But I also feel like people need to know how to use these platforms. If you're getting a heavy discount, from a sketchy source, then maybe there's a reason for it. Idk about Wish, but platforms like ebay, aliexpress, etc. are great even for things like electronics if you know what you're buying like leds, microchips, etc. Makeup, perfume, power related applications, audio, etc. are the types of products that I would be very wary of. I think it still might be possible to find good sources for those things, but it's more of a gamble.
Before we crucify these platforms, and call for more regulations, etc, let's also remember that they do provide a valuable, cheap service for some.
Talk about a perverse incentive. Maybe I should sell fake AirPod Pros for (MSRP-$3). Enough that the price feels right to make you think it's the real deal, and as a reward, I'll make more profit!
They purposefully price it low so that people will go against their better judgement because they can get a really great deal. It wouldn't really be the same scam if they priced it higher.
And I am not saying price is the only indicator. Just that low prices are usually a red flag.
Although, there are studies that show increased sales for products by just increasing their prices and nothing else. So that incentive exists either way, scam or not.
How long are we going to let companies hide behind their "platform" bullshit?
They know this happens but, because they're not the actual seller, they get to offload the liabilities to some fly-by-night company that'll close down and reopen under a different name.
Lead in products is dangerous and people should be going to jail but nothing ever happens.
Get caught, close the company, open a new one, pay some fees to open the reseller account and continue hurting people.
But I think a case can be made that it already is. Most consumers understand buyer-beware on online merchant websites (especially since eBay was rampant with this issue at its inception and has gotten better over the years). Perhaps it is the responsibility of the consumer to self-educate, not the responsibility of the market broker to exhaustively police the vendors that use it? To spin the story around a bit: Amazon, eBay, et. al. don't background-check buyers to make sure they're not buying a product to build a bomb or something with it. Why are they obligated to background-check the other half of the transaction?
If the distributor was required to test the product and put a large red banner "might induce lead poisoning" on the product page, then of course the consumer could choose. Alas, that's not the case.
If people were deeply concerned about lead, shouldn't we expect that products that can offer such a guarantee have a market advantage? Amazon et. al. make product attribute comparison pretty straightforward.
I don't want to see AliExpress closed down just because some girl decided it was a good idea to buy lipstick there at an unbelievably low price.
Each product listing seemed legitimate, with some prices that compared to retail stores and official-looking advertisements.
This is what we're talking about here, not the marketing obvious knockoffs with comically misspelled brand names. Even the article talks about only authenticating the products after they were purchased and received.
You think they have to sell products containing 700+ times the safe lead level to stay open?
Im fine with platforms but there have to be criminal penalties for selling harmful products. Start throwing people in jail.
if you believe that it is fundamentally unsafe to buy health products and makeup from aliexpress, then isn't it also reasonable to believe that aliexpress shouldn't sell it? there's a "people should be free to make bad decisions" counterargument, but as a society we've decided against that: it's the reason we have consumer protection laws.
put another way: if you made marketplaces accountable for selling dangerous items like this, you would push them out of the segments that are most dangerous.
To make matters worse, the kind of girl who buys lipstick on AliExpress doesn't buy cheap Z80 clones or radios there, so she wouldn't come back to that site again once they take the lipstick down; only informed buyers would suffer the consequences. How's that fair?
Suppose all those fly-by-night companies set up merchant accounts on Shopify or just bought cheap Wordpress template and hosted it themselves and did the exact same thing. The world of boutique men's watches is absolutely rampant with this. Would you be demanding that Shopify or Tim Berners Lee vet all the products before they're sold. Would you demand that Visa/Mastercard do it? What about UPS/FedEx?
If you want to require businesses to get licenses and submit themselves to regular safety audits then just say that. Don't try to offload the responsibility of law and public policy to random corporations.
Isn't that basically the same as on eBay and Alibaba?
Ebay has a curated front page but it never shows stuff sold from a jurisdiction distant enough to not be accountable for shady practices. It seems like amazon is the odd one out here since they hold inventory, ship it and sell a lot of things themselves.
It's reasonable for shoppers to see this as an endorsement and assume eBay actually enforces this policy.
Those "random corporations" are a few very large players who have won the network effect lottery. Most people will go to the place that everybody knows, especially if it's cheap. There's only room in the public brain space for a small number of these. It's very hard to set up a new one, especially if its tag line is "More expensive but at least it won't kill you".
Such natural monopolies are frequently subject to regulation if they won't do it themselves, simply out of self-protection. They're not just the "closest entity"; they're a bottleneck where regulation is feasible. But such regulation is going to be more cumbersome if it comes from an outside entity, so they should take calls like this as a sign that it will be worse for them one way or the other. Today, they've got some flexibility in their solution.
That's significantly different from someone running their own ecommerce site where they are very clearly the merchant of record.
Sidebar: this is super common btw, had more than one law professor go on a rant about how all the CS people in their courses just want to push everything to the actuaries and create a de-facto court system within insurance.
Anyone selling harmful products, like lead lipstick, should be thrown in jail.
