I've also worked with some of their buyers / purchasers - best in the business for sure. Very QA focus company
I worked at a competitor to Costco; I would argue this isn't quite accurate, and that this statement applies to Amazon about as much. The key distinction between Amazon and Costco is Costco sells a small (1-10 thousand) number of SKUs while Amazon wants to have as many as possible (100s of millions). Costco can vet every product, and can quickly discontinue products that have a lot of returns or complaints. Amazon scales in the opposite direction and concentrates on building tools for sellers to sell whatever will sell.
But here's the rub: by limiting the number of SKUs Costco has to appeal to the masses. You won't get the best TV, or air purifier, or cheese, or pants, etc at Costco. You will get something that has been vetted to be good enough for most people and provides a good price point. When you buy their white labeled products (Kirkland et al) you will sometimes actually get substandard products as they shift suppliers without telling their customers, but that's another topic.
If you really want the highest quality you have to either have to seek out brands that optimize for this or dig into the supply chain and understand where your products are actually coming from. For something like an air purifier I would choose Amazon over Costco any day because it allows me to choose the brand and model I want.
It may be pure, but it is a blend of tens, if not hundreds of olive oils. And it's enough for one of the oils in the blend to be not-that-great (or outright bad) to make the whole blend less than the sum of its parts.
Just like wine, the best olive oils are mostly small-batch, made from olives from just a few orchards, preferably from just one olive cultivar that is listed on the label, and have a taste specific to that and their terroir.
In California, I found not bad oils at ~$25 for half a liter, which isn't too bad of a price, considering the exceptional oils could be double that.
I certainly don't buy such olive oil regularly, but I can easily tell the difference if I do.
Kirkland organic olive oil has won quite a few blind taste tests and awards. Something that many small batch wines cannot even do.
I recently needed to replace an air filter, and there were endless complaints about fakes on amazon. I ended up having to buy it directly from a specialty manufacturer which was a pain.
Amazon operated on a complete different model, more leaning towards ebay than Costco. Comparing Amazon to Costco is like orange and apple. Amazon's model let the 3rd party seller resolve the market and quality, well, didn't quite work out when met with Chinese sellers who're from a society of bottom line driven all the way business philosophy.
Unfortunately, Walmart has followed Amazon foot steps but fortunately not quite enough to run into Amazon's problem.
And I'd argue it's the exact opposite. If you want a mid-range product and not top of the line you'll never find it at Costco. High end stuff they're great at, and that's pretty much always what I want. But you want a $15 pair of shoes because you're painting in them and know they'll get ruined? Look elsewhere.
I don't think people give this enough credit. It's one thing to be shit on by your employer, but having the customers treating like shit as well is just as bad. Getting the double whammy of getting it from both sides must be brutal.
Spent a few years in retail, and can tell you: if management treats employees badly, customers will treat employees badly, which in turn causes another cycle of management treating employees badly. It's a cycle that is caused when management and employees aren't focused on the one thing that really matters in a retail exchange: having happy customers.
I think the fact that Costco employees don’t have to wear a full uniform is part of it. They have a clear identification that they’re an employee, as is necessary, but they also don’t have to wear a uniform that strips them of as much individuality as possible.
At an Amazon warehouse, they go through employees like a runny nose goes through tissues.
I'm dealing with a trash warranty from Assurion on an electronic drum kit I bought at Guitar Center for my son. Not a good experience - I have to ship drums back to some warehouse to get a gift card? Um... that's $50 worth of packaging right there. Oh, and then I have to buy the warranty again if I want the replacement covered. Yes, I should have read the fine print in detail... but maybe the retailer shouldn't offer horrible experiences like this for a premium.
He was kinda rude and I was like wtf. And then he proceeds to return all of the wine, I asked him "dude wheres the open bottle?" And he said "I thought you were returning that one too?"
Turns out in some states - they allow you to return opened bottle of wine. We laughed it off
Mine was about 2/3 gone. Definitely beyond of the point of "hm..this wine taste funny"
Over the years I've had so many little moments like this with Costco, whether it is a friendly exchange with a gas station attendee, a door person stopping me and pointing out that I was over-charged, a service rep who couldn't find an off-brand pedialyte I purchased so they gave me a pedialyte and told me "eh yeah just don't tell anyone", it really started to make sense to me why when you mention Costco - some people would light up and say "man I LOVE Costco", when it's just a store.
Edit: you can also find a friend with a Costco membership and go with them. It's not like it's that exclusive.
