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Amazon growing in con artists like ebay?


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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2008, 12:16:27 PM PST
P0IZNIV says:
I agree with S. Walker! Amazon is a trusted retailer, so that sets people up to get ripped off (if they don't do their homework.) These 3rd parties that are only out to make 'a dollar' aren't the type of person/company that I'd ever consider buying from! I do NOT buy from other retailers through Amazon - I will only buy it if its from Amazon. I understand supply and demand, but its kind of a slimy person that tries to make sooooo much profit off of a toy or something because its Christmas or the item is sold out. They are CON ARTISTS!!!!!!! And also, to the free market posters... there used to be a lot of FAKES being sold on Amazon... probably still is... just like eBay.. so is that okay? Copyright infringement, bootlegging, etc? I don't think so. Just more dishonest people trying to profit off of someone else without really doing any work of their own.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2008, 12:54:59 PM PST
M Dantinne says:
J. Babyak says: "I'm finding the same with Fisher Price's My First Dollhouse....... I had to buy the Caucasian set at 65.00 when they were selling the African American set for 29.00...... sounds like a lawsuit to me."

I am fighting the urge to launch a personal attack. One would have to be completely ignorant to suggest a race-related lawsuit due to some price differences on two different Fisher Price toys (and likely from two different sellers) for sale on Amazon.com.

Nobody forced you to buy anything.

You are not a victim.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2008, 1:20:57 PM PST
M Dantinne says:
S Neal says: "I have experienced this 3rd party price gauging first hand and just last week. Took our boys to Toys R Us so they could look around and so we could see what they were really interested in. We came across a U Command Wall-E for $49. Since they were with us I decided I would just order from Amazon to keep it a secret and I also knew there were some other items I was planning on ordering. The next morning I find it on Amazon through another seller for around $100!!"

Amazon has been sold out of U-Command Wall-E for a while. It's funny that you mentioned finding this toy at TRU for $49. Since that's a sale price, if you went back today you might find that TRU's price is even higher! The "normal" price at TRU is $59. Not only that, this exact toy was available at two national retailers for under $40 in the last couple of months. That's when I bought one to give as a gift. When I saw it at TRU for $20 more, I did not complain about it - simply because I understood that prices vary from seller-to-seller and from time-to-time.

S Neal says: "I don't think Amazon is conning us themselves, but allowing these sellers to drive up the prices when it's so unbelievably gouged means I have less confidence when visiting for purchases."

Nobody is conning you. There is no reason to "lose confidence" because you never had any reason to assume that Amazon.com had the lowest price on anything.

S Neal says: "I will never buy anything from those 3rd party sellers now."

OK.

S Neal says: "Just today I had an item in my cart that went from $14 to $19 and the list price is $9.99."

Prices vary all of the time. Do you get the newspaper on Sunday? Have you noticed that it's very, very thick this time of year? Well, that's because it's packed full of advertisements from companies who have changed the prices of their products! Sure, the price changes happen more frequently now, but this should not be a new concept.

S Neal says: "...will have to wait until after Christmas when people quit trying to make more than they deserve."

It's demand that's driving the prices up. When the demand drops after Xmas, then prices will probably drop, too. It's not a secret. Sellers don't control the marketplace on their own, they need willing buyers to make a sale.

S Neal says: "Now, if I were buying something popular on Ebay I would expect to get ripped off, but not here."

Why would you expect to get "ripped off" anywhere? That doesn't make any sense. If you don't like the price, then don't buy the product - no matter where you're shopping.

You are not a victim.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 3:36:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2008, 3:39:23 PM PST
J. Roberts says:
The related problem which I haven't seen mentioned is 'Wish Lists.' I put toys in my son's wish lists for overseas relatives and I choose reasonably priced items. But when Amazon itself sells out of the $9.99 lego set the link on the wish list changes to an Amazon seller listing it for $22.99, I'm not notified of that so I can remove it from the list. Worst was the Pictionary Jr. my son received last year, relative who bought it asked me if it was a 'special edition' when we spoke after Xmas, he'd paid over $50 for what I had placed on the list at $17. Yes if someone REALLY wanted a hard to find toy they will pay over the odds for it, but that feels like bait & switch.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 4:29:27 PM PST
NonStopToys says:
This thread is just a lazy, late shoppers' guide to whining. I understand both sides of the coin, but this topic is just the age old argument of: Cheap Customer vs Greedy Seller. Take into consideration:

1) If you wait until something is sold out before trying to purchase it - Expect to pay more. Dont complain afterwards.

