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Mon Oct 21 2019 13:57:37

Should Amazon Ban Sellers from Listing Perishables?

By: Ina Steiner

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Amazon is getting bad press about sale of expired perishables on its marketplace. CNBC wrote an article on Sunday titled, "Amazon is shipping expired food, from baby formula to old beef jerky, scaring consumers and putting big brands at risk."

The article points out the challenge: "Third-party merchants sell products, new and used, from all over the world that they purchase from official distributors, flea markets and clearance aisles."

Amazon told CNBC that products sold on the site must comply with laws and Amazon policies and that sellers are required to provide Amazon with an expiration date if they’re selling an item meant for consumption, and they must guarantee the item has a remaining shelf life of 90 days. 

"Whether that Amazon policy is effective is a big question, says food-safety experts," CNBC wrote.

Most sellers might welcome a crackdown since their items are forced to compete with subpar items - and they don't want buyers to be turned off by the practices of bad sellers.

CNBC delves into the issue in detail. It quotes a consumer advocate asking, "If you can't do something as basic as check an expiration date, then what else are you missing?"

On the other hand, when Amazon cracks down in a particular area, it can have consequences on compliant sellers who are caught in the net. 

As sellers, do you think there are problems with expired items on Amazon, or other online marketplaces? What do you think these platforms should do? Feel free to weigh in with your ideas and comments.



Comments (11) | Permalink

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 14:36:16 2019

no site should be allowed to let sellers sell perishables at all. solves the problem about expired perishables

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by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 16:12:58 2019

i dont see the problem. stores sell expired food. just return it if you dont want it

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This user has validated their user name. by: Life During Wartime

Mon Oct 21 17:14:26 2019

I wouldn't purchase perishable food products online unless it was from maker's site or from a site that sold only food items.  Amazon is fine for some stuff, but they are too big and too diverse for me to feel confident about purchasing food items on the site.  

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by: hopeforthebest This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 21 21:46:45 2019

"no site should be allowed to let sellers sell perishables at all. solves the problem about expired perishables"

Not just food, but almost everything from cosmetics to tires to printer ink cartridges have an expiration/use by date, so this 'solution' doesn't really make any sense.

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by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 22 06:29:03 2019

In the US grocery business Perishables are items requiring refrigeration under 40F or frozen.

So shipping would require some sort of ice pack or dry ice. Surely Amazon can track the sellers failing in this and get rid of them. Or just ban perishables completely.

I've sold grocery on Amazon for years. Almost all grocery items in the U.S. have an expiration date. Sellers shipping expired items should be dealt with on a case by case basis.

I personally think that Amazon should stop the selling of perishables entirely except in-city type of local order and delivery.

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by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 22 14:56:29 2019

There are few perishables I buy online and that's only because they're not available at the stores in my area. I will only buy them on Amazon for delivery, but I always buy directly from the maker. Well, except for my K-cup coffee for which I have a subscription (it's cheaper than at the stores).

I wouldn't say they should stop allowing the selling of perishables because that's the only way I can get some of our food products that we grew up with in another state. However, I do think they should have stricter consequences to suffer if a seller is caught selling expired perishables.

There's always going to be someone trying to defraud someone else and there are measures that need to be taken to protect consumers from such sellers. However, it would be nice if they could find a way to deal with these crooks without making life more difficult for compliant sellers.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 23 00:30:14 2019

no site should be allowed to let sellers sell perishables at all. solves the problem about expired perishables
^^ Agree with this.  However, AMZ owns Whole Foods and you will soon be seeing WF products on the site.  There should be a box to fill in for food that states Expiration DATE.  I know EB has that box for ink and food, why not AMZ?

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 23 00:31:41 2019

One last thing.  AMZ will "suppress" your listing if the image is not right.  Why won't it suppress food listings?

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 23 14:56:52 2019

My neighbor recently purchased 3 cases of cat food from a seller on Ebay. When she got them the use by date was 10-30-2018. This is as bad as buying something perishable with an expired date. Woulld you feed it to your animals. I think not. These sites that sell anything with a use by date, expiration date or whatever date you want to call it should be sued if the date is past prime. No one wants expired anything in their house.

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by: KE6HTS This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 24 00:13:33 2019

Just as important is what to do about recalled items. And who is responsible for any damages resulting from unknowingly eating recalled food products containing things like listeria..

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by: SkipMcGrath This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Oct 25 16:53:52 2019

I tend to sell highly niche perishable that have a 2-year+ shelf and always fill in the dates on the FBA shipping documents.  
The only problem I have had is Amazon warehouse workers misreading the date and returning things a year early -- and, of course, Amazon will not reimburse that



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