(Updated 2/07/18) Amazon sells a zillion products. While they sell most products directly to consumers, some are sold by 3rd parties, and some products never actually reach an Amazon warehouse yet are still sold via the Amazon website.
Because of all the distribution channels that Amazon employs, they’ve developed a counterfeit problem in recent years. But if you know the products most likely to be counterfeit, and who to safely buy them from, you can avoid a lot of “counterfeit headaches” and not get ripped off. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself when shopping on Amazon.com.
From the site The Counterfeit Report, here are 13 of the more popular items sold on Amazon that have had counterfeits in the past.
- SanDisk: Micro SD Memory Cards – All genuine SanDisk memory cards should have a serial number and a manufacturing country’s identity.
- Samsung: Micro SDXC Memory Cards
- Apple: A1385 USB IPhone Chargers – Counterfeits have not been evaluated by UL and could be dangerous to use. Real Apple Model A1385 adapters have the UL mark on them.
- Vans: iPhone 5 And 6 Cases – These are all fakes as Vans does not make an iPhone case.
- Gillette: Fusion Razor Blades – Very hard to tell the difference between counterfeits and real razors until you shave with one.
- Otterbox: Defender Cases – Otterbox cases labeled as un-packaged, yet “New”, is a good indication it’s a counterfeit.
- Beats Headphones
- Gerber: Bear Grylls Ultimate Knives – The trademarked “Gerber” logo is a stylized proprietary font. The counterfeit knife doesn’t have the correct Gerber font on it.
- True Religion Jeans
- Bose: QC 15 QuietComfort Headphones
- Monster: NCredible NTune On-Ear Headphones
- Coach Handbags
- Duracell AA/AAA Batteries – Battery label slightly peeled off. Positive (+) mark on the battery does not have an arrow next to it.
I’ll keep this list updated and add potential new Amazon counterfeits as I discover them.
How to Protect Yourself from Amazon Counterfeits
According to The Counterfeit Report, “Apple reported that 90% of Apple products it purchased from Amazon Direct were counterfeit.” Also, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, close to 25% of music CD’s they purchased from Amazon were counterfeit.
Bottom-line: Amazon has a problem. And while they’re doing a lot to get rid of counterfeits, there’s still stuff us shoppers can do to protect ourselves.
First, it’s important to understand the three ways Amazon currently sells stuff:
- Amazon Direct: This is the stuff that is sold and shipped directly by Amazon. Much less likely to run into counterfeit items when you’re buying directly from Amazon.
- Amazon Marketplace: This is the stuff that’s sold via the Amazon website, yet it’s shipped by via a 3rd party seller. These products never enter an Amazon warehouse and are never inspected for authenticity. Buyer beware as a big percentage of Amazon counterfeits are sold this way.
- Amazon Fulfillment: Lastly, this is the stuff that is stored and shipped in an Amazon warehouse but is owned by a 3rd party seller. Because Amazon has more control, they can weed out counterfeits when they enter their warehouse. Still, be sure to read product reviews and check out counterfeit sites if your gut tells you something fishy might be up.
The single best way to protect yourself from counterfeits is to only buy items that are sold and shipped directly by Amazon.
Most importantly, always trust your gut instinct. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Also, if the product reviews talk about the item not being what the reviewer expected, stay away and instead buy the item from your local Walmart or Costco.
Ask the Reader: Have you ever ordered a specific brand from Amazon, and upon delivery, had the item seem counterfeit?
By Kyle James
Photo credit to Thanh Pham.