You’ve probably bought counterfeit products off Amazon.

Amazon is almost always cheaper than other big box stores; but for the most part, those stores now price match.

Amazon’s shipping is almost always faster than other retailers; but COVID-19 has changed that.

Amazon’s customer service is great; but their employees don’t get the same treatment.

For the most part the Prime reasons for shopping at Amazon have been muted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To make matters worse, there is a good chance that some of the products you’ve purchased from Amazon are counterfeit.

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My first exposure to Amazon’s counterfeit problem came while I was working at a major Hollywood studio several years ago.

At the time I was tasked with purchasing identical collector’s edition box sets of Indiana Jones from every seller listed on Amazon. This wasn’t just a box set of DVDs, this collectors set included a hat and various small pieces of memorabilia. I didn’t suspect there would be very many, if any, counterfeits given the complexity in counterfeiting multiple items for a single product.

Weeks later I came into the office and began going through roughly $15,000 worth of Indiana Jones box sets.

I inspected the boxes, the DVDs, the hats, the printed items, the plastic wrap, the quality of plastic used for the DVD cases (to my surprise, the counterfeit items almost always had more durable DVD cases). I looked at everything.

A good portion of the items I checked were counterfeit, and the experience has left me suspicious of anything I’ve bought off Amazon.

Counterfeiters have grown more sophisticated, and there are few products which cannot be faked.

Have you tried buying a memory card off Amazon recently? Have you wondered why there is such a discrepancy in the reviews? If you run into products where it sounds like the reviews were for completely different products, the most likely reason is that they really are reviewing different products. Some of those reviews are for genuine items, others for cheap counterfeits.

Instead of spending hours verifying if the MicroSD card you bought of Amazon is real (like these people), go to Best Buy or Target and price match, or spend an extra $5 and save yourself the time and effort.

I know what you’re going to say:

But I only buy items marked as Shipped and Sold by Amazon, I don’t buy from third party sellers…

Doesn’t matter, you’re not safe. As mentioned in this Forbes article, products from various sources are frequently stored together and mixed with products from other sellers, including Amazon’s items. So your Shipped and Sold by Amazon purchase could be from any of the various sellers storing items in Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

Use this opportunity, while the Amazon value proposition is crumbling, to break your Amazon addiction. Or at least give it a break until Amazon gets more serious about counterfeits.

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