I see this all the time. If I go back in my order history and click on old products often the same "id" now maps to a totally different thing.
For this reason I have basically stopped ordering from Amazon. I find that Walmart has like 99% of the inventory but none of it is fake (some is junk, but it's the junk I asked for). Same prices, same ship speed, no fake shit.
So you might see older reviews for a pair of boots that say they're made from sturdy materials with good stitching, followed by later reviews saying that they didn't match the advertised sizing and pictures, or that they just fell apart after a couple weeks of use.
Products should have versions that look like this.
* Replaces piece X with plastic.
* Reduced frame width to save material costs.
This could also be positive and make it more transparent.
* Strength part X that breaks very often.
* Change edges to reduce chance of injury.
I mean this opens a huge box of problems, I know apple didn't want to admit their keyboard was problematic in fear of lawsuits.
This is how it should be.
If I started using FBA and supplying an item, it’ll go in the same box and chances are more likely an “sold by amazon.com” will sell my product, and I’ll sell an “amazon.com” product.
See the problem?
No they don't. Google 'random stow' and you'll find articles about how Amazon stores incoming items. They are stowed somewhat randomly, but scanned as they are stowed. So the system knows where to find each unit again, and can use that to optimize picking paths.
I was commenting only because most people make the same false assumption (that all units of X in warehouse Y are stored together) and find the random stow model interesting when told about it.
You are referring to mingled inventory which the seller has to opt into explicitly when they decide how to sell their product.
This is not the default, and in my experience, very few sellers choose this option. Most of the inventory is labeled with Amazon-proprietary bar codes that identify the seller.
Amazon could easily solve this problem but they've decided it's more profitable to let it fester. Whether or not it's a good decision in the long run, the same way Sears permanently ruined their reputation by selling shit through their established in-house brands, remains to be seen.
They don't necessarily. Amazon combines items from different sellers together in their warehouses, and doesn't sort them out when picking orders to ship. So if I send them a high quality doohickey to sell with FBA, a customer who orders my doohickey might actually receive Mr. Cheapo's knock-off doohickey because as far as Amazon is concerned they're the same thing and got placed in the same bin in the warehouse.
Sellers can opt out of this but then Amazon charges them more.
The fact that Joe Q Public can make a marketplace account, ship a crate of counterfeit stuff, and have that be sold to buyers of “amazon.com” is absurd and explains the counterfeit problem.
And it's insidious. I've flat stopped patronizing those retailers. Shopping is not an enjoyable experience. I'm wiling to pay modest premiums for quality (bargain-hunting is sifting through tons of junk for exceptionally rare gems), but I won't pay premium for junk.
The long-term cost has to be considerable, I would think.
The biggest issue is that there isn't any way to really know if it's a counterfeit unless you send them to the publisher. Many are so good, you can't really tell the difference unless you really know what to look for.
I tried this once and in response they sent me a cease and desist letter claiming I was knowingly selling counterfeits.
They went away after I got my attorney involved, but it isn't really helping the publishers because I still don't really know how to spot counterfeits, besides the obvious signs.
The publishers really want to get rid of the secondary markets because they don't make any money on it...so they are using attorneys to squash it instead.
I own a ton of books, and my decision process is generally:
- go to library
- read/like a book
- buy it for late reference
For this reason I rarely checked books as I ordered them (I assumed they were fine). After realizing a couple of books I had were unreadable (and way past the "warranty"), I now flip through the entire book just to check for glaring print problems.
Thank you amazon, I guess?
and of course, nobody buys CDs anymore, but I do remember people complaining of unauthorized copies/burns of various quality.
I would love to have "that much" Mike and Ike's, but it's never in there.
"No way, that would never work!" he typed under the sultry cast of his Bell & Howell lantern.
I found it hard to believe that Amazon would allow this to stand, but here we are.
EDIT: It does appear they finally removed swaths of old reviews. Finally.
The silver lining, for me, is that I was so fucking annoyed with ASUS support that I angrily shipped it back to Amazon, bought Ubiquiti equipment, and experienced such quality whiplash that I bought a bunch of UBNT (now UI) stock. +160% since I bought.
I once bought a router off of them specifically because it supported WPA2 Enterprise, but when I tried to tie it into my RADIUS server I kept running into weird issues. When I contacted support they said they only supported WPA2 Enterprise on the 2.4ghz band, not the 5ghz one. I pointed out that this wasn't said anywhere, but they claimed they were truthful because it does support the feature.
