If you’re living in the 21st century like the rest of us, then you’ll most likely be aware of Jeff Bezos’ online, e-commerce powerhouse, Amazon. And if not, you’ll probably be thinking of the world’s largest, rainforest landscape in South America. While there could be a compelling article on buying from the rainforest, in this article I’m going to be focusing on the online ‘provider-of-just-about-anything’.
So, Amazon has pretty much EVERYTHING right? But is it safe to click that ‘buy now’ button? The answer is yes. But sometimes, no. You’ve probably had, at one time, a basket full of ‘necessary’ things – don’t worry I won’t judge you for the three window screen wipers that you “absolutely must have” – however, one thing held you back from buying … you don’t know if it’s safe to buy from Amazon.
Well, you can breathe. You are indeed safe.
The main reason shopping on Amazon is safe, is because the site uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). I won’t bore you with the details, essentially it’s a software that encrypts your credit/debit card number. However, you should be cautious, always check that you are actually on Amazon and not a site that looks like it before purchasing, the best way to do that is check the URL ends with your country code. I.e if you’re in the UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk
If you’re still worried about someone might steal your personal information, opt out of storing your credit/debit card information when prompted to do so at checkout.
But there’s so much choice, who do I buy from?
The e-commerce giant hosts a tonne of third-party sellers, who are all competing to sell you exactly what you want, but have they been vetted? Are they all legit? No and no. These days, almost anyone can sell items on the e-commerce superstore in five easy steps. Therefore, the site has problems with fake reviews and counterfeit items, and third-party sellers don’t have to abide by Amazon’s return policy.
Well then what do I do? I need that hula-skirt for my Hawaiian-themed work party this Friday! Firstly, check that you got the theme right. Secondly, check if Amazon is directly selling the item – to be sure, it will say “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com” – it’s more likely to arrive as advertised and include Prime shipping, so you can be sure you’ll receive it in time for the party. Aloha Friday!
That being said, you can find millions of great products from third-party sellers, and also at a great price. Just take care and do your research, check out their reviews and try to spot fakes – usually fakes will have plenty of reviews that are almost identical – you can also use the review search tool and type keywords like “bad,” “customer service,” or “return,” to find any issues other buyers have encountered.
I almost feel safe now, do you have any other tips?
- Check the manufacturer and product specifications
- Check out the sellers, click on their name
- Is the product “Fulfilled by Amazon?” – this means that the seller stores its product at an Amazon distribution centre.
- Check the full list of sellers to find the best one
- Make sure you’re looking at the product you need
In a nutshell, Amazon can be an incredibly useful and safe platform to purchase products from, you just have to be careful and check out the seller before you get click-happy. Finally, never leave Amazon to complete a purchase, this is a major no-no.