Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
User avatar
Topic Author
Alexa9
Posts: 1872
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:41 am

Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Alexa9 »

I've seen several items I've purchased that I've gone to purchase again priced as nearly twice as much. Both sold by Amazon. This was only a week later. One was an outlet strip as Black Friday TV purchases are going up. The other was some pint glasses. I'm watching prices more carefully now and reconsidering renewing Amazon Prime. I've heard that they charge people different prices. Not sure what the legality of this is.
User avatar
Soul.in.Progress
Posts: 150
Joined: Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:24 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Soul.in.Progress »

Thanks for the warning, Alexa9.

When I read your post I found it kind of ironic that ‘Alexa’ was warning customers about Amazon :mrgreen:
Start by doing what is necessary; | then do what is possible; | and suddenly you are doing the impossible. | -- Francis of Assisi
Mike Scott
Posts: 1534
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Mike Scott »

You can check and track amazon prices at camelcamelcamel.com
KT785
Posts: 398
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:21 pm
Location: Texas Hill Country

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by KT785 »

If you've never tried it before, check out CamelCamelCamel to track Amazon prices on specific items, evaluate past pricing, track prices/set alerts, etc. :beer

Edit: looks like Mike Scott beat me to it . . .
Last edited by KT785 on Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mxs
Posts: 520
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:54 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by mxs »

Alexa9 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:31 pm I've heard that they charge people different prices. Not sure what the legality of this is.
I think I remember hearing about this a while ago. I don't remember the specifics. I will say that if you don't have Prime and take the regular free shipping, don't plan on getting items anytime soon. I ordered items last week and the latest is that they may start shipping tomorrow, so roughly 1.5 to 2 week delivery. A good incentive to have Prime I suppose. Could be that they are cross shipping from their locations to ship to me in as few packages as possible. Or maybe it is 'we will get to it when we get to it'. No big deal for me, just something to consider. I purchase from Amazon once or twice a year.
UncleLongHair
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:51 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by UncleLongHair »

Amazon adjusts their prices regularly, daily or even hourly or by the minute. Whether or not this is "gouging" depends on whether or not you can find the same item somewhere else for cheaper. I have added something to my shopping cart, only to come back a few days later and find it 10-20% higher. Maybe this was because it sold out, or maybe Amazon is playing a game with me knowing that if I have it in my cart I want it and might be willing to pay more.

Amazon generally doesn't actually earn a lot of profit and doesn't seem that interested in making money on its sales, so I don't necessarily think they're just trying to maximize profit.
tesuzuki2002
Posts: 1156
Joined: Fri Dec 11, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by tesuzuki2002 »

They have sucked so many people in ... and they can and do charge different customers different rates or offer sales to others... I rarely shop Amazon any more.. It's is just 1 source for products these days and if you find want you want at a price you are fine with paying.. Just pay it.. or shop around for cheaper prices..

https://www.ted.com/talks/scott_gallowa ... r_emotions


Camelcamelcamel.com is pretty good.
User avatar
randomizer
Posts: 1547
Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:46 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by randomizer »

Definitely feels unpleasant to know that Amazon is viewing you, the customer, like a spider views a fly...

I'll take some small consolation in the fact that it is the 4th largest company in the S&P 500, so I owe a measurable part of my portfolio returns to it of late.
87.5:12.5, EM tilt — HODL the course!
runner3081
Posts: 3821
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by runner3081 »

Alexa9 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:31 pm I've seen several items I've purchased that I've gone to purchase again priced as nearly twice as much. Both sold by Amazon. This was only a week later. One was an outlet strip as Black Friday TV purchases are going up. The other was some pint glasses. I'm watching prices more carefully now and reconsidering renewing Amazon Prime. I've heard that they charge people different prices. Not sure what the legality of this is.
There are tons of industries that charge different prices on the same product for different people.

