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Old 03-21-17, 08:40 PM   #1
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Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

I've heard about the fraudulent sellers on Amazon who list products with "Email before purchasing"- these tell you to send them payment directly and they say they will then take care of the order through Amazon, leaving you with no money and no item. However I ordered an A/V receiver, the exact model I've had my eye on for a while, at an insanely low price (half what it usually goes for) and I was not asked to do any of that- I just added it to my cart and checked out as usual. I was still quite skeptical as it was a brand-new seller, though they were using a real name which I Google searched and found out who it was- someone could still have just stolen their name, but I was willing to give them the benefit of a doubt. They had four of these receivers listed for sale, as well as another model of receiver and various other electronic and office products.

I placed the order on Friday, and got notice that the order had shipped on Saturday. So far so good, but I later noticed that the seller had since gotten two negative feedbacks- both saying that the UPS tracking number they were given wasn't valid and they suspected it was a scam. Looking the tracking number I got on UPS.com it came up as an invalid number (it had letters in the middle, which real UPS tracking numbers don't have), but figured I'd wait it out a couple days. The status on Amazon said "Package has left seller facility and is in transit to carrier." Today is now Tuesday and there hasn't been any further status update, and another red flag is that all of the seller's items for sale are now marked as "Not Available."

The generic info says it should arrive anytime between March 24th and April 10th, and my credit card has been charged. I know I can dispute the charge if it doesn't arrive by April 10th, but wondering if I should just take care of this now given everything else I've found out. I guess I want to be hopeful for even a chance of getting this receiver at this price, as otherwise I'll have to wait a while before I can afford it. If this were Ebay I'd be on it immediately, but thought Amazon was a bit safer- maybe I'm wrong.
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Old 03-21-17, 10:36 PM   #2
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

You really need to ask this question to the forum?
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Old 03-22-17, 05:11 AM   #3
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Sounds fishy as hell.

I'd contact Amazon before disputing the charge with my credit card company, though. They should give you a refund and ban the seller.
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Old 03-22-17, 12:58 PM   #4
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Couple of things. First is that some UPS tracking numbers do have letters in the number beyond the first couple of digits. Second, sometimes it takes a day or two for tracking info to get updated, or the package to get picked up. If you typed the tracking number correctly on the website and it says invalid, something is up. There is a problem with that tracking number. But, since you bought through Amazon, you're covered. Amazons tracking will say in transit to carrier until it is actually scanned by the shipping company.
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Old 03-22-17, 01:46 PM   #5
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Quote:
I'd contact Amazon before disputing the charge with my credit card company, though. They should give you a refund and ban the seller.
That's why this is weird- at least 2 other people have already complained about the seller (though they seemed a bit impatient, doing so within the same day of placing orders), and the seller still shows as active but all of their items are now marked "not available." If I have time today I'll try to contact Amazon, but step it up if it isn't here by the 24th (the earliest day it says it should be here) or at least doesn't show more accurate tracking info by then. I'm just surprised it's that easy for scammers to list stuff for sale on Amazon, but shows what I know.
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Old 03-24-17, 09:44 PM   #6
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

There have been a ton of fake sellers pop up over there in the past couple weeks. Go check out the video game secton. Multiple sellers have brand new $40 - $60 games for $5 to $10. Of course it's a scam but I'm not sure why it started happening out of nowhere.
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Old 03-26-17, 02:11 AM   #7
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

I contacted Amazon and they are refunding me- I had also emailed the "seller" innocently explaining that they had sent me tracking info that didn't check out, and they replied with "I haven't shipped anything or sold anything" (no punctuation). I replied that in that case, they ought to look into someone making bogus sales listings in their name.

