My PSA to You About Buying Products on Amazon

  • Amazon has a big problem and it is counterfeit and fraud through third party sellers. My recent experience will shed light on this dark market and how you can avoid mishaps like me.

    I never thought I’d actually have to write a post like this.

    I’ve been a loyal Amazon customer for years. Like, since at least 2009.

    That’s over 10 years! Ew. 10 years, haha

    Since then, a lot on Amazon has changed.

    I mean, they literally offer any and everything now (good and bad) and you can now get groceries delivered to you.

    And they’re partnered with Whole Foods and there’s just SOOO many pluses to Amazon (convenience being number one) that it’s weird that I’m even writing this post.

    As with all thing good, there is always a flipside — the bad.

    The bad thing about Amazon is its lack of accountability and vetting of third party sellers.

    I mean, I KNOW Amazon is a huge company and they probably get 4082348638 million new third party sellers open up shop every day and it’s hard to police stuff but I feel there definitely needs to be more accountability.

    At least they aren’t like Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest where there is no customer support.

    Amazon does generally have great customer support (although I do doubt it sometimes when you give them feedback; it’s like talking to a wall and the feedback going into a dark hole and nothing changes) and they do try to resolve things swiftly.

    So why am I even writing this post today?

    Well, I recently got duped on Amazon and it made me realize how easy it is for that to happen.

    And the dupe, to me, was scary. Because it was a personal hygiene product.

    Before you jump all over me for lack of research: let me back up.

    I never buy skincare, hair care, or beauty products on Amazon

    I used to but not anymore.

    Why?

    My hair stylist told me many years ago that mostly all third party sellers on Amazon that sell salon products (like products that you can typically only buy at licensed salons or Ulta, etc.) are on the grey/black market.

    It means they buy these products, let it sit in a warehouse/at home/wherever, until the barcode expires and then they re-sell it online (Amazon) for a lower price.

    They wait for the barcode to expire so they can’t be tracked and they sell it for a lower price because like you and me, we love a great deal. “Omg, it’s so much cheaper on Amazon!”

    When the barcode expires, the product is likely expired. Meaning, you’d be putting expired lotion on your face, or expired shampoo in your hair, or putting on that sheet mask that is expired.

    If you buy vitamins on Amazon, I would reconsider immediately.

    YES. THIS IS REAL.

    I exclusively (now) buy all my skincare, hair care, and beauty products at Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta, Dermstore, or certified retailers.

    You can see in my Shop that I don’t link to anything on Amazon for skincare, hair care, or beauty.

    So how did you get duped?

    Okay, so I’m about to talk about a feminine hygiene product so if you get offended with talks about menstrual cycles, you may just want to skip this altogether.

    I have been using a Diva Cup for several years.

    I love it. It’s the best thing that has happened to my periods.

    I bought my very first Diva Cup five years ago.

    They typically can last up to 10 years but I was feeling that I needed a new one. It’s just that feeling where “you know.” 

    And if you use a menstrual cup, you know what I’m talking about with “that feeling.”

    I hopped on Amazon, quickly searched, “Diva Cup” and the first one that popped up had a little “Amazon’s Choice” banner by it. I looked at the price. $15.99. Score. That is more than 50% off retail price. Added it to my cart and done.

    BEFORE SOMEONE JUMPS DOWN MY THROAT: my first Diva Cup was bought on Amazon and it was fine. I realize these days have probably changed and I realized I probably should have bought it at Target or a physical retail store, but again, if you have bought something with no issues in the past, you would probably have done the same thing as me.

    Amazon has a big problem and it is counterfeit and fraud through third party sellers. My recent experience will shed light on this dark market and how you can avoid mishaps like me.

    When it arrived, I pulled the box out of the Amazon package and immediately I saw the misspelling of “menstrual.”

    At first I was like…would Diva Cup actually really spell that wrong? Like could that get past QA?

    Then I started examining the rest of the box.

    It was just OFF.

    Amazon has a big problem and it is counterfeit and fraud through third party sellers. My recent experience will shed light on this dark market and how you can avoid mishaps like me.

