Saturday, 12 May 2012

Amazon Reseller Scams - and iMacs

Thought I would recount something I have been investigating. It
may help someone out there.

I have an interest in purchasing an iMac - the 27" screen is gorgeous
and you can never have enough pixels. Remarkably, the iMacs hold
their prices extremely well - just look at Amazon or eBay to see this.
The difference between New or Used is a small percentage (20-30%).
Even the older iMacs (2009 and 2010) models hold their value well.

Apple appear to allow approx a 9% discount, e.g. from Amazon, over the
list price. You can buy a refurb or reboxed product, and get a good
discount (both from Amazon, and other UK outlets).

A "refurb" model can mean anything: looking at some of the UK outlet
stores, they occasionally do refurbs, but, some of these stores have
display models, pretty much on 24x7, and its not clear if a "refurb"
is just a boxed version of a display model, whose screen and hard drive
have been powered on for long periods.

Now, if you monitor Amazon (UK - I havent checked US + Europe), you
will see occasionally real bargains popup, e.g. instead of a 20-30%
discount, you see 50%: the cheapest iMac model is 1400GBP, but to see
one at 700-800GBP is a warning sign.

In each case, the marketplace seller is a new seller - no feedback,
and in some cases, they are listed as a US address, and other times
as a UK address, even using some other company as a front.

Now, for the start of the scam: if you try to order the product,
you mostly can not: the reseller doesnt ship to the UK (or anywhere else) -
ie they are selling something you cannot buy.

Now, in some instances the seller advertises to contact direct,
and if you do, they will offer to enter the order for you, if you
provide them with details. This seems extremely suspect and I raised
it with Amazon. No harm done - as the order didnt complete.

Now, I dont know if this is the same reseller or a gang of them. Today
I ordered, and the order was expected - got an email from amazon
confirming the order was placed. Later on in the day, the order
had mysteriously disappeared from my orders in Amazon. Again, I contact
Amazon (via their live-chat feature) and the person there suggested
that this can happen - reseller cancels orders, and my details should
be safe.

Just to summarise:

  • Reseller has no feedback and is a new reseller

  • Item is too good to be true

  • Seller may not accept delivery to your address or country

  • If you contact reseller (either direct or through Amazon), and
    they want to be helpful and ask for details so they can enter the
    order for you

I hope the above is obvious to everyone, and if you learned something,
then great. Amazon is a great place to shop, and seems very secure with
good customer relations and security practises. But there are lots
of people out there who are trying all sorts of scams, and you dont know
what they are or how to spot the signs. (I am simply looking at this
to better understand myself).

Be careful out there.

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1 comment:

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