2) Unless its a big business, Sellers SHOULD be concerned with making the maximum amount of profit they can - Otherwise its not worth being a seller.

3) Amazons fees are expensive!!!! I would definitely try and double my money if i could - being they take a hefty chunk of your sale. If amazon didnt take $7 out of a $25 sale, there probably wouldnt be as much price discrepancy.

4) Be an educated consumer. Know where to shop, when to shop. Just because you missed out, dont be mad that you have to pay more. The advantage of being on point, doing research and starting early means you dont have to pay double later.

5) Remember all these complaints are about luxury items. If you cant afford to pay the asking price, dont get the item, simple as that. A lego block set is not a necessity in life - If this were in relation to something like milk or food for $2 then resold for $15 - i could see your argument, but over a luxury item, it just seems like the rich man/poor man complaint.

6) If an Amazon seller buys a $50 toy at Walmart then sells it for $90, whos the crook, Walmart for selling it at a $45 dollar profit or an Amazon seller at $30 profit? Unless you are a business with a license and direct manufacturer purchasing capabilities, i would assume most sellers on Amazon are just consumers reselling.

7) Last but not least, the perfect example to debunk this "price gouger" thread is this. Amazing Spider-man #36 comic was a 9-11 special. Regular Price was $3.99, it was available to the mass public. Eventually the comic sold out, I myself purchased one. Today, only a few years later, the comic is valued around $100-150 in price guides.

Based on your theories, if i were to sell it i would have offer it for only a few dollars more than the $3.99 cover price in order to make someone happy? Because you missed out on something, it doesnt mean the seller should feel sorry for you. The Amazon marketplace is a free market enterprise where people compete for sales. Shop elsewhere or early if you cant afford the 2x mark-ups.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 4:45:07 PM PST
N. Schmidt says:
Amazon Addict says:
...to me this is more a matter of trust. I trust when I go to Costco or Wal*Mart that I am going to get a decent price.

All of this talk about trust is fascinating to me, and I keep seeing this point made (especially in respect to Walmart). But - I don't trust or assume that Walmart has the lowest prices. Why? Because they don't have the lowest prices on everything. If I read their ads or look at the prices on the shelf, I'll find a "lowest price" blender for $15.00. But when I want to purchase a better, high end blender... Walmart's price was $40.00 over that of a locally-owned, specialty kitchen boutique store that could never, ever compete with Walmart's buying power. Why? Because this is where Walmart makes their profit... they create an expectation that they have the lowest price by underpricing their lowest-end product, and make it up on customers who blindly buy everything from them based on trust in a low price.

If I can't even trust Walmart on low prices, why should I have that expectation from Amazon?

