obscure to bother faking, or brands I'm familiar enough with to realize the bad counterfeit isn't the real thing. (But like ma2rten, I don't think I've ever gotten a counterfeit.)
Heavy metal poisoning may take years to show effects.
Shoddily made laptop chargers may be a fire/shock hazard that kill in 100/1,000,000 instead of 1/1,000,000 cases.
Not every dangerous counterfeit is immediately obvious as such.
(cf. today's talcum powder news item)
Also, for more common items such as shampoo or litter, grocery stores have literally 30 different types of them, which can make it hard to choose. By having ratings, reviews, information and q&a right there, it makes choosing the right product much easier.
Uhh, what about traveling to and from the store? Or have you invented teleportation?
Sometimes I shop at the local BestBuy to delay that inevitable day when Amazon is the only thing available.
Please share the phone number you used to call Amazon. Thanks!
After six months I tried to tell them that I waited enough, and that they should actually deliver the item. They told me they cannot offer me the item, because it's not available. I told them it's actually available on their own store, at double the price. They told me that's different sellers, so even though they're selling it on their website, it's not actually their website or something. They graciously offered that I could cancel so that I could order it from them again at double price.
I tried to explain to them that I we've made a sales contract, and that it seems they want to unilaterally cancel it by simply not doing anything about it. I also tried to explain to them the issues of bait-and-switch sellling, and even cited from the government website (I'm in Canada, consumer protection is slightly stronger in the states). (Note that six months after boxing day, I can't get boxing day specials from competitors anymore)
In the end I spoke to several people who went around in circles over and over. Eventually somebody offered to give me store-credit that would cover the difference when cancelling the order and making it again immediately.
...I don't get why everybody thinks Amazon has great customer service. They don't even seem to believe in following basic consumer protection laws.
Type in "wireless headphones" and the top results is completely full of counterfeit or knockoff goods. It's shocking how little news this makes in major publications.
Same with Adafruit products, and I'm increasingly noticing that if I want to make sure something absolutely won't be fake, I buy direct from the retailer.
It sucks. You get spoiled by Amazon's amazing "free" shipping especially if you're a prime member.
But it's more important to me that a product is genuine. I'll learn to be a bit more patient.
Key normal person quote from the podcast:
"It just feels like this magic store that you guys thought it was, is definitely isn't what it is today. It seems like a place that puts you in touch with some dude selling tongs in Hong Kong, and maybe you'll get a great pair or maybe you'll get ripped off. [Amazon] is just like any other website now"
This mixed with their now crippled customer service has almost turned the Amazon experience into ebay.
Amazon simply benifits from it so they have zero reason to stop.
For items fulfilled by other vendors, I google that vendor's name, see if they have a site. Usually, even with shipping it's cheaper on the vendor's site than on Amazon (I guess that's the fee levied to sell on Amazon, and the rounding involved to do "free shipping").
Amazon excels at convenience, reviews and return policy. Often they are great on pricing. But they are no longer my one-stop shop.
I read on here a while back about FBA inventory getting comingled, but I'm unclear on whether Amazon's own inventory gets comingled as well. Anecdotally I haven't received a counterfeit of anything shipped and sold by Amazon.
I got fake Dove soap from Amazon.
Note: At the time it was required to bring a voided cheque to complete the process.
Sold and shipped by Amazon is exactly as dangerous as Fulfilled By Amazon that hasn't opted out of commingling, because it is commingled with FBA.
> Now I drive to Target and waste an hour each time but it's better than using some counterfeit product on her.
Why not online at Target.com or Google Express (which has Target as one of its stores?)
Happened to me. Once.
When inventory is commingled, Amazon puts all of the sellers' products (for a given product ID aka ASIN) into one urn. When a user makes a purchase of that item from any of those sellers, Amazon retrieves an item from the urn and ships it to the purchaser.
As a purchaser of items sold by multiple sellers with fulfillment by Amazon, it's not possible to know if each seller has their own urn, or if it's a single urn for multiple sellers. The distribution of the urn by source is also unknown.
