One of the greatest things about the year 2018 is just how easy it is to buy things online. With the touch of a button, we can have literally anything we want to be delivered to our door.
Amazon is a one-stop-shop with pretty much everything under the sun. You can get socks, vacuums, toys, food, medicine, Snuggies, wine and more from Amazon. Many of those items are even available for 2-hour shipping too.
However, because Amazon offers everything, there are a few pitfalls. They use a variety of sellers in order to offer such a wide range of products. Because they use individual sellers, that means that some products might not always be up to standard.
If you frequently shop on Amazon, you’re going to want to check out these 25 tips and hacks to make sure you’re never scammed.
1. Use Amazon Locker
If you don’t have free shipping through Amazon Prime, that doesn’t mean you have to pay for shipping, You can avoid those costs by selecting to ship your product to an Amazon Locker (they can be anywhere, like your local Whole Foods). You will get a code from Amazon once your product is available for pickup.
2. Look at Amazon’s “Deal of the Day”
Every day, Amazon has new deals featured on their site. Recently, Amazon had a major steal and deal on Schwinn 430 ellipticals for up to 50% off during their Deal of the Day.
3. Don’t Buy Batteries on Amazon
Batties might be priced cheaper on Amazon that your local grocery store, but that doesn’t always mean they a better. If you’re looking for cheap batteries, Costco’s Kirkland brand has a high rating on Consumer Reports and they’re only $.56 per AA battery.
4. Always Buy Add-On Products
If you know you’re going to spend over $25 during your Amazon shopping trip, you qualify for add-on items. You might have seen add-on items before while shopping and these are regular products (sometimes cleaning products, products for shoes, and so much more) that you can add on to your purchase for cheaper than they sell in retail.
5. Analyze Product Photos
If a photo looks too good to be true, chances are it is. Companies use Photoshop to make their product look better than it is. If you think the photo looks fake, you can always contact the seller on Amazon to ask for additional photos. Additionally, check the reviews to see if another Amazon user has purchased the product and posted a photo of what the item looks like.
6. Avoid Products With Long Wait Times
Now, you probably are going to avoid those in general, but if a product has a 3 week wait time, that is always something you’re going to want to avoid. Typically, most products should be eligible for Amazon’s Prime 2-day shipping option. If they are not, then a week is a fair amount of wait time for the product to ship. However, anything other 10 days is a red flag. Fake accounts that are trying to seem legitimate need to maintain their account for at least two weeks, which is why there are 2 and 3 week shipping wait times on fake seller pages.
7. Look at Where Products Are Shipping From
Not to pick on another country, but if something is shipping from another country, it should be a reason to pause. You can see where a product is shipping from when you put it in your cart.
James Thomson, a former Amazon executive, told MarketWatch, “I don’t want to pick on China, but that’s where most of the counterfeits are coming from.”
8. How to Spot Fake Reviews
You might find an item with 5-stars on Amazon, but if the number of reviews is low, those reviews might be fake. Always look for “verified purchase” when reading reviews to know that there are legitimate reviews of that product. You can also look for key phrases to tell if a review is fake. Fake reviews are always very positive and tend to have a lot of verbs and adjectives. They also often are in the first person and will needlessly reference other people, like a spouse.
9. Select “No-Rush Shipping” on Your Next Purchase
If you can wait an extra five to seven days for your product, you’re going to want to select “No-Rush Shipping.” Amazon offers a variety of rewards for this option. You can get $5 toward your next Whole Foods order or $5 toward Prime Now or $1 off an Amazon video download.
10. Avoid Buying Fine Jewelry
Just because Amazon sells everything doesn’t mean you should actually buy everything off of the website. You’re better off purchasing fine jewelry from a website that only sells that, rather than a website where you can buy slippers that go in the microwave.
11. Avoid Products With Major Discounts
If something is 50% off retail price on Amazon, be wary. While Amazon products can be cheaper than on other sites, something with that big of a discount is a huge red flag. The magic number to be under is 30% off.
2. Avoid Clothing That is Different Prices
On Amazon, there are a variety of sellers that price clothing differently based on size and color. Not only will items vary based on that, but some sizes will also include free shipping, while others do not.
3. Never Purchase Things Off of a Second Site
If an Amazon seller tries to direct you off of Amazon’s website, don’t do it. There might be a note in the product description to follow a link to get a good deal, but this is a huge, major red flag. All purchases should always be made directly on Amazon’s website. God forbid anything goes wrong, if you don’t submit payment through Amazon, you might not be able to get a refund if the product doesn’t arrive or arrives damaged.
