Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Amazon: With Great Power Comes Little Responsibility

July 20, 2016
Birkenstock quits Amazon in US after counterfeit surge

For example, Amazon commingles inventory from distributors at its fulfillment centers, so authentic products and fakes can get mixed together.

Amazon better get a handle on the counterfeit problem. Commingling is definitely not the solution.

I recently paid full price for two Playstation 3 controllers to replace ones that failed (due to excessive use as a gamer). I wanted to buy on Amazon for the convenience and the better price but did not trust the product they are selling.

Amazon: PlayStation 3 Dualshock 3 Wireless Controller (Black)

Although it averages 4 stars, take a look at the 13% who rated it 1 star (which I always read before making a purchase). There is a common theme.

Be wary of fakes!!

I've taken apart both this controller and a genuine Dualshock 3 controller, and the innards are vastly different as well.

Meanwhile, over at Best Buy...

Best Buy: Sony - DualShock 3 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 3 - Black

98% of customers recommend this product.

Best Buy won that round, at least for me, even at the higher price point. I was willing to drive somewhat out of my way to pick up in person. I've been using the controllers for a few days. No complaints so far.

This is how it starts. Ask Chipotle. Once trust is lost, it can be very difficult to get it back. I can't speak for others, but my trust is clearly fading.

Does Amazon's return policy solve the problem? Not exactly. First, it's annoying to have to return stuff. Second, Amazon may close your account if you return too much stuff. If the counterfeit problem continues to grow then things will certainly get interesting.

This is not the first time I've written about counterfeiting, and it won't be the last. Still haunted by my experience as a research assistant in college.

February 21, 2011
Counterfeit Wealth

Somebody, somewhere, is driving a car with at least one engine mount bolt made out of lead. I truly believe that.

I offer this story as a warning to those buying precious metals. If engine mount bolts can be faked, then anything can. To this day, I would not be able to tell the difference between the bolts without testing them. That's how good the fakes were.


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of all the fake Legos my kids want to buy on Amazon. Maybe tomorrow you will be able to order a kidney on Amazon also. Amazon is also a distributor for the company I work for. I get calls all the time about whether a product of ours is real or a fake.

dearieme said...

And yet many economists are terribly proud of their counterfeit Nobel prizes.

Stagflationary Mark said...


Nothing worse than buying a USA certified black market kidney on Amazon only to find out that it was actually made in China!

Stagflationary Mark said...


Beware the Nobel prizes that are sold in lots of 100!