When you buy online at Amazon or ebay, often you are NOT buying from Amazon or eBay, you’re buying from individuals or individual stores.
Sometimes it is hard to tell WHICH store is actually pocketing your money and sending you merchandise. And just like the Wizard in the “Wizard of Oz” was really a scam artist, so are some sellers on Amazon or eBay.
Both Amazon and eBay quickly remove sellers with complaints against them. But, crooks often go right back on with different name and info. They are crooks and it’s hard for Amazon or eBay to keep track of everyone. An unusually great deal on either site that seems too good to be true probably is. “Unscrupulous” merchants can be online for a while before they are removed.
And, we’re updating this post because we know for a fact that several sleazy dealers just change their names and info and go right back on.
Always know whose getting your money. Or, as my old boss used to say “Know whose head will roll when things go south!” Because we regularly check the price of our products against the competition, we always see ridiculously low prices on both eBay and Amazon. Not surprisingly, many of these listings have no company name listed with the product. Coincidence, we think not!
Here are a few things to remember:
Many manufacturers and wholesalers have Minimum Asking Prices, so ANY price dramatically lower than the average price for any given product should raise suspicion. We regularly see prices on Amazon and eBay that we just don’t understand how the merchant is doing this legitimately. The most common thing we see: prices far below the wholesale price of units bought in large quantities.
- If you don’t know who you are dealing with, do you know whether the product is really what they say it is?
- If it is counterfeit, because there are lots of them out there?
- If it really is “New?”
Or, did the seller obtain the products by less than honest means? Often: yes! Con artists contact our store often wanting to buy bulk orders of products and we always check the credit card and find out it’s stolen. We can tell you: not all of our competition has been as lucky.
Other dealers sell solar lights or other products on Amazon as “new” when they’ve been sitting in warehouses for years, which isn’t the best use of your money since many batteries, even the best Lithium Ion batteries, just don’t age well in storage.
If you don’t know who the store is, how do you know who to contact if there is a problem? Yes, Amazon offers some protection, but if the seller is no longer in their system, odds are you are out of luck. Amazon can help you, but if the store is using phony contact information, you might be holding a bag and be out of luck.
So, “Ignore the Man behind the Curtain,” and make sure you can easily find a store name, email address and phone number from anybody you do business with online!