What I hate are all the low quality and fraudulent items on Amazon (It's not quite as bad as Ali Express, yet--Ali Express also happens to sell everything ever conceived and people generally accept that a certain portion of things are counterfeit, Amazon pretends to enforce quality.)
This is the opening that Sears should have been waiting for. They used to provide the service of selling a curated selection of pretty much anything you would need. Back in the day they had 3 of everything, you needed a widget, you could go to Sears by buy the "good", "better", or "best" version of that thing at a competitive price.
Sears, if it were managed worth a damn, could do that. They still have stores all over the place to serve as distributed warehouses, show-rooms and customer service centers.
Maybe Target will figure this out. I don't think Amazon will. The closest Amazon has come to addressing this is making their own house brand (a la Kenmore). Which is fine, I guess, if you don't have congress calling you a monopoly. If anything is going to bring Amazon down a peg, it is going to be the ingenuity of fraudulent sellers outstripping the ingenuity of their anti-fraud systems and policies.
Years ago, I lived in a city that decided to offer a "garbage collection amnesty week". For one week (with your regular pickup day, Monday-Friday), you could put out as much garbage as you wanted at the curb, and it would be collected for no extra charge.
The city apparently vastly underestimated how much garbage was going to go out. It was not all collected that week. There was junk sitting out on the curb, all over the city, for 1-2 months.
There were also people driving around, searching for cool stuff. For example, one of my items out on the curb was an old bird cage. One morning, the bird cage was gone, and there was someone else's old doll house in its place. A friend of mine found a complete metal suit of armor; not really functional, but a nice decorative piece.
There can definitely be value left in someone else's trash. But if ordering on Amazon, as a paying customer, I would at least want to know up front if I'm buying something that came out of the trash, and make my own decision on if I wanted to buy it or not.
I agree, but let me play Devil's advocate a moment.
I went to a gin distillery on vacation a couple months ago. It was well known, well respected, sold internationally, etc. I'm not really into gin, but I thought what they gave us tasted pretty great. It was well packaged, their physical location was in a nice spot and had a well decorated, cool little area where they went over the history, their employees all seemed well educated and happy to be there, etc.
When we got to look at the distillation process, we went into a very small, narrow looking hallway with all the equipment and got to see the gin coming out into a big, pretty unceremonious looking plastic bucket.
Their distillation equipment was expensive, everything was very clean, and it seemed like this was just their process. I didn't really see anything wrong with it.
But, if at the point of sale, someone had a picture of the gin going into that plastic bucket and let everyone know that this was a part of their process, I think fewer people would buy it. And for no good reason. The gin was great, everything was clean, and I'm sure cleaning and maintaining that setup would be easier to deal with than some sort of automatic bottling machinery.
Although most people think knowing where a product came from is good information (and it is if you have a good understanding of the context/what to compare it to), people have a tendency to be irrationally averted by things that don't really have any bearing on the product. I'd argue a product being "new" vs "warehoused" vs "trashed" is one of them. If the product is in the same shape, it shouldn't really matter if it was on the front and center shelf, in the back of a warehouse, or in a dumpster. It's the same product. Emphasizing where it comes from can cause people to irrationally avoid it and have it go to waste when it's perfectly fine.
On the other hand, the Château d'Yquem sauterne I spent $750 on (for the little baby sauterne bottle) made me feel like I was getting my full money's worth. But that's not something I'd want to drink regularly.
And no I'm not a high roller who drinks these wines all the time, in fact I haven't in well over a decade. It was a fairly transparent, but successful, status play. Now I stick to highly rated $15-30 a bottle table wines because, in the USA, that's the sweet spot and I'm not interested in spending 10 times as much for a wine that's 20% better.
I'd wager it's even more extreme with a distillery, since, in addition to a bad tasting batch of gin, people may actually be killed if the output is a faulty product, containing too much methanol.
Plus it tastes horrible.
There are people roaming out the streets on that day and hoping to find something worth reselling before it gets picked up by the city.
As far as I know, we haven't encountered the issue of too much stuff being thrown out that day, but maybe this is because this happens regularly.
I had this when I lived in Nevada. It was every other Tuesday and called "bulk trash day." You could put out pretty much anything that wasn't commercial construction waste or hazardous waste.
There were also scavengers who knew when bulk trash day was for each neighborhood, and would drive around the neighborhoods in trucks taking things off the curb to sell at flea markets.
On a washing machine, I put a note like "Transmission bad, motor and controls probably fine, no leaks."
As a German, it took me until adulthood to figure out that when Americans talk of "bed bugs", it's not a metaphor.
I've seen on-call pickup of large items (2 or 3x per year), bulk trash day once per year for everything on the curb, free appointments at a central location, and "haul it to the dump yourself then pay a fee".