And to be fair, Costco worked a lot better for me when it was in the general direction of where I work.
I had an IOT plug fail (plastic melt) and returned it, and they took it back, no questions asked.
This makes it sound like there isn't a reason to shop at Amazon anymore. While it's true that there are a lot of fake reviews, fake products, and generally poor quality merchandise, I haven't personally had a big problem with it. I spend thousands on there every year and almost always get exactly what I'm after for a great price.
Now I don't buy a lot of cheap Chinese junk there, but I have(phone accessories, bluetooth devices, LEDs and lights, etc) and it's generally worked out great. If I want something Chinese I generally try to buy it for less on Aliexpress or another site, but that said, Amazon, for me, is still well worth the prime membership.
The first one was a wireless phone charging pad I bought. Skimmed through a gazillion options in the search listing. Found one with hundreds of good reviews. When it came, it looked much cheaper built than what I'd ordered and didn't work very well. I didn't seem to be able to place the phone anywhere that would consistently charge. Could have been a counterfeit.
Returned it, which was a minor hassle (rebox it, get shipping tag, etc.). Then I went to look at the reviews, and now all the recent reviews were *BAD*. Like they had gone from 4.5 stars to 1 star. And the product was no longer for sale. I read more closely and realized all the old good reviews were for a completely different charging pad. When I searched for the item by name, I found a new listing with more great reviews. Yep, review fraud!
The second issue was a power strip I bought. Plugs would not go into it! I opened it up and one of the parts was in backward. The sodering was extremely shoddy. At this point, I canceled Prime and walked away. I'm not going to be electrocuted or have my house burn down because Amazon is unable to stand behind the products they sell. I complained, but only got an offer to return the product for a refund. Never again.
If I want to buy cheap shit, there's always eBay. It at least doesn't pretend to be something it's not.
It completely boggles my mind that Amazon lets sellers completely change the product title, description, photos, and even product category on an existing listing and keep all the reviews and everything.
I've seen weird things where the reviews for a product were talking about something completely different... like the listing being for a pet toy, but the reviews were talking about kitchen knives.
It's just so obviously fraudulent.
Amazon are aware it’s happening but ignoring it because it’s good for business. If they really cared about it they would do more than ban 600 sellers - given an afternoon I could put a big list of fraudulent products together because they are so easy to find, so it wouldn’t be difficult for Amazon to do the exact same.
I'm not saying it's the right thing to do - but it's also just how being a large Amazon seller works. If you sell LiPo batteries on Amazon and have worked for 5 years to get lots of reviews and the top spot on the listings, and then your supplier discontinues your best-selling range, starting again with fresh listings can completely destroy your business. So you change suppliers and keep the same SKU and change the description. I'm not saying it's 'right', but unfortunately if you want to be an Amazon seller it's just what you have to do.
There might be different techniques to do the same thing too though.
For the case you are listing, I would absolutely say that there should be a new SKU, because it is a new product whose quality assurance is entirely disconnected with the original product. If it is only a component rather than the entire product that has changed, I could see there being variations listed with different sub-values, but any review should then be listed with the exact ID that was being reviewed.
I'm of the opinion that any change to the product must be clearly communicated, even if it doesn't change the listed features, because there is an implicit statement that two identically described products are identical. I ran into this a few years ago, after passing down an old desktop to a family member. They needed wifi access on it, and I recommended a USB dongle that I had previously used with that computer. However, the newly-purchased dongle didn't work, because the manufacturer had switched to a new chipset without changing the listing, and that new chipset wasn't supported by the OS version I had installed.
I know that "compatibility with Linux kernel x.y.z" wasn't an explicitly listed feature, and therefore it didn't fall under the strict interpretation of false advertising, but I still consider it to be fraudulent. It was marketed as being the same as a previous model, but didn't have the same functionality as a previous model.
You are right that there should be a new SKU, the issue is just that it’s not in the sellers interest as they will lose all their history and reviews which effectively means that if you have a top selling product you have to start again from scratch (which if you are an established top seller in reality means you just lose all your sales and go to the bottom of the listings).
The issue isn't product quality in this particular instance, or buying something for $2 and selling it for $20, it's that these brands were including incentives to write fake Amazon reviews inside the packaging of the goods they manufacture.
"User" reviews are bullshit, and far too easy to game. And Amazon's system bodges together distinct products, so you can't even tell if you're reading a relevant review of the thing you want to buy or a different model/size/anything.
