What's the scam? Amazon Third Party edition
February 12, 2018 3:30 AM   Subscribe

A product I'm interested in has a 3rd party seller posting that potential buyers ask that they contact them at an email address before ordering. Any attempts to purchase and place the item in the cart before ordering gets the sale canceled. Contact at the email address has the person asking for personal info.

3rd party seller will have postings that appear on a product on Amazon on occasion - its usually at Amazon price minus $300 which makes it tempting.

However, this contact me before ordering thing doesn't smell right - contact has seller claims product is all new and subject to all guarantees, and the purchase will be done through Amazon payments and guaranteed under the A to Z guarantee. They just want my name, address, phone number and they'll send they payment link.

What's the scam? I am tempted because I can have the credit card charge back protection and potentially the Amazon payments guarantee, but I can't tell if it's a scam on me or someone trying to avoid Amazon's cut.
posted by Karaage to Shopping (14 answers total)
Sounds fishy. If it's done via the normal Amazon payment system, why do they need to send you a payment link? I'd be concerned that the payment link would take me to a scam site that looks like Amazon but actually just harvests the payment information.
posted by pipeski at 3:58 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]

seller claims product is all new and subject to all guarantees, and the purchase will be done through Amazon payments and guaranteed under the A to Z guarantee.

Some or all of those claims are a lie.

its usually at Amazon price minus $300 which makes it tempting.

That's bait for suckers. There's nothing about this that doesn't scream "scam".

Not only should you not go through with this, you should report the seller to Amazon to save someone else from being scammed.
posted by slagheap at 4:17 AM on February 12 [19 favorites]

At a guess they'll send you a link for a page that looks like Amazon payments but actually isn't. Once you've paid up, you won't hear anything from them again.
posted by mr_silver at 4:47 AM on February 12

I also add that the seller has a really good rating, which is what makes this so bizarre that they would risk this. Maybe the account was hacked?
posted by Karaage at 5:08 AM on February 12

I recall this being a fairly common Amazon marketplace scam from when I was buying a mattress a couple of years ago. Can't recall offhand what the specific sting was, but there definitely is one.
posted by bifter at 6:36 AM on February 12

Congratulations, you are smart enough to know something is wrong with this transaction. Send the seller communications to Amazon as potential fraud and walk away.
posted by davejay at 6:54 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]

Report them to Amazon. The entire point of Amazon Marketplace is you don't have to deal directly with the merchant. There is nothing good from them doing and end-run around Amazon just to get leads on potential marks. At best what you get is your item for cheaper and Amazon doesn't get their cut. More likely your money will just be stolen.
posted by Nelson at 8:56 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]

Maybe the account was hacked?

That's almost certainly what happened. Scammer finds dormant 3rd party seller with good ratings, hacks into account, lists non-existent goods at too-good-to-be-true prices, and scams people into paying directly.
posted by zsazsa at 9:05 AM on February 12 [3 favorites]

That's one great reason to have a Google Voice number. I give that number out along with my non-primary email address to check out stuff like this. Most likely a scam, and definitely report to Amazon.
posted by theora55 at 9:17 AM on February 12

Scam. Report.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:45 AM on February 12

A $300 savings AND they are asking you to go outside of Amazon to pay? Uh, no. Report this.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:56 AM on February 12

For the record, I'm interested in what the scam is, not whether if it's a scam or not.

As an update, I've reported it to Amazon and got the following reply:
I can confirm that this is not a legitimate listing and the Amazon Pay Buyer Dispute and A-to-Z Guarantee doesn't currently cover the purchase of [item]

Here's some information about Amazon Pay:

All payments using Amazon Pay are initiated on the internet through 3rd party websites accepting Amazon Pay using "Pay now with Amazon" or "Checkout by Amazon" buttons. Amazon Pay doesn't complete any transactions using an external company (Western Union, Money Gram, etc.) to process a wire transfer from your bank or issue a money order.

posted by Karaage at 3:23 PM on February 12

Sorry, are you still puzzled by what the scam is? The item isn't covered by the guarantee/dispute policy, meaning that the supposed Amazon Pay link will be fake. You send them money, they send you nothing, you think you have recourse but you don't.
posted by praemunire at 6:28 PM on February 12

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