The graduating international students who are returning to their home countries frequently discard things that they bought locally, as it may be too expensive to ship larger items in either direction. Those who will be returning in the fall might put their dorm stuff into storage, or they might just toss it, and re-buy if/when they return.
The cheaper it is to ship, store, or sell, the lower the quality of the items discarded. That's why you focus on those who will be flying home.
I lived in a city that decided to offer a "garbage collection amnesty week"
I've seen people coming from wherever and dumping their trash on Santa Clara sidewalks (in a neighborhood for whom it's their free pickup week) to save dump costs... including hazardous waste like paint and chemicals.
Many many years ago I put a piece of scrap butcher block on top of the yard waste pile near the street in front of my home. Later that day a Mercedes drove past, stopped, a woman in a suit got out, examined the butcher block, put it in her trunk, and drove off.
I hope it's still serving as a really nice cutting board or some such in someone's home in Miami.
... so you fired arrows at it from a longbow ? And he got injured, then had to explain at the hospital why his friend shot him with an antique weapon ? S'pretty great.
Not every dumpster is filled with expired vegetables or used heroin needles. Some are just full of discarded products.
What a dishonest argument. Pointlessly contrarian.
The whole point of having vetted suppliers is that they've been vetted, so that their output's QA is authorized by a regulatory body. Sure it's possible to sneak past that but it's very hard to do so. Dumpsters don't have QA.
Amazon is performing a negligible vetting process in a race to the bottom.
I suspect this is exactly astrodust's point. Amazon ain't doing any meaningful vetting, so unless you're doing your own inspections, you have effectively zero reliable way to know whether or not your brand-new toy is going to give your child radiation sickness.
Nothing dishonest about that argument at all.
That is: your pool water is statistically near-certain to have had animal (human or otherwise) excrement or heavy metals or soap/disinfectants or some other contaminant in it at some point in its existence at at least some proportion, and you're trusting your municipal water utility (or your septic field, if you live out in the boonies) to filter that out before it's delivered to be your pool/drinking water.
In this analogy, Amazon is the municipal water utility, and you live in Flint, MI.
Something from a dumpster may be perfectly clean, and a lot of people take stuff from the trash, and as long as it's not been in contact with gross stuff that's not a problem.
Nobody reuses toilet water.
You expect people who shop in stores to subsidize those who shop online? Much of Costco’s value proposition is they don’t waste time with packaging and so everything is designed to be taken off the pallet by the customer.
If they now have to package and ship bulky items, it’s plausible it costs more to do that. Or maybe they’re just price discriminating. Either way, they have no obligation to provide the same prices online and offline, or even between their stores in HCOL vs LCOL areas.
That's why online you usually pay for shipping...
I could agree with that but I am worried about foot items. Do you know why a Pharmacy NEVER takes back any medicine for resale? Too much risk that the product has been tampered with.
The same is true for food items.
People are starting to figure out how to even post counterfeit “AmazonBasics” items — at least, this item  that I came across recently seems very suspicious. So even those can’t be trusted anymore.
Edit: maybe this isn’t counterfeit, but the fact that I’m not confident says a lot.
Trusted sellers would be folks who have managed to go several years without this happening..
I swear I could implement a whole solution for around ~$2M + $1M a year for ongoing QA staff / call center employees... basically nothing for a retailer the size of Amazon.
It makes me think they've done the CBA on it and somehow determined they would rather have all retailers selling on Amazon for some reason, even the shady ones, despite some damage to their reputation. I don't understand why though.
Some examples would probably be controversial and you'd need to escalate to a higher tier of analysis.
Your decently-sized QA department would investigate, case-by-case
The stock hasn't gone down at all since that article was published either. They must be doing something right..
So from amazon's perspective, they have to spend a ton of time, effort, and money to risk alienating their sellers. So I think you're right - they've thought about it and decided that the risks were not worth the gains.
Correct, that's what I mean by a decently-sized QA department. I would never base the score directly on end-users opinions, although the opinions of end-users could certainly be used to initiate the verification process:
Customers say something is fake --> raises ticket to QA department --> a few automatic orders are placed to different "fake" addresses over a period of weeks and months --> these delivered items are authenticated --> Reputation score modified --> customers are followed up with by the call center agents.
go all in on AWS
My listing was removed because of a single review that read:
"...round, difference from the regular models. i think they are not original from same factory./..."
"They" are pencils. Different models come in different shapes and colors.
I am accuainted with the brand and factory owners, and persoanlly buy directly from them.
I presented invoices and contact info of company officers but Amazon rejected my appeal because "We received your submission but do not have sufficient information to reactivate your listings. ".