I sometimes wonder if an independent review site would be a business idea. Crap merchants would avoid it anyway, but anyone with a solid product would get a tear down, lab report, subjective review, and objective performance details, with a couple of follow-up purchases just to check the product hadn't been substituted.
Result would be high-value products standing out from the noise, with some objective reassurance for customers - which is the opposite of the Amazon model.
FTR I only buy sold and fulfilled by Amazon products, I don't use the marketplace, and the seller "Amazon" always obliged to my demands.
And then you have yourself a good deal on a used product.
All we need is some AI to automate the above process and make a one-click interface to get discounted used stuff for 0%-50% of the price.
For years Amazon pricing has been getting worse, and they don't care
"Amazon Branded"/"Fulfilled by Amazon" and whatever other tier exists isn't a distinction I care to make
I basically use Amazon for things Walmart doesn't carry, and things I don't like WM quality on.
Hint to anyone like me that had previously avoided WM for years: they've recently started carrying higher quality, and higher priced things. It's not all bottom barrel custom garbage anymore, but that still exists and the price reflects it.
1. Free delivery on grocery orders.
2. "Scan and Go". When shopping in-store you scan items using the Walmart app on your phone. At check out, you scan a QR code on the self checkout terminal, tell it how many bags you are using, hit the pay button, and you are done. It takes under 10 seconds.
With Scan and Go I can do my in-store shopping at a time when the store does not have many customers (such as 9 AM on a weekday) so it is easy to avoid coming anywhere near other shoppers as I grab items, scan them, and dump them in my cart.
Then it is 10 seconds through the self checkout (and the terminals are far enough apart in the self checkout area that I don't have to be close to anyone else) and I'm heading out the door. I don't bag my groceries there--I just keep them loose in the shopping cart until I reach my car. I then transfer them to my cloth bags there.
It's a little slower if you have items sold by weight. When you scan those it tells you you will have to weigh them at checkout. At checkout it prompts you to put them on the scale, weighs them, and adds them to your order.
Exactly. It's become more or less a standard option in the UK, with most larger supermarkets even offering a wall of handheld scanners that clip onto your cart if you don't want to use your phone. Still strikes me as weird, but that's probably just me getting old.
Not sure how they deal with fraud.
When you scan the QR code at the end it will usually tell you just to pay, but sometimes it will ask you to wait for an attendant to check that you have scanned everything correctly.
Assuming everything was accurate, it then updates a ‘confidence’ score in the background for you - and if you always scan everything correctly the checks quickly become less frequent / almost non-existent. If you always scan everything wrong, the attendants will be asked to check it every time.
There is a sample system that every once in a while it ask an employee to check that you enter everything correctly.
I guess that if you repeatedly make conveniently expensive “mistakes” there will be repercussions, but never experienced any issue.
Even though, it happens that I made small mistakes.
In practice not so much because packing the items reasonably well in the bag usually require an ordering that does not match the ordering they came off the shelves. Most items thus still have to be buffered in the cart.
The only savings then is whenever an item happens to come off the shelf at the same time that a good position for it is available in the bag.
The net result then is a small savings in total time but at the cost of the bag packing time taking place in the store meaning more total time in the store
Is that US-only?
Looks like ReviewMeta's creator has left the project, but the site still seems to work. Fakespot really wants you to use their app or browser extension, but the link I pasted allows you to ad-hoc check item URLs.
They really want that browsing history. So perhaps use a private tab.
Walmart.com is just as open as Amazon and eBay -- there are all manner of sketchy listings.
Perhaps my needs are different than others but I personally find it truly amazing. The one time I tried ordering something off Wal-Mart it came three days late and returning it was a nightmare.
When I see these threads I'm always lost. What Amazon are these people running into? If you're in the US, this isn't a common experience from my circle of friends / family. I only order things from Amazon. I go out of my way to order from Amazon because I don't want to deal with bad customer service. I once ordered ~1-2K worth of home good items and sent it to my old address mistakenly. They sent every item to my new address and told me not to worry about it.
They're STILL one of the most trusted brands. If these issues are as widespread ... ya know the market works? People will go elsewhere.
There's some old account I used, with a slight variation on my name. Must've been years ago. Any credit card associated with it is long dead. I don't get billed for this account… but I get STUFF from this account. Not as much as some folks: I've heard stories of people really getting buried.