    Like, punctuation, grammar, capitalization, SPELLING. “sports and mort…” (supposed to be sports and more)

    The SUBTLE differences are telling.

    Amazon has a big problem and it is counterfeit and fraud through third party sellers. My recent experience will shed light on this dark market and how you can avoid mishaps like me.

    Now, I feel if I didn’t have a keen eye for this stuff (I’m a creative/designer so I notice VERY little details that most people would not ever pick up on), I wouldn’t have noticed anything.

    Heck, if MENSTRUAL was spelled correctly, I probably would not have checked the rest of the box. Which, thinking about it, is pretty scary because I would’ve been using something counterfeit and who the hell knows what kind of material it was and where it came from. Ew, getting a little skeeved out thinking about this.

    The fact that the very name of what the product was was spelled wrong; it was a huge red flag.

    What’s your problem?

    My problem is many things.

    Amazon has a big problem and it is counterfeit and fraud through third party sellers. My recent experience will shed light on this dark market and how you can avoid mishaps like me.

    1. The fact that Amazon had an “Amazon’s Choice” banner on it. I hovered over that banner and it says they deem it an Amazon’s Choice because of the great price and high reviews. I was told by a reader who’s husband works at Amazon that this is algorithm based but how terrible is that?!
      • Um, it was a great price because it was COUNTERFEIT AND FAKE.
      • High reviews because it was sold UNDER the Diva Cup brand.
    2. When I contacted Amazon about this, I learned this was non-returnable (UNDERSTANDABLE, lol) but they refunded me right away. I told them it was counterfeit and fake. They were like, ‘oh okay, here’s a refund.’
    3. Do you really think they’re going to let someone high up at Amazon know about this? Do you really think they’re going to close this reseller? Probably not.
    4. Comments/positive reviews are generally all fake. I know Amazon has had a crackdown on fake comments and you have to be a “verified purchase” to leave one but these scammers have a way around it. You literally can’t trust anything anymore on there.

    My problem is that there is no accountability for this. This reseller is just going to get away with this; just like MANY third party resellers on Amazon.

    What I could of done differently and how YOU can avoid this mishap

    Because I have bought a Diva Cup before on Amazon, I didn’t think anything of it to dig further and do more research.

    Usually, when I see “Amazon’s Choice,” I think it’s sold from Amazon.com and not a third party reseller.

    I should’ve saw that it was sold by a third party seller and fulfilled by Amazon.

    Had I saw this, I probably would not have bought it.

    Usually, when I see that something is a third party seller and fulfilled by Amazon, I don’t buy it.

    I typically only buy sold and fulfilled by Amazon products.

    Amazon has a big problem and it is counterfeit and fraud through third party sellers. My recent experience will shed light on this dark market and how you can avoid mishaps like me.

    Amazon usually shows you the cheapest price but if you really want to know where your product is coming from and ensure you get it from Amazon and not a third party seller…

    Underneath the price box, there’s a box that says “Other Sellers on Amazon.” It will tell you how many new and used ones there are. You can click on the number. It’s kind of hard to see because they don’t put an underline so you don’t think it’s a link.

    Usually it says: Used & new (2) from $XX.XX or 11 new

    Sometimes, if you don’t see that box, there is similar language after the description of the product.

    Amazon has a big problem and it is counterfeit and fraud through third party sellers. My recent experience will shed light on this dark market and how you can avoid mishaps like me.

    Look in the SELLER INFORMATION column and then look for Amazon.com.

    Typically, the ones that say “Fulfillment by Amazon” is okay/real but you should check the seller’s reviews.

    I only buy stuff that is Fulfillment by Amazon with high reviews or if Amazon is the direct seller.

    Of course, this time, I made a mistake because I had bought my original one with no issue and didn’t think to focus on this further.

    Lesson learned! Don’t be rash with purchases on Amazon.

    Amazon called me

    Would they have called any other customer if they didn’t have a social following or blog? Not sure but I received three phone calls in a row on Friday afternoon from AMAZON COM.

    I didn’t pick up because I wasn’t prepared to talk to whomever it was on the other line.

