The best part about shopping online is that you do not have to leave your home to go to a store. Instead, you can do it all at your convenience, and often times find deals you would not get anywhere else.
Easily the most popular online store these days is Amazon, with it having pretty much any product you could possibly think of just a click away. With a bevvy of options at great prices, it really is the place to go when you need to purchase something.
However, if there is one drawback to the Amazon style of shopping it's that we are left to to trust the seller. Not only are we counting on them to provide a quality product, but we are also showing faith that what we get is actually what the seller claims it to be.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case
What I'm talking about is counterfeit items, which is something Amazon does not want on its site yet can't seem to keep away. Worse, it's not always as harmless as the product you receive being a knock-off of a better, more well-known brand.
In other words, that Apple item you bought may not actually be from Apple, nor are all the clothes or other items you bought actually made by the company you think. Sometimes, items advertised as new are actually used.
At issue is how Amazon features all sorts of different sellers. In this case, the problem is the Amazon Marketplace, which is a part of the site that allows third-party sellers to skip the middle man and offer their products directly to customers.
In some instances, Amazon even took part in shipping the orders.
Marketplace accounted for more than $9 billion in revenue for Amazon in the last quarter, and makes up about 20 percent of the company's total income. Therefore, it's not likely to go anywhere, even if it is a struggle to properly police it.
That's not to say they don't try
The recent study was performed by "The Guardian," and upon learning of its findings, Amazon took steps to remove counterfeit items that were available on the site. There is still more they can do, though, and they may have to.
Some companies have already pulled their items off of the site due to the prevalence of fakes, which when bought, can damage their brand's reputation. Amazon has provided a "brand registry" in hopes of convincing businesses that their real products will be able to stand out among the counterfeit.
Even with that, it is still an issue that has plagued the site. As people continue to shop for the best deals, they may be more likely to settle on a real-looking fake because it will save them some money.
Fake items not only hurt consumers, who are not getting exactly what they think. But the real companies as well, whose sales are undercut by the lower-priced knockoffs.
How do I ensure what I'm buying is real?
The adage of if something looks too good to be true it probably is may apply, but it's understandable that people are not as careful when browsing through a reputable place like Amazon.
Therefore, the best thing we can do is perform a little research into the seller. Do they have plenty of good reviews? What are people saying about their product and/or service?
If those things check out, you are probably fine. But if you notice any red flags or complaints, it could be a sign that it is best to take your business elsewhere.
Then again, there is always the possibility that the positive reviews are not entirely legitimate themselves, but that's an entirely different story you can read about here.
Speaking of fakes, that's probably not the real Mark Zuckerberg
People are trying to convince victims they are Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, all in an effort to extort money from them. It sounds a bit unbelievable, but it's true.