I have found Mikrotik to make nice hardware with a full set of enterprise features, and mostly cost less than even the "prosumer" stuff from the big brands.
If you can find any listings with real reviews, it turns out that these are pretty terrible, usually floating around 2-3 stars. Magically, there are consistently listings with 4.5+ stars and thousands of reviews for a relatively niche, barely functional product.
That’s incredible, and the fact that someone hasn’t seen that inside Amazon and said “we have a huge problem” makes me suspect Amazon doesn’t regard it as a problem at all.
Situations where you're fighting against financially-motivated human adversaries are always difficult.
I'd like to, at a bare minimum, report the abusive listings that have nailed me, personally.
However it's always reasonable to contact customer service for issues that one isn't sure how to handle otherwise: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/contact-us - they can refer to the right reporting method or pass on the report.
If you get stuck or don't get traction, feel free to send the information to me and I'll pass it on; I'd suggest giving the normal channels several business days first however. In this case, I've submitted an incorrect product info report via the website for each of the problematic pages I've come across today. I plan to follow up on the pages and escalate if necessary.
Amazon is complicit in the fraud committed by their sellers. They restrict critical reviews by people who bought fraudulent products under the guise of a tos violation. They should be retroactively contacting customers who purchased products they have removed for fraud reasons.
This makes me wonder if the algorithmic blacklisting of customers with frequent returns takes the reason for return into account.
Any traditional retailer employs people to maintain the quality of their supply chain.
lmaoooooo and all the photos are for cutting boards or some strange hanging thing I can't describe.
It is $120 a year and I'm tired of it. I have seen cases where my pricing was higher than non-prime members for the same item/seller, going to same address.
It's like Amazon has spent their savings from having relatively no infrastructure expenses (stores, parking lots) on an inventory of pure crap, like Nieman-Marcus selling their stores and moving completely online, only to start selling cheap underwear and Ed Hardy tees.
I pretty much only rely on Amazon for Kindle purchases now or to read reviews on big ticket items that I'm curious about.
I buy very little from Amazon, enough that I'm going to cancel prime since the only thing of theirs I still use is is Amazon Prime TV and well..its OK but not enough to justify it.
Argos actually pay some tax as well.
More than once I've had missing components from what I purchased. And they won't accept refunds or replacements unless all parts are included.
Amazon takes nearly anything back, from my attempts.
Fk. That's possible? How has Amazon not done anything about that?
Like I can get keeping fake stuff out is a losing battle, but that seems like a rather significant design flaw if you can "transfer" reviews like that.
Well that's next level depressing.
It's weird. All these amazon complaints - they ring true to me...yet I've thus far escaped the negatives thus far despite heavy amazon use (say package every 48hrs).
The point is that each of these types of teams has no insight into the underlying structure of how Amazon actually works. As a business you are forced to buy into the racket in the hopes that you are not accused of being an IP infringer...try hiring a decent law firm to help you get out of this debacle....oh wait they all can’t help because they work for Amazon already.
That they don't already have such a thing to dissuade the gaming going on to dissuade the sketchy practices essentially means to me Amazon condones the behavior.
I have no idea why it's so hard, but I don't think Amazon is being as complacent as it seems from the outside.
Additionally, each customer review should tied to specific change version, that they can easily compare with current one.
Like "Over a 3 month period this product reviewed at 3.7 and the next 2.1" maybe look into why.
Sellers have reviews and ratings just like products. You can leave public feedback and a star rating for sellers you've purchased from . On the 'Your Orders' page click on 'Leave Seller Feedback'. This page also describes how to do it .
You can see these ratings while selecting which seller's offer to buy from. For example, many 3Ps are selling '5 Hour Energy Shot Berry - 24 count' . Alongside each seller's offer, you can see their star rating and positive feedback percentage. For the first seller I see a 5-star rating and "96% positive over the past 12 months (1,122 total ratings)". You can click on that to see individual feedback.
It's my understanding that these ratings influence whether a seller's offer will be chosen for the 'Buy Box', which is the default offer that's shown on the product detail page. When an offer appears in the BuyBox, underneath it will say something like: "Sold by 7-Eleven, Inc and Fulfilled by Amazon". The seller name is a hyperlink to the seller's profile page where you can see their ratings and reviews .