From that point on they stopped responding to my emails.
In my case, tp-link filed 28 complaints over six months, or roughly one every week. Eventually it took down the account and we're currently suing them in federal court.
Are you familiar with the first sale doctrine? My actions were perfectly legal at all times.
I did this professionally, had bought hundreds of tp-link routers from legitimate suppliers. It's not like I found them on the street or anything like the sellers described in OP. I had over 50k invested in a specific router model at one point.
I don't know if banning was the right recourse, but from what you're saying it sounds like you were intentionally selling incorrect items.
And I hate it when sellers do that. I'm buying an item based on its advertised description. I've had to return items several times because what was delivered was a different model or version from what was advertised.
So I can't say I've got sympathy here. :(
Can't keep a marketplace at the same level of standard as a direct seller. Selling millions of products doesn't seem to scale well. Worked for books, but even there, opening the door to seller accounts flooded the lists with copies, a ruin for publishers who touched the devil rather than staying away from it.
I like amazon for many things they do well, but the truth is that they were never profitable with their previous business model. Now they've been turning directions to make a profit, it's the snowball to their death.
Because Amazon has out priced or out delivered many local stores, we don't have those choices any more.
There's a place for companies like this, but they have so many advantages due to size that they have to be watched to ensure they don't step on smaller players just because they can.
amazon has only got ~5% of the US retail market. this ongoing meme that they've got no competition is surreal.
What I care about is obtaining a product. Segment by non-substitutible category (book vs electronics, etc) but not delivery method.
yeah, Sears, keep telling yourself that online is a different market.
You can't compare them to the entire retail market. If anything, their competition is Wal-Mart's online service, or Ebay.
You literally named two. My father knows how to do only two things on his computer - check his email, and buy stuff on eBay. There is a "Walmart.com" desk and in-store signage in 5,000+ physical stores.
Neither of those are bigger, in fact they're dramatically smaller, Amazon has 49.1% of the online retail market to eBay's 6.6% and Walmart's 3.7%, according to: https://techcrunch.com/2018/07/13/amazons-share-of-the-us-e-...
sure i can. i do every time i buy something at my grocery store, or local retailers, that i could've gotten from amazon.
> Because Amazon has out priced or out delivered many local stores, we don't have those choices any more.
Original post referred to the marketplace in general, and even posited that Amazon has "out priced" local stores, so the goalposts were set to reference the market in general. You're the one moving them.
I was obviously talking about the major marketplace associated with Amazon, IE online ordering as opposed to the entire retail market.
The key thing to remember is that they expanded aggressively. People who didn’t do their homework - like most pundits and media stock analyst/entertainers - would dismiss them as another unprofitable .com without recognizing that they were becoming profitable in each new market a few years after entry and could halt expansion if they had a cash squeeze. The other point was being comfortable with low margins: that disappointed people who wanted a rapidly climbing stock price but that wasn’t the company they were trying to build and they’ve left quite a few once-hot companies in the rubble.
In some cases, there are hundreds of junk items before finding something acceptable. This is complacently allowed Amazon, in several ways: 1. they don't calculate shipping costs in price sorting (allowing dishonest sellers to sell 0.01$ items, with high shipment prices), 2. they hide where the item comes from, 3. they don't police items which should be grouped together (I think I once saw an item replicated more than a thousand times).
This makes the buying experience really tedious, and I don't think I'm the only one who thinks this is a problem.
But of course, while this affects Amazon adversely, I think it's a stretch to qualify it as "the downfall".
The seller listed the dongle as one dongle per model it covered.
DONGLE for iPad Pro
DONGLE for MacBook
DONGLE for MacBook Pro 13-Inch
DONGLE for MacBook Pro 15-Inch
DONGLE for MacBook Pro 16-Inch
DONGLE for Samsung Note 7
DONGLE for Samsung Note 7 (GTA Edition)
and so on...
The first four or five pages were flooded with THE SAME DAMN ITEM. It was not the one I wanted. It was one of those "$0.01" parts with a $7.99 S&H.
This makes the "Sort by Price" worthless; and that's what I used to use to get myself into the ballpark of where I wanted to be.
Ideally Amazon should require the UPC to be fully registered and verified instead of just taking whatever a seller enters at face value.
Amazon have also made the burden of proof for getting changes to a listing made so high that it isn't really worth the time to point out the issues to them unless it is a product that sells well, so the long tail is a mess.
Ebay has the same challenge, and similar solution (Ebay uses dropdowns, while Amazon uses small clickable boxes), but I see the problem much less on Ebay, so I think Ebay is simply policing sales more than Amazon does.