Yes, from reading this and other threads, I think Amazon could do a little better about educating its users on pricing, such as including MSRP or other price comparisons as others have suggested. But I completely reject the idea of regulating prices or kicking off sellers. Why? Because when I finally decide that a book that's been out of print for 60 years is worth $150.00 to me, I know that I can come to Amazon and find it. Markus is absolutely correct - Amazon wants to have it in stock. Whether it is worth the price is the buyer's choice alone. Amazon has no business telling their customers what they can buy, and for how much, etc., etc. If they want my business, they'll have to a) have what I need b) when I need it, and c) at a price I'm willing to pay based on need and timeliness (a&b). Simple as that...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 9:26:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2008, 9:34:19 PM PST
W. Geddes says:
I bought 2 toys from different places on amazon, 1st was in stock and the 2nd was out. The 2nd had a pre-order option of 24.99 to be in stock on the 4th. Dec. Bundled both together and did the super saver shipping. Checked on the 6th Dec and the 2nd was in stock at around $40.00 now. Amazon not shipping, called and they said not in stock. After i prove them wrong they said the fullfillment center was out of stock. So split my shipments with 1st. one come with super saving option and said i would wait for the 2nd. Recheck my order and 1st shipped and the 2nd coming around the 24th but with $7.00 dollars costing me for shipping that i didn't approve. why can they ship it after the $7.00 shipping bill but not 10 minutes before when they said they were out of stock. And they both had the super saving option when purchased. First time shopping with amazon, think it will be my last.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 9:50:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 11, 2008, 9:52:15 PM PST
W. Geddes says:
so does this mean i can stock up plywood and gasoline and the next time a hurricane hits. When there's a shortage of these items, i can jack the price up 2x and resell. i think not.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 10:36:19 PM PST
M Dantinne says:
J. Roberts says: "The related problem which I haven't seen mentioned is 'Wish Lists.' I put toys in my son's wish lists for overseas relatives and I choose reasonably priced items. But when Amazon itself sells out of the $9.99 lego set the link on the wish list changes to an Amazon seller listing it for $22.99, I'm not notified of that so I can remove it from the list. Worst was the Pictionary Jr. my son received last year, relative who bought it asked me if it was a 'special edition' when we spoke after Xmas, he'd paid over $50 for what I had placed on the list at $17. Yes if someone REALLY wanted a hard to find toy they will pay over the odds for it, but that feels like bait & switch."

You do realize that Amazon did not create the Wish List feature as a public service, right? Obviously, it is intended to generate more sales for Amazon. It would be silly for them to direct you somewhere else to find a better price!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 10:47:33 PM PST
M Dantinne says:
W. Geddes says: "so does this mean i can stock up plywood and gasoline and the next time a hurricane hits. When there's a shortage of these items, i can jack the price up 2x and resell. i think not."

Again? How can you possibly make this comparison?

First of all, plywood and gasoline are essential commodities in times of disaster. Toys are NOT essential, they are a luxury... even around Christmas.

Additionally, there are many alternatives to consider when buying toys. For every overpriced "hot" toy out there, there are literally at least 1000 other low-priced toys that would be suitable replacements. However, there are not many suitable replacements for gasoline to run your car... and there aren't many suitable replacements for plywood used to protect your home from hurricane damage.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 11:07:29 PM PST
R. Harris says:
I'm really puzzled by all of those who feel that because Amazon is a trusted retailer, people are getting ripped off when prices vary or are "too high". Fakes, misleading advertising, or other lies are cons. Not offering a competitive price is NOT a con, although it will mean that you are not likely to be in business for long. Price is set by sellers AND buyers interacting. Prices tend to vary because of both changing market conditions and because of sellers and buyers jockeying for position. I love shopping Amazon (and even Amazon Marketplace), because it's convenient and inexpensive, but I can't IMAGINE not comparison shopping. It's ridiculous to think that because Amazon is a trusted name we need not compare price. The market price for anything is the price at which buyers are willing to buy and sellers are willing to sell. Sometimes you find higher prices on Amazon, sometimes lower. That's why you comparison shop! When prices differ, how do you know which price is "right"? Sellers often have to sell below cost when the market isn't as strong as they expected; they hope to make it up with higher profit margins during high demand periods. Amazon Marketplace offers a convenient alternative to a more extensive online search (although you should still do some comparison shopping). Some of the comments by others in this discussion thread refer to "artificial" restrictions on supply, for example, when Amazon limits the number of sellers. Amazon cannot limit the supply of a good or service, because there are thousands of others competing with them. The only reason that Amazon Marketplace continues to exist is because both buyers and sellers (including Amazon) want it. It reduces search and transactions costs, otherwise, people wouldn't buy. It's silly to make a blanket statement that you would never buy from any of those third-party sellers, just because the price sometimes is lower elsewhere. Finally, I keep reading references in several of the postings to the sellers' "profits." We have no idea what their profit is--we know only their selling price. Profit is total revenue less total cost. Essentially, you are free to shop around and buy from the sellers who you perceive to give you the best deal, and the sellers who survive are the ones who do the best job of satisfying the buyers.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2008, 11:55:45 PM PST
Pictonary man..... in early October i saw this game at the price of $25 at a store.... around thanksgiving amazon had it on sale for around 25 as well.... after thanksgiving it went to 29.99.... then it jumped to 39.99..... and thats were it stands buying from amazon..... but theres a seller selling it for $84 something..... THAT IT RIDICULOUS! to a point i understand amazon with the 10 dollar increase... when the demand is up so is the price.... but raising it 60 dollars more then the actual value??? I do not believe amazon should allow that and i hope no one in there right mind would pay that price

