From The Trash to Your Doorstep: Amazon’s Dumpster Diving Sellers
We’ve posted about the hidden dangers of suspiciously low prices on Amazon before.
We’re aware that many sellers on Amazon do not have the buyer’s best interest in mind, that many items on the Amazon marketplace are counterfeits masquerading as genuine, and that shady business practices like these can harm both buyers and legit sellers.
But apparently it goes even deeper than we thought: according to a piece from the Wall Street Journal (linked above), there are sellers on Amazon that are literally selling garbage. And we don’t mean garbage like “garbage products” - we mean literal garbage.
Take a look at the video to see for yourself. There’s footage of sellers on Amazon either dumpster diving or paying for palettes of trash with the intent of finding “sellable” items, wiping them down, and posting them on Amazon as new.
They look for sealed items that were thrown out for unknown reasons.
- bottled soap
- makeup products
- dental items like floss
- food items like nut butters or seeds
- And more
What do they do?
Some people appear to be making a living on this practice.
These are obviously fringe cases. Clearly not every shady seller is trying to sell you literal garbage. But now we know that, well, some people are actually trying to sell you literal garbage.
What does that mean for users on Amazon? Well, on top of competing with underhanded sellers peddling weak counterfeits, you also have to worry about people selling you trash.
And even though it comes from a dumpster, once it is wiped down by the seller, it’s able to make it through Amazon’s quality checks quite easily in the cases where it’s an order fulfilled by Amazon - which isn’t that much of a feat considering Amazon allows all sorts of shady stuff through.
If there’s an upside to all of this, it’s that some ingenious, and perhaps a little deceptive, people are attempting to turn needless waste into a business for themselves. In all honesty, we’ll take the trash sellers of the counterfeiters.
The ethics of selling literal garbage are shaky if not totally objectionable, but there’s an aspect of creative recycling to all of this that is maybe a little heartening. Maybe.
Amazon is Guilty Too
Whatever your feelings may be about people who partake in this practice, it’s easier to understand when an independent seller makes the choice to do something like this for themselves.
It’s entirely different, and far less understandable or redeemable, when Amazon themselves do it.
There are multiple Snap Supply parts that are being sold on Amazon by their own seller, Amazon Warehouse.
These items have not been okayed by Snap Supply to sell by Amazon by their own warehouse - so what gives?
When a customer returns a product, it comes back to Amazon. The customer is refunded and neither Snap Supply nor Amazon make any money - but that’s the point: the customer returned the product for one reason or another and they are entitled to their money back.
But when the part returns to Amazon, it is theirs to keep. Snap Supply no longer has access to it.
Amazon doesn’t want to lose money. They hate losing money. So what do they do? Dumpster dive, basically.
They take the returned item - which in many cases was returned because of some sort of damage - and sell it again.
But this time, Snap Supply is cut out completely. Amazon gets all the money because they are selling it on their own profile.
But in cases where they are selling damaged products back after they’ve been returned, customers will remember that the part is a Snap Supply part, paying less attention to the fact that it was sold by Amazon’s own account.
So Amazon is trying to cash on in returned parts without caring about the A) the customer’s own experience and B) the reputation of sellers like Snap Supply.
Does that sound a little bit like dumpster diving? Or does it maybe sound a little worse than dumpster diving?