According to Bruce Anderson, a former detective who now heads e-Enforce (an e-Commerce protection and enforcement firm), there are dozens of reasons why consumers should be suspicious of Amazon’s third-party seller program.
“While many of Amazon’s third-party sellers are legitimate,” Anderson explained, “hundreds, if not thousands, are not. We’ve seen illicit sellers do things like purchase entire lots of expired, brand-name vitamin/supplement products from rogue distributors at rock-bottom prices. Then they turn around and sell them on Amazon as ‘new’ for prices legitimate sellers can’t compete with. That means consumers end up with potentially unsafe products while the original manufacturer risks negative product reviews resulting from these faulty sales. It’s a massive problem for brands and for online holiday shoppers.”
Anderson cautions that if a product price on Amazon seems too good to be true (even during holiday markdowns), it probably is. He suggests that before consumers click the “Buy Now” button on a seemingly sweet deal, they check the manufacturer’s website to see if their particular Amazon seller is approved by the company. He further suggests that consumers check not only product reviews, but seller reviews appearing on the third-party retailer’s Amazon storefront page. If other people have had problems with that seller, chances are you will too.