Cable TV (and internet, etc), Airlines, etc
User avatar
TheTimeLord
Posts: 8742
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by TheTimeLord »

UncleLongHair wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:39 pm Amazon adjusts their prices regularly, daily or even hourly or by the minute. Whether or not this is "gouging" depends on whether or not you can find the same item somewhere else for cheaper. I have added something to my shopping cart, only to come back a few days later and find it 10-20% higher. Maybe this was because it sold out, or maybe Amazon is playing a game with me knowing that if I have it in my cart I want it and might be willing to pay more.

Amazon generally doesn't actually earn a lot of profit and doesn't seem that interested in making money on its sales, so I don't necessarily think they're just trying to maximize profit.
And if the item is in your cart they show any price changes since you last viewed the cart. I have seen prices move both ways over days. I totally disagree with the characterization that Amazon is systematically price gouging. Only had PRIME for a year now but couldn't be happier. Have taken advantage of same day delivery several times, so cool not to have to go out to buy stuff.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]
User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 6587
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by bottlecap »

Alexa9 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:31 pm I've seen several items I've purchased that I've gone to purchase again priced as nearly twice as much. Both sold by Amazon. This was only a week later. One was an outlet strip as Black Friday TV purchases are going up. The other was some pint glasses. I'm watching prices more carefully now and reconsidering renewing Amazon Prime. I've heard that they charge people different prices. Not sure what the legality of this is.
The price of things on Amazon fluctuates all the time. Although I use Amazon, I'm not a big defender of it. That's just how Amazon is.

You have an awfully wide definition of "price gouging," though. You don't have to buy from Amazon and have plenty of alternatives.

JT
iamlucky13
Posts: 2210
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:28 pm
Location: Western Washington

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by iamlucky13 »

Yep. If you're interested in the best pricing, even Amazon has to be comparison shopped. My experience is this is increasingly true lately.

The sometimes random-seeming fluctuations from their pricing algorithm or switching between affiliate sellers have long been known.

I also realized when they released their "dash" button that part of their long term profit strategy was to lull users into no longer thinking about price.

I'm a little less clear how they handle pricing with subscriptions or by voice through Alexa, but the same awareness applies - if price is important to you, double-check it from time-to-time.
MotoTrojan
Posts: 10727
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:39 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by MotoTrojan »

Been meaning to try Jet.com (acquired for $3B by Walmart) which boasts similar shipping/cost with no membership fee.
spammagnet
Posts: 1193
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:42 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by spammagnet »

It's my impression that if you put something on a shopping list, then come back to peruse it periodically, but don't buy it, Amazon lowers the price to get you to bite. That's purely my personal interpretation.

I've bought things at significant discounts (~50% on items costing hundreds of dollars), then saw the same item priced at a more normal retail price only days later.
JoinToday
Posts: 918
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2007 9:59 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by JoinToday »

KT785 wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:47 pm If you've never tried it before, check out CamelCamelCamel to track Amazon prices on specific items, evaluate past pricing, track prices/set alerts, etc. :beer

Edit: looks like Mike Scott beat me to it . . .
I've used camelcamelcamel. Some (perhaps a minority) of the low prices on amazon are bogus (unfortunately), 3rd party sellers. Camelcamelcamel has notified me of prices below my limit. I have purchased them but they never arrived. Did this again (same item, different seller), never arrived. Seller feedback shows a new seller, with maybe 1 positive review. Over the coarse of time, feedback becomes all negative, items are never delivered.

I always check seller's feedback. I don't bother with sellers having 0-1 reviews, short time sellers with no feedback.

Having said that, I have received some good deals with camelcamelcamel.com
I wish I had learned about index funds 25 years ago
heybro
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu May 12, 2016 9:17 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by heybro »

Amazon is nothing more than a glorified Sears catalog.

I do not understand the 'appeal' of amazon let alone its cult status.

For one, it is impossible to find anything. Type anything you want in to the search bar and you get 25,000 results. Try sorting through that mess! Then you have to beware that some things are sold by a 3rd party.