Amazon also has a slightly different problem than Ebay, as I understand it, because Amazon is trying to have a single product detail page for each "product". There should be in theory exactly one page for "24-pack of 5 Hour Energy Berry". I'm not experienced with Ebay, but it looks like every Ebay listing is completely separate and independent. Doesn't that make it harder to comparison-shop for the best offer for a specific product among multiple sellers? Is there an easy way to see all offers for one specific product? I couldn't see an easy way to do this while experimenting with Ebay search right now. Amazon is trying to make this comparison shopping easy by consolidating all offers for the same product into one page, and then selecting a recommended offer based on various factors (including seller rating, shipping speed/reliability, etc.) that matter to customers.
(However, because there is a single page for each product, and sellers have some ability to create and modify pages, that occasionally leads to abuse, like the kind being discussed elsewhere in this thread.)
 https://www.amazon.com/feedback  https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=...  https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0021L9XK4  https://www.amazon.com/sp?_encoding=UTF8&asin=&isAmazonFulfi...
Welcome to Day Two
As annoying as scams like these are, they really speak to the ingenuity that folks bring to software and their attacks of it. I already know to not trust most things on the internet, but I can't help but admire them either.
> what the hell are these brands?
This is what 1-man-brands are. I myself used to run a sunglasses brand in my student years :)
Most are just dropshippers, or people working out of home.
Recipe was simple: order cheapest 1 dollar sunglasses on Alibaba, have them put into fancy packaging and silkscreened with something Italian sounding. Then you make up a generic website with stock photos for your "brand"
I was surprised with the amount of people keen to buy $100 to $200 sunglasses with nothing more than an Italian sounding brand name.
How is this happening so much for you?
Do you have screenshots or examples?
USB C 3.0 cable is now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0119EIHTG/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b...
Other USB C cable is now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0119OI9XU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b...
What's interesting is that both were originally sold by Anker's merchant account (relatively respectable brand), but now each listing is linking to a different merchant...
I wonder if there's some shady marketplace where positive-review Amazon product pages are bought and sold, so that the scammer can grab a bunch of them all ready to go (say, from a merchant closing up shop), rather than having to play the long game upfront.
This appears to be listing abuse and I'd encourage people to report it: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/200444420
I wouldn't be surprised it's eventually become a business in and of itself, like some shady companies in eg China farm games to sell accounts and items to rich players who'd rather pay money than time.
Easy way to avoid the ridiculous holds on funds and limited PayPal accounts due to "not enough feedback".
*Former employee at company that exclusively sold on Amazon.
You’re not wrong - the reviews are utter trash and have no credibility at all anymore - so I look elsewhere for reviews on what I’m buying. I mostly avoid the counterfeiting problem by sticking to branded goods that aren’t easy to convincingly fake. Any problems and it goes back for Amazon to deal with.
s.a Apple power adapters?
With chargers, it's a real possibility that you mean this literally. People's houses have burned down due to fake chargers that don't comply with CE (or foreign equivalent) regulations.
It's not perfect but it's useful
Even trying to find something like an ultrasonic cleaner on Amazon is like straight going through AliExpress.
But wait! Unless you're buying a very very expensive lab model all the "name brands" look to be sourcing the same way and adding a label too. So the name brands are AliExpress with maybe better QC and 200% markup.
But wait! Even looking everywhere else it's the same situation as Amazon!
It's almost like the entire marketplace is overrun with untrustworthy cheap crap no matter where you shop and getting something you can trust is decent is only for large institutional or business actors and the wealthy.
Which is to say I think the problem is bigger than just Amazon.
The vast majority of stuff on Amazon could be found on AliExpress, DHGate, Alibaba, Tmall.com, JD.com, and Taobao.
At this point, I just gave up and decided to buy items I don't care about that much from their 'source' for less money in exchange for longer shipping times.
I wouldn't be surprised if the same overseas sellers have items being sold across every platform to maximize consumer exposure and potential orders. So many of the "brands" on Amazon are not even brands, it's just made up words next to a generic imported product. Like "iGoEnergeeFan" or something similarly stupid.
The market is just flooded at this point. Any dingus looking to 'get rich quick' could think "I know, I'll get into dropshipping or importing with Amazon FBA!". There are so many bullshit 'guides' already on this kind of 'passive income'.
The idea of selling cheap overseas crap to US buyers at a 200% markup is nothing new - it's been going on for the last 40+ years in retail.
Except, back in the brick and mortar days, not everyone could just open up a store and start selling. There are real estate, geographic, and management constraints, among others. That makes it difficult to penetrate the US Retail market side as an overseas Manufacturer/Distributor.