Here's the seller's page: https://www.amazon.com/sp?_encoding=...b=&vasStoreID=

When looking at other sellers for the same receiver, I saw at least two listed that also looked suspicious- their price for this was higher but the other items they were selling were the same as this other person. The name of the seller is pretty suspicious too, they are selling as "Understanding Psychology by Charles G. Morris": https://www.amazon.com/sp?_encoding=...b=&vasStoreID=

Why the eff is Amazon letting people put bogus listings on their site without apparently even TRYING to verify their legitimacy first? I'm betting lots of people don't even know the difference between regular Amazon items and those from "marketplace sellers", and will think Amazon is a scam altogether after one bad experience. There isn't even any easy way to report sellers that look suspicious.
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Old 03-26-17, 11:56 AM   #8
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

None of this is new. Marketplace sellers get their accounts hacked, get the bank info directed somewhere else, then a ton of listings get posted. I used to see lots of this happen years ago when I used to sell on Amazon and visit the marketplace forum.
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Old 03-27-17, 03:57 AM   #9
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Absolutely pathetic that Amazon lets this happen- though I at least won't be liable for the cost, I'll certainly think twice before ordering anything from their site again, especially big items like this. (No stores near me carry this model, so I'm forced to buy it online.) The only other times I've bought stuff from "Marketplace" sellers, they still shipped out of Amazon warehouses with their inventory tags on them. I once got a Blu-Ray disc listed as "new" but had clearly been used, I sent it back right away. Letting people ship out items from their own locations is just asking for scammers to come on board.
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Old 03-27-17, 07:30 AM   #10
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Marketplace items shipped and sold by the marketplace seller aren't a new thing. It existed long before "fulfilled by Amazon" became a thing.
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Old 03-27-17, 01:01 PM   #11
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

That is sort of the definition of a Marketplace Seller. And if you are scammed by one of these guys, aren't you only out time? Doesn't Amazon refund all your money? I've bought a heck of a lot of stuff on Amazon, much of it from marketplace sellers and I have yet to have something not show up.
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Old 03-27-17, 01:15 PM   #12
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Yeah, with the A-Z guarantee, it's pretty easy to get your money refunded if things go bad.
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Old 03-27-17, 06:09 PM   #13
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Ironically I've heard that it's Amazon who gets hurt the most by these 'sellers' since they're the ones who have to refund the money for unshipped orders, yet when I tried to report them they acted like they couldn't have cared less. I'm just gonna call them Scamazon from now on.

Bonus new seller for your viewing enjoyment: https://www.amazon.com/sp?_encoding=...b=&vasStoreID=

Good news is I broke down and ordered the receiver at a higher price (but still the lowest I could find) from a reputable seller (with 100% positive feedback), just heard that not only did they actually ship it, but they had run out of the model I wanted so they upgraded it to a newer model at no additional charge, which normally would have been WAY out of my price range, so ended up getting a good deal in the end- assuming it shows up working of course.
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Old 03-28-17, 04:28 PM   #14
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Here's something else I've learned. Some places, like Hastings (RIP), will list the same item on multiple selling fronts (Amazon marketplace/ebay/etc) and if you order the item from both places, they'll cancel it from whatever site won't hurt them as bad with negative feedback from the consumer. In this case it was ebay because Amazon will go after your account if you list items for sale you can't actually send out.

I almost only ran across it with movies going OOP but always left a negative review for the transaction because it would be crappy if you didn't get an item from ebay because someone else bought it after you but from amazon.
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Old 03-29-17, 03:26 PM   #15
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

This just got the attention of Forbes today:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkam/.../#585c4ec16d53
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Old 03-29-17, 10:35 PM   #16
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Oh good (the Forbes coverage)! I do quite a bit of business with Amazon. Those people are hurting consumer confidence. They'll come in with a "dummy account", which is basically started with a spreadsheet. If my price is $800, they'll offer it for $472.99 (or something like that). And then they'll "piggy back" off existing listings. My listings don't get bothered too much (as I'm in the industrial supply categories). But the consumer product fraud is getting out of hand.

I report these people all the time. Amazon kicks them off, and more sprout up. We think (fingers crossed) that Amazon is going to combat this by creating a more thorough approval system for new Marketplace users. Right now, you're basically setup and on the honor system, and can be posting your products (at whatever price) within minutes. So these "fake sellers" open up an account, upload their spreadsheet, and immediately have 100k products for sale. Thousands (millions?) of orders come in. And they never ship a thing.