    I then received an email from a Sr. Manager in Product Management that said he wanted to talk to me.

    I reached out to my lawyer to make sure it was okay and she wouldn’t need to be on the call.

    Part of me didn’t want to hop on the call because I knew it was going to be one of those calls that tells me how they take this stuff very seriously, blah blah

    The other part of me wanted to hop on the call to advocate for others who don’t have the opportunity to.

    The Amazon employee called me later that evening and we talked for less than 10 minutes.

    I let him know what I thought about all this and how I feel like it’s such a bandaid when customer service gets a report of counterfeit.

    He walked me through the backend process and how they take things seriously and have strict procedures and take action immediately after the report.

    I also told him that I thought it’s ridiculous that third party sellers can just open an account.

    He said that is was not true. “It’s not a click of a mouse”. They need to submit business licenses, identification, and a whole slew of paperwork beforehand.

    Funny because a reader of mine messaged me and told me their friend easily opened an account to sell something.

    Anyway, the call wasn’t any different than what I knew was going to happen.

    They have a real problem and I don’t think they know how to stop it.

    They’re too big now and they’re just the modern eBay.

    Amazon has multiple lawsuits against them over this very issue

    This article is VERY TELLING. Give it a read. There’s so many things in that article that make me angry.

    Of course, the problem is not limited to Amazon. E-commerce sites like eBay, Newegg, and Walmart.com have also been accused of selling counterfeits. (All say they have strict procedures to remove offending products from their websites, and that they vociferously fight against counterfeits.)

    When I hopped on the phone with the Sr. Manager at Amazon, I said that Amazon has zero accountability for counterfeit products and he told me the EXACT same thing that the article said. That they have “strict procedures” and that they “fight against counterfeits.”

    Courts have yet to find Amazon liable for selling counterfeit products on its site, because the company has been able to argue that it is a platform for sellers, rather than a seller itself. 

    I think this is total BS because on products (like the one I bought) that are sold by a third party seller then fulfilled by Amazon, isn’t that technically an Amazon liability because the product is at their warehouse and they’re the ones that have it in hand to finish the final transaction. They could check these things at the warehouse so I still think Amazon should 100% be liable because the order is being fulfilled by them.

    Here’s a more recent article from Deborah Copaken’s disastrous Canada Goose purchase

    Of course, Amazon’s response is the same I got from my phone call: 

    In a statement, Amazon said it has many processes in place to combat counterfeit products, including machine learning, automated systems, dedicated teams of software engineers, research scientists, program managers, and investigators. According to the company, more than 99 percent of Amazon pages that customers visit have not received notices of potential infringement.

    In conclusion

    Amazon needs to be accountable for all third party sellers.

    Amazon needs to care about fraud reports.

    Amazon needs to vet third party sellers.

    Amazon has to do better. We need to be the ones to hold them accountable.

    We all need to be diligent and do our research — yes, for something as menial as shopping on Amazon.

    I may be old school but I kind of do miss shopping in stores. You just sometimes never know what you’re getting buying online. But I can’t quit its convenience haha

    I don’t think anything will change anytime soon but if more and more people stop shopping on Amazon and hit them where it hurts (their wallets), then they might take notice.

    I’m not saying to stop shopping on Amazon — I certainly won’t BUT I have heard from SO MANY OF YOU that you have taken a step back from shopping on Amazon because of all the counterfeit and fraud. So many of you have sent me messages of frustration that you have had similar experiences.

    To me, that makes me think…if more of us take a step back, if more of us start to be louder about this issue…they may take notice.

    Share your experience

    I heard from MANY of you on Instagram but I’m sure there are more folks out there; could you please share your experience below so we have a running list of issues?

    I’m trying to get word out about this post and would love people’s experiences below to show I am certainly not the only one with this experience.

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  • E Welk says:

    I learned the hard way too! Now I always look to see who the item is sold and shipped by! I also ask around about quality and value. Which I’ve done to you on occasion 🙂. I never knew about the expiration aspect, but it makes total sense that an item is cheaper when near or past expiration (runs to the bathroom to check all my beauty purchases). Sad that we as consumers have to be so vigilant but I’m glad you spotted the dupe before use. I shudder at the thought of a knockoff product being made/used for such a personalproduct. Shame on them! Hopefully amazon removes them as a seller.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      agree! and yes, definitely go check all your items!!