It is very rare that I find things cheaper at amazon. Why are they known for being a good deal? I've never seen them as a good deal. Most things are cheaper down at my big box store where I only have to choose between about 6 versions.

And, this is what really gets me, if I have managed to find what I want and I get all the way to check out, THEN it says 'add 2.01 to your cart for free shipping.' How am I supposed to go through that painful process of sorting again?!

There have been numerous news stories about the harsh working conditions in their warehouses and also, do not forget, that prime actually causes customers to purchase more than they normally would (because they want to pay themselves back for that upfront fee). This is why raising the prime rate actually increases sales.

I hope the voice recognition 'order more toothpaste' actually tells you the price! It is scary that people may stop price comparing once they can just order with their voice.
SittingOnTheFence
Posts: 304
Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2015 5:30 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by SittingOnTheFence »

You have to pay attention to who the 'seller' is. Item A sold by vendor X is often priced very different that item A sold by vendor Y. I've never used camelcamelcamel but it seems like it could be useful if Amazon is your sole shopping outlet.

I'm not a Prime member. I've noticed that it's become harder for me to shop on Amazon, presumably because I am not a preferred customer even after about 20 yrs being a user.
User avatar
ThereAreNoGurus
Posts: 558
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:41 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by ThereAreNoGurus »

Invisible-Hand seems like a helpful app. It's a browser extension: http://www.getinvisiblehand.com/

From Consumer Reports:
Invisible-Hand is a browser extension (download it from its website) that tracks prices at 11,000 online stores and sends you a pop-up notification so that you can see whether an item you’re viewing is cheaper elsewhere. It works in the background of your browser (it’s compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, and does not collect any personally identifiable information about you). Click on the pop-up, and you’ll be directed to the product page of the competing website.
Trade the news and you will lose.
denovo
Posts: 4569
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by denovo »

What were the items?
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln
User avatar
TheTimeLord
Posts: 8742
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by TheTimeLord »

spammagnet wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:16 am It's my impression that if you put something on a shopping list, then come back to peruse it periodically, but don't buy it, Amazon lowers the price to get you to bite. That's purely my personal interpretation.

I've bought things at significant discounts (~50% on items costing hundreds of dollars), then saw the same item priced at a more normal retail price only days later.
I have watched things go both up and down while staying in my cart for days. I have not discerned any specific pattern. People are acting like Best Buy or Macy's don't run weekly sales then have the prices go back to normal. Just follow the price of an OLED TV at Best Buy. I think the pattern on the 65" LG is full price, discount $200, discount $400 and finally discount $700 returning to full price the next week. Is Best Buy following Amazon pricing or is Amazon following Best Buy or is it just the fact retailers for years and years have used sales to create urgency in consumers?
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]
barreg
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:49 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by barreg »

I think I remember hearing about this a while ago. I don't remember the specifics. I will say that if you don't have Prime and take the regular free shipping, don't plan on getting items anytime soon. I ordered items last week and the latest is that they may start shipping tomorrow, so roughly 1.5 to 2 week delivery. A good incentive to have Prime I suppose. Could be that they are cross shipping from their locations to ship to me in as few packages as possible. Or maybe it is 'we will get to it when we get to it'. No big deal for me, just something to consider. I purchase from Amazon once or twice a year.
I've had quite the opposite experience. For any items with Prime delivery, I usually receive them in 1-2 days, sometimes even delivered on Sundays
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5423
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by lthenderson »

Everywhere I go changes prices almost daily from the grocery store to the gas station. That doesn't mean they are price gouging.