Just today, I wanted a new flash drive but didn't need it urgently. I checked Amazon to get an idea of fair pricing then looked at Best Buy and found one that looked good on sale. I went to the manufacturer's site to verify the specs and found they had a price 33% lower than the next closest retailer. Win.
My guess, sadly, is that it will round to nothing. Most likely the sheer volume of the bottom end of the mass market is worth a lot more to Amazon than elite users who post comments like these on forums like this. We may have been critical as early adopters but now have outlived our usefulness.
I hope that's not true, but that's why I asked the question: what evidence is there? Maybe it's too early to see anything more than assorted anecdotes, but it's hard to know what those objectively amount to in an operation of Amazon's scale.
Evaluate a provider for the quality of its service. Think how others from elite to mass consumers would perceive it in the long run, and you can guess the fate of that provider. Things move fast and many competitors are working at offering better user experience. We will see I guess.
The “negative PR argument” has become an indicator to me that someone has an extremely immature world view. There are anecdotes that reflect PR events that are catastrophic (Theranos). But most companies completely recover from PR bumps because most consumers only change their behavior in response to costs.
A book I ordered recently arrived in a flimsy envelope instead of a box. Needless to say it was damaged. Nothing major but having paid $30 for a 150-page paperback, I thought it was reasonable to complain. No problem.
The replacement book came in the same envelope, with slightly different but still obvious damage.
To my shame, I kept the second book. But next time I want to buy a physical book, I'll certainly look elsewhere.
That's probably the worst shape item I've received, but I've also heard and got counterfeit baby items, which could be extremely unsafe. I'm being extremely careful with Amazon moving forward.
This is a big reason I have the rule "Never buy from Amazon anything that goes in or on a living thing."
No food. No pet food. No personal products. Amazon simply can't be trusted.
I know the violation of trust is from Amazon's "partners" but Amazon allows this to happen, and makes a profit off of it.
This feels like a non-issue, no more than knowing that the book I ordered was next to a rat at one point, which could happen in the storage area of any book shop anywhere.
I really couldn't care less.
You have a larger chance of getting rat piss off the top of a soda can.
I'm not buying from random 3rd party vendor. I said buy on amazon.com . My credit card charge says AMAZON.
If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck.....
Needless to say, I totally agree with not buying anything that goes on or in a living thing.
Nobody's counterfeiting my bulk name-brand orders of flavored almonds. Or my hair products.
Counterfeiting tends to happen with high-value electronics, or occasionally expensive textbooks. I've never heard of it happening with food or personal hygiene. I mean, I just don't think the profit margins are there.
How would you know?
Or my hair products.
Maybe not yours, but there have been plenty of stories in the press and on the internet about fake personal care products being sold on Amazon.
Usually, canned cat food comes in a cardboard box with the manufacturers branding and some important labels, along with X number of cans inside arranged and kept tight in some fashion.
This one was literally a bunch of cans inside a sealed, transparent plastic cover (and then inside the regular amazon box). When I checked the product page from which I purchased, it had only a handful of reviews (versus the usual 1000s of reviews on the real thing), but it had the correct supplier brand name. After reading a bunch about the colocation of products, this was fairly scary.
Nowadays I just buy from Chewy / Petco / Petsmart etc. It's just not worth the risk.
Edit: don't mean to add some FUD or anything with Amazon, I was just expanding parents comments about baby supplies with pets as well. Still buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, but not anything where I stand to lose more than money.
Is it worthwhile to 'counterfeit' cat food?
The only problem I had is in one Amazon shipment a few cans got smashed in. Chewy does packaging better!
Let me direct you to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Chinese_milk_scandal.
If people are willing to poison milk with melanine to make a dollar, why wouldn't someone do the same to cat food? In fact, it's already happened: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_pet_food_recalls
Could be. You could get away with a lot lower product safety and quality for cat food than you could for human food. That means you could make it for a lot cheaper and sell it as a higher quality brand. It's easier to get away with killing or sickening a few cats than it is people.
On a different shipment from Amazon I received a small bathroom rug. The weave of the design was off by over an inch on two of the sides. I've never had such bad experiences in the past from Amazon than the last couple months.
Everything was as advertised. Was about 25% off for what amounted to having to download a PDF of the Manual/instructions.
This part can be really annoying. I have been trying to collect all different boxed/DVD/etc releases of an old game and the Amazon listing just shows promotional cover art that I now suspect was never used for retail copies of the game (the publisher on the cover was bought out by another one before the game released). Definitely none of the copies that I got from that listing matched the image shown. On eBay you might need to sift through many listings to find the best price but at least you can usually see which version you are buying.
I ended up giving up because it was impossible to tell the quality and materials of anything I was ordering.
eBay has very little reservations about giving you your money back -- they just pull the money out of the sellers account anyway, they're not themselves taking a financial hit.
