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Wed Apr 8 2015 10:23:12

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcing Scheme

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
This inquiry will probably not settle well with some of the other eBay sellers; however, I haven't seen the subject addressed thus far. 

1) Amazon "Prime" Members abusing their "personal accounts" to sell on eBay
 
2) These types of eBay sellers listing goods for sale on eBay that they have no investment/ ownership/ agreement in the goods but are simply drop-shipping from Amazon's FBA warehouse (not to be confused with legitimate drop-ship agreements)
 
3) Offering 2-day, FREE SHIPPING to eBay buyers as a result of the "free  shipping" that comes with their “personal” Prime account 
 
This, no doubt has been going on for a long time and from prior inquiries with Amazon, they don't appear to have a way of tracking nor stopping the abuse. Now, one might ask, "How does this affect you? Why do you care? Hey, if you can't beat them why not join them?" 
 
First, these sellers on eBay (and perhaps other internet venues) are abusing the Amazon Prime Account. It states clearly in the membership that this type of use is prohibited. Reference Amazon's Prime Terms and Condition: Other Limitations: "Prime members are not permitted to purchase products for the purpose of resale, rental, or to ship to their customers or potential customers using Prime benefits." I.e. the Prime account is for "personal use." 
 
Secondly, and would hope this matters to other eBay sellers: The Amazon Prime Members are abusing their account for the advantage of offering eBay buyers FREE 2-day SHIPPING. These types of eBay sellers have a competitive edge over other eBay sellers who absorb/build-in/add-on the cost of shipping to their buyers. And, that can be a huge advantage. 
 
Thirdly.....did I mention that these eBay sellers who have their items shipped from Amazon's FBA warehouse while offering FREE Shipping, have done nothing but place a personal order through their Prime Account and have it drop-shipped to the eBay buyer? They don't own the inventory, they use the stock photo, copy the description, set their price, offer free shipping and "keep watch" to make sure the item is always in stock in Amazon's FBA warehouse. This is not a legitimate drop-ship contract or arrangement. These sellers have no real investment of time, labor or money - just pay their annual Amazon Prime Account "personal" membership, fill-in the order form and request "drop ship." 
 
How do you spot these types of eBay sellers? On the surface their listings appear similar to sellers legitimately drop-shipping from "their" inventory sitting in Amazon's FBA warehouses. (The following basics easily identify Amazon drop-shippers)

* Typically, All of their eBay listings are in the "Other" category since inventory/availability changes frequently 

* The photos look like professional, "stock" photos 

* Their profile may (not always) say they live in another country, but ships from United 
States

* FREE SHIPPING - their listings seem to consistently come up as the "lowest 
price with shipping" 

* 2-Day Shipping Offered (and FREE - sound familiar?) 

* check the listing under “Shipping Details” and open up “Seller charges tax in multiple states: and you will find: AL, AZ, AR, CA, O, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. 

* HERE IS YOUR FINAL EVIDENCE that your purchase came from someone using their personal Amazon Prime account - Once you receive the package, the packing slip says, "A gift from (you the buyer)." That is the only way that a person abusing their Amazon Prime account can drop-ship without actually exposing their personal name/address and what the item actually cost on Amazon FBA. And since the box is drop-shipped from Amazon's FBA warehouse, the box and label simply say shipped from Amazon. 

The only way to stop the abuse is to hold onto your "A Gift from you" receipt and report the information on it back to Amazon. I don't know about other eBay sellers, but for me as a buyer and seller on eBay, I don’t like the “free shipping” advantage and I'd like to actually buy from someone who is a genuine eBay or Amazon seller, not someone free-loading on the Amazon Prime account. These types of sellers can have minimal mark-up because they have invested NOTHING - just the annual Amazon Prime Membership. These types of sellers are your competition.
 
So, I submit this letter to you to open up the topic for debate. How do other eBay sellers, both eBay and Amazon, feel about this practice? Do you condone it? Are you willing to report the abuse? If not, why not? 
 