Personally I really don't see the fascination with watching changing prices on online sites. If I need something I buy it at the current price and be done with it. My time is much too valuable to me to sit at a computer and agonize over a buck or two difference between various sites and then have to set up yet another account that will be eventually hacked just to purchase it. I find great comfort in knowing that there is a 100% chance that I will be able to find what I need on one site and have it arrive at my door within two days and never have to burn a lot of gas or time fighting through the crowds this time of year to get it. That alone is worth more than a couple dollars difference.
User avatar
TheTimeLord
Posts: 8742
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by TheTimeLord »

barreg wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:55 am
I think I remember hearing about this a while ago. I don't remember the specifics. I will say that if you don't have Prime and take the regular free shipping, don't plan on getting items anytime soon. I ordered items last week and the latest is that they may start shipping tomorrow, so roughly 1.5 to 2 week delivery. A good incentive to have Prime I suppose. Could be that they are cross shipping from their locations to ship to me in as few packages as possible. Or maybe it is 'we will get to it when we get to it'. No big deal for me, just something to consider. I purchase from Amazon once or twice a year.
I've had quite the opposite experience. For any items with Prime delivery, I usually receive them in 1-2 days, sometimes even delivered on Sundays
Depending on where you live and what you are ordering, tons of things are now free same day delivery including Sunday. At least they are for Prime members. After having Prime for a year, I am confounded why I waited so long and by the critical comments I am seeing in this thread. As you can tell by my previous post I am a very happy Prime member bordering on being a fanboy. I remember when I was looking for a new monitor, found the one I wanted at a great price then noticed it was free same day delivery, so cool, I ordered at 11:00 delivered at 8:00.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]
User avatar
TheTimeLord
Posts: 8742
Joined: Fri Jul 26, 2013 2:05 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by TheTimeLord »

lthenderson wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:03 am Everywhere I go changes prices almost daily from the grocery store to the gas station. That doesn't mean they are price gouging.

Personally I really don't see the fascination with watching changing prices on online sites. If I need something I buy it at the current price and be done with it. My time is much too valuable to me to sit at a computer and agonize over a buck or two difference between various sites and then have to set up yet another account that will be eventually hacked just to purchase it. I find great comfort in knowing that there is a 100% chance that I will be able to find what I need on one site and have it arrive at my door within two days and never have to burn a lot of gas or time fighting through the crowds this time of year to get it. That alone is worth more than a couple dollars difference.
Warren Buffet's Nebraska Furniture Mart uses electronic price tags so they can change prices daily after running price comparisons overnight. Article for 2015.

https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2015 ... ng-stores/
Online retailers like Amazon.com Inc. change prices on many items frequently to undercut rivals, but that’s harder to do in bricks-and-mortar stores where items carry physical price tags. Furniture, electronics and appliance retailer Nebraska Furniture Mart has solved that problem by putting electronic tags on store items in price-sensitive categories and updating prices daily. It then built on the technology to make it easier for consumers to find items in its three massive stores.

The retailer each night scans 35,000 SKUs in the electronics and appliance categories on the e-commerce sites of 18 retail competitors—including Amazon, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowe’s—and, before its stores open in the morning, updates the prices on the electronic labels if necessary to meet its guarantee of offering the lowest price.
IMHO, Investing should be about living the life you want, not avoiding the life you fear. | Run, You Clever Boy! [9085]
User avatar
Topic Author
Alexa9
Posts: 1872
Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 9:41 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Alexa9 »

denovo wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:50 am What were the items?
Kleen Kanteen Single Wall Stainless Pint Cups
$33.86 (was even higher) were $19.72

Belkin 6 Outlet Power Strip w/ 6 foot cord
$17.99 was $9.99

This was surprisingly in less than a week.
Rupert
Posts: 4122
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:01 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Rupert »

Price gouging is when a merchant jacks up prices in a time of scarcity, such as following a natural disaster. That is not what Amazon is doing. Amazon prices constantly fluctuate. Savvy shoppers watch prices over a period of time before purchasing, at least for major items, or use a site like camelcamelcamel. Amazon may offer the same product from multiple sellers. That explains a lot of the fluctuation. Also, I've noticed Amazon monitors prices at other on-line merchants. If the price of an item drops at Walmart or ToysRUs, for example, you can expect the Amazon price to drop as well within a short time.
User avatar
Ketawa
Posts: 2313
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:11 am
Location: DC

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Ketawa »

Alexa9 wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:16 am Kleen Kanteen Single Wall Stainless Pint Cups
$33.86 (was even higher) were $19.72

Belkin 6 Outlet Power Strip w/ 6 foot cord
$17.99 was $9.99

This was surprisingly in less than a week.
There's nothing surprising about these prices or the magnitude of the change when you compare them to the past.

