Amazon has been the go-to shop for many of us for a long time. With its competitive and often lower prices, next day delivery and huge selection, it’s made shopping more simple and our lives easier. However, we should be exercising caution with some of our products. 

Authorised sellers vs. re-sellers

First and foremost, it’s important to understand who is selling on Amazon.

Anyone can sell on Amazon. When searching for products, you’ll find items from brands directly, through authorised sellers – these are retailers given the seal of approval by the brands, manufacturers and even Amazon. You’ll also find resellers: resellers obtain products, likely at a significant retail discount, to sell on. 

When you buy from Amazon, you’re likely looking for a particular item, or something that’ll serve a purpose to a need. You may also check the pricing and simply gauge if this is a fair price; after all, the shopping process is designed to be simplified when buying through Amazon. You’re not necessarily, however, looking at who is selling the item, often trusting that if it is on Amazon, the item must be genuine. 

Products from legitimate brands and manufacturers and even authorised sellers pose little risk, and not all resellers are fraudsters. But as resellers are not vetted in the same way, there can be an element of distrust and even risk (we touch more on this in the next few points). In making your purchases through Amazon, you do always have an element of protection with any purchase. But they can’t offer any guarantees on the products you’re getting.

Impersonating brands and dupes

Although you can pretty much find anything on Amazon, not all of them are genuine products. This is where knowing who you are purchasing from becomes invaluable. In fact, I had a naivety about this myself until recently – and is ultimately what spurred me on to write this article. 

I saw a video on Instagram by New York based Board-Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Shereene Idriss. Dr. Idriss  created a range of science-backed, clinically proven and budget-friendly skincare that deliver results. Her products are not authorised for sale on Amazon and yet there they were at a significantly inflated price than what was sold on her website. 

In her initial and subsequent videos, she highlighted that this could be a reseller; someone who purchased the items at a discount – or even at RRP- and then put it on Amazon at a significantly inflated price because it was selling out and they could pocket from this demand. Or, and this is the big concern, this could be someone who is creating dupes of these products that don’t contain the ingredients meticulously researched, specified and tested, and in fact contain ingredients that could be dangerous and harmful, relying on the brand to sell a fraudulent product.

As is Dr. Idriss suggestion, it’s worth looking at the brands first and foremost to see who the authorised stockists and distributors are, and if you are looking to purchase brand products through Amazon, look at who the item is sold by (not just brand name), their reviews, and the description of the company. If they specify they offer ‘customer service’ they’re not regulated in the same way, are not offering product guarantees and can be a red flag. 

It isn’t necessarily the best price

As is the case in point above, there is a range of sellers on Amazon – and the margins in which they make money varies greatly. A reseller will mark up their products considerably as they may not get a favourable buyers discount and as such, they try and make their money by inflating prices; some even leverage supply and demand tactics with products that are limited edition, or frequently sell out. 

Equally, all items sold on Amazon will be subject to seller fees and some will be subject to shippers fees. Sellers need to account for these costs and it is likely factored into the price you see and pay. 

Then there are others who know that Amazon is meant to make the shopping process simpler and will mark their prices higher because they know that some shoppers will make the assumption they’re getting the best price, when in actual fact it’s far cheaper elsewhere.

Although Amazon should make our shopping needs easier, it isn’t quite so clear cut. Be sure to carry out due diligence on the people you’re purchasing from and it is always worth doing a quick price check, especially when it comes to brand items. 

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