Even the merchant name is bullshit on Amazon.
Try finding Apple headphones and see how many are sold by merchants named "Apple".
Amazon has to know that product is not actually being sold by Apple, yet they allow the counterfeiting to continue.
There are other marketplaces that offer a much higher quality guarantee than Amazon. Shop there instead.
Amazon is a $1 trillion dollar company. It’s not some guy selling things out of the trunk of his car. It should be reasonable for me to assume buying something there is safe.
The only thing we should ever assume is that a company has policies and will honor those policies as required by law.
Here's Amazon's policy on guarantee. https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=...
There is no mention of safety.
Here's Amazon's policy on safety.
There is no guarantee associated with it.
They are a trillion-dollar company, but what we're observing is that the market isn't hyper-thirsty for safety guarantees and is willing to accept their current climate for service convenience. Other stores will let you make a different safety-convenience tradeoff.
Harmful is subjective. Don't ban my plastic bags or straws.
Apparently in your world, it's perfectly okay for Joe Johnson to create an Amazon merchant account called "Apple" and sell me and sell me defective products under the Apple label.
Many retailers still operate on the old expectation that when you order something, you'll get it in "6-8 weeks", which nowadays, is frankly ridiculous!
I ordered a crib from a local Canadian retailer, and the thing arrived after THREE MONTHS, and I had to pick up the box from the warehouse myself!
You have to give Amazon props for their logistics systems, they've gotten it down to an art. If I were to order the same crib from Amazon, it would've been at my door in 2 days' time.
Might've been a fake crib, though heh.
Then they should be marketed (and priced) as such.
So, assuming they're actually legally required to refund purchases of counterfeits, I think a reasonable recourse would be to have as many people as possible order as many counterfeits as possible and then demand refunds. The platforms' cost per transaction goes up, and the manufacturers/resellers are out their items plus shipping.
I feel this would work best if the actual manufacturers that are being copied did the buying, that way they have legal recourse at their disposal and a literal pile of evidence if the refund is denied. And they can destroy the counterfeits.
There are currently few economic incentives for these market places to try harder to stop counterfeit vendors. The solution seems to be harsher consequences for the marketplaces.
I'm also kind of surprised by Walmart's inclusion. There are no examples in the article on their products, and they say that Walmart disputed the findings, so what's the deal? I wasn't aware that they were using 3rd party vendors in the same way Amazon does.
In physical stores, last I checked, counterfeits weren't really applicable in anyway and seems to be fairly well quality controlled.
I felt silly when I bought a few rolls of shelf-liners on Amazon and they shipped in a Walmart box because I didn't check.
"A new product listing is uploaded to Amazon from Chaine every 1/50th of a second"
Amazon is heavily invested in getting as much Chinese trash on their US site and it does not seem to care much about the counterfeit problem.
Amazon especially needs to get its shit together, though. I unsubscribed from Prime and have all but stopped using Amazon because of how it's turned into basically "eBay with marginally faster shipping" at this point given all the absolute offbrand crap that's filling the site.
They all hide behind the "Platform" laws and get to offload liability to some no-name fly by night company.
One of these companies does the warehousing, shipping and delivery as well as does a significant amount of promoting certain products, selling products itself and even has a house brand. The other two do not.
I thought it might've been a holiday crush sort of situation, but it continued well past the new year (2019)
I'm almost certain that at the scale Amazon works at, there has to be a priority queue for these sorts of things. There's no way they could make Prime work if they just changed the shipping method to make it faster, there has to be order fulfilment prioritization too.
If I was buying for a commercial project I would use a supplier I trusted.
I believe the right thing to do is use wax cord in this circumstance anyway. I’d use a cheap one too.
However, if I want cheap stuff, that's what I use eBay for.
Given Amazon has just turned into, like I said, eBay with slightly faster shipping, I have no reasons to use it anymore.
1) I've been a seller on Amazon. 5 figure SKU counts, branded products. I was constantly being asked to provide invoices to prove that I had the right to procure and resell the products I was listing. I was also beholden to their metric standards and got delisted from the Buy Box regularly, until I could improve my numbers (operational bumps while we refined our processes... the standards were high enough if we fumbled a little bit, circumstances required a bit of time and attention to restore SOPs to required levels).
Not sure what these other entities are doing, but within the bounds of what I interacted with, and the age of my account, I wouldn't have been able to stay on the platform and keep selling if my fulfillment, returns and customer service metrics didn't stay within the acceptable thresholds.
2) I buy from Amazon regularly... household items, books, etc. So far, never had an issue with fakes. Always Prime, usually Fulfilled By Amazon.
We bought our car seat and stroller from Amazon, and we were honestly not sure whether it was certified for use in Canada. I shouldn't have to doubt any purchase I make online from a reputable retailer, but it seems Amazon no longer makes the cut for me.
For what it's worth, the car seat _did_ have the right stickers, but stickers can be faked too...
I would strongly advise not getting any safety equipment like a car seat through Amazon.
Or is direct from wal-Matt part of their actual controlled store inventory?