These people don't make much (if any) money. They get caught before their first payout. Most of these people are reported and deleted prior to their first payout. Plus Amazon has a review system that spots quickly-rising sellers and their accounts are manually reviewed.

Because of this, we don't think it's being done for the money. It might be related to identity theft (they're collecting all of those names, addresses, phone numbers). And we also suspect that their real goal is to erode consumer confidence in Amazon. There's a suspicion that it's a Chinese thing. There is currently a movement where the Chinese are cutting out USA importers by selling and shipping directly to the consumer in the USA. For instance, a company like "WISH" is becoming popular. They sell all the "made in China junk" (you know the stuff ... $5 shoes and whatnot). The less people you have buying from a place like Amazon, the more people who will be buying from a company like WISH. That's the theory anyways. The days of a small business importing container-fulls of Chinese merchandise, and reselling it at a profit, are almost over.

Amazon sort-of combats this by closing off many of their brands and categories to users, until their ID and dealer status is verified. For instance, you'll never see these people latching onto a Sony product. Because the Sony brand is restricted to only OEM dealers (for "new" condition). So just to sell a Sony product, you need to submit dealer documentation and whatnot. The same goes for many entire categories.

Another dimension to this is the "Buy Box". You don't actually see the "please email me" fraud message, unless you're on the secondary page (which lists all the other offers). So you have to make sure you look at the user's feedback or whatever. Otherwise, the fraudulent user gets the "Buy Box" simply based on their low price. And you'd never know the difference unless you're savvy enough to know where to look.

My advice: if it's not Amazon or Amazon Fulfilled, be very careful. NEVER buy from the people you just bought from. Most Amazon and Amazon-Fulfilled products are within a few dollars of the other merchants. If something is listed at $24 from a "direct ship" merchant, and Amazon has one stocked at their warehouse for $26 (or whatever), just pay the $26 and skip the headache.
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Old 03-29-17, 10:40 PM   #17
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Man with the Golden Doujinshi View Post
None of this is new. Marketplace sellers get their accounts hacked, get the bank info directed somewhere else, then a ton of listings get posted. I used to see lots of this happen years ago when I used to sell on Amazon and visit the marketplace forum.
They don't even bother hacking accounts anymore (for the most part). They just open new ones.
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Old 04-01-17, 05:40 PM   #18
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

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They don't even bother hacking accounts anymore (for the most part). They just open new ones.
It depends. Some people like to go after accounts with good ratings that haven't sold anything for awhile, so people think it's less likely to be a scam and get more orders than the other group that opens new accounts with prices and items that simply scream "scam". Plus with a new account, there's a delay before you get funds transferred out of amazon. Plus it's quicker for bad feedback to get the account on probation because of the metrics.

If I were a scammer, I'd go with the former.

I highly doubt it's identity theft since you can go online and browse names/addresses/phone numbers for free with a bot from sites like the yellow pages, anywho.com, and other ones where you can put a city/state/street in and it gives you everyone on the street.

I buy from people all the time that don't do amazon fulfilled. It just depends on what I'm getting, how long the seller has been around, etc. I never used amazon fulfillment because I could ship my things and have them delivered faster and cheaper.

Amazon fulfillment means you'll get something shipped but it might not be the correct item or it could be a bootleg. It happens occasionally plus you also run the risk of having amazon ship things in envelopes that should be in a box, or not use proper packing material.

The chinese sellers have been around for a long time, at least the decade I was selling. You can visit the forums and see all the posts by them that got their accounts locked because they aren't listing things correctly and are bitching that it's amazon's fault, and odds are, they already responded prior to posting, which means they just blew their appeal because they didn't answer it the way amazon wants you to.

Best thing to do when shopping at amazon is to use something like priceblink on your browser because you can probably find the same thing cheaper somewhere else.

Sorry for the derail or coming off argumentative. Unfortunately I'm on some pain meds.
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Old 04-01-17, 10:41 PM   #19
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

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Amazon fulfillment means you'll get something shipped but it might not be the correct item or it could be a bootleg. It happens occasionally plus you also run the risk of having amazon ship things in envelopes that should be in a box, or not use proper packing material.
Haha. You know you're stuff.