Just the occasional weird garbage. Crappy things of various sorts. 'Free' in the mail. Because if the address has had a real thing sent to it, it can be used for a verified review. Someone's got control of that account and is spending their own money to send me things like an LED seasonal affective disorder light, sent in its own clearly recognizable box so I could see what it was. I knew I hadn't bought one of those, but there it was.
When I went to look the product up on Amazon, it was #1 in its category. That's why.
There are plenty of things that I'll get through Amazon, including 'off-brand' stuff like color-changing LED light bulbs from severely off brands where I know it might be sketchy but it's priced accordingly, or guitar strings, or funny little adapters and HDMI cables.
I just know not to trust them. That's the Amazon I came to know.
So because it hasn't happened to you, yet, you assume everyone else is making it up?
>People will go elsewhere.
Where is the disconnect? You are complaining about people telling you they are leaving because it differs from your experience, yet you then say you don't think people are going elsewhere.
I, too, have had very few bad experiences with Amazon, and the few I've had were resolved easily and quickly. I'm not surprised, though, that some people have had a rash of bad experiences that were not resolved well.
If this is widespread we should see it show up elsewhere vs. only here (for me), where it's a known thing that Amazon co-mingles inventory, and hey, ya know that can lead to counterfeits! Which may explain it. HN's population may be more careful and examine items received more closely?
HN often doesn't match reality (see often cited Dropbox initial criticisms), so it's not too strange.
The most egregious example in the last few months was I bought an $800 Warn winch, “new”, shipped and sold by amazon, and they send me a not only clearly used, but used in such a way that it was extremely dangerous in a way that was only apparent to a trained eye.
Amazon’s dishonest practices like labeling used returns as new if they think they can get away with it is not only unsafe, but leads to a ton of returned-item fraud where people buy equipment, replace it with a superficially sort of similar knockoff, return it to amazon, and amazon sells the fake item as new. This happens a lot with things like optics (scopes, binoculars, etc) where there’s a robust market for fakes in China.
This was a recent article about a couple buying a $7k camera and getting an empty box.
This guy bought an expensive camera from Amazon, got rocks, returned it and then got bricks.
I have no problem buying $5/$10/$100 items. But for a $3k camera, no, not Amazon.
> This guy bought an expensive camera from Amazon, got rocks, returned it and then got bricks.
There's apparently a whole genre of "ordered iPhone, received iPhone box with Play-Doh inside instead of the iPhone" complaints.
The theory I've seen is that this is a scam by the purchaser against Amazon's return policy, not a scam by vendors on Amazon against customers. That second option doesn't work, because the customer just gets refunded.
I think most of that has died down, but there is still a chunk of the click-heavy demographic that thinks they are consuming edgy media or displaying correct opinons when they read some "expose" about Amazon.
Honestly Amazon is a pretty boring company. They have done some cool stuff with AWS, of course, and but their retail arm is fairly vanilla and you need to really stretch to paint a picture of big box retailers like Walmart being the good guys when it comes to a debate as to whether you should go with Amazon or a rival. Point being, there is no rival that is materially better than Amazon in any meaningful sense. I use Amazon as well as others like Walmart and Costco and have had a fairly positive experience with all of these. Yes, the current global supply chain is a mess with lots of sketchy producers. That is not really the fault of retailers so much as producers outsourcing everything to cheap Chinese (and other third world) manufacturers that then steal the designs and create knock-off versions that flood the US market. Outsourcing is not really something Amazon can stop, and as long as there is outsourcing, there will be a market for cheap clones that are virtually identical to the "official" versions but with less QC and inferior materials, resulting in a lot of confusion for end purchasers who end up scammed.
This is a tough problem and is worthy of real discussion - even real investigative reporting! -- but an honest look at this problem will show that Amazon's bottom line is hurt by this stuff and that Amazon is in fact taking steps to try to reign it in, so it won't be the kind of superficial Amazon hit piece that so many seem to crave.
Bought a charger with a UL mark so my house wouldn't burn down. The UL mark was fake. Tons of complaints on the site about the fake UL mark. Amazon did a refund (great), but kept selling the bad charger (ayfkm). Also, I had no charger that I felt safe using.
Partner has gotten fake cosmetics. Which go on your face and lips and are ingested.
I tried 3 times to buy a new battery for my car keyfob. All of them died within 2-6 weeks. Gave up and bought one from my local hardware store; it lasted 2+ years just like the original.
Amazon is great if it's a book, and the failure mode of a bad book is the pages rip or something. I wouldn't buy anything you need to trust -- food, cosmetics, etc.