  • Alexis says:

    I almost bought a diva cup on amazon yesterday!! So glad I didn’t. Thanks for the post. I shop amazon WAY too much and need to pay closer attention.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      omg so glad you didn’t!!

  • JenJ says:

    Very informative post! I’ve seen this more and more. Amazon needs to do better!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      They really do.

  • Sandy T says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this. I have stopped buying from third party supplies on amazon. I’ve been duped and amazon was NO help. Lesson learned, amazon only.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      They just refund and call it a day. While I appreciate the refund, I would appreciate a resolution to these counterfeit items more.

  • Gayle Gorman says:

    Julie..I agree with you 100% in regards to not buying certain types of products at Amazon …and to always check seller reviews( which should be done on all websites).

    • Julie Wampler says:

      So, I actually touched on this in the post (about reviews)…most of them are FAKE!! It is SO frustrating that we can’t get anything real anymore.

  • autumn w says:

    So important!!! I bought my cup from Amazon, but it was sold by DIvaCup and it was definitely real. But I get a lot of ads for fake cups. It’s never worth the extra money “saved” for something you’re putting in a pretty delicate place.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      It says it’s sold by DivaCup, like “by Diva Cup” in the title, but that has no tie between who the actual seller is..that’s why it’s so confusing and quite honestly false advertising.

  • Jessica J. says:

    Amazon is a very bad company with abhorrent business practices, well beyond not regulating third-party sellers. I haven’t shopped with them in more than a decade and I manage to find everything I need just fine. Plenty of other websites offer free shipping and aren’t as abusive toward their suppliers.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yes, I agree. I’m starting to really pull back my habits of shopping with them. It’s just so convenient but I do not agree with their practices, AT ALL.

  • Laura says:

    Oh no, that is horrible! At least you noticed right away before you had even fully unpackaged it or put it to use. I can’t even/dont even want to imagine all the horrible things it is made up of. Eck!

    These are similar, but not counterfeit item stories.
    My husband and I did 90% or more of our Christmas shopping online. It was a first for us (doing that much shopping online), but totally convenient. One item we bought off eBay was the Vtech Write & Learn Center. We tested it (to make sure the batteries worked), and the display screen had lines running through it. So we returned it, and found it cheaper at Wal-Mart.

    Another item that we bought (this time from Amazon) was a small cow, that was supposed to play music and move. It looked really cool and looked like something our nephew would really like. We paid $25 for it, and it came in a box with a few other Amazon things. Ok, no biggie. We pulled out the other gifts first before we even saw the cow. The cow was only wrapped in plastic, and it could for fit in the palm of your hand. I was so mad – like livid. At that point, it was too close to Christmas to return it, so we ran to the dollar store and picked him up an outfit to go with it.

    So we are thinking that we may not depend on online shopping for Christmas as much in the future.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yeah, I rely on Amazon a lot for Christmas shopping because I just cannot stand the crowds, however, this year, I may try other retailers like Nordstrom and Walmart/Target. I’d rather pay a bit more than deal with Amazon. Prime these days isn’t even that reliable around holiday time. Sorry to hear of your luck! Thanks for sharing.

  • Christine Kennedy says:

    You nailed it. I have been seething about this Third Party Seller issue with Amazon for a while now. Just when I thought maybe it was just a few hiccups in my otherwise okay experiences with Amazon, overall, I got into a customer service chat that was pretty eye opening. In my chat, I was contacting them because an item I ordered – at the point of purchase, it was Prime, and Fulfilled by Amazon – ended up being sent from a Third Party Seller once I got the shipping notification email. Oh, and an item that was supposed to be delivered in 2 days was now being shipped FROM CHINA, and I was informed the new delivery date was like 2 weeks. And I could not cancel the order. So, I asked Amazon about this issue, and why this was not disclosed at the point of purchase. The response I got in the customer service chat was that sometimes items sell out from a seller at point of purchase, and they just use the next seller! But, they don’t tell you about it. Basically, they hope you don’t notice.

