From fashion and household staples to books and furniture, you can find anything you want on Amazon, at the lowest possible prices. Or, at least, that’s what Amazon wants you to think. While it’s true you can find absurdly great deals, it’s also true that some products are best bought in-person, in-store, instead of ordering them on Amazon.
Curious to find out what you should steer clear of on Amazon? Then read and learn!
Costly Face Masks and Other Items
The coronavirus pandemic has shown us that there are still plenty of people willing to sacrifice themselves for the greater good but also individuals who prey on people’s fear and anxiety for their own financial gains. Selling face masks and other items like hand sanitizers at exorbitantly high prices is one such example. With the coronavirus spreading in every state in America, Amazon did not do a great job in terms of curbing the price of face masks, hand sanitizers and other items that are in high demand these days.
Amazon promised to take action against sellers with unreasonable prices, emphasizing that the company was “disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed tens of thousands of offers.”
Items with Suspicious Discounts
Items on Amazon seem to be part of a never-ending sale, or at least that’s what you’re made to believe. The crossed-out list prices give you the impression you’ve just received the greatest discount of your life. But before falling victim to these retailer antics, try to verify an item’s price history using trackers such as Camelcamelcamel. You’ll be in for quite a surprise!
Because Amazon prices change day in day out, quite significantly we might add, a seemingly great deal might turn out to be nothing more than an ordinary sale.
The Amazon Echo and Echo Dot have been gaining quite a popularity among Amazon buyers. Still, to some, these devices will never be able to out top Google Home and Google Home Mini. But if you think you can find Google Home at a good price on Amazon, you’ve got another thing coming. That’s because there’s no way you will find bottom-dollar deals from rivals Google and Apple on Amazon.
To get the idea, let’s compare the price of the Apple Watch Series 3 at Walmart and on Amazon. On Black Friday, the smartwatch was $129 at Walmart while the cheapest you could ever buy it on Amazon was for $170. Not exactly peanuts ‘money, is it?
It’s not easy to carry all those heavy bags of pet food from the store. That’s why many people opt for home delivery, which is a great idea, except if you purchase your Fido food on Amazon. According to an analysis by Consumers’ Checkbook, Amazon displays 18% higher prices for pet food compared to other online platforms such as Chewy.com. If you buy it from stores such as Sam’s Club, BJ’s, and Walmart, it’s even cheaper.
It’s not that your furry friend does not deserve expensive food, it’s just not worth it if you can find it somewhere else for a better price.
Toilet Paper and Other Household Staples
Compared to other household items, you constantly need to restock on paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, dish soap, detergent and the like. But while other items might be worth buying on Amazon, these household staples should definitely be purchased somewhere else. Costco, for example, can help you save more than 25 percent on household staples. Speaking of Costo, here are 10 Smart Tips to Minimize Your Costco Bill.
If in-store shopping is not a good option for you, you can use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program to benefit from lower prices. Just know that subscribing isn’t a guarantee that the prices will not fluctuate.
Amazon has partnered with many big companies over the years but some of these partnerships have not ended well. Birkenstock, for instance, decided to say goodbye to the online giant in 2018 and sell their products in other ways. Because the two companies parted ways, the Birkenstock products you might still find on Amazon, such as their famous sandals, might not be the real deal. In other words, they could be fake, so pay attention to what you want to buy!
Nike is another famous company that decided to part ways with the e-commerce powerhouse, despite Amazon being the world’s largest online retailer. Nike put an end to the collaboration after it decided Amazon wasn’t doing its best to limit resellers and counterfeiters. This means buying Nike products on Amazon just became riskier, as they might not be genuine.
No-Name Phone Chargers
You can try to save some bucks on a phone case or smartwatch band but when it comes to phone chargers, you might want to stick to certified retailers, others your phone will pay the bigger price. A cheap charger will not provide any efficient surge protection to your smartphone and can damage its battery permanently.
“Cheaper chargers don’t necessarily have the standards in place to fill your phone constantly with the correct voltage,” says Brad Nichols, a technician with technology repair service company Staymobile. “The fluctuation of voltage can damage the charger port, and even damage your battery.”