Image

Image
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 6249
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by SmileyFace »

Pricing based upon supply and demand has always been in existence in retail in the US. To me this isn't "Price Gouging" but perhaps we have different definitions on what price gouging is.
BEFORE THE INTERNET AND WWW:
1) Anyone remember Cabbage-Patch dolls in the 70s' or 80's? These ugly dolls were pretty basic run-of-the-mill dolls but quickly became popular. When the manufacturer and stores started running short on supply the prices went up - WAY up.
2) I graduated from college and saw a "25% off" add for my favorite jeans in the newspaper - a pair I had just bought a week prior. I ran back to the store to buy another pair only to find out the "regular" price had increased so the 25% off price was exactly the same as that I bought the week before.

The internet and big-data make it easier for retailers to adjust prices based upon supply and demand but they are really just continuing what has been common practice in retail for decades. It doesn't mean they are price-gouging. The US is a capitalist society not a socialist one - prices get set according to supply and demand and retailer are free to charge whatever they wish (in turn - as consumers - we are free to buy from wherever we wish). In actuality we may all paying far lower prices today than we would have been had Amazon never come into existence (regardless of where we shop). Be Thankful to be a US citizen tomorrow :)
Last edited by SmileyFace on Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
tuningfork
Posts: 557
Joined: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:30 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by tuningfork »

Another consideration: we are a couple of days away from Black Friday when prices can fluctuate dramatically. Some places (not just Amazon - I've seen it at Best Buy) raise prices on some items ahead of BF so they can drop them to make BF look like a better deal. In fact the BF price may indeed be the lowest price of the year, but they can advertise it as 70% off yesterday's price rather than 5% off last month's price.
fourwheelcycle
Posts: 1042
Joined: Sun May 25, 2014 5:55 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by fourwheelcycle »

I have had excellent customer experiences with Amazon Prime. At this point I am a long time loyal customer. My local alternative to Prime is a shopping strip about seven miles away. Driving to the strip during at a low traffic time of day, buying something at Home Depot or Best Buy and retuning home takes me just under one hour. If there is a problem with the item returning or exchanging it takes another hour.

Amazon charges me $99 per year for Prime and pays me back more than that through a 5% credit on all my Amazon credit card purchases at Amazon. At this point I rarely go to the shopping strip unless I need something on very short notice, like a plumbing part. Although I check prices at other online vendors, they often have a $50 minimum purchase for free shipping and often the free shipping is not two day shipping.

Bottom line, I do look at alternative pricing and convenience (including time costs), but most often Amazon Prime represents my best shopping alternative.
mouses
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 12:24 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by mouses »

MotoTrojan wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:07 am Been meaning to try Jet.com (acquired for $3B by Walmart) which boasts similar shipping/cost with no membership fee.
I really like Jet. Amazon's non-Prime basic shipping takes 3-4 weeks to get to me. Jet stuff, even if it comes from multiple sellers, free shipping takes 2 to max 3 days.

I always look at Jet before Amazon now. About the only things I buy from Amazon nowadays are kindle books.
User avatar
Doom&Gloom
Posts: 3679
Joined: Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Doom&Gloom »

lthenderson wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:03 am Everywhere I go changes prices almost daily from the grocery store to the gas station. That doesn't mean they are price gouging.