    THANK YOU for posting this information!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Yep, so many things now are from shady Chinese manufacturers trying to make a buck off us and Amazon could give a rats a$$ about it! It’s infuriating. The CS doesn’t even run this up the chain to whom it matters…which is the frustrating part b/c it’s never going to get better.

  • Amy McElroy says:

    This post is so timely for me! I was just at the hair salon and I saw this framed notice at the salon. It was a photo of a “Chi” hair product, but it wasn’t Chi…it had just a sticker label over it to look like Chi. I had no idea this was an issue with Amazon! Seeing that in the hair salon and now your post makes me question what I am ordering now. Thanks for this PSA!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Wow, that’s nuts! Sure thing!

  • Teri K says:

    I’ve been lucky and have not had similar issues. Thank you for sharing this with everyone.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Absolutely!

  • Bre says:

    I honestly didn’t even think about this! I ordered a cup from amazon (different brand), and your story had me checking to make sure it came from a verified source. Thanks for your insight!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yep! No problem! Need to let everyone know!

  • Stacey says:

    This is so ridiculous!! I bought a Halloween costume before and I didn’t get the same product that was pictured. It was similar but still! Not what I wanted.
    I will definitely be more careful of buying from third party sellers. Thanks for staring your experience!!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Absolutely! Third party sellers are a RAMPANT issue that Amazon quite frankly does not give a crap about. Sorry for your experience but thank you for sharing!

  • Kathy Hoss says:

    Julie, thank you for the interesting article. You may wish to correct a couple of sentences. They should read: I should have seen……and had I seen. Just thought you might wish to change this. Not trying to be a complainer, just thought you might want to correct this. Feel free to delete. I mean no ill will.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Hi, I’m not going to delete. Thanks for pointing it out. I write very casually, as this is a blog, not a New York Times article or a published book. I do appreciate you pointing it out though.

  • Jill Holmes says:

    Hi!! I can’t tell you how right you are!! I’ve been with amazon since the beginning too! There are too many 3rd party seller stories to tell you, that I have come across myself… but I have not only stepped back from buying things in general from amazon because of that but I am very cautious about who my product is coming from… lots of homework put into it. Not all 3rd party sellers are bad. I have found a few through amazon and then started buying the product through the sellers own website… usually the small family owned companies are awesome. All others though, not a chance. I will take you up on that request to be more Vocal about these issues. Thanks for posting!!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Good to hear that not all of them are bad but I just feel like there shouldn’t be that much research that has to be done to purchase say, a shower curtain! Why can’t places just be honest?! Anyway, thank you for sharing!

  • Ines says:

    Very informative and eye opening! Thx!

  • Cathy says:

    It really makes me angry that Amazon takes no responsibility for the sale of counterfeit medical devices. (Yes, menstrual cups are considered medical devices and are registered with the FDA!) So scary that folks often put their safety on the back burner to save a few bucks. If you happen to be looking for a Lunette Menstrual Cup you can always shoot Lunette HQ an email asking if the seller has legit product. Thank you for sharing your story, who knows what that cup is really made from.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      thank you for sharing!!! and yes, who knows what material it was!

  • Sheena says:

    This is beyond awful Julie! I hope Amazon take note, though on the face of it, it looks like they don’t care which is truly as shame as a few years ago they had pretty decent customer service and it seemed like they were a safe place to shop. it’s harder and harder to find quality stuff on there from reputable sellers and it looks like the algorithms have run amok in terms of ranking rip off and even unsafe content and recommending it to buyers like this, truly astonishing.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yes, totally agree. They have reached out to speak to me but I’m on the fence about it because I don’t know whether or not this is a waste of my time where they just feed me a bunch of BS or if there will be actual changes, etc. I think I’m just going to stick to local retailers and Target, etc. and just be super careful of what I want to buy on Amazon. Sigh, big corporations are great but they need to be responsible.

  • Natalie says:

    Thank you for this post – a great reminder to be careful on Amazon!

