The seven tell-tale signs you shouldn’t trust an Amazon Seller
Buying and selling on Amazon can be a minefield for the inexperienced.
It a fantastic platform for both consumers and Sellers, but there are pitfalls and not everything is always what it seems on Amazon. A Wall Street Journal article in August this year outlined as much, conducting an investigation that uncovered over 4,000 products on the site that “been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labelled or are banned by federal regulators”.
It also identified “at least 157 items for sale that Amazon had said it banned”, with the investigation leading Amazon to take down or amend the wording of 57 percent of the items that the Journal highlighted.
The newspaper noted: “In practice, Amazon has increasingly evolved like a flea market. It exercises limited oversight over items listed by millions of third-party sellers, many of them anonymous, many in China, some offering scant information.”
So how can you spot Amazon Sellers that are potentially untrustworthy? Thompson and Holt’s managing partner Craig Gedey provides seven key indicators that should ring alarm bells when on the site.
1. Seller feedback is key
“This should be the starting point for anybody buying on Amazon. Find the buyer box on the right-hand side of the product page, and click on the “sold by” link that will take you to the feedback you’re looking for. If a Seller has anything lower than 90 percent positive over the previous 30 days, it should be a warning sign to look elsewhere.”
2. So are the reviews
“Next stop is the product reviews. It’s not just reading exactly what they say - any product with a host of bad reviews should automatically be avoided. But too few reviews can also be a sign that the Seller is inexperienced and hasn’t yet built a trustworthy reputation. And if you see a huge amount of positive Amazon reviews all within a very small timeframe of a few days, that is also a warning that the product might not be what it seems. Those reviews may have been bought and delivered in bulk, painting an inaccurate picture. Sort through reviews by date to check that.”
3. Beware fake reviews
“This is another issue for Amazon. But they can be easy to spot - a host of one or two-word reviews saying something like ‘fantastic’ or ‘superb product’ are likely to be manufactured in some way. You can also click on a reviewer’s profile to check their review history, providing more evidence over whether they are reliable. It’s also worth checking that the reviews actually match the product - any that don’t, steer well clear of.”
4. Check that the Seller makes the product
“It’s advisable, where possible, to buy directly from the brand or manufacturer of the product. Going elsewhere can leave you open to buying counterfeit products, or ones that aren’t under warranty.”
5. Watch out for big discounts
“This is a big red flag. If a product is showing a huge discount on its original price, the odds are that the Seller is trying to make it look superficially appealing. Of course everyone is looking for good deals and bargains, but those that look too good to be true usually are.”
6. Listen to Amazon
“It’s not completely fool-proof, but searching for items that fall under the Amazon Prime one-day shipping umbrella usually means that they have been vetted and approved by the site. That minimises the risk of purchasing something substandard.”
7. Shipping times are revealing
“In the world of Amazon, most products can land on your doorstep within a day or two, especially through Amazon Prime. But if you see products that are quoting three or four weeks’ shipping times, they are likely to be delivering directly from a warehouse in China, which can result in products that don’t meet expectations arriving at your front door.”
If you have found yourself suspended while selling on Amazon, contact Thompson and Holt for a free LiveChat to get your Amazon Seller business back online as quickly as possible.