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008, 2:06:26 PM PST
J. Highsmith says:
I totally agree. Those Bakugan Brawlers that are meer plastic balls with magnets are outrageously priced. Its high-way robbery. I agree, Amazon has some vendors that are scam artists. I actually bought a blender on Amazon for about $85 and then saw it in Wal Mart for $56. I came home, checked my order online and since it hadn't shipped, I cancelled and went immediately back to Wal Mart to get the cheaper priced one.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008, 3:22:19 PM PST
These prices are crazy. Who would pay $50 for one room of dollhouse furniture. Most of this stuff is as much as the dollhouse.!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008, 4:17:54 PM PST
E. Bullock says:
Non-Stop Toys,

In answer to a couple of your points:

1. Not everyone who posts on this thread is a "lazy", "late whining shopper" as you so eloquently express yourself. Some manufacturers deliberately with hold / restrict the amount of goods available and fail to produce enough so as to keep prices high. We have noticed over the past 2 Christmas' that this seems to be more prevalent in USA than UK - looking online at UK stores - especially Lego.co.uk - many of the items out of stock here in the USA are available in UK.
2. We expect sellers to make a profit and are not baulking about a reasonable profit. This thread, and others like it, are concerned with those sellers who are selling easily available goods for 1000% profit, and those who advertise goods for a set price, cancel the order and re-list at a higher price. both are unacceptable and justifiably create bad feeling towards Amazon from those who feel they were cheated - especially by the higher price re-listers.
3. Profit of Walmart vs individual seller. We all realize Walmart etc make a profit on all they sell. However, their overheads are significantly higher than those of most sellers on Amazon - especially employment associated costs which in turn means employees have the money to put into the economy in the 1st place. Most Amazon sellers do not have these overheads - and a lot of those who do actually price reasonably - and no I do not mean cheaply.
4. Your argument about the Spiderman comic is erroneous. This item is a collectible and therefore will accrue in value over time. The sellers involved in price gouging are not selling collectibles, but readily available toys. There is a big difference between the 2. For example, I know the cost of Lego Star Wars Magnaguard is approx $44 - 49, therefore a seller who doubles or triples that price is a bit of a chancer ( in UK speak), whereas I would expect to pay more for pre 1980's star Wars Lego as the items are now collectible.

My argument is that when goods are no longer in stock by Amazon and are offered at vastly inflated prices, Amazon could make it clearer for users that say for example: Lego Agents Command Center retails at $89.99 and Bobby Jo's Toys ( fictitious seller, by the way) is selling it for $200.
This does not restrict anyone's freedom or market forces and would maybe solve a lot of problems and bad feeling.
In addition to this, Amazon should look to stopping the practice of 3rd party sellers refusing to fulfill orders and re-listing items for higher prices. As a former seller on Ebay, to take money for goods you do not have in your hand, metaphorically, is fraud. You cannot advertise something for sale if you do not have it in the first place. This is where Amazon certainly needs to increase regulation amongst 3rd party sellers - it does not impact upon freedom of choice to sell or to buy, but ensures fair selling practice.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008, 4:55:51 PM PST
Can we string them up for charging so much for a candy bar?!? When it comes to chocolate, I say let's do it!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008, 5:14:31 PM PST
E. Bullock says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008, 5:23:15 PM PST
Mo0o0o0o0o says:
I love Hershey bars. I love Cadbury cream eggs at Easter time! To stay on topic...The single egss are way to expensive so I do buy them in the 4 packs to save money :) My fave chocolate of all is Lindt Truffles. They literally melt in your mouth. !@!~

