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- Location: WI
This post is meant as information for third parties who sell on Amazon. They may sell new, used or a combination of the two.
Basically, Amazon allows third parties to sell goods on Amazon. Anytime it's not Amazon itself selling something, it's a third party vendor. You can tell because instead of saying Amazon is the seller you'll see the third party's vendor name, and that the item is not eligible for Amazon Prime.
Why is this important? Well sometimes it's not. I've bought from sellers who are flat out excellent and I would not hesitate to buy from again. Some of them are terrific. I've also dealt with the not so terrific, and I'll describe a couple of those in a moment.
Amazon still stands behind whatever a third party vendor sells on their stie, but it's much more of a hassle if there is an issue, as they file a claim and unless you want a gift certificate you have to wait and see what Amazon determines the resolution to be.
I had this happen where I ordered an item, then requested that the vendor cancel the order via Amazon's messaging system. Days later, I got a notice the vendor had shipped the item anyway, and then I got another notice from the vendor saying they had processed the order but caught it before it shipped, and they would be crediting my card within 2 business days. Ok no biggie I thought, but when I checked my card 5 days later and no credit even pending (it's Amex, which some of you may know is pretty quick) I thought hummm something isn't right here. I wrote the merchant and no response, so then I contacted Amazon customer service. I showed them the message thread and explained what happened. Amazon opened one of their A-Z claims for me, where I could either wait for the merchant to respond and see what the outcome is, or take a gift certificate. I took the gift certificate. The item never came, so apparently the merchant planned to not ship but still let me pay them anyway. That just wan't cool with me unfortunatley.
So what recourse do you have against this kind of thing? Well first there is Amazon customer service. From what I've seen they will take care of you even though it's a third party.
Also there is the Amazon feedback system. You can leave feedback for others to read on the transaction, kind of like eBay feedback. Needless to say I left that seller 1 star on that transaction with details on what happened.
I had one other not so great experience buying from third parties on Amazon, which relates to the feedback system. I bought a book that the third party seller claimed was "New" condition. I got the book and it had the sales receipt from 11 years earlier with it on it, saying where it had been bought, and sticky goo on the front cover. It was otherwise in good shape, so I kept it, but you know that is USED not new condition. And my problem was the seller said it was NEW and it was not. If he had said used but good condition, I'd have been fine. So I mentioned that in the feedback and left 4 stars instead of 5.
The seller noticed the feedback very quickly and wrote me an email, offering basically a bribe for me to change it. I said nope I'm not interested in being bribed - what I wrote is true, and the buyers on here rely on the feedback being honest to know who to purchase from. I would be doing them a disservice by modifying my feedback to say something that isn't true. He still got 4 stars which to me is good anyway. I mentioned if you want that 5 star rating then please try to be more accurate in your descriptions and I'm sure you will earn it the right way.
But I could see some folks taking the bribe and going along with changing the feedback so it's not necessarily a perfect system.
So that's a brief summary. I have bought quite a few things via third party sellers, the vast majority of the experiences have been fine. There was one where I SUSPECT the reason they are selling brand name stuff at VERY cheap prices is they are counterfeit Chinese knock offs based on the quality of the item which was VERY apparent it wasn't nearly as good as the brand name stuff I have, but I have no proof, but it seemed suspicious, so if you see someone selling name brand stuff saying it's new for a fraction of what the real thing goes for, be suspicious of that too.
I hope this helps someone. Personally I've found that unlike eBay I have yet to be ripped off buying on Amazon because Amazon will stand behind you the customer (where Paypal will sometimes hold you down while the crook screws you). Thus I have no fear of buying from third party sellers on Amazon, but nothing is truly perfect of course. But the vast majority (99%) of what I bought was a great experience.