I won't purchase easily counterfeited objects from Amazon, unless there is only one seller listed, and if that seller is either Amazon or an account that seems like the manufacturer. A random Samsung sd card, though; who knows . Something like this Anker usb car charger  looks reasonable (I'm not specifically endorsing Anker, usb chargers are just a product in a crowded, junky space, and Anker is a brand that's trying to present itself as selling good products.
Amazon was originally the seller for everything they offered. In an important sense, they still are: we still shop on their site, still give them money, and still mostly receive the goods from them.
Amazon could have chosen differently, but didn't, because they were looking to dominate e-commerce. they set it up like this, and could undo it in a moment if they wanted. If you're looking to blame somebody, blame the person with the most power over the situation, not the person with the least.
If the goods are on your site, then you are responsible for them being there. Sure it costs a lot, like it costs a lot to run an auction house. Boo hoo
None of this is realistic. We're commenting on an article that says Amazon has half of the e-commerce biz right now. The small but vocal contingent on HN might seem to make it that counterfeit goods are rampant everywhere but it's not the case.
For most of history people selling things had an understanding of what they were selling. If Amazon can't meet that standard for some products, or for third-party sellers as whole, they can just stop.
Alternatively, they could set up a separate site. Something like "Caveat Emptor" or "Bezos's Dubious Flea Market". Something that doesn't trade on the Amazon brand and create confusion between responsible vendors and fly-by-night operations.
That you can't or won't think of a way to do something without harming megacorp short-term profits doesn't make it "unrealistic" to address a recently create problem. I leave it to you to figure out what it does mean.
It is not my problem to solve, it is Amazon's. If they can't solve it then they need to go back to selling their own stock. If this makes them less money than facilitating a crime, then so be it.
If money if not an issue, buy Swissbit S-45 cards from Mouser.
I'm not saying this out of snobbery... I'm in Wal-Mart about once a week.
There, you'll see 95% of the electronics, tools and small appliances you'd see on Amazon.
The pictures are usually the same, too.
But that puts a damper on the whole "Prime" thing, so at that point you might as well just shop somewhere else entirely.
Amazon won't really do much in the way of vetting them, and then just throws them all into the same bin (i believe they go by the SKU and not much else). When you order from any of the vendors that sell that exact item, they just pick one at random and ship it to you.
All it takes is one bad actor to ship a bunch of counterfeit stuff to amazon for fulfillment and then it's possible to get counterfeits from ANY seller that Amazon fulfills.
The only way it changes if if the person sending their inventory to amazon chooses to have their inventory not commingled for a premium fee. Seller that do not commingle their inventory have no way of advertising that to buyer right now though.
To the extent that for DC power work, as things wear out I am not buying Klein anymore.
More often than not, buying batteries through Amazon is literally paying someone to ship their e-waste to you.
It might not be as highly held in people's minds here in the US, but I still think there's a limit, and Amazon has definitely crossed it at this point. Continuing to allow the amount of counterfeit goods that currently circulates throughout their warehouses will permanently stain Amazon's reputation if something isn't done soon. Trust is difficult build up, and almost impossible to regain once lost.
When you guarantee something and then fail to deliver on that promise, people begin to lose trust in you. Have it happen enough, this often only needs to be once by the way, and they likely will never fully trust you again.
If you want me to take a dump in a box, and mark it guaranteed I will... I've got spare time.
- Tommy Boy
IMO, the problem with returns is the cost of sending it back, it terms of time wasted by me.
Back in the good old days some supermarkets would hand you a gift if you pointed out products that were expired, etc..
Amazon could just pay a 50% reward whenever counterfeit products are returned. The liability could easily be passed to the responsible seller.
To a certain extent, Amazon's retail presence is 68% Marketplace (from the article). Marketplace is really just a very high scale website plus very high scale order fulfillment which nets an analogous 6%-15% fee for listing, inventory storage and shipping/returns.
If I were say, Procter and Gamble/Clorox (Consumer Staples), Macy's (Consumer Discretionary), Visa/Fedex (E-Commerce), Aetna (Healthcare) if I were going to look at options for cloud, would I host my enterprise on Amazon who is actively trying compete with me and provide the end customer with alternatives to my product/services? Or would I go with a vertical pure play cloud services provider like Microsoft.
It almost seems like there is room for somebody to disrupt Amazon by building a better e-commerce mousetrap and getting multiple retailers and distributors to co'operate with it.
