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Shocking report finds dumpster divers selling trash on Amazon

With Christmas less than a week away, you might be scrambling to finish all of your shopping. Now is a good time to take advantage of that Amazon Prime membership and its speedy delivery service.

Besides, isn’t it much more convenient to shop online than fight the crowds at the mall? Convenience is one reason there are more than 101 million Amazon Prime members in the U.S. Tap or click here to see whether Amazon Prime is right for you.

For a successful company that has so many members, you would think it provides nothing but high quality products. Unfortunately, in some cases it doesn’t.

Do you know where that package came from?

Amazon has been a trusted e-commerce site for more than 20 years and most customers are happy with the items they have purchased. Unfortunately, some of the products sold through the website have been found to be problematic.

A recent example was customers complaining about receiving expired items when ordering food from Amazon’s marketplace. Tap or click here to find out how this happened.

Now, the situation has taken another turn for the worst — right into the dumpster, you might say.

A distressing new report from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed some third-party sellers on Amazon are actually selling trash they collected right out of the dumpster.

If you don’t already know, just because you’re shopping on Amazon doesn’t mean it’s the only retailer. There are tons of third-party sellers on the site and it’s actually not too difficult to become a seller. Most of them are on the up-and-up, but some bad actors have been known to practice shady business.

According to the WSJ report, a number of third-party sellers admitted they have sold items found while dumpster diving. Many of them said they find stuff thrown out by larger retailers like Michaels and Trader Joe’s, clean the products up to make them look new and sell them through Amazon.

Not everything they admitted to selling came from the trash. Some of the items were purchased from clearance bins at discount retailers and thrift stores, or from pawnshops.

Is there anything Amazon can do?

After speaking with some Amazon third-party sellers, WSJ decided to open its own shop on the site to see how easy it is to sell dumpster items as “new.” They were able to open their own Amazon store called DJ Co.

All they needed to do was submit a reporter’s driver’s license and bank statement and the shop was good to go. The process only took a couple of days.

They found some items in dumpsters behind retail stores that were still in original packaging. After cleaning the products up and making them look new, they sent them to Amazon to sell from DJ Co. Don’t worry, they purchased the items themselves so no one else would end up buying them, but it worked.

After WSJ told Amazon what they did, the company updated its policy to ban items from the trash.

An Amazon spokesperson told WSJ:

Sourcing items from the trash has always been inconsistent with Amazon’s high expectations of its sellers and prohibited by the Seller Code of Conduct on Amazon, which requires that sellers act fairly and honestly. We’ve updated our policy to more explicitly prohibit this type of behavior.

The company also said it is expanding its verification efforts to stop this from happening in the future.

These changes are all well and good but there’s no real guarantee third-party sellers won’t be able to pull one over on you. When dealing with third-party sellers, be vigilant and research the products before you purchase.

In related news, a federal appeals court recently ruled that consumers can sue Amazon for defective third-party purchases. Tap or click here to find out what that means to you.

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