And they have way fewer exceptions than Amazon does.
My experience with Amazon's return policy has been consistently bad. My experience with eBay's has been consistently great.
It's pretty easy to tell when you are, for example, buying Panasonic batteries from Panasonic as opposed to buying no-name lithium cells from a seller with a name like, 'krazedeals'. And sellers with a brand to maintain are unlikely to opt in to the 'comingling' program.
I guess that Amazon could highlight the seller information a bit more, but it's already pretty prominent.
I'm also a little bit confused reading all of these comments - do people think that Amazon sells everything on their website? It's rare to see an ecommerce business run that way these days - new-ish entries like Walmart also have third-party sellers, and old mainstays like Newegg have switched to that style of selling too. Personally I'm not a huge fan, but things have been like this for awhile now across the web. Do people not use other major online retailers? Or does Amazon get more flack because they are the service that almost everyone uses?
No, but people hold Amazon responsible for everything on their site -- which I think is totally fair.
I would think most folks here would be savvy enough to know the difference and pay attention to whom they are buying from on Amazon.
If anything, rather than going out of your way to make sure the item is shipped by Amazon.com, if you want to avoid fakes, you probably should prefer items that are shipped direct by the manufacturer. And once you are doing that, the question arises why you are shopping on Amazon in the first place. Personally, I tend to agree with the approach of buying only items shipped by Amazon. While the chance of getting a fake might be higher, the return process if I have a problem is easier. But I can see why others might want to avoid Amazon altogether.
It is a Shenzhen company, though.
People gripe about "Chinese" companies, but everything is made by some Chinese company. Chinese companies who build a reputation for their brand are good.
I personally haven’t used Amazon much in the last 2-3 years which for me is because I find it so difficult to wade through all the noise in the search results.
The brand is halfway down the toilet in terms of online retail and I do not think they can turn it around in time. Their whole strategy is based on speed and they've found garbage third party sellers a speed advantage. They are not competing on quality at all. They are not offering a quality experience, they are not selling quality, it is not in their product plan.
So if you are shopping for quality experience or quality product you do not shop on Amazon. It is only a matter of time I think before this awareness hits critical mass.
Unless Amazon does something big, I'll try making the case again to my wife to leave them. She's been ordering more and more from other retailers, so it shouldn't be a hard case to make.
Notice the black mark on the bottom right corner? That's to conceal text saying that it's an international edition not to be sold outside of India -- editions that tend to be dirt cheap compared to North American editions but have poor print and binding jobs, usually no preface or solutions to problems in the appendix, and missing chapters. Notice that it's original price was listed as $999.99 and it's listed as 98% off? The listing price of the NA edition is actually about $100.
This listing shows up before the legitimate listing in the search results. It has been this way for many months. I'm fine with international editions being sold on Amazon -- so long as they are clearly labeled as such.
When this problem has become so pervasive and even impacts Amazon's original core business to this extent, I find myself looking to other retailers... Only to find it impacting many of them as well. I bought an international edition from a third party seller on hpb.com, and my partner is finding shady probably factory produced stuff littered with obviously fake reviews on Etsy now.
I'm really curious what the evolution of this problem will look like for e-commerce marketplaces.
The only difference is that usually, they have shuffled chapters/ end of chapter problems( but with proper index ) and a black and white/ two colour print job instead of a full colour print.
I would much rather prefer to pay ₹300(~5USD) for a black and white Indian Edition than $900+ for a coloured US edition.
For me, as someone who's learning primarily independently, the North American editions tend to have features that make self-study a lot easier, and do sometimes have different chapters. For example, I have both the international/Indian version and the North American version of Michael Artin's Algebra second edition in front of me.
The international edition is missing a preface (I like those because they give you some insight into the author's point of view and approach), doesn't have solutions in the back (useful for validating your work if you're self-studying), the table of contents isn't broken down by section only by chapter (not too big a deal for me), and is missing chapter 16 on galois theory, a bibliography (sometimes I like to use these to pursue topics in more detail), as well as an appendix altogether (the NA version's appendix has a section of proof strategy, construction of the integers, Zorn's lemma, the implicit function theorem -- for me these are 'nice-to-have's but not required).
Much of this I can probably live without -- and if I were a student on a very tight budget, I would probably! But I hope you can see how paying for what I thought was a used copy of the North American edition and receiving the International edition would be a bit disappointing (this particular case happened to me on hpb.com, not Amazon)
In particular I think my point is that sellers of international editions sometimes conceal the fact that what they are selling is the international edition. The example I gave with Casella & Berger in my first post is clearly doing this with how the cover is blotted out and nowhere on the listing does it mention it's an international edition.
