I am a huge amazon fan. I’ve bought books there for years, and now I search for anything and everything there. I’ve bought groceries, gifts, clothing, and cosmetics. They have it all, and it’s a really cool business plan. I’ve blogged before about my love for their Wish List feature, and I use it extensively.
I noticed something yesterday, though, that disturbed me, and I must warn others to be on the lookout when shopping on amazon, especially when shopping wish lists. I have on Caroline’s Wish List a Fisher Price toy airplane — when I added it, it was in the $12 price range, I believe. Normally, a great feature of amazon’s wish lists is that it will automatically show you the best deal. I noticed last weekend that the plane was on sale at Target for 3.99. I didn’t buy it, though, as shipping for the one item would have added more than $6. I peeked at her list again yesterday, wondering if the item was still on sale, to find it was now shown at $55.00. I couldn’t believe it. I clicked around and found that there were still plenty of the same plane for sale on amazon for $12.99, but one of amazon’s third party merchants (Black Sheep Deals — I’d agree this one’s a black sheep!) pays to be a featured seller on amazon so that puts his items at the top of the searches. His stuff is outrageously overpriced — most things I saw were marked up four or five times what one could find them at elsewhere.
So, amazon makes money off of these “featured sellers” but has no control in how they rip off customers. I was not pleased with the emailed response I got from customer service. Basically, it’s out of their hands. BUYER BEWARE!!
When shopping at amazon, follow these tips:
1. Do not automatically buy the first product that comes up in the search or on the wishlist. Always click the “X new and used available from Y” link to see what other vendors are selling the product for.
2. Pay attention to shipping. Some of the third party vendors will really rip you off on shipping/handling charges.
3. Read the vendor reviews. This Black Sheep guy has several reviews stating his rip-offs, slow shipping, lost products, and bad customer service.
4. Be sure you’re getting the best deal possible for doing a google search for the item. You may find a great deal at a different retailer. (Don’t forget number two.)
Happy Shopping! (Though I hope you have finished your Christmas shopping and aren’t battling crowds or nervously hoping packages arrive in time.)