Fast forward to today, and the tables have turned. I could be the Chinese manufacturer/distributor AND the retailer, thanks to marketplaces like Amazon. Why wouldn't they want to go for vertical integration, when so much more money could be made at the retail level. Plus manufacturing, labor, and shipping costs are so low, the profit margins from selling junk on Amazon are enormous for those overseas sellers - even way more than domestic sellers.
At this point, why would any overseas sellers care to stop? They know the industry, they can directly interface with the factories, and they have plenty of people willing to work diligently to be among the top sellers on Amazon. They are definitely not stupid or naive, they know what to do and how to work the ecosystem in their favor. Those good ole' "produce cheaply overseas and markup in our stores" business models of American retailers have come right back around to bite them in the ass.
Indeed, or the recent trend of naming your generic company with an ALL CAPS name, "VECTROMOX", as if that's somehow effective at differentiating your obviously fly-by-night operation.
>Those good ole' "produce cheaply overseas and markup in our stores" business models of American retailers have come right back around to bite them in the ass.
Good, imho. #firstworldproblem here but I loath America's rip-off economy. $25 for a t-shirt that cost $2 to make overseas, or $100 for a pair of pants that cost $5 to make. I try really hard to buy stuff that was either made in the US, or at least somewhere with high quality standards like Japan, Korea, Taiwan or Germany. It takes a non-trivial amount of extra time and work to do that though, especially on Amazon.
Buying a t-shirt in Europe isn't any cheaper.
Probably the easiest/fastest way is to just default to brands that are known for enforcing supply chain standards, which mostly won't be available on Amazon anyway.
I recently had to do that for buying a torque wrench, a hand blender, and a couple of other things.
TLDR - he found out what factory in China the product is made in, then did a comparison test with a similar tool made in the same factory but at one third the cost. Found the cheaper tool was higher quality.
I find there are an abundant number of online specialty stores for things I'm looking for now and usually shop there instead (Rogue.com for fitness stuff for example), these stores usually offer a good user experience, great customer service and fast shipping.
Specialty stores are fun to browse because they're run by people who know what they're doing and often recommend other good products they use personally and that I might be interested in. The only way Amazon could do this is by hiring more specialists in particular fields?
There is something slightly flawed about relying on user ratings to suggest products; Users aren't always the best judge of quality, usefulness and detail. I do like the ratings and use them a lot on Amazon; but it's not how good new products get introduced.
I also just like going to real bricks and mortar stores because it's fun to actually go shopping sometimes, and you know the quality is high because they have a lot more to lose by selling a fake. It just takes so much guess work out of shopping for things. Yes sometimes I do pay a little more; but it's convenient, I get what I want and warranty is (for me easier) as I hate posting things myself.
Looks like similar 8 inch cake pans to what I purchases from Sur La Table recently are about 14 dollars on Amazon, compared to what I paid which was 20.
There’s also 10 dollar versions similar to the 15 dollar ones at Sur La Table.
But Amazon wasn’t going to deliver me the six miles of walking I did in the city I love that day :-).
Generally if I’m ordering something I’ll do B&H for electronics/photography equipment, REI for outdoor gear, Barnes and Noble for books, and Paizo for tabletop RPG dice and game manuals if I’m not going to a brick and mortar.
Works well enough for me, haven’t ordered off Amazon in ages.
I try to avoid Amazon lately, but the last time I wanted a small piece of furniture I tried a bunch of places, and none of them had anything in their showroom. They had a dozen options on their websites, but I was unwilling to buy something without seeing it up close.
One trend I've observed is that consumables are often not available. The office-supply store which carries pens, but not the ink refils, stylus caps, rubber/erasers, etc. The one which boggles my mind is literally the razer/blade case: selling the razer handle, but not carrying the blades. This for a product I've searched for across multiple stores, for years. It's beyond comprehension.
Across the spectrum, from high-ticket items to low, you often simply cannot see, examine, or touch the merch in person. The whole online order/return cycle is one I especially loathe.
I would argue that it's considerably worse. I've been buying from AliExpress for several years. During that time, I was ripped off (with a fake USB stick) exactly once, and within minutes after I complained, got a full refund from the vendor (though they were entirely unremorseful).
Apparently, whatever AliExpress does to keep their vendors in line works. Plus, they don't suffer from Amazon platform problems like commingled inventory.
It isn't a problem on Walmart or Target's websites, because they don't allow white-label Chinese goods to be sold on them.
You're mostly right about Target, they pretty much only sell stuff that they carry or brand themselves, but the other side to it for Target is that often you can't find what you want there at all - they have a pretty limited selection, and in any case the stuff they brand themselves just costs more and looks a little nicer, but usually it's not actually quality.