Amazon's idea of "counterfeits" is also getting out of hand. Everyone is importing generic stuff form China, and slapping their private label on it, and then registering their brand. So you have 20 different 'widgets', all the same item, with 20 different brands on them. And it's become really cut throat with that stuff. Seems like the system is to undercut each other until nobody is making money anymore. And then they sabotage each other with test buys and back-and-forth counterfeit claims.

On top of that, the "real" manufacturers are not direct-shipping to customers from China and cutting out everyone who was in the import/resale business. So it's just a matter of time until that whole sector of small business is toast.

Then there's "real counterfeits" like pirated DVD's. But I don't hear about that stuff much. And sellers can avoid those complications by not co-mingling their inventory. Plus I think they added pre-approval requirements for DVD's now. Amazon has been closing off (gating) several categories and brands. That's curbed a lot of the counterfeit problems. Seems like the issue listed above is what really causes turmoil among sellers.

Fulfillment By Amazon does make it so the customer can return the product in an instant (and even rip off the seller if they want).

You have a good point about the identity theft. By that logic, their goal is likely to hurt consumer confidence in Amazon. I wouldn't be surprised if it's on behalf of a competing marketplace (like Wal-Mart or WISH). All Amazon would have to do to fix it, is to have a department that manually approves new accounts. Or make it so a "personal seller" can only list 5 or 10 products before getting further approval. They could stop this within a week if they wanted. We're all kind of dumbfounded as to why they haven't done it.

Here's something about FBA... I've run a warehouse from 500 sq/ft to 45,000 sq/ft. By all calculations with long term storage and everything, I cannot justify running a non-3PL operation anymore. I cannot say enough good things about 3PL. The way I see it, 3PL is the way to go, until I have the resources to setup my own 3PL-level warehousing (conveyors, automation, etc.). The unification and homogenization of those services is something I'd recommend to everyone in the product sales business. If I need a product shipped 1 or 2 day from Amazon, it's so cheap. And there's no way to have an employee shipping orders for less than the fees they charge.
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Old 04-02-17, 03:33 PM   #20
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

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Haha. You know you're stuff.

Amazon's idea of "counterfeits" is also getting out of hand. Everyone is importing generic stuff form China, and slapping their private label on it, and then registering their brand. So you have 20 different 'widgets', all the same item, with 20 different brands on them. And it's become really cut throat with that stuff. Seems like the system is to undercut each other until nobody is making money anymore. And then they sabotage each other with test buys and back-and-forth counterfeit claims.

On top of that, the "real" manufacturers are not direct-shipping to customers from China and cutting out everyone who was in the import/resale business. So it's just a matter of time until that whole sector of small business is toast.

Then there's "real counterfeits" like pirated DVD's. But I don't hear about that stuff much. And sellers can avoid those complications by not co-mingling their inventory. Plus I think they added pre-approval requirements for DVD's now. Amazon has been closing off (gating) several categories and brands. That's curbed a lot of the counterfeit problems. Seems like the issue listed above is what really causes turmoil among sellers.

Fulfillment By Amazon does make it so the customer can return the product in an instant (and even rip off the seller if they want).

You have a good point about the identity theft. By that logic, their goal is likely to hurt consumer confidence in Amazon. I wouldn't be surprised if it's on behalf of a competing marketplace (like Wal-Mart or WISH). All Amazon would have to do to fix it, is to have a department that manually approves new accounts. Or make it so a "personal seller" can only list 5 or 10 products before getting further approval. They could stop this within a week if they wanted. We're all kind of dumbfounded as to why they haven't done it.

Here's something about FBA... I've run a warehouse from 500 sq/ft to 45,000 sq/ft. By all calculations with long term storage and everything, I cannot justify running a non-3PL operation anymore. I cannot say enough good things about 3PL. The way I see it, 3PL is the way to go, until I have the resources to setup my own 3PL-level warehousing (conveyors, automation, etc.). The unification and homogenization of those services is something I'd recommend to everyone in the product sales business. If I need a product shipped 1 or 2 day from Amazon, it's so cheap. And there's no way to have an employee shipping orders for less than the fees they charge.
My wife and I had a side business going between our normal jobs a few years ago. We didn't do any drop shipping, ran it out of our house and pulled in about 100k the first year and also got a top seller award from Amazon.