So for me it's about transparency and meeting expectations -- I'm fine with international editions being sold at all on Amazon, I think it's great that they can be an accessible option for some people who don't need/care about the features I mentioned.
Quite surprised to hear this. Every international edition I've bought has been near identical to the US version (except the print quality).
I wonder: Did you perhaps get a counterfeit copy? Not all textbooks have an international edition. Was this Artin's international edition a sanctioned one, or did someone in India simply violate copyright and labeled it as "International"?
Saving a few dollars to buy trash... not so much.
Edit: thanks for the response below pointing out that the savings is not so extreme. Still, when I was an undergrad, money was very tight for me, so if I could find a way to save a few bucks, I was grateful for it.
She has reverted to ordering from Barnes and Noble and local book stores because she doesn't know what she'll get off Amazon. If she misses something important because she inadvertently got a knockoff with missing/incorrect info, she can't use the book as an excuse.
The listing is scummy dgmw, but the product is legit. I don't know anyone outside of the clique of rich international students that actually bought the "legit" versions.
I feel bad for anyone who had a professor that mandated a specific version and edition but that's really the only people who should be buying it. The maths in the cheap versions are just the same.
I can understand why someone would prefer an international edition -- I've certainly been there, but my expectation with Amazon.com is that the non-international edition would take preference in the search results -- and furthermore, that the international edition would be clearly marked as such
Seems like Amazon needs to police its own marketplace...but does it care if its revenues are all coming from AWS?
I do not vouch for this site or file, simply sharing for research purposes.
The most telling line in the story.
Also, there's this:
“Sellers are responsible for meeting Amazon’s high bar for product quality,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
Apparently at Amazon, they mean "high" as in stoned. Certainly not "high" as in good.
Reading it now, it looks like a serious comment. I got defeated by my own sarcasm.
Listing food items you got from the trash? Definitely not ok, whether listed as new or not.
Reselling unopened clearance items you bought at Target or WalMart? That seems perfectly fine, what's the problem?
Reselling unopened liquidation items you bought in a random grab bag at auction from a liquidator who bought them as returns from amazon? That seems fine as well. Should they be listed as new, like new, or used? That's reasonable to discuss.
Reselling thrift store bought items as used? Sure why not. Tons of thrift stores list items especially books on amazon. It's one of my main sources of out of print books. Can't think of a thing wrong with this.
I object to this because those items may have been purchased from retailers that I do not want my money to go to.
But this, and the rest of the things you list, are actually OK with me, so long as the listing clearly states where the item was obtained from.
> If you want to support specific retailers buy from them directly
Which I do. The third party marketplace Amazon runs is a significant factor in why I've decided to reduce my use of Amazon to "last resort" status.
Although I'm not talking about supporting specific retailers here, I'm talking about inverse -- intentionally not supporting specific retailers.
While a current Amazon spokesperson disavows this view in the next paragraph, it’s clear from the rest of the piece (and other pieces, and countless anecdotes) that this perspective was foundational in the development of Amazon’s marketplace and cannot be eliminated by the words of a PR rep.
It’s also clear that Amazon is making efforts to redress this with various policy changes and programs. But it certainly appears the problem is cultural, and that only a cultural shift will be able to turn the tide of trust that is slowly draining from Amazon’s supply chain.
So there's a couple different problems. If there's actively fraud going on, then yeah they need to fight that, but it's not usually true "fraud" when TOPGOODTOYPRODUCTS lists their toy with an SEO-approved title. It's just an obvious garbage listing that I don't want to see when looking for something.
* Searching has simply becoming wading through pages and pages of Chinese junk with incorrect, misleading, or straight-up lies in the description.
* Similarly, the average quality of generic items is so poor, I'm trending back to brick-and-mortar stores. Walmart may have cheap stuff, but at least they put some effort into maintaining their brand.
* Who knows what product a review was actually written for. Lots of basic products are being sold to pump up reviews then being switched to a much more expensive item.
* I've also noticed I'll pay for many name brand items on Amazon that getting them directly from seller or another retailer.
* At least 10% of my orders from Amazon now have something wrong with them. What good is 2 day shipping if I need to return and re-order an item - taking nearly a week total.
Even then, its getting harder to find somewhere I can "trust". Example, I buy 8TiB Seagate drives, used to be I could depend on Newegg to get them, but now they have a market thing like amazon.
My last box from them was empty, literally. I'm down to B&H photo for buying drives which is fine they're great but I'm getting pissed off at all the things that used to work fine to buy on amazon but now its total sketch.
An Amazon example, I bought a NUC from some random store, but totes shipped by Amazon we promise so I was like well eh, its like the only place on the internet to buy this model.
