New reports released this week are a cautionary tale for consumers shopping on Amazon by the largest online retailer in the US so far. While complaints about Amazon’s third-party vendor marketplace are now common, new reports have found that during the height of the epidemic, Amazon not only offered price-gouged customers, but many of its white-label, Amazon-branded products. Are also likely to be just as dangerously defective as third-party goods.
Product shortages — both epidemic-related supplies such as masks and sanitizers and basic household items such as toilet paper — were closed nationwide in February, March, and April, and everyone in the country could be home. But could play Holi. When demand skyrockets, but there is no supply, prices increase over a wide range of commodities. And up. And then some more.
By March, regulators were trying to raise prices by flooding online retailers, especially Amazon’s third-party marketplace.
Amazon said in a corporate blog post at the time that it was “working hard to protect customers from bad actors” in its marketplace. “We have suspended more than 3,900 sales accounts in our US stores alone for violating our fair value policies,” Amazon wrote on March 23.
Not just a third party
However, a new report by consumer watchdog group Public Citizen found that pricing for certain key items was only as prevalent in Amazon’s own first-party sales as in its seller market. For example, between May and August, a public citizen found that the simple antibacterial hand soap, which typically sells for $ 1.50, was going for $ 7 – a 470 percent price increase.
There are two examples of 1,000 percent or more reported by the Public Citizen: disposable face masks, which were selling for $ 40 instead of $ 4, and corn starch, sold for $ 9 instead of $ 0.90. “It is troubling that so much effort was put into blaming third-party vendors, but little effort was made to stem the price increase – directly on products sold by Amazon,” the report concludes . “Amazon is not a victim of inflation on its marketplace. It is a criminal.”
This report confirms previous findings from consumer advocacy group US PIRG who are seeking a coronovirus-related price on Amazon, including first-party listings. PIRG, a US report published this week, found that “uncertain pricing” for staple items such as paper towels, facial tissues, flour, and bleach remains on the Amazon today.
Amazon spokesman Nicole Jefferson told US Spike about the price spikes, “We try to identify high prices through manual and automated processes that detect a price significantly higher than the historical price for a single product Are designed for. ” .
It is far less likely that anyone on Amazon will take time to manually go through their listings to raise specific prices by a certain amount. The company relies on infamous dynamic, algorithmic pricing that changes continuously in response to a whole range of conditions. An April report by The Markup found that coronovirus-related conditions were causing some particularly noticeable price volatility that Amazon did not perceive.
In recent years, many deep-diving investigations have found unsafe, misleading, counterfeit, or counterfeit goods for sale in Amazon’s third-party market, which is growing faster than an unpredictable flea market.
The Wall Street Journal 2019 found that not only is there junk for sale in marketplace dustbin in some very literal sense, but also that listings for unsafe items continue even after those items are recalled or banned from the site .
About 60 percent of Amazon’s retail sales are through the third-party marketplace, with millions of sellers placing millions upon millions of listings. On that scale, it can undoubtedly be difficult to maintain, and perhaps some errors are expected.
Amazon’s own sales, however – 40 percent of its retail empire – increasingly rely on and promote Amazon’s hundreds of private-label brands. AmazonBasics is one of the most successful of those brands. It expects to find store brands in your Target, Walmart, or other big-box stores: home furnishings, bed and bath products, kitchen items, furnishings, lightbulbs, charging cables, and more. .
You might think that bringing all those products and brands in-house and listing, selling, and shipping them as a first-party merchant would allow Amazon to exercise more strict quality control on the goods that the marketplace Occurs in According to a new CNN report, however, you would be wrong.
CNN has identified more than 1,500 consumer reviews of AmazonBasics products that describe someone or something burning, or outright fire catching products. CNN published its story about 30 items with “three or more” reviews about how the fire was set for sale at the time. Another dozen went missing as CNN’s story began: “Some went missing after CNN began its reporting, and at least four product pages were removed from the retailer’s site altogether – dead URLs by employees Is known as ‘Dog Page’, “CNN wrote.
AmazonBasics Microwave, for example, received over 150 user reviews describing “safety concerns including fire and smoke”. Contains images of several sung products. CNN obtained a faulty microwave from a customer and presented it to experts at the University of Maryland for testing.
“As soon as the researchers switched it on, the microwave started sparking and smoking, causing a reaction as if its user had poured foil or other metal,” CNN wrote. A user-uploaded video included in the CNN story shows a microwave sparkling dangerously when a plastic bowl of macaroni and cheese is placed inside and heated.
Amazon told CNN that relying on user reviews to uncover defective products is insufficient, adding that it also looks at sales history and customer service contacts looking for the problem. “It is unsafe to use customer reviews alone to end a product or to imply that a broader issue is misleading,” an Amazon representative told CNN in a statement. However, CNN also filed at least 10 reports with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about eight different dangerous or defective AmazonBasics products. However, Amazon has only made two official recalls on AmazonBizix stuff.