    One product I swear by is the Urban Decay eye-shadow primer. I was about to buy it on Amazon because of course it’s cheaper HOWEVER, luckily I happened to see a news report on some of the most popular counterfeited items on Amazon and this was on them.
    They tested a number of counterfeit beauty items and some of the horrible things they found in the Urban Decay products including the EYE Primer were cyanide, arsenic, mercury, lead, urine, and rat droppings!!! Incredibly disgusting that Amazon doesn’t vet their third party sellers better. By not doing this, they’re putting their customers at risk.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      OH MY GOD! That is horrendous. They really need to have some sort of responsibility and there is a major lack of it.

  • LinAtkinson says:

    I’ve heard many of these kinds of stories before and tales of business practices were enough to keep me from buying anything but ebooks from them. I found items locally for the same price plus their shipping fee and overall just decided to skip buying from them. I’m so sorry for all the horror stories and want to add my voice to see if we can force them to do better thru the power of the almighty buck.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Good for you; I think that is my next step, for sure!

  • Kate says:

    So scary! We’ve received some kid toys as gifts with very poor English on the box, definite knock offs, who knows what is in the actual products!
    We never buy our water filters from Amazon or Ebay anymore, definite knock offs and the last one broke our fridge because the sizing was off a little and water leaked everywhere and we had to get pay for a new part.

    I heard yesterday through a mom group that there are unapproved car seats on Amazon lately so if it looks like a good deal, it’s a knock off. Soo scary!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Woah, that’s scary and terrible about the car seats. That is a liability! Omg. We buy our water filters off Amazon but it’s the genuine (ha, “genuine”) Samsung part. It’s the same as retail price but you’re making me reconsider all this. I just feel like this has left a bad taste in my mouth and I’m super skeptical now about ordering anything. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • Emily P. says:

    I have Against my better judgment bought equipment for my spa from amazon, it all was terrible counterfeit product. I have Had clients buy Obagi products to get it cheaper, only to developer terrible rashes all over their faces. I also Purchased a defective diva cup! Pulled away from amazon, so many other businesses need our money!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Oh gosh, that is terrible :(

  • Steph says:

    Great post. I think their mentality of making it TOO easy to be issued a refund keeps problems like you’ve had at bay. So many people are just happy to have their money refunded without having the hassle of shipping the product back that they never actually report fraudulent items.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      YES! I actually said this exact thing to my Amazon rep who called me. I think he was high up in the company or something. He said someone forwarded him my blog post. Anyway, I said exactly what you said above and he told me there’s a whole backend process after the refund and the report of counterfeit/fraud. We, consumers, just see the refund part and the CS just wants to make us happy and deal with it first hand. Of course, whether or not there is resolve, we won’t know but what he was saying does make some sense.

  • Samantha B says:

    So agree with this. I bought a shirt off amazon. Supposed to be brand new and it comes in some crumby wrapping and has a blood stain on it. Like maybe someone had a cut on their finger and threw it in the bag and got it on there when packaging it. I was disgusted. Come to find out I thought it was from Amazon but turns out it was from a third party and the shipping address was like a persons home. Refunded my money to me but I was furious that they didn’t shut that person down, that is a total hazard and hygiene issue! And a second time I order some protein powder off of amazon and there were holes in the lid of it, like someone had tampered with it or put something in it. I threw it away and got a refund but still nothing else happened after that. I will not by personal products from amazon anymore. Sad but I’d rather make the trip to target to make sure it’s safe.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Eww that’s so gross!

  • Cyndi says:

    OMG Julie, thank you for this. This post made me realize that some things I’ve ordered from Amazon have been sketchy. I will certainly be more careful now. They do need to do better, this is very irresponsible of them. Like you, I will still order from Amazon, but possibly a little less, and definitely with more vigilance. Also infuriating is the “Amazon’s Choice” stamp of approval – I know they point out the reasons an item is recommended – but they truly don’t know, or care obviously – and when a company puts its name on something it had better be prepared to stand by it, as it signifies their trust, and consumers should be able to trust that. And now I don’t. I agree about ordering from other more reputable retailers. I have had wonderful experiences with Nordstrom – everything that has arrived has been perfection, and their customer service is second to none. No – I’m not affiliated in any way with Nordstrom, lol. Thank you again for this important and informative post.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      LOL I always talk so highly of Nordstrom too and I’m like I am not affiliated with them!! Yes, definitely have to be more vigilant now with all my purchases.