4. Keep Any Amazon Gift Cards You Get
Yes, even after you’ve spent the entire sum of the gift card. If you reload $100 onto your gift card, Amazon will add another $10 to the balance.
15. Don’t Buy Household Cleaning Products
You might think setting up an order with Amazon Prime Pantry might be easier, but it is not cheaper. In order to purchase cleaning products, you’ll need to get them through Amazon Fresh/Prime Pantry and that is an extra monthly fee. Not only that, the products are more expensive. A 28-ounce Method All-Purpose Cleaner is $3.85 on Amazon, but $2.99 at Target. If you don’t have time to browse Target, you can put in an order for all of your household supplies and pick it up for free from Target on your way home.
16. Keep an Eye on Your Expected Delivery Day
When you make a purchase, you are given an expected delivery date. Prime Members can get an extra month of Prime for free if their package arrives outside of the expected delivery window.
17. Never Buy School Supplies on Amazon
You can almost always get school supplies for cheaper from places like Walmart. A 4-pack of Five Star folders if just over $5 at Walmart, while the same product is almost $9 on Amazon.
18. Know If You’re Buying from a Thrid-Party Seller
If you’re fairly new to Amazon, you might not have realized that there are many third-party sellers on the website. There are three basic sellers on Amazon: Ships from and sold by third-party seller: This is a third-party seller that handles the shipping of the item, meaning Amazon has no party in the sale besides hosting it on their domain. Sold by the third-party seller and Fulfilled by Amazon: This means that the third-party seller handles the sale, however the third-party then send the product to an Amazon warehouse and then Amazon will ship it to you. Sold by and ships from Amazon: This means that Amazon handles the entire sale and shipping of the product. The first two choices are ones to watch out for, as Amazon is not actually checking the quality of this product. If you are concerned about purchasing from a third-party seller, you can filter while searching amazing and select “sold by Amazon.com” as an option.
19. Look Up the Seller
If the retailer that normally sells the product is not listed as the seller on Amazon, look them up. “You can look to see if something is sold by or fulfilled by that particular website. If it’s fulfilled by that, [it] doesn’t mean that website is selling it to you, it means that they are getting the product to you, but it’s coming from a third party,” Kimberly Gianopoulos, director in international affairs and trade groups at GAO, told Circa News.
If you’re still cautious, Kimberly suggests looking for a customer service phone number and address, just in case you need to return the product.
20. Look into Every Version of Amazon Prime
While most people use Amazon Prime for the free two-day shipping and access to included Amazon TV shows and movies, there are other Amazon packages. Amazon Family is a version of Prime that gives members family-oriented content. Amazon Fresh is the grocery delivery service, whereas Amazon Prime Now is an upgraded version of both Fresh and Prime that allows order delivery as early as 1 hour after purchase.
21. Ask Alexa for the Best Deals
If you have an Amazon Alexa Product (Dot, Echo, Echo Show, Echo Look, and more), you can ask her, “Alexa, what are your deals?” and she will tell you the deals that you can shop, which can sometimes be up to 55% off.
22. Avoid Buying Paper Products on Amazon
As you may know, not everything is cheaper on Amazon. On Amazon, a 12-pack of Bounty paper towels is $30.44. But at Walmart, a 12-pack of the same paper towels are $17.47 and at Target they are $15.49.
23. Get Free E-Books Easily
If you have a Kindle, you can search for “Free Books” on Amazon and pick from an assortment of free e-books to peruse.
24. Always Shop on Prime Day
Everyone knows about Cyber Monday, but Amazon has their own specila day of the year where they have a crazy number of sales. Prime Day happens in July for roughly 36 hours, Amazon shoppers can snag deals from 15 to 75% off on Amazon. Many times, Amazon even offers their own products for up to 50% off during Prime Day sales.
25. Double Check the Packaging
If you have used all of these tips and tricks and still purchased a product from Amazon that you’re cautious of, here’s what to do. If you bought a designer or high-end retail item from Amazon, you can use these tips from goVerify to check your packaging. Look at for typos and poor printing on the tags and labels. Everything should include the retail packaging for new products, like UPC barcodes, manuals, and printed materials.
If you ever purchase anything from Amazon that you believe isn’t what was advertised, contact Amazon’s customer support. They have excellent client service and always want to help out!
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