Amazon buyers warning others to watch out for ’empty box’ scam

U.S. & World
Earns Amazon_223421

FILE – This June 4, 2014 file photo shows Amazon boxes in Phoenix. reported a surprise second-quarter profit Thursday, July 23, 2015, on continued strength of its cloud-computing business and strong revenue both domestically and abroad. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Scammers often hide behind a trusted name, and there are few more well known nowadays than Amazon.

Some customers have reported getting a delivery they paid for but when they open the box nothing’s inside.

It’s an attempt to circumvent Amazon’s guarantee policy and it’s working.   

A lot of buyers may not even realize how many third party venders are selling on Amazon. When buying is as simple as a click of the button, it’s easy to miss.

That’s how Becky Allen says she lost a couple hundred in one transaction.

“We ordered a DVD box set of movies for my son and they sent us ones from a foreign country. We went back and fourth with them at least trying to get them reimbursed or the right DVDs sent and they never did send the right DVDs or reimburse us,” said Allen.

She paid for something her family couldn’t even use. But now, some buyers report getting nothing but a box.

“That is awful, especially if it’s something expensive,” said Madison Miller.

The 3rd party sellers are banking on you signing for the delivery.

“And that’s the loophole because they’re trying to create that paper trail, even though they’ve sent you an empty box, it clears them. ‘Cause if they just took the money and run, then you’d have a different fraud, but now the burden of proof is on you the consumer,” said Pete Stone, the Business Program Director with Spartanburg Community College.

“Shopping online is already scary doing that, and then you got somebody who knows how to get through the loopholes, that’s even scarier,” said Tawarri Giles, a frequent Amazon shopper.

That’s why you always need to look for the third party seller right next to the words “sold by.”

If the product has no rating, you can search for other products by the same seller, and if there are none, or it’s newly launched, be cautious.

“If you are a third party seller, you get flagged because somebody didn’t get their item or whatever, it’s really easy to change your user name or your profile and just do it to more and more people,” said Miller.    

WSPA contacted Amazon and here is the company’s response:

Amazon has zero tolerance for fraud. We withhold payment to sellers until we are confident that our customers have received the products and services they ordered. In the event that sellers do not comply with the terms and conditions they’ve agreed to, we work quickly to take action on behalf of customers.”

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