  • Kayoko says:

    Thank you for giving tips on how to search for Amazon you products. I will definitely proceed with caution when buying things that affect my body. Glad Amazon came through with a refund for you.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I appreciate the refund but to me, that’s kind of like a bandaid. If they really want to make things right, I feel they would take more action on third party sellers.

  • Rachel says:

    Third-party sellers need to go. I typically don’t order more than music (if I can’t get it directly from the artist’s website), or journal/scrapbooking supplies, but my husband will order just about EVERYTHING from Amazon, and he got burned pretty recently by a 3rd-party seller. We recently bought a turntable, so have been rediscovering our love of vinyl. Well, he went to order a soundtrack (it was the old 70’s Battlestar Galactica TV show), and his order ended up being cancelled by Amazon because they advertised it, but didn’t actually have it in stock. He’s not the type to leave a review, but it’s not the first time that’s happened to him.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yeah, I agree. Amazon is the new eBay.

  • Tracy says:

    This happened to me with a Christmas present. I ordered an “NCAA college” logo shirt as a Christmas gift. The product recieved was a regular shirt with very badly stenciled (painted) letters in mis-matched font. I was livid! It looked horrible! I called customer service and was immediately refunded.
    However, I have learned to be very careful (as you described.)
    I’m now very skeptical of ALL Amazon deals that seem too good to be true.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      So crappy. Sorry to hear this!

  • Karin says:

    I know I’m in the minority, but I have never liked Amazon and I don’t understand it’s popularity. I mean, for starters, the site is HORRIBLE…design, layout, ease of use, everything! I am convinced that it is purposefully confusing to dupe the consumer…and we’ve bought into their game. I make less than 5 purchases from them a year and that’s only because relatives send me wishlist items from there. But I will only buy things like books or games…never skincare or makeup. I know someone who purchased a Benefit Roller Lash mascara from Amazon and she quickly realized that it was a fake. The site is just pure chaos…it has literally gotten out of control…even Amazon cannot handle their own site! I really think I’m going to make it my own personal goal to never purchase anything from their site again. Oh! And the three purchases I made from Amazon this past Christmas didn’t ship until I called customer service after not hearing anything for over a week after I made my purchase! They couldn’t tell me why they hadn’t shipped yet (these were three separate purchases), but they said they would “expedite” them. I am convinced that my orders were placed on the back burner because I am not a prime member. Yeah, can you tell I am definitely NOT a fan?! Haha!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I’m becoming less and less a fan of them because, like you, I had major issues prior to the holidays last year where things wouldn’t even come on time or delayed and I pay for Prime. Doesn’t make sense anymore for me to pay that but I do like the perks of movies and shows. I agree…they literally cannot control their own site anymore. They are the modern eBay now.

  • Kristin Bitler says:

    This is great info, Julie. I’m past needing “feminine products” but I do look for skin and hair care products – and my skin is super sensitive. I don’t follow many blogs (under 10) but I’ve loved yours for the instant pot recipes and quick cooking tips. This is great info for a regular Amazon shopper, so thank you. Bonus!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      I always try to give informative info on top of food!

  • Josie says:

    While I don’t have a story about getting duped by Amazon, I did see your story and NOT buy something today because of it. I don’t live close to a Trader Joe’s and did a quick search on Everything But the Bagel seasoning to see if there was any available on Amazon. It came up with a picture of the Trader Joe’s bottle and the seller is “Trader Joe’s”, but it doesn’t really seem legit. I passed on it because I’d see your story the other day!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Amazon is NOT an authorized reseller of Trader Joe’s products. It’s all third party sellers selling it for higher price. Trader Joe’s sells their products ONLY at Trader Joe stores. Everything else is fake or counterfeit. Glad you didn’t buy!