This is a problem that bricks and mortar stores are also faced with – especially when the box has been resealed in a way that makes it look like it was never opened.
Not too long ago I looked up the legal standards for (US) butter grading. Turns out they are exclusively based on a taster's professional opinion of the butter's flavor.
This seems like a piece of regulatory apparatus we could do without.
Best Buy and B&H have most of my business now. Other than Prime shipping, everyone has caught up on price.
But Walmart doesn't commingle inventory, as far as I know.
This is definitely a plus.
Yes! I abuse this a lot, even when it's $9.99. For the first year of my last start-up, I ended up buying from Best Buy a LOT because I wasn't told about new hires until the day of or things just break and you need a same-day replacement. They have this for a lot of their LA stores.
It's one of the few stores I still physically visit just to browse, with no specific purchasing goal in mind. It's how I ended up with a Philips Hues light setup and I'm actually very happy with it.
When the pandemic started deliveries went from 2 days to about 5. Normally they shipped from the next city over. They argued this was to prioritize health products.
Then a very large distribution center started being in panned/submitted to the county, under an alias. There’s been som pushback.
Suddenly my zip code is having deliveries stretch out to 7-14 days. It’s pretty predictable. To the point I can have them shipped to the office and get back to 2 days but to my home, that mouse I ordered last weekend still hasn’t shown up.
Rather than putting pressure on my coonty board members to approve the warehouse I wrote a letter to the opposite. Canceled prime and moved to other services to find gear. I bought something on Newegg for the first time in years partially because of this issue and partially because of the fraud rife with Amazon and I didn’t want the “new” hard drive I ordered turn out to be a refurb in new “clothing”
My items have included a number of different signal cables, coffee bean storage canister, knife sharpener, microfibre cloths - all top notch quality.
I had one shipment get lost in the AusPost system which was frustrating (the tracking was active, but it ended up in a truly weird place), but received a refund as soon as I escalated it.
And I do recall needing to vet the knife sharpener as there were a bunch of fakes; the one I ended up with was top notch.
I wonder if the Australian branch performs some vetting, or if I've just been lucky.
Might be because we’re too small of a market for it to be an issue yet? Not sure.
Other products can also be bought that way, but of course not all.
Marketplaces are about balancing out competing sources of stuff by roughly their quality value without oversight, provided the underlying 'rules' aren't too egregiously ignored (no committing actual crimes, no stealing things to sell them at prices below their worth, no lying or pressuring people to lie on your behalf or stealing their identities to lie with).
When you enforce a lack of crimes, marketplaces work to allocate resources without top-down control, and scale as big as you like without losing that quality. THAT is the point. It has nothing to do with discovery and in fact they're not at all great for discovery.
The person who allocates more money and energy to being discovered by you is always going to come out ahead of the one who worked to deliver you a better product and didn't put as many resources into, quite literally, marketing. All expenditures in marketing are literally you paying to be sold on a thing, literally you paying to distort the marketplace in the product's favor (regardless of its value, could be garbage or a Veblen good that is otherwise of unimpeachable quality)
The LAST thing you want is a marketplace for discovery. You want discovery to do an end run around the market and give you the realities of what's being sold. The market then allocates resources based on your hopefully enlightened input.
Instead, I look at multiple products, research them, and evaluate reviews. I don't weigh reviews equally. Instead, I look for thoughtful reviews.
In today's information manipulation landscape, you either do your own research or outsource it.
You see, the trick is to only buy when the seller is "Amazon". These products almost always have high-quality, and are authentic.
You see, Amazon makes it very difficult to filter "Amazon" as the seller. There is no "default" and I believe it reverts to "All sellers" on every search. I believe this is deliberate.
The "seller" problem applies to Walmart, Bestbuy, etc. But for some reason, it's much easier to filter the seller on these sites.
Now we call it Scamazon and you spend like 30 minutes weeding through crap, scammy duplicate looking listings and fake reviews for any signs that a single item is worth buying before you give up and go to Walmart.
It's so sad that it's gotten to the point where I think Walmart has better quality and prices than Amazon.
We see dollar store stuff on Amazon for like $27 all the time.
It's like they let their brand erode to pure garbage.
Curation is an important part of any retail experience. I don't need a thousand "brands" for a product. I need to know what the top few are, so I can choose well.
I hate the fact that there are a relatively small number of actual manufacturers of some classes of product, and then a massive fragmentation of "brands" that are just the same things, repackaged.