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2008, 6:01:05 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 13, 2008, 6:18:26 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008, 6:23:39 AM PST
C.B. says:
I like Amazon. For the most part, I've had good experiences. Nobody is forcing anybody to buy anything. If I don't want to pay $100.00 for something that normally costs $50.00, I don't.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008, 9:26:01 AM PST
abcsara says:
"However if you walked into a Walmart today and found the same toy double the price it was yesterday - you don't see something wrong with that???"

THIS DOES HAPPEN....At Wal-Mart, at Target, at other retailers....it's all about supply and demand, which we learned about in like 4th grade! If an item is a hot seller, supplies are low, prices go up....simple economics. And yes, it stinks if it's an item I really wanted, but then it's up to ME to decide just how important it is to me and if I want to pay the inflated price. Yes, high prices stink and it's frustrating, but as a consumer, we have choices!!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008, 10:20:00 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Dec 15, 2008, 11:02:05 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008, 10:29:52 AM PST
R. Harris says:
Good point! Prices go up and prices come down. Sellers always have to set their prices based on demand, so sometimes they win and sometimes they lose. I notice that nobody complains when a desperate seller CUTS the price by 50% from one day to the next; they complain only when the price goes the other way. This holiday season there have been a lot of incredible bargains, but that doesn't mean that those who try to charge too much are committing fraud! It pays to shop around. There is no just thing as a "trusted seller" that is committing fraud by charging a price that you don't like. By the way, I find it ironic that I have to defend the market system, given that I am a liberal and normally more sympathetic to the little guy.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008, 10:51:20 AM PST
R. Harris says:
E. Bullock, just to clarify: ALL sellers in setting price do so based on demand. What you refer to as "deliberately (withholding)...goods to keep prices high" is what firms do in order to survive. A rational firm maximizes profits by increasing output as long as each extra unit sold brings in more revenue than it costs. Then they let consumer demand set the price for that level of output. Look at ANY beginning economics book for a more complete explanation. For example, try Ch. 16 in Paul Krugman and Robin Wells' Microeconomics, 2nd ed. (Worth, 2009), especially the graph on p. 421, showing quantity set by the seller and price set by demand. Keep in mind that Krugman is a very liberal Nobel Prize winner. He is certainly no apologist for exploitation by business! In short, nobody wants to flood the market and drive down the price below an acceptable level. At the same time, don't be too quick to assume that U.S. companies hold goods off the market to cause artificial shortages during the holiday season in order to make more money. They make most of their money during this season; if they hold back product, they lose sales to the competition.

Finally, you (and others) speculate about the astronomical "profit" earned by high-priced sellers, but you really mean "mark-up," not profit. We have no idea what their profit is. That depends on the total sales (which may very low or even zero, if the asking price is too high), and total cost (which is unknown to us). For example, a grocery store earning 2% of its sales dollar as profit could actually be earning a wildly high rate of return on its investment, while a boutique clothing store earning 30% (of sales) might be struggling to stay in business, because their return on investment is inadequate. For all we know from the evidence in this discussion thread, Walmart's profit could be exorbitant, and the 3rd party sellers could be on the verge of bankruptcy! Again see Krugman's textbook (pp. 227-229) for an explanation of profit.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2008, 10:59:26 AM PST
R. Harris says:
J. Roberts: Good point! I would be outraged if Amazon continued to show an item on my Wish List when in fact the price has changed significantly. If I post something on a Wish List, it is ALWAYS in consideration of the price! Amazon should remove any such items (or at least give notice to the owner of the Wish List) when the price changes. I certainly don't agree that it would be "silly" for Amazon to tell us; rather, I believe that they owe it to us. If we list an item at $9.99, there is no excuse for them to keep it on the list without our express consent at a price that has more than doubled. To me, that is closer to fraud than the cases cited by others on this thread--simply listing an asking price that is more than they think is fair.
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