  • Dave B says:

    Walmart.com gives a deal to purchase three five pound bags of flour however they are frequently very near their use by dates. Not a deal unless you are using the product immediately. I have also gotten bags with holes covered with tape and soiled bags. Everything was prepaid and neatly packaged ready for pickup. Photos of items on Amazon, EBay, and WalMart are frequently deceiving from what you actually receive.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Agree. They’re all just the new eBay. That flour situation sounds disgusting. Sorry it happened to you!

  • Tamra says:

    This blog post certainly got my attention! A week ago I attempted to place an order for three cancer caps for my mom. I added the items to the cart but realized I needed to change the shipping address. When I tried to back out and make the address change, it was impossible to complete. I made an assumption (big mistake) that I’d close the site because I hadn’t “placed the order”. Because my mom needed the caps quickly, I decided to order the items on Amazon again. I made the address change, added the items to the “empty cart” and placed the order. In two days, I received the three caps at my home -and – my mom received the same three items as well. I’ve been charged for six items. Amazon added the previous cart items to my new order, although those initial items were “not” approved by me and I did not place that order! I will never trust Amazon again. They had no problem adding previously reviewed items to my credit card which is very disturbing in itself. Another complaint: when they delivered the items, they didn’t alert me, the homeowner, by ringing a doorbell or knocking on the door. Instead, they threw the items on the sidewalk and left. One item was delivered around 3 a.m., proven by my exterior cameras/security system. While they may be a multibillionaire business, I for one will not be contributing to it, due to their fraudulent practices!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Hmm, maybe they charged you for six items because it was being sold as individual and not as a pack of 3? Maybe the photos were deceiving or the description was wrong. Either way, sorry for your trouble! I typically don’t like when they ring the doorbell or knock on the door. It disrupts the entire house but for your situation, I understand why you would want to be alerted!

  • Marie says:

    Thank you!! I just canceled some Subscribe & Save hair care products after reading your article and checking their sellers. No reason to take the risk! Thanks for making me a better informed consumer.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Absolutely!

  • Anne says:

    Deborah Copaken just published an article in The Atlantic about her Amazon counterfeit experience. https://www.theatlantic.com/author/deborah-copaken/

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yes! I plan on reaching out to her today.

  • Laura says:

    I have never had any problems with Amazon. But, honestly, I only buy items sold by Amazon.
    I simply don’t trust third party sellers to be what they say they are – they hind behind Amazon huge corporate image but for all I know they may be all counterfeit items manufacturers who exploit workers overseas.
    If I’m willing to risk being sold a low-quality item I’d rather go to eBay – at least you expect them to sell you that sort of crap.
    Though to be honest as a general rule I prefer buying local whenever possible. Cheap and convenient often add up to cheap quality and not-so-convenient durability.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Amazon is pretty much operating like eBay now. They’re just a platform for third party sellers. I agree with you that I’m going to buy local whenever now. In fact, this weekend I needed something for my camera and instead of my usual habits of going on Amazon to buy it, I went to another retailer.

  • Dawn says:

    Sorry for your experience, but I’m not surprised. I have been a Prime member for years. I think 10 or more. And like you, I never thought I’d say this. My current membership is up in a few days and I’m not renewing. Prime shipping is a joke now. Customer service has declined. It’s typical for a chat to take 45 minutes or more to resolve a small issue. The company is currently a (bad) reflection of it’s founder.
    I order a lot from Target now and it’s usually cheaper and comes in a few days. I’m sure I will miss being able to find almost anything at a moment’s notice but I’ll survive. I saw tons of complaints about them around the holidays. Hopefully more people will make a stand against them.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Yes! My Prime membership is up in September and I’m probably not going to renew; although, we do love their shows and movies…but I’m sure we can find it elsewhere in the future. I hope more people take a stand, too.

  • Sally Hirst says:

    Thank you. I had no idea. I do now!

  • Jacquelyn E Anderson says:

    Bought a cook book for my Cooker which is pictured in the front of the book, there was not one recipe in the cook book for my cook, it was for a completely different cooker. I did request a refund but didn’t send the book back yet.

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