If I buy a product from Walmart that is faulty and injures me, liability falls on Walmart.
Even ignoring how badly they package books, Amazon has also had a counterfeit book problem for a while now. Two years later, not much has changed.
I've had good luck with CDs, too. Digital downloads are pretty hit-or-miss, though.
Its like Amazon.com is redirecting to Amazon.cn
Everyone wants their hair dryer to be decent, last a good while, and not cost an arm and a leg. You also really don't want one that will start a fire, sound louder than a jet engine, take forever to heat up, etc. When you have a lousy one it's miserable. So you want there to be a quality baseline and then know what's reasonable past that baseline.
It's pretty much the same as an ultrasonic cleaner. It's not rocket science, but you don't want one where the ultrasonic elements vibrate themselves off, the electronics go bad in a couple months, it leaks cleaning solution somehow, etc. Just like with hair dryers being no-name is fine, but being below a certain quality threshold is extremely miserable.
Really, if 5% of people get something that is broken or breaks quickly, I'm all for rolling the dice. However, if 95% break, I don't think there's any chance that 5% will last 10 years because it's not designed to.
But six months later, they are starting to pull apart.
This isn't a law of nature; I have inexpensive Chinese made boots that are like ten years old and might as well be made of iron.
Most people underestimate the variables that can go wrong in a product, even the simplest. I bought grocery store brand aluminum foil once, thinking "what can Reynolds possibly offer other than the brand name"? What could be more of a commodity? Well, the foil wasn't wrapped on the roll correctly...
but durability is not the only concern. for example I wouldn't buy something that needs to be plugged in or powered on for extended unsupervised periods of has a risk of spontaneous combustion like batteries
I want to pick a quarterly amount that I would like to pay for a "surprise box" of curated items within a few categories that I select.
So, lets say, I want to spend $100/qtr. And I say I want my grab-bag to come from categories/interests (max 3) XYZ.
Then I get a box every quarter with surprise stuff.
Start the service small. two verticals "things" and "projects"
I can select one or the other.
Then Start small and select one from three categories in each vertical.
Then the service will curate a "things" grab bag in the three categories. for each tier that the user selected. $100 $200 or $300 per quarter.
Then each grab bag will be sent to each user in each tier per vertical based on category.
I'd rather do that than scroll through billions of products on Alibaba/express.
Several bridges and high rises have already collapsed after such issues.
Neil Young, 1994 (25 years).
As far as I see it, this is the logical conclusion to capitalism and free markets. Manufacturers produce a product and sell it to many suppliers who all rebrand and mark up in their own ways, competing with each other for market share. As consumers, we are presented with basically only this option because the suppliers have all won the race to the bottom. There's no more room in the market for slightly-more-expensive things unless they work way better than the slightly-less-expensive copycat stuff, because it's not worth the time or energy to compete with the poor-quality stuff. But as a result, we as consumers no longer have "choice" in the market because of China (et al.)'s manufacturing capabilities and leverage driving this phenomenon. Coupled with the consumers' relative disinterest in products of proper quality, because what they have access to is already good enough for the moment, how can we ever expect the crapification of commodities to reverse?
Capitalism has invented brands to fight this, and it worked for a long time. It's not really capitalism that is at fault, but the thing that changed in the 80's that turned the entire system upside down. It's hard to point at something specific, but markets used to be less transactional and less winner-takes-all.
> In some ways, the story of Amazon's sustained and growing dominance is also the story of changes in our antitrust laws. Due to a change in legal thinking and practice in the 1970s and 1980s, antitrust law now assesses competition largely with an eye to the short-term interests of consumers, not producers or the health of the market as a whole; antitrust doctrine views low consumer prices, alone, to be evidence of sound competition.
I’ve noticed that products tend to originate in these countries because the manufacturer has decided to prioritize quality. As a bonus I’m much less concerned about contributing to horrible labor conditions.
I personally put my heart and soul into ensuring that the things I make are exceptional. I’m not going to accept less from the products I rely on for long periods of my life. If I’m not going to need it for a long time I probably don’t need it.
I am excited to see which state will have the first Amazon fulfillment center crawling with feds. They have to raid one eventually to get to the bottom of the lead, the counterfeits etc. How is Amazon preventing the EPA or the FTC from doing their job and raiding facilities?
It's almost like big oil and big tobacco again.... all-powerful companies deliberately doing wrong for profit, like Amazon they even looked too big to challenge for a very long time.