By the end of that year, it was already at the point where my wife was deciding on leaving her job to be able to help keep up with everything with the quality we wanted to provide. We shipped most things out the same day they were ordered, so we could offer 2 day shipping and not even need to pay 2 day shipping at the post office simply because our turnaround was fast enough to make the deadline.

We ended up just scaling back so it was more of a hobby and less of a grueling 24 hour job.

Slightly off topic, I'm willing to bet that some sellers at amazon and ebay stopped after 2013, or changed how they did things. 2012 was the year when ebay and amazon started reporting seller's income to the IRS if they either had a certain count of sales or if the income was above a certain limit. I'd say some people stopped when they saw how little they were making once they had to pay taxes, especially the 1 cent book people. They used to get away with making the profit off shipping but once that started to get taxed, they had to have been getting screwed.

When we stopped we were at the point where 3PL was something we'd need to do the next year or two if we kept going full throttle.

From what I've seen with Amazon fulfillment co-mingling, books are the worst. There's a lot of sellers that get returns because instead of Amazon shipping what the seller sent, they end up grabbing something else that ends up being mis-categorized, quality wise.

I had an issue myself once when I bought the OOP DVD of Silent Night, Deadly Night and they sent me the Silent Night, Deadly Night 3/4/5 set. The OOP DVD was around $80 and the other wasn't OOP and ran about $20. I felt bad for that seller because he got royally screwed by Amazon.
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Old 04-04-17, 06:30 AM   #21
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

I replied to the response I got and they responded back a couple days ago, if they're telling the truth then someone hacked their account and they're just now reporting it. Also got a form to fill out and send to the credit card company.
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Old 04-04-17, 10:57 AM   #22
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

You don't have to hassle with your CC company. Amazon will back your claim (probably quicker). Just open up an "A-Z Claim".

There's a small chance the account was hacked. More likely that's just an automated response from the fraudster.
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Old 04-04-17, 03:02 PM   #23
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

If he messaged the seller through Amazon and the seller really wasn't running a scam, then either their Amazon or email account was hacked because those are the only two ways to respond to buyer messages.

Like Troy said, no need to bother with your CC company. I'd see what the seller or Amazon does before filing an A-Z claim. If the seller is really honest about what's going on, that claim can screw them over, in a few ways, for something that wasn't their fault but Amazon often times takes care of issues without ever letting a seller know a buyer had an issue.

I discovered how many scammers buy stuff on Amazon one day when I was in my seller account and found a screen that showed claims that Amazon stopped or took care of, without ever letting me know it was happening.

Honestly, I had a lot less trouble with anything I ever sold on ebay.
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Old 04-05-17, 02:38 PM   #24
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Re: Amazon marketplace seller- am I getting scammed?

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Honestly, I had a lot less trouble with anything I ever sold on ebay.
Yep. That's Amazon. The return department is basically like Home Depot or Wal-Mart, where you can switch out and be as dishonest as you want. You can buy, say, a new kitchen faucet, throw the old one back in the box, return it, and get your money back. Do it too many times, and they'll block your account. But you have to be really jipping them to have that happen.

Sometimes those losses hurt. But, as a seller, you just have to deal with it in order to integrate and get those Amazon sales.

Again, it's worst for the people who sell on very low margins. One 'faucet' gets returned, and you lose your profit from the next 30 'faucets' you sell. Titans like Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and Amazon absorb the loss. But it really stings for us little guys. I don't know how some people do it (stay in business).

(I might have told this story before). I tried to return one item before. I'm a savvy shopper and normally don't return anything. It was a $20 bottle of booze from Wal-Mart. I got home, and found that it was already opened. Which is fucking disgusting (I can just picture some "People of Walmart" opening it, taking a sip, and putting it back on the shelf). Went back to Wal-Mart, and they said I can't return it because it was opened. Looked it me like I was being dishonest. F'n Wal-Mart, man.
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