Amazon Has Ceded Control of Its Site. The Result: Thousands of Banned, Unsafe

I’ve been warning my wife about this for at least a year now. Buyer beware. Especially if you buy products that you ingest.


Amazon sells numerous items that will get you in deep, deep trouble with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms if they catch you with one attached to a firearm, including unlicensed de facto silencers and devices to turn an ordinary Glock into a very, very illegal machine pistol.

In fact, you would probably be in deep trouble with the BATF if you own both a firearm and one of those Amazon items, never mind if they’ve been assembled.

Almost got bit by Amazon today. Check it out:

A simple dongle with over 1700 reviews and a perfect 5 star rating. I’ve found the product I want. Surely nobody can fake that many reviews, can they?

Oh. Yes. They can. Go back and look at that screenshot again. I had to go back three times to discover that there was something slightly amiss. Do you see it? “by Brandon Stanton” Oh, all right. I suppose the other indication should have been that an electronics listing for something this cheap had that many 5 star reviews. It’s a 2-pack for $12.59 for crying out loud. No way the quality is that good.

Anyway, check out the listing. I’ve highlighted the problems.

Safari - Aug 30, 2019 at 1:18 PM.pdf (1.7 MB)

They somehow stole a listing for a HONY book and are using it to flog a cheap electronics adapter.


Buying things from Amazon these days is worse than trying to buy a used car from Dewey, Cheatham & Howe.

Here’s the link to the listing, in case anybody wants to see whether they fix the listing, based on my reporting it has incorrect information.

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FYI, you can’t read the article without a subscription to WSJ.

I’ve also bought a few things on amazon that weren’t what they were listed to be. A flea market is a great way to describe it.

Try opening it in a private window. That often works.

Didn’t work for me. Tried a few different ways and even searched on their site but couldn’t see it.

The second “i” in the word that displays as “Lightnįng” in that link is not a regular i, it’s a funky unicode i with ogonek, represented as “%C4%AF” in the URL. That’s another tell that something’s wrong.

Dollars to donuts, it’s not Apple-certified and they aren’t allowed to call it “Lightning™” without the certification. By subbing a weird Unicode character, they dodge Apple’s copyright protection Google brigade. Very slimy.

Good catch, but I wouldn’t see that until I got to the actual product page. And on my phone, it doesn’t even show the full URL. Just the domain, unless I click on it. So… that’s not much of a help.

Yep. Look at the review. Only one side at a time works. lol

But you can’t trust any of the “certified” products on Amazon to actually be the product that got certified anyway. On the other hand, I walked around Walmart looking for what I wanted and couldn’t find it. So… anybody have any suggestions of places I can buy something like this?

Best Buy…

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Here’s a link to the article where you can all see it:

Definitely an interesting read.

I have been recommending Best Buy to people for a few years now. Amazing: you can walk in and actually look at the thing before you buy it. Or have it shipped to the store… and then look at it. Very useful.

It’s still possible to get legit stuff cheaper on Amazon than anywhere else. In fact I just bought an authentic Apple lightning adapter there. You just have to be a bit more observant than previously. I do try to avoid Marketplace as much as possible and stay with Amazon direct.

The review economy has been thrown into disarray by the Chinese, as they tend to game and eventually ruin any digital economy (I remember years ago the Chinese gold farmers ruining World of Warcraft). It’s not too hard to spot their fake reviews.

The problem is that the listing doesn’t guarantee anything, even if it is the listing directly by a manufacturer, or if it is sold directly by Amazon. The reason is that Amazon mixes bins of the “same product.” So a knockoff gets sold under the same listing with the legit product if it has the same barcode, which knockoffs always do. It’s luck of the draw (quite literally) which you receive from the bin. This is why, on the same listing, you will see fantastic (real) reviews and reviews that say, “This was a piece of junk and obviously fake. I don’t know how anybody could ever use it, much less give it a good review.”

I’ve even seen examples from a publisher that sells full-color instructional books on Amazon getting bad reviews and product sent back to them that was black and white complete junk. How? They were the seller, Amazon the fulfiller, but there were other sellers who sent the “same” book in, so they all got mixed together.

Interesting. Didn’t realize that. I guess with the volume Amazon moves, they’ve decided it’s more advantageous to make the return process easy than to burn capital trying to verify each item.

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I bought a pair of Bluetooth headphones off of Amazon a year or so ago. I don’t review a lot of products on Amazon, but these were very cheap and pretty OK, so I thought I’d drop a review. But Amazon gave me some sort of cock-and-bull story about “unusual review activity” and wouldn’t let me, even though I bought them from Amazon and have had the same Amazon account sincerely 1998 or 1999.

This more than anything has made me question the reviews I see on Amazon.

Best Buy price matches Amazon, not third-party, and other online retailers.


Ha, oh sure, stores have long existed with all those handy things about them. The problem is time of course. And of course, no reviews. You might not be able to trust tons of the reviews on Amazon‘s site, but man are they mostly unbelievably handy. And having something show up on my doorstep where I can continue to do all that my crazy mom life involves? Priceless :wink:


I heard about this site a while ago, but only just checked it out. It exists to check Amazon reviews for legitimacy. You can copy and paste a link to an amazon listing and it will scrape the reviews and analyze them. For the listing that Joseph posted above, here is the link to the analysis.. Click on the “jump to report card” and you can see what the concerns are. In this case, all of the repeated words, etc have to do with a book. This should give you pause. Also, note the rest of the “fail” and “warn” categories.

Another site is Fakespot. Note the easy and quick F that Joseph’s product was given here.

Those are a couple of good sites to bookmark and use when purchasing on Amazon or anywhere else online where reviews are needed.


Ok, I’m going to have to give in. I have extremely sensitive skin and have always used Dove products since I figured it out. I recently started having itchy problems for the first time in years and couldn’t figure it out since nothing had changed. Then I realized: I started buying our dove soap on Amazon!!! It’s FAKE!!! :weary::weary::weary: