What do you think when you see the Amazon Prime logo on a product?
Most people, even the most devoted Amazon users, will think it's a verified seller affiliated with the ecomm giant -- but that's not necessarily the case, according to Fred Dimyan, co-founder of Potoo Marketing.
Just because a Prime logo is present, Dimyan says, doesn't mean it's sold by Amazon. In actuality, any of Amazon's 3 million marketplace sellers can use the Amazon warehouse to house and ship their items and get the so-called "coveted" mark on its products.
"Don't make the assumption that every item you buy on Amazon is going to be real and genuine. Investigate it like you'd be buying it on eBay," he said. "Understand that there's a marketplace out there."
While Amazon vets all distributors which products it sells directly, third-party sellers can be a gamble. If you're not buying from Amazon directly, Dimyan recommends buying from the manufacturer directly or an authorized vendor.
Despite the company's reputable standing, counterfeit items do exist on Amazon, especially when it comes to best-selling items, namely, Apple products. Both Amazon and Apple police their items and are constantly monitoring offerings in the marketplace for items being sold outside of the catalog.
But in such a large, complex market, items frequently fall through the cracks, so if you do discover a counterfeit item in your Amazon Prime box, Dimyan suggests two actions.
"Utilize Amazon's return policy, and report on it," he said. "When Amazon receives a report that something is fake or counterfeit, Amazon then investigates that person's inventory and then acts on it if it's found to be true. If consumers don't report it, Amazon doesn't know."
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