Third-Party Seller Scam

I had a very interesting experience today – I learned that I had been the victim of a scam by a third-party seller on Amazon.  A couple of weeks ago, I ordered a calculator for my younger daughter on Amazon.  The order was not directly with Amazon, but rather with a third-party seller.  I clicked “Buy” and put in my credit card information – just like I had many, many times before.

When I checked on Monday, the Amazon web site it said that the calculator had been shipped via USPS and was due to be delivered on Thursday.  When I still had not seen it in today’s mail, I looked at the tracking information on Amazon again.  It said that the calculator had been delivered on Tuesday!

After a quick survey of family members – “Did anyone get a package on Tuesday?” – I discovered that one package had arrived on Tuesday.  A very strange padded envelope had arrived with four packs of double-A batteries in it and a notice congratulating us for winning a contest.  Fortunately, our recycling had not yet been picked up so I was able to pull the package with the batteries out of it.  Sure enough, the tracking number on the battery package matched the tracking number on the Amazon web site of the package that supposedly delivered the calculator.  My wife immediately recognized that the total size and weight of the batteries would be very close to the total size and weight of the calculator.

Once I figured out that the third-party seller was running a scam, I called Amazon.  The person I talked with said that things like this did not happen often, but did happen often enough that they had a separate group to investigate such situations.  He transferred me over to that group, which confirmed the situation and immediately reversed the charges.  He also said that the third-party seller would be banned from Amazon.

I have learned a few things from this experience.  First, Amazon has enough of a problem with third-party sellers running scams that they were compelled to spend quite a bit of money to deal with that problem.  Second,  Amazon is trying to keep customers happy that are scammed this way.  Third, I don’t intend to ever buy from any third-party sellers on Amazon again.

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