13 Signs an Amazon Seller Can’t Be Trusted
Not all Amazon sellers deserve your trust or your business. Here are the smart steps you can take to avoid getting scammed.
Note whether the product or seller has Amazon’s seal of approval
“When it comes to common marketplaces like Amazon who retail in third-party suppliers, look for the sellers they have faith in,” advises Brandon Kovach, founder of the Kovach Companies Inc. “If [the seller] offers Prime or one-day shipping, then you know this is an established market partner for these vendors and they have been vetted.” By checking reviews and working with Amazon-vetted sellers, he adds, “you minimize the risk of being burned.” Of course, for buyers, membership always comes with privileges…but not everyone knows about these 17 Amazon Prime benefits.
Check the answered questions
Anderson advises buyers to look beyond the reviews. “While reviews affect a product’s ranking, the user-generated question and answer sections don’t,” he explains. “This means they’re only ever used by real people giving real feedback.” You can generally find these asked and answered questions above the reviews section. “Look for a healthy amount of questions being asked and helpful responses given by both satisfied customers and the seller themselves,” he says. “If there’s a ton of positive reviews but barely a single question asked about the product? Suspicious.”
Be wary if the prices have been inflated, then discounted
“Overinflated list prices are another thing to watch out for,” says Lovett. “If something like a plastic garbage can has a list price of $5,000 and it’s been marked down to $10, odds are the seller is trying to make their listing more appealing by showing a higher discount.” Still, price reductions aren’t always a sign to run. Older products, for example, sometimes receive price drops when newer models are introduced. “A third-party seller may choose to use the original list price so it looks like the product is discounted,” Lovett adds. “It’s still a little sketchy, but more understandable than a crazy markup like the garbage-can example.” Of course, everyone wants a good deal, but it’s much smarter and safer to try these 12 money-saving Amazon tricks most people don’t know about.
When in doubt, buy from someone else
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the potential for getting scammed, Jon Derkits of 3PM Solutions says there are third-party extensions that can help you vet Amazon sellers and products. And as a former Amazonian who served as Amazon.ca’s leader for Customer Trust and Fraud Prevention, he would know. “There are a number of browser extensions that provide insight into the seller, the product, and the reviews. Use them,” he says. His recommendations?
- ReconBob, which will give you a sense of the seller’s history
- The Keepa widget, which inspects product prices and determines not only whether you’re getting a good deal but also if the product has an unusual price history
- And ReviewMeta and FakeSpot, which gauge the authenticity of customer reviews
“Doing [due] diligence on the seller, product, and reviews may seem like a lot of work for a $20 purchase,” says Derkits, “but these extensions make it super easy and greatly reduce your risk of getting a bad product.” Next, find out which 13 things you can get for free on Amazon. (Yes, you read that right—for free.)