Considering that I expect an Amazon box to be thrown at me, I will refrain from disclosing my name. 
Thank you,
V.

From the Editor: Also see this 2012 EcommerceBytes article where we wrote about  retail arbitrage" behavior.




Comments (33) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: 1beck3 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 8 11:55:04 2015

Wow, what perfect timing on this post.  This literally just happened to me yesterday!

I was watching TV this weekend and looking through my Twitter feed during commercials.  I received a tweet for a daily deal on an item I've been interested in so I followed the link.  It wound up directing me to Amazon.  The item's "regular" price was $19.99 and the daily deal had it priced at $9.99.

Disclosures: I purchased this on an ebay account separate from my seller account. I'm not a mobile shopper and I've never been through a checkout process on my phone.  I'm also not an Amazon Prime member.

I put the item in my cart b/c I wanted to see how much the item would be with shipping.  The shipping/handling charge was $5.48  and tax of $0.96 bringing the total purchase to $16.43.  And the shipping didn't specifically state 2-day shipping, the delivery estimate was 5-6 days from purchase.  While I like Amazon for some purchases, I'm not all gung-ho, blindly purchasing on Amazon and I always shop around before I complete a purchase (on any site for that matter).

After doing a little shopping, I found the same item with free shipping and state tax included for $14 on ebay.  Since it was a seller from my state (only 200 miles from me) and they listed 1-day handling, I knew I would get the item by today at the latest, assuming they followed through on the stated handling time.  I made the purchase on ebay.  I then went back to Amazon and deleted the item from my cart so I wouldn't accidentally purchase the item.  

Yesterday, my order arrived!  Yes!  Still received it within two days and I supported a seller from my own state!  I go to my front steps to retrieve my package and......wait...what's that?  Amazon Prime packing tape?  Did I accidentally complete the purchase from Amazon somehow?

I go to ebay and look at the tracking number and it matches the package.  I then checked the credit card I have attached to my Amazon account and there's no purchase.  I look at the receipt in the box and it's clearly from Amazon.  "A gift from KXXXX BXXXX.  Enjoy your gift".  And all the return info at the bottom of the receipt directs me to amazon.com/returns.

I was going to do a little digging today and see if this is happening to other people and apparently it is.  I'm a huge proponent of shopping within my own city limits and supporting local businesses and, with online purchases, shopping from sellers in my state if I'm going to pay sales tax for my purchase anyway.  This using of Amazon to cheat the system pisses me off to no end.  

I also thought part of ebay selling practices policy was you had to have the item physically in stock to sell it.  Not to mention they stated in the listing the product was located in my state and it actually came from Kentucky which is not the state I live in.

In addition to taking advantage of Amazon Prime program and screwing other sellers on ebay, people doing this are also taking advantage of FedEx and USPS.  When I went back and looked through all the tracking scans, it did not go through either of the distribution centers ALL of my USPS packages go through.  The tracking shows it went through a city that FedEx has a distribution center.

So, I guess I'm not going crazy and I'll be on the phone with ebay and Amazon today.

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 8 13:08:17 2015

When I buy something on Fleecebay I care not where it is shipped from. I'm buying a product not a location.

Get a life.

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: LAbay This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 8 17:16:53 2015

If Amazon really cared they would do something about it.

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: Sellerofall This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 8 18:25:41 2015

there is some serious loophole and a lot of extensive software involved.

thehoneyroastedpeanut gets about 40k feedback every 30 days and 125% a prime drop shipper. They typically mark up items 5-10% over prime prices.  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: Sellerofall This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 8 18:28:47 2015

May i add also that 2-3 years back we used prime to drop ship to customers for replacements and replacement parts.. maybe a 1-2 a week MAX and then to our warehouse or home maybe 10-15 items a week ( mainy actually personally or business used items) We got prime taken away from us and said we can only use one shipping address and did not care if we even legitimately had 2 homes. I think the rule allows up to 5 addresses now. I am the only person i ever heard to have prime taken away but not our actual buying account.  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Wed Apr 8 18:41:46 2015

I had that happen to me not long ago.  At first blush I was irritated and then I had to chuckle at the audacity.  I thought about trying to talk to eBay or Amazon about it and decided that they would not care. A sale is a sale. What someone does with the product afterwards is not an issue to them and probably not to the majority of sellers either. Their item is gone, the money they wanted is in their hands.  They are moving on to the next thing. You are not going to garner a bunch of support for this topic here or with Amazon or eBay. It is hard logic to beat one's head against.