On Amazon, the brand is Amazon -- because there's a small (and getting smaller) chance you've ever heard of the brand before. So when it comes to trust, our trust relationship is with Amazon.
The main thing Amazon has going for it is the liberal return policies -- those transform the lack of trust in the general buying experience into a two-way door.
I'm sick of spending hours researching shit just to find something decent, whether it's screwdrivers or thermostats or lightbulbs.
Hard to make money otherwise as someone will always see your traffic and make it really worth your while for you to cross the line on recommendations, and hey, since you never meet or see the people who use your site and they'll probably only buy once, why not?
You can't really trust any site or article about quality or ratings, because they all exist solely to do this, or it's some random dude's blog that you'll never actually find or believe in anyway. If he does get traffic he decides he wants to make a go at making money, and whoops, there we go again!
Of course you could run a real store with inventory and such, but man that's too much work when the other way is so easy.
It's a recurring theme throughout history that products or services there were once only available to the wealthiest elite of society eventually trickle down to everyone, often due to improvements in technology.
Think of a product, and it was once unavailable to the masses: refined sugar, spices, cars, etc...
A significant luxury that the rich enjoy is having personal shoppers that eliminate the hassle of having to wade through this crap themselves, deal with deliveries, and return things if they don't work out.
I can imagine a web site that works like that, but utilising efficiencies of scale to bring the cost of this service down to mass-market levels. Affordable by the upper middle class, instead of just the multi-millionaires.
The problem is that kind of incentive is really difficult, or maybe impossible, to do cheaply. How do you scale anything in a way that doesn't turn extra pickiness for a specific customer into a cost?
I mean what the parent-to-my-post suggested: a curated shopping site, where all products are guaranteed to be high quality, end of story. No fakes. No drop-shipping from untrustworthy suppliers. No bargain basement products.
You could do this for basically anything! As a random example, my building was constructed using the cheapest supplier for electrical outlets and switches. Fully half are broken in just a couple of years, and one of them shorted so badly it nearly set the apartment on fire. That's absurdly dangerous, yet they did it to save something like $2 per outlet.
I went online and tried to do some research to find a reputable vendor, but I got lost in the sea of options. There is no review that is trustworthy. There's no site I can judge to be reliable by myself.
Steve Jobs told his team that all of the Apple products should fit on a table. There shouldn't be fifty models with varying levels of quality. There should just be one of each, the best, end of story. Customers shouldn't have to do research, or figure out which one has flaws that they can tolerate at a preferred price point.
Sure, this flies in the face of economic theory, but Apple become the world's biggest company under Jobs' leadership, and their brand is basically magic. Maybe he has a point.
Those businesses (they used to just be called "stores" or "retailers") are being driven either to transform or out of business by models like Amazon.
The same thing happens on sites like Airbnb, where it's trivial to delete bad reviews.
With a system like this, you can skirt ethics by showing only positive reviews, and then you can't exactly be accused of fraud or fake reviews.
They deleted my last one star review too for a fraudulent fake product that wasted my time and money.
Scamazon no longer deserves the SEO juice of previously entered legitimate reviews.
Logging in to delete my past reviews now...
I feel for you. I telneted to books.com, before there was a "million book river" amazon ...
Sic transit gloria mundi, etc.
All my ahead-of-time product research happens through reddit and YouTube and if it's a purchase that's super important to me, I'll think on it for weeks.
I avoid most resellers by default unless the reviews look balanced or they are obviously based in the US or Canada. And if I want something and it only appears to be available through less trustworthy third party resellers, then I will just buy it elsewhere.
To be clear, just because I've been able to avoid it doesn't make the situation good, but for me it's relatively easy to avoid being scammed. Be skeptical of third party resellers by default, and it will go a long way.
And to avoid "intermingling of fulfillment", all you have to do is verify it says "Ships from and sold by Amazon" in the text under the price. Any mention of fulfillment in that text implies third party somewhere in the chain.
Prime is a scam anyway. If I need something immediately then I goto the store. If I can wait then a week is fine (everywhere else has 2 day shipping now anyway). 2 days is a weird timeframe. It's fake convenience, an uncanny valley.
It would cost me money and time to go I don't even know where to buy the item in person, it's a very non-trivial convenience to me.
And then Prime aside, the no-nonsense support/returns is something I knowingly sometimes pay a premium for. A few quid extra at Amazon vs. unknown site, or especially say eBay is worth it IMO. Not to mention the convenience of already having payment details there and not suffering through Sage/WorldPay/Pal for some one-off guest checkout.