> Amazon has been selling thousands of products that violate federal safety regulations, according to the Wall Street Journal, including toys containing dangerous levels of lead.
> At the time, Nike agreed to sell a limited product assortment to Amazon, in exchange for stricter policing of counterfeits and restrictions on unsanctioned sales of its products.
Technology and orgs always outpace regulation. The government is terrified of front-running business. It can't, the point of being a king is to control resources for the sake of generating prosperity. It can't then go and do all the work and be on the bleeding edge as well, it pays people to do that.
For all the control the tech companies have tried to exert in the world they are reigned in by the banks and then government. At the end of the day amazon hasn't made a big difference in my life for all of the $x bezo has. I don't shop there, his lack of quality control is sinking his company. What's there to worry about?
This isn't an inequality thing, mansa musa was more unequally rich than bezos. It's just quality control.
And even that wasn't the first society with inequality. It goes back far beyond recorded history.
And the magnitude is important because there is a correlation between higher economic growth and a gini value showing lower inequality than today.
And interestingly, the poverty rate is near a century low.
I share your excitement but I'm not optimistic about this ever happening considering the increasing amount of cash Amazon is spending in DC.
Every retailer in the world (besides Amazon) has incredibly strict supplier verification because if someone dies from a toaster fire, extension cord shortage, etc. then everyone sues everyone.
Amazon DNGAF because the risk is on the "seller". Just like TAX RISK is on the "seller".
People are importing shit from their basement, trying to get rich, with no clue about product risk when it should be slightly harder.
“ Nashville mother Megan Fox didn’t know her hoverboard might explode, but Amazon did.
Now, a federal appellate court says the nation’s largest online retailer may well have to shell out damages for a fire that trapped Fox’s children, forced them to leap from a second-story window and destroyed the family’s $1 million home.”
I used to do gigs as a trade agent in parallel to my part time job in a trade company 10 years ago.
They can go from 0-to-60 with AMZ platform experience across purchase orders, merchandising, advertising, invoicing, etc.
Still tons of opportunity in strategy and digitizing catalogs for all manufacturers & importers in the country/world.
Make become a seller a bit more difficult with some skin in the game ($2,500 deposit if you sell more than 15 items per year? In person identity verification?). Sellers used to meet with buyers agents (cost money and added identities).
Caught selling garbage (product marked new actually used, totaly fake junk) enough times -> gone from marketplace and hard to get back in.
The reality is Amazon doesn't care - there IS a market opportunity here for someone to take them on with trusted product catalog and quick shipping (using UPS / Fedex). I wish somebody would straight compete with them rather than all the complaining to politicians.
"Oh jeez, you ordered a GoPro and got a "YiGorProHD" knockoff. Here, we'll credit your Amazon account with a gift card or try to resend you the item again. Thanks so much for your patience, I'm so sorry for the error."
Amazon doesn't give a shit about everything being sold on the marketplace. They aren't going to track down who put the rotten egg in the basket. It's cheaper and more effective to just give the customers what they want so they shut up and go away happy to continue buying stuff. Plus, in the returns/refunds area, it's the sellers who pay for those costs, so Amazon has nothing to lose by just being a marketplace and customer service sounding board. It's a win-win for Amazon.
This is in contrast to eBay, which has always done right by me when I've had a problem with something I've purchased.
While not cost effective, I think having you return item, verify it's a knock off, then take some action would be better long run. Apple products had TONS of fake chargers on Amazon for a while.
This is what they have now. Many sellers get suspended over used sold as new and inauthentic complaints.
They also have velocity reviews; if your sales increase too quickly you may get suspended for a bit.
This isn't like the old days when a ban on doing business under your current name would be a death blow ... start a new seller account and your junk still shows up in Amazon search results, just like it did yesterday.
I also don't have first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground in, for example, China. But my perception (and that of others I've talked to), is that Chinese sellers just sign up to open a new account, no problem. I'm not sure if that means using the info of a relative or friend, or fake documents, or if my perception is just completely wrong.
It'd be interesting to hear from anyone who has seen things on the ground on that side of the world!
Sure, you can continue to was accounts (and even legit business may decide to invest in 3-4 different names to cover different segments / backup protection). But right now the scam seller cost / pain is so low for bad behavior (other than in time which they have lots of) that something needs to change at least a bit.