Of course, like Dennis Miller, I could be wrong.

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: Sellerofall This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 8 19:05:12 2015

It also boggles my mind that people can buy something on ebay and not take the literally 15 seconds to Google the popular item or check it on amazon and see they can get it cheaper. 99% of the time amazon is cheaper for a new cataloged item. The drop shippers are just taking advantage of lazy buyers or maybe they just want to use paypal.  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Apr 8 23:23:53 2015

This happens all day every day. Amazon doesnt care - they move boxes. eBay doesnt care - buyers get what they want in a timely fashion.

No one is really "getting hurt" here. They are simply using Amazon as a distributor. Its smart business. Those sellers that do it are paying Amazon FBA fees - storage and otherwise - so its not exactly a "free ride" is it?

I dont do it - I have very little in FBA at the moment - but I dont see the issue(s). If Cassini worked properly then this wouldnt be an issue would it?

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Thu Apr 9 00:20:51 2015

There is a seller on eBay with more than 75K postive feedbacks, all dropshipped from Amazon Prime, I purchased 4 times, home stuff, I say, good for her.  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: Runs.With.Scissors This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 01:23:51 2015

Another way to tell an ebay drop shipper is by the photos and the
use of Amazon description ''bullet points'' that are copied and pasted from Amazon right into the ebay description.

Here's an example drop shipper on ebay (''The Lotoons Store''):

      Amazon listing:
http://www.amazon.com/Liberty-Bottleworks-Pearody-Water-Bo
ttle/dp/B009AT74N8

 ebay drop shipper, ''The Lotoons Store'' buying above item on Amazon, selling it on ebay:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Liberty-Bottleworks-Pearody-Water-Bot
tle-Ember-32-Ounce-/281656060274?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4194026972


As
an aside, this particular drop shipper is buying MY items on Amazon, (but NOT the item in the example above, which is not my item), and they're using my Amazon listing photo (which is technically now also Amazon's, and in the public domain, because I published it there), and copying my Amazon description ''bullet points'' 100%, and then listing the item on ebay for approx. 33% higher than they bought it for on Amazon.

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 01:50:28 2015

Wow--How come I didn't think of that????

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: MoonlitMemory This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 01:55:35 2015

“Those sellers that do it are paying Amazon FBA fees - storage and otherwise - so its not exactly a ‘free ride’ is it?”

I don’t think that is what this particular letter is referring to.

Seller A sources stock, invests in buying it, takes photos, makes an item description, and pays the storage fees on FBA.

Seller B lists that item on eBay stealing Seller A’s pictures and write-up to do so. When the item sells, Seller B buys Seller A’s item from Amazon and has the free Prime shipping mail it to the eBay customer as a “gift.”

The eBay seller has no legal right to the Amazon seller’s photo and description. The eBay seller is lying about the item location in the sales contract. And the eBay seller is breaking the Prime rules that he agreed to.

As a buyer, I dislike it because of two main reasons: 1. any issue with or question about the item is a mess as the eBay seller has never even seen it and 2. If I am buying on any given website, I have looked at the options and decided to buy there for my own reasons. I do not like finding out there are lies in the transaction or that I've been made a part of some doubtful (the Prime agreement is a contract) scheme.  

I can’t fathom why Amazon would find it hard to finger those breaking their policies. Who sends 20,000 “gifts” to “relatives” every month?