(Aside: scummy PayPal created an account for me from such a checkout process, and refuse to close it without me first 'verifying' it by providing photo ID and other PII. Such nonsense.)
I definitely no longer mindlessly shop on Amazon anymore.
I'm confused. What are you shopping for if this is your experience? I've run into a lot of fake reviews but otherwise I still goto Amazon by default for any purchase outside of groceries or bulky, cheap items.
Besides the review misconduct, I do think a lot of people's issues with Amazon stem from purchasing no-name products from unknown sellers, an action that is made horrendously easy by Amazon's UI. I've purchased tens of thousands of dollars worth of items from Amazon, and I have had a perfect experience by following two rules: (1) always buy from Amazon (not a marketplace seller), and (2) always buy a reputable brand.
Others have mentioned the issue of co-mingling inventory, and while I believe it's an issue, I've never come across a purchase from Amazon that looked anything less than legitimate.
Time is money.
Amazon is good for nothing right now.
So you buy from AliExpress and it's shipped from Poland or even Germany with DHL/Hermes/etc.
Which I guess might not help British buyers anymore, but look for "UK fulfillment/warehouse", maybe some will have them.
That's to England, and it does work. I've used it a lot since the flu made it essential.
The scam for many flash drives is to provide a working one that's only a fraction of the size (but it reports the full size).
It works fine as long as you don't use more than the real capacity, that may be a just few percents or as much as half.
Either way, it doesn't matter if they're sold by Amazon since they intermix inventory in their warehouses anyways. Might as well buy the same, cheaper item from the sketchy seller, because it's getting fulfilled out of the same bin anyways.
Each was also somehow doctored to report back as showing up as 32GB in windows explorer but would freeze once you tried transferring more than 2GB onto it.
Nowadays I rarely buy from eBay unless it is niche/unique/local.
Never buy from Scamazon any more. Used to love them now it's just a gamble hoping you get exactly what you paid for
I mentioned the mixing of inventories, but as I've said, I've purchased literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of items from Amazon. I average about 1.5 orders per week over the past decade, and I've never received an item that I doubted the legitimacy of. Furthermore, after some research it seems that Amazon does not mix their own inventory with third-party sellers inventory; they only mix third-party seller inventory when the seller opts into having their inventory mixed.
Would you mind sharing the source of this information? If this is true it I think it would be a relatively recent change as this particular issue has been at the center of several high-profile consumer products liability lawsuits in the last few years.
I did read the FAQ that Amazon provides to sellers, but it doesn't definitely say whether Amazon Retail items can be fulfilled by FBA merchants. (Interestingly, it does say that consumable products like cosmetics aren't eligible for virtual tracking, and a lot of the online reports from people are those types of products.)
A clear indicator that it's directly from Amazon and not intermingled is "Ships from and sold by Amazon". Any mention of fulfillment in that text should make you slightly more cautious.
Obviously, this entire situation is stupid and they shouldn't force you to parse their little blurbs about selling/fulfillment, but the information is there.
From a USB C charger perspective, many of the banned brands were actually quite good , selling GaNFast chargers which are as good as it comes. Most of what remains is unknown.
It's hard to blame these companies , Amazon pretty much made the place such that once one brand started doing this, you were dead if you weren't.
So no, I do not see this as a good thing. There are other steps they could've taken but no.
Stopping co-mingling would be one but I haven't heard them doing so.
Curating products and taking responsibility would be another but LOL.
As I mentioned before, my favorite product on Amazon demonstrating the utter lawlessness of a place is a powerstrip with a C5/C6 coupler input and a few NEMA 5-15R sockets. It ships with a CEE7/16-C5 cable (!!) and a couple plug shape adapters. I have been trying to decide for years whether it's a bigger fire hazard than an electricity hazard but I just can't make up my mind. Without a doubt, if a retail store attempted to sell this, it would be closed down, razed and the place sown with salt for good measure. Or at least fined into oblivion. It claims to have a TÜV Süd safety mark, it's obviously a fake one -- I'd pay good money to see the face of a TÜV Süd engineer when they see a power strip with a 2.5A input feeding 15A sockets. And of course losing ground because who needs the safety ground to be connected to ground. It is 4.5 stars with 7966 ratings and an "A" from FakeSpot.
That doesn't match my experience, I have started to just put the word "anker" at the end of my searches because that seems to be the only brand amazon carries that don't break after a month
They were the only ones I was happy with after using Anker, Duracell, Best Buy branded, etc. All would charge/output slow, heat up, lose capacity, etc.