Didn't even get sent, fortunately I got a refund but I'm DONE buying electronics on Amazon or Newegg. I can't trust that I'll get what I want from either anymore. This ignores the crap like getting a power brick and finding out the stupid thing is a counterfeit and not the name brand it was supposed to be.
edit - best buy may not have everything you need but typically you can find a decent drive.
The big issue is that there aren't a bunch of independent e-retailers to choose from. If you want to make it, you gotta make stores on Amazon, eBay, NewEgg, Etsy and Reverb (not all of course; depends on your products). I wrote an article about this recently:
The realization that the experience that changed was Amazon, not BestBuy was startling to me.
Best Buy sometimes has GPUs or SSDs at good prices, but its less common. I still price-compare at Best Buy because of that small chance that they win in the price wars, but my #1 goto is still Microcenter (or Newegg if from online).
The fact of the matter is: Amazon's cables have such low-quality assurance on them, that they're untrustworthy now.
I think for cables specifically, Monoprice has created a good reputation and a good price. Unlike Amazon, who hides behind "marketplace sellers" and "comingling", Monoprice puts their own reputation on the line when they sell cables.
Ultimately, if Amazon wants to be a "marketplace seller", they can. But Amazon needs to do a much better job combating fake-sellers, low-quality products. I'm not even anti-Chinese or whatever, I'm fine buying cheap Chinese stuff as long as there's some long-standing brand name that is willing to take the reputation hit if things go wrong. (Ex: why I'm fine buying cheap Chinese goods from Walmart, but not fine with buying cheap Chinese goods from Amazon. Walmart does step in and take responsibility)
Otherwise, its just Alibaba Russian roulette with your stuff. Maybe things work, maybe things don't, maybe things will blow up your laptop. Maybe the 18650 cell will blow up in your vaping device and give 3rd degree burns on your face. Or the 18650 cells will create a garage fire burning down your new scooter. Etc. etc.
The problem is the distinct lack of brands and accountability on Amazon. If a Monoprice or Best Buy cable destroyed laptops or caused fires, we'd all blame Monoprice or Best Buy. But if an Amazon item does the same, we somehow don't blame Amazon, but some indistinct unnamed entity.
1. they too have a giant marketplace of who knows who
2. they require you to stay logged in to paypal if you want to use it for "convenience". The entire reason I use PP is to prevent sharing my payment data with yet another retailer and provide some isolation.
If I need something from them I just order to the store and pay then.
Edit to Add - She KNEW she was getting the generic adapter but still thought it would do what she needed. So this is not Amazon's fault in this case.
Except last time, I forgot, and when I needed to return something, it took over a week just to get an RMA and return shipping info from the "marketplace".
Fuck yooooooou, Newegg, for doing this to your brand and to my shopping.
On Newegg and Amazon.
Never thought I'd miss the old monopolistic, competition killing WalMart that raced towards the bottom...
I still use Amazon for the various products that simply aren't available in stores, but nowadays I first look somewhere else.
I’ve gotten shitty stuff before but it’s always FBA. So I just avoid that now and I have no complaints (other than the fact that very few things I actually buy arrive in 2 days)
it is just not acceptable a shopping site has so little product integrity that they cannot guarantee a review belongs to the product it is attached too. Amazon could fix a lot of this by assigning each product a unique number that can never be reused; as in ever. Let the retailer point back to the previous version if review history is important but never let it appear as review of the viewed product
I must say that I don't really understand this strategy, although of course it's hard to get the full picture when you don't have access to the raw numbers. It's not like Amazon is aching for money so why risk their reputation like this?
Its really out of hand.
They'd never sell you counterfeit goods, so that option on the pulldown doesn't even need to be there in the first place!?!? wink wink right?!? RIGHT??!
As someone who's received a counterfeit board game, I do have to say that they were exceedingly prompt in getting me a replacement item. I know it's probably an uphill battle, but I hope they're able to make some progress on that front.
This is the most frustrating of them all, reviews mean absolutely nothing anymore when the item can be switched out at will while keeping any old reviews.
If it hasn’t been solved yet, it’s probably not that trivial. How many is “too many”? What happens if I change one attribute every week or so until I’ve completely changed the product?
The problem seems trivial, especially for a company of Amazon's size. All they'd need to do is have some prominent part of the product description (say the product name) be unmodifiable without review and approval by Amazon, and have reviewers that are trained to spot patterns of fraudulent behavior. Any legitimate issues caused by the review can probably be mitigated by giving sellers the ability to get pending changes pre-approved before they go live .
If a seller doesn't want to go through the approval, they can delete the product listing and create a new one with a new description, but they'd lose all the reviews. Seems like a fair tradeoff.