I'd first noted this for years ago. In an earlier, 2010 TechCrunch piece, Forrester Research predicted a $250 billion e-commerce market, 8% of all retail, by 2014. We're just barely reaching 10% in 2018.
U.S. census estimated 5.3% in 2013.
The hype's not measuring up. E-commerce has growwth resistance.
Selection would be significantly smaller. Some percentage of items that are currently getting overwhelmed with fraud would be available safer, sure, but likely at a much higher price (competition lowers prices, after all).
Everyone remembers the time they got a crappy knockoff, or had to filter through fake reviews. But most of the time, people just search for something, buy it, and are satisfied, never having to consider whether it was only fulfilled by Amazon.
At least there is a consistent search/shopping experience, and the refunds are generally instantaneous and there are no questions asked. You can't say that about dealextreme, or alibaba, or dozens of other sites we'd be forced to use if Amazon didn't decide to take on the long tail fo sellers and become responsible for solving the fraud use cases.
Fraud does lower prices, but is not competition in the classic sense.. fraud is someone using someone else's brand or name in an attempt to mislead while selling you a different item. This is not competition, where various items are sold with their own brands / name, such that consumers can distinguish and choose the best item to buy.
What’s your basis for this? Just the fact that Amazon is so successful? What if that success is in spite of the third party sellers and not because of them?
I know my own personal experience with Amazon over the last few years has been feeling like I’m trying to outsmart the website which is constantly trying to direct me to buy from sources I don’t trust.
As a result I am more and more hesitant to turn to Amazon than I was years ago.
Is my case the common case or is your hypothetical one? I don’t know that we can say. But I think as more people get burned by bad actors they will become less likely to use the site. My basis for this is eBay, which is a shadow of its former self. Being over taken in many areas by niche sites that specialize in a certain market and are at least perceived as more trustworthy. (E.g. Reverb for musical instruments.)
amazon.com -> the original trusted amazon, fulfilled by amazon with strict inventory management
marketplace.amazon.com -> wild west'e-bay style', 'get what you get and don't get upset' amazon
[Addition based on comment] Or maybe amazon-marketplace.com to further differentiate it. It'd be similar to how Netflix split into netflix.com and dvd.com (although I think they should have branded it netflix-dvd.com for branding purposes).
Anyway, if you want to avoid marketplace, in the left column, under "Seller", check the box next to "Amazon". (Maybe they could provide this as a permanent setting via preferences.)
Most likely that traffic would fall to Ebay, which would then be a not-so-distant #2.
I'd be willing to move to Walmart or Google Express if they have a good selection and lower minimums + decent shipping times in return for a small yearly membership. I can still use amazon for larger purchases or pay a small premium for shipping as needed.
I don't know if their acquisition by Walmart was considered a good exit or not but it seems to me that they at least didn't grow big enough and fast enough to be a direct competitor to Amazon. Maybe they are now that they're part of Walmart? I don't personally buy from them anymore but that's mostly due to my disdain for Walmart.
I prefer shopping for Walmart in Express, because Walmart.com includes third parties with ridiculous prices and quantities, and also in-store only.
My most consistent use of Express is for Costco quantities of organic canned beans and bags of organic rice.
If they'd refused to take the return, I would've had AmEx refund my money, so I was safe either way.
I ordered somethings last night (Thursday). Walmart and Amazon offered free two day shipping.
Amazon will arrive Sunday...
Walmart Tuesday, with two items arriving Friday. All Walmart items were sold directly by Walmart and not third party.
The fact I even purchased from Walmart is a testament to their competitive pricing s d selection... But shipping... Needs some work.
Under a different definition, Amazon is the best friend of small business e-commerce: https://services.amazon.com/fulfillment-by-amazon/benefits.h...
The fake stuff problem on Amazon is truly reaching amazingly bad levels. I simply don't buy entire categories of things from Amazon because of fake %.
Clearly I am too but I've never at all understood the appeal of Prime (aside from my occasional annoyance at TV shows that are only available there...luckily the interesting ones are a very short list).
If I need something with any urgency, I pretty much always need it today. In those cases I'll just go find it in a store. Nothing I buy on Amazon I particularly care when it gets to me.