My next purchase from them is going to be their Solar Cell and their portable charging station.
Def gonna try that charger out, had been eyeing it for a bit now, thanks for the heads-up!
That's the job of a market. If it's demonstrated that this is the new rule under which competition happens, the job of a maximally efficient marketplace is to make everyone else comply as quickly as possible.
Having to sort reviews by most recent and really study the product and seller defeat the point. That’s why I’m back to ordering online with Home Depot and the like.
It seems Amazon only gives API access for the last 10,000 reviews, which might seem like a lot, but I bought something the other day that had 30k reviews. Low percentage reported as fake, but that doesn’t mean a ton, that product could have played they system on the first 10k reviews to establish itself as the most popular option.
I agree with everyone else, I think the “safety” is higher on traditional sites.
Personal Information We Collect
User ID: Such as screen name, handle, account ID, or other user- or account-level ID that can be used to identify a particular user or account. This information could be provided via your Fakespot account, Apple ID, Google Account, or other accounts you may use on the Services. User ID also includes your account password, other credentials, security questions, and confirmation codes.
The keyword here is "brands", I think. I assume this means you cannot sell any product of that brand name, regardless of who you are.
But then the article states:
>Even though Aukey was one of the first high-profile companies to get banned in May, the company was still selling earbuds under a sub-brand as of July, and you can still buy a pair of them on Amazon even today. I also found a Choetech wireless charging pad, and a RavPower battery.
Okay, so fraudulent sales continue and this is basically a non-story?
Given how hard it is, at least for a customer, to match any kind of real-world entity to a XINKDS or MOLYPOW, and how many new vaguely pronounceable permutations of letters show up as new “brands” every month, this actually seems like a low number.
This just feels like Amazon making an example of some of the worst offenders (or the easiest targets) so it makes people think they're doing something.
> Amazon.com said on Friday that it has closed about 3,000 online merchant accounts, backed by about 600 Chinese brands, [..]
That's pretty significant. Names like RavPower and Mpow are quite big in this space, it's crazy they did not already make some effort to clean-up their act. I guess this may be the wake-up call they need.
> The company’s campaign is not intended to target China or any other country [..]
It's just that the ban almost entirely only affected Chinese brands. I really am glad Amazon are finally taking notice of shitty seller practices.
> While questionable practices like paying for positive reviews often go unchecked on Chinese e-commerce platforms, [..]
This does not speak highly of Chinese e-commerce platforms.
> The crackdown has prompted some Chinese merchants to start investing more on other international online retail platforms such as eBay and AliExpress, according to the Shenzhen Cross-Border E-Commerce Association.
Seems interesting that rather than attempt to clean-up their act and not buy reviews, they would prefer to move platform entirely and continue this obviously immoral behaviour. I suspect it's mostly posturing though, Amazon is a massive platform and gateway into the Western marketplace.
To quote Michael Scott from The Office, “If tomorrow my company goes under I will just start another paper company. And then another and another and another. I have no shortage of company names.”
Amazon took the review down.
Until Amazon starts actually vetting the products and sellers that they offer a platform to, they will continue to be full of fraud and scams.
Its not just these brands that are fooling with the review system.
They play a lot of manipulative little games like this.
(I'm guessing it unlikely that one person adding an item to a wishlist would cause the price to drop for everyone.)
With the level of data collection possible today, it is possibly to target users with dynamic prices. I recently noted that an Alexa device with a display has an always on bluetooth that cannot be turned off. This aloows Amazon to scan for other devices in your house and use that data to determine something about you.
Not once, but twice in a row; then Amazon accused me of lying.
I just use them for video streaming, now.
Anything like integrated circuits, cameras etc, there is definitely the possibility of somebody coming up with a high quality knock-off that's functionally competitive with the known version. You just won't be able to tell if it's a good knock-off or a broken knock-off.
Some things you won't get. There won't be an equivalent of my API microphone preamplifiers: not nearly a large enough market, and too tricky to make properly. But something like a Logitech webcam or a budget Focusrite pre, you are already getting compromised design to hit a price point, and that opens up avenues for a knock-off to try to do the same thing without paying for brand building or discovery in the normal sense. And that's when you find out how much it cost to make the actual object (sometimes, also knocking off the design process and outright pirating it).
Example: (all the 5 star reviews with photos were paid (40$)) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08398XN1G/