Amazon is the world’s biggest retailer, and with that title comes several pros and cons. On one hand, Amazon’s service is fast, cheap and full of choices. On the other hand, the platform has attracted a number of scammers with counterfeit products and fake reviews.
The issues are so bad now, in fact, that third-party companies have created tools to help users navigate through the fakes. Tap or click here to see a tool that helps you filter through fake Amazon reviews.
But the days of rampant counterfeits and fakers may be coming to an end. Amazon has unveiled a new set of rules designed to curtail sellers from peddling fake goods. But is it a bridge too far in terms of privacy?
Amazon wants to know your location
According to Business Insider, Amazon plans to unveil a new set of rules governing third-party sellers.
As part of an effort to curb the spread of counterfeit products, Amazon will start publicly listing the names and addresses of any U.S.-based third-party sellers using the platform. Amazon claims this new rule will help customers learn more about sellers’ businesses, as well as the products they’re selling to others.
This change is set to roll out as of September 1, but third-party sellers were sent a formal notification about the changes on June 8. This is not a measure they can opt-out of, either. All third-party sellers will be required to state their names and addresses going forward.
This is a major change from the previous policy, which allowed sellers to display a store name, but not any personal details. The new rules make it more difficult (if not impossible) to stay anonymous as a seller on the platform, but it also has the potential of deterring counterfeiters, who may face swifter legal action now that their information is exposed.
This is all well and good, but will it really stop counterfeiters?
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it? While potential legal exposure is a potent deterrent, there are still likely to be some miscreants willing to spoof an address and name in order to push some fake products in spite of the new rules.
Not only that, but it’s also still entirely possible for sellers to write bogus descriptions for their products that may exaggerate or mislead what they actually do. As long as the language is vague enough, the scammers may be covered.
RELATED: Tap or click here to see some of the fake coronavirus-killing products that were selling on Amazon
To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to know the red flags for counterfeits and scams when shopping on Amazon. Here are a few key points to remember the next time you browse:
- Always check reviews, and be skeptical about products with a small amount of perfect 5-star reviews. This goes double if several reviews appear to say the same thing.
- It’s beneficial to go for a product with photo reviews from other users. This can help you make an informed buying decision.
- Sloppy writing and poor English in the product descriptions and reviews can be a sign that the product is not what it appears to be.
- See if the orders are “Fulfilled by Amazon” or “Shipped by Amazon.” This means that Amazon handles the distribution, which increases your likelihood of a genuine product.
- If the prices seem unreasonable compared to similar listings, you might be dealing with a counterfeit or fraudulent product.
Thankfully, this new rule only applies to sellers, so don’t expect to be required to publicly give up your own address anytime soon. If you plan on selling, however, you may want to invest in additional fraud-protection software like our sponsor IDGuard.
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