A better idea may be to enforce the insurance requirement. This de facto requires sellers to commit a similar sum of money towards the business, but they're getting something for it instead of it being tied up. The Amazon contract says if you sell over 10k/month for 3 months then you must carry $1 million in liability insurance. The threshold seems about right, if they'd require proof of insurance for anyone over that threshold it would mostly fix bad actors using multiple accounts, while mostly leaving alone those that have legitimate business purposes in running multiple accounts.
Start requiring taxpayer IDs?
>hard to get back in
It's been discussed to death, by overseas sellers simply have a massive advantage in starting new seller accounts on Amazon.
>overseas sellers simply have a massive advantage in starting new seller accounts on Amazon.
Why would it be any easier for an overseas seller to start a new account after being banned? Amazon blocks related accounts whenever they can track it. Sellers can get around that by having employees or relatives open accounts in their name. This is just as easy or difficult in the US as elsewhere. Regardless, it's something Amazon can't completely fix: they need a way to determine an account is related to a previously banned account. When they do determine that they will quickly ban the new account.
In fairness, mostly in FBA-related forums. I'm a 3P seller so I apologize for that comment as I certainly have a skewed view of what is commonly known.
>This is just as easy or difficult in the US as elsewhere.
Wrong. How much would I have to pay you to borrow your passport to set up a seller account? $100? $1000? $10,000? -- You can get this in rural India / China for $20-$100. (And maybe even less than that, I'm not interested in finding out)
>Amazon blocks related accounts whenever they can track it.
Key phrase: whenever they can track it
>When they do determine that they will quickly ban the new account.
I really don't know what to say other than that this is patently false. Here is one (or 50?) of countless examples:
My passport would be useless, because I was banned from Amazon after dozens of frivolous complaints by a competitor, who I'm currently suing. I've discussed that elsewhere.
Having talked to many US sellers who operate multiple accounts, some of them dozens, I stand behind my claim that it's pretty easy for determined sellers to run multiple stealth accounts.
>I really don't know what to say other than that this is patently false. It really appears you do not know what you're talking about.
I've heard from plenty of people who got suspended for opening another account after suspension, without going through all the effort to cloak it. It's clear that Amazon enforces that, if they know about it. When duplicate accounts aren't suspended, it's because Amazon doesn't know, or is unable to prove it enough to justify a suspension.
Of course there's a both a false positive and false negative rate. But the claim that Amazon doesn't care about this is wrong. Just in the last year they started enforcing ID verification on all new signups, in large part to make it more difficult to open multiple accounts.
They really cannot, and that's been the case for 10+ years.
Even in-person verification is more or less easily defeatable.
Alibaba requires on-site check and business license check by an expert, and may throw many more scrutiny and audit on you than Amazon, but even this is to little effect.
One doesn't exclude the other.
If you go the government involvement route you ossify industries and actually can make it harder for folks to compete.
Funeral home chains were famous for pushing for lots of crazy regs that only a system with big economies of scale could meet to push out smaller independents.
In some cities like SF zoning hoops mean that only folks with HUGE pockets / attorneys and long time horizons can get through the planning / permitting and building process - all other restaurants etc basically need to rent (which means if they make the neighborhood nice they don't benefit).
What I want to know - is there a trusted online seller available now that a reasonable amazon alternative?
We need to empower states to regulate Amazon like any other retailer or have reasonable federal standards. In some cases states can apply the death penalty to retailers (revoking sales tax license) if they are perpetuating a fraud. You need regulators with teeth to compel positive behavior from a company are large as Amazon.
If the only folks who can sell products are ones who have a deal with the rightholder and can prove they have the rights to sell - obviously the big players will be the ones able to do the deals with Nike, Apple, etc and little guys will not.
If the federal government actually cared they can ALREADY intercept and even destroy imported counterfeit products - they do not because it's a bit time consuming and hard and they also don't care.
It would be much easier to empower states to enforce existing concepts like the warranty of merchantability in interstate settings or have a regulatory framework that would allow predatory platforms like Amazon to be held accountable for their behavior.
Edit: Turns out Zappos is owned by Amazon. But my point still stands if we replace it with something else.
I think I need to just go to eBay at that stage, and drop Amazon entirely.
Categories like kitchen or yard tools are absolutely rife with counterfeits. As an example, search Amazon for Ove Glove heat-resistant oven gloves: The Amazon's-Choice-badged option (which, I know, is chosen by algorithm) yields a product page where the top review complains they received a product without several of the trademark details on the older set they own. The reviewer even acknowledges the difficulty in tracking down genuine Ove Gloves on Amazon! They ultimately resign themselves to defeat: "What a game: I rolled the dice and lost."