However, all that would cost a little bit of money, and would require staff. Amazon probably made the business decision that they like money, and don't mind the costs of allowing the fraud since it's mostly borne by customers.
 so the Amazon review for a legitimate product name change can happen while the packaging is being redesigned, and it can all go live in a coordinated fashion
It's more trivial than that -- the product physical dimensions and weight.
Amazon, the store, may have no idea about the description or product specifics.
But you think Amazon, the logistics company, doesn't know exactly everything needed for shipping and warehousing an item?
It's hard to capture long-term sentiment towards a product, so short term optimization end up dominating conversations.
"Five stars! Would recommend this ship to Theseus or anyone else."
There are thousands of retailers out there, Amazon seems to be unique in having this problem at scale.
As long as you let such individuals into your marketplace without any oversight or data-cleaning requirements, you will have this problem. It's like email and spam all over again.
No this is a problem unique to Amazon because it has both a marketplace filled with third party sellers and an official brand both operating on the same site without highlighting that the marketplace is less trustworthy. If you want to buy an Asus mainboard then you won't be brought to a seller specific page. Instead there is a product specific page that bundles first party and third party sellers onto a single page and both will appear in the search results. The conflict of interest is pretty obvious. Only Amazon sells the "AmazonBasics" brand and by making all non Amazon brands look untrustworthy through third party sellers they steer people toward buying the Amazon products.
It's not a perfect parallel of course, so some lessons were learned I suppose. It just seems like it was somehow fun at first, and then the people who sell on it find a way to ruin the experience.
Just like the internet.
I dunno, I always get what I want from eBay, and any issues are resolved quickly and fairly, while Amazon it's pay and pray :/
This is in the EU, btw.
And they've managed to improve the latter while ignoring the former.
You get better prices, but the barrier to entry for buyers is substantially higher than Amazon.
There can also be a sales tax optimization game included. True for Canada anyway.
Then you have a hundred sellers selling near duplicates that may or may not be identical. Do you just buy the cheapest?
Do you buy it slightly cheaper in $AUD from Asia or in your local currency?
I’ve bought bike lights that used 2032s, then the same looking units a year later that had smaller heating aid cells.
Then there’s the lack of reviews, so you gotta détermine quality based on cues. maybe that vendor has sold a thousand units and Ebay links to some feedback for that exact listing.
Vastly differing return policies. And remember: when it comes from Asia and doesn’t work; just say it was lost. When Ebay asks you to return it, it’ll cost you more to ship it back than the whole item cost incl. shipping.
Just what is up with that account that has 3k listings but just 24 feedback?
But it’s definitely cheaper if you can manage all that.
A lot is product category dependent.
The lack of reviews doesn't bother me at all, as my experience is that reviews are worthless anyway.
So, I guess it entirely depends on how you're using eBay and what your goals are.
When I need it tomorrow: Amazon.
At least in Canada, there isn’t much in-between on the massive marketplaces.
All the big mega-sites (NewEgg, Amazon, eBay, Reverb, Etsy) are really just sites for tons of marketplaces.
Disruption, freedom, ala internet diverts energy away from good old solutions.. for a while, until it spoils itself under its own flood. By the time we realize, old businesses have suffered tremendously.
Stress is good for health, but too much too fast is called a disease.
Amazon is hurting itself on purpose here, because of greed, not because their model is fundamentally flawed.
Anyway, lesson learned.
In the UK Trademark enforcement seems to be something only large companies get action on against very smalltime operators.
So, presumably it serves government aims not to enforce the laws, in this respect, that help citizens.
1) A local, physical store.
2) Directly from the manufacturer's website.
3) An online retailer that I have found trustworthy and reliable in the past.
5) Amazon, if I'm desperate enough.
But no... They hide the price because they want me to come in so a salesman can dazzle, confuse and up sell me to buy something else.
To be fair, they also don't want to put their prices online because it means they'd have to compete with other physical retailers on price instead of relying on rash purchases by buyers that are driven by time and location constraints.
My favorite local supermarket, for instance, makes their current inventory and prices available for download (in spreadsheet form, but still...) -- and they even tell you which aisle has which products.
I'm finding more and more local businesses have similar data on their websites. I expect this trend to continue.
They should spin off the retail company and keep books + AWS.
However, the last book I ordered from them was Python in a Nutshell about a year ago. It's an expensive book, so I was less willing to tolerate damage to a $50 book that I want to keep and use a lot. I had to return it twice to get one that wasn't beat all to hell. And even then I feel like I settled for something not in as good condition as I expected.
Amazon used to put books between two pieces of cardboard, shrinkwrap it, then put it in a box with padding. Books always arrived in good condition. Books in the padded envelope always arrive with crushed corners, and sometimes damage to the cover.