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: ewegolf This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 07:59:06 2015

"Who sends 20,000 'gifts' to 'relatives' every month?" Someone who generates a large amount of fees to Amazon. Just a small plank in their ethics-free business platform.  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: elgatto This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 08:36:54 2015

Re Your photos and descriptions on Amazon:  we advertise on Amazon  about 2500 products and I constantly find that other sellers/advertisers are using our photos, descriptions and even our names as manufacturer. The problem is that  their prices are significantly higher than ours, and the similarity of the listings makes potential buyers think they are dealing with us. It'said very confusing to say the least. I' ex spoken with Amazon about this and unless your website from which the information is drawn is copyrighted you have no recourse. But if your website is legally copyrighted then your images and descriptions cannot be used by Amazon.  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Apr 9 09:35:17 2015

Perhaps that is how the ding dong that I started seeing about 2 weeks ago that has over 900,000 items in inventory, supposedly, is charging 4-6 times the amount others are. Perhpas they don't have anything in inventory and are using this system, but they should at least be in the price ballpark, but over my years selling on Amazon, those types of sellers ALWAYS have tons of feedback and sales and I can never find one of their items for less that that huge markup. Who doesn't check prices? Especially when there are other sellers with the same item for so much less. Almost makes me want to run my own little trial to see how these things work. I see the original posters point, but at the same time, it is their right to source their products and sell for whatever markdowns and shipping arrangements that they like. Does ebay care that they are buying directly from Amazon? I doubt it. Ebay encourages people to cheat so why would they stop them?  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: Runs.With.Scissors This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 09:47:00 2015

@Moonwishes:
''Who doesn't check prices? Especially when there are other sellers with the same item for so much less.''

  Careless purchasing agents who work for agencies of the Federal, state, and local governments, school boards, hospitals, non-profit organizations, and others who spend money that isn't theirs, and who may operate in an environment of low or no accountability.

Oh, and, add to that:  other just ''stupid people''.

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 10:06:45 2015

Shop around....

I guess that some people have more money than literally a few minutes.

ebay and Amazon are making money. That is what they care about.  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: ajeweler This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 10:15:19 2015

normal ebay day to day activities not surprising at all, ebay encourages this type of seller and the rest of the sellers cannot compete with them at all after Johnny ho see this as another way to make his bonuses yep another ebay ploy to destroy small businesses  

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: cillianred This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 10:48:38 2015

I would guess for Amazon, it's probably a matter of numbers. If they're aware of it and they allow it, then the numbers probably show they're making more money through fees than they're losing through misuse of Amazon Prime. Again, just a guess.

However, drop-shipping w/out entering into a contract with, or getting the consent from, the seller whose items you're drop-shipping, seems to me to be at the very least somewhat shady. Especially if you're using the other sellers title, photos and description. If you think ''no one is getting hurt'' or ''I'm not doing anything wrong'', then why wouldn't you contact the other seller(s) and see if they agree with you?  

Rationalizing to ourselves and others why something is not wrong does not make it right.

eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin   eBay Sellers Abuse Amazon Prime in Product-Sourcin

by: wellspring This user has validated their user name.

Thu Apr 9 12:16:21 2015

For $99 A YEAR, these free-loaders have access to unlimited inventory, free shipping and 2-day delivery. They don't have to take photographs, they don't have to write the description, they don't have to stock their own inventory, heck--they don't have to stock Amazon's FBA inventory. All they have to do is list on ebay (maybe pay a store fee) and copy/paste, copy/paste, copy/paste. While this may not matter to the buyers of goods, it most certainly matters to me as a seller of goods. How can I compete with that? I can't. It's wrong, it's abuse, it's taking advantage of the Prime account loop-hole that Amazon needs to fix. It's hard to believe that they can't or haven't fixed it. Yes, they are making money and probably really don't care. And, one other item that could be added to the writer's list - copy and paste the exact ebay ''title'' into Amazon's search bar. I've discovered that these sellers don't change the title; no doubt so they can easily find the item in Amazon once they have a sale on eBay. Amazon--WAKE UP!!!

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