Of course, there are also quite sophisticated fakes in categories such as consumer electronics. Fake controllers for game consoles are a standout: Search for the Playstation DualShock 4 controller and you'll find the official product page littered with reviews complaining of an entire continuum of fakes, ranging from obvious to ones that are almost entirely indistinguishable until the knockoff battery stops holding a charge after a few weeks.
I'm not really sure what product categories are still safe to buy on Amazon, given that everything from food to books has varying degrees of counterfeit mixed in. At least something like an iPad should be impossible to fake due to the cryptographic requirements for booting the OS.
 In an ironic twist, I absolutely refuse to buy books from Amazon anymore.
It just feels so wasteful to save money by mishandling everything to the point where it doesn't even matter if stuff breaks because it is cheaper to try a 2nd time.
Let's say that Amazon sends out 100 books, and 1 or 2 get damaged. But if they add some extra bit of packaging to every single one of those 100 books, zero will get damaged.
Did this save cost or materials? I don't know, it depends on how much extra packaging was needed, whether the damage was serious enough to initiate a refund/re-send, and whether adding packaging to every single order was less environmentally impactful than having to print and send an extra book to those who received damaged ones.
It's going to be a simple dollar value equation for companies like Amazon, and make no mistake, they have the data and have made these decisions consciously.
I suspect they're not counting the damage this is doing to their brand. I've kept items that were slightly damaged, but it slowly eroded my trust in Amazon. Now I avoid Amazon if I can help it.
It's like how throwing produce away at the grocery store is "a waste" but the system is cost-effective.
And anyway, if Amazon has to ship extra books, they pay the publisher an extra time, and you can always donate the damaged book as well.
Just because externalities are ignored doesn't prove anything in particular if you don't know the relative change.
That's a general fact about the world, that making decisions on incomplete information does not necessarily produce worse results. Sometimes things turn out better than you expected and sometimes worse.
People are often significantly biased, but that's separate from the issue of not taking "everything" into account.
It also seems obviously wrong to say that a negative externality is or should be considered in isolation. It's just silly to say that people who experience negative things only experience negative things or that any category of things that includes negative things must be net negative.
Costco's return policy alone is a big advantage. Plus they have so many TVs in the store where you can see them in operation.
Had something like that happen to me, and for the product, it was a shock. I had ordered the item, it said it was delivered, but it never made it to me. I contact CS (via chat) and they said they would send out another one. I said ok - what happens if the old one shows up in the meantime. They told me to keep it.
A few days later I got the original item (it had been shipped to a completely wrong address via USPS). Then a few weeks later I got the "new" one. So now I have two of them.
The item? A Tamiya Grasshopper kit.
On the other hand, I received a $12 box of wet wipes that came in a giant, nicely padded box. The product itself was in a sturdy box. $400 dollars worth of computer storage was shipped improperly, but Amazon made sure I got my box of wet wipes safe and sound!
More often than not, I receive small items in giant boxes. Amazon used to ship one order in one box, now they ship one order in many boxes.
I don't know how much waste Amazon generates with lazy packaging, but it must be a colossal amount.
Usually for items that will ship with external facing identifiable product information, they will give you the option (a checkbox) to have it packed inside an Amazon box...
For SIOC products, I believe there's always an option to include an Amazon box _around_ the original box, however it's optional because that second box is considered to be waste, as the product packaging is already supposed to be good enough for shipping purposes.
they often have notes, highlighting, and dogears -- perfect for our use-case
Wouldn't this be down to the individual seller?
Half the time on Amazon it's hard to even tell anything. As someone else said, books are REALLY bad. It's a gamble as to what you actually receive sometimes.
I usually buy them from Best Buy's online site which always seems to have the same price as amazon now
Like, if you order a huge item from amazon, it will come in 2 feet of normal recyclable cardboard. But if you order books? They send them in those ridiculous mailers.
More than half of the orders I've placed on eBay in the past year have been cancelled by eBay or PayPal because they detected fraud from the seller. I can't be bothered to keep wasting my time and money on a site that is hardly even a shadow of what it used to be.
Amazon suffers the same,but slightly different problems.
As such I've had no choice but to revert back to shopping in person, or in many cars simply skip out on purchasing things I could have readily found on eBay or Amazon five years ago for good prices without hassle. Somewhere eBay and Amazon have completely dropped the ball. I hope it effects their bottom line soon because the second hand stores near me are junk.