There are plenty of cheap chargers on Amazon but the cheaper they are, the less safe. The best way to protect your phone and your wallet is to buy chargers sold by your phone manufacturer or at least certified by them.
Items That Make Unapproved Medical Claims
Amazon is the greatest online marketplace so it’s no wonder you can find everything from weight loss supplements to health devices that promise incredible results. But if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Certain products might be good, but they do not work wonders, at least not the wonders advertised by sellers. Sadly, you’ll find plenty of questionable products with unapproved medical claims on Amazon.
Just recently, the giant online retailer removed more than 1 million products over false claims about their ability to prevent and treat the novel coronavirus. “Amazon policy prohibits the listing or sale of products that are marketed as unapproved or unregistered medical devices,” according to Amazon representatives.
Products with Reviews for Other Items
The importance of product reviews can be summed up in one word: reliability. You base your decision to buy or skip a certain product based on what other people wrote about it. The more positive reviews, the better.
In some cases, after endless searches, you finally find a product with tons of good reviews only to discover that the praises are for a completely different product. This happens when an existing product page is hijacked and updated to advertise a new product, “stealing” the good reviews of the old product. Like most customers, you will see the high star rating and believe you’ve found “the one”. Although piggybacking on old reviews is a huge breach of policy, it is still a common occurrence on Amazon.
Books from Third-Party Sellers
Of the perks of purchasing a book directly from Amazon is that you know for sure the book is new. However, if you find the same book sold by a third-party seller at a suspiciously low price, even lower than what Amazon is selling it for, you might end up paying for a used book passed off as new.
Sure, the book might be in a good condition and you might not even know it’s not new-new but with a third-party “new” book, the author and published often get nothing, or very little, which is completely unethical. Not to mention you’re basically supporting book piracy!
Products with Suspicious Reviews
Usually, when you want to find out more about a product you intend on buying, you check the reviews. While reviews can provide useful information, you need to read them with great care and attention because Amazon is full of fake reviews.
How can you spot fake reviews? Just pay attention to the abundance of meaningless superlatives such as great or awesome used to describe a product or its performance. Other warning signs include the use of strange syntax or dozens of positive reviews posted in a relatively short period of time. Another way to spot fake reviews and counterfeits is to use Fakespot, a free tool that helps you separate the wheat from the chaff aka the fake.
Buying large appliances online can be quite challenging, considering you’re not able to see the actual product and analyze all its hook-ups in person. Besides, if you compare prices, you can find much better deals for appliances such as refrigerators or washing machines at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Best Buy, and even at your local appliance shops.
“It’s simply easier to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need — the right size and specs — in-store,” says Saundra Latham of Cheapism.com. More than that, “you can haggle over the price, which physical retailers are willing to do face-to-face on large appliance purchases”, she adds.
Ikea products are affordable and relatively easy to assemble (at least, according to Ikea ads). When it comes to their delivery, the situation is a bit trickier. That’s because Ikea does not deliver in all areas, which means you might not enjoy your favorite Ikea product if you’re not living near an Ikea store. and if they do deliver, be prepared to pay huge shipping costs.
Ikea did try to sell its products on Amazon but the partnership failed and ended this year. You can still find Ikea items on Amazon, provided by third-party sellers for twice as much than what they cost in a store. Ikea might be good but not that good!
Costco Kirkland Signature Products
Put two of the strongest retailers together and you’ve got a recipe for success. On their part, at least. Costco paired with Amazon and included their store brand, Kirkland Signature, on the list of Amazon products, to make the purchase easier for customers who prefer online shopping. So far so good, but at a closer look, you’d see that while it might be easier to buy Kirkland items on Amazon, it certainly is not cheaper.
In fact, according to Cindy Livesey, founder of LivingRichWithCoupons.com., “the price mark-ups on all the Kirkland products sold on Amazon are substantial”. Instead of paying for products with inflated prices, better head to the nearest Costco store and buy what you want at far better prices.