Personally I really don't see the fascination with watching changing prices on online sites. If I need something I buy it at the current price and be done with it. My time is much too valuable to me to sit at a computer and agonize over a buck or two difference between various sites and then have to set up yet another account that will be eventually hacked just to purchase it. I find great comfort in knowing that there is a 100% chance that I will be able to find what I need on one site and have it arrive at my door within two days and never have to burn a lot of gas or time fighting through the crowds this time of year to get it. That alone is worth more than a couple dollars difference.
+1

On high ticket items that aren't an immediate need, such as a gift , I may monitor the prices every few days until the point that I see a price I like or have hit my time deadline. Amazon's convenience is extremely hard to beat--especially at this time of the year.
pangea33
Posts: 46
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2017 11:57 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by pangea33 »

tuningfork wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:59 am Another consideration: we are a couple of days away from Black Friday when prices can fluctuate dramatically. Some places (not just Amazon - I've seen it at Best Buy) raise prices on some items ahead of BF so they can drop them to make BF look like a better deal. In fact the BF price may indeed be the lowest price of the year, but they can advertise it as 70% off yesterday's price rather than 5% off last month's price.
This comment hit close to home. I was comparison shopping an unlocked Samsung S7 and Best Buy had it for around $429 last week.

Came back to pull the trigger yesterday and they had raised the price to $569.

I bet you're right. Next week it'll be "SAVE $150!!" when they return to reasonable pricing. They won't be selling it to me though.
azurekep
Posts: 1179
Joined: Tue Jun 16, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by azurekep »

There's an item that used to be available at Amazon as an add-on for $3.00. (non-book item)

For the past few months, it's been offered at $45.00 -- from a non-Amazon seller -- and it's the only seller. I know it's a false equivalency to compare Amazon to non-Amazon, but heck, that's a 1400% price increase. :shock:

f somebody is going to price it at $45.00, when it's worth a fraction of that price (and goes for $5.00 at another site), why do they even bother to list it? Do they think some fat-fingered consumer is accidentally going to click the Buy button? That, to me, illustrates the lack of oversight by Amazon. Those sorts of things never used to happen, in my experience.
User avatar
Smorgasbord
Posts: 422
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:12 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Smorgasbord »

mxs wrote: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:47 pm I think I remember hearing about this a while ago. I don't remember the specifics. I will say that if you don't have Prime and take the regular free shipping, don't plan on getting items anytime soon. I ordered items last week and the latest is that they may start shipping tomorrow, so roughly 1.5 to 2 week delivery. A good incentive to have Prime I suppose.
As a non-Prime person as well, I also had a similiar experience where Amazon decided to wait five business days before dropping a package mail so that it would arrive on the 7th business day (~1.5 weeks). In comparison, I also had a newegg.com order that also listed 5-7 business days as the shipping time was in the mail ~12 hours after the order was placed. Rather than tithing $100 a year to Bezos, I'll just avoid Amazon from now on.
iamlucky13
Posts: 2210
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2017 5:28 pm
Location: Western Washington

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by iamlucky13 »

heybro wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:25 am Amazon is nothing more than a glorified Sears catalog.
The old Sears Catalog was better organized, and not open to being filled with random merchandise of unknown quality from poorly vetted 3rd party sellers.
heybro wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:25 amI do not understand the 'appeal' of amazon let alone its cult status.
They used to almost always beat brick and mortar store pricing, and many competing online stores, too, and they can be very convenient if you don't want to drive around to different stores or need things that are hard to find. Even now, they do often have good prices, but they're much less consistently the best.
heybro wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:25 amFor one, it is impossible to find anything. Type anything you want in to the search bar and you get 25,000 results. Try sorting through that mess! Then you have to beware that some things are sold by a 3rd party.
I'm glad somebody else is noticing this.

I will say that learning how to search effectively makes a big difference. General descriptions like we tend to use in conversation don't often work well in any search engine. Words that are likely to appear in the title or description do, especially if you already know a brand and model of product you're looking for.

General site organization is surprisingly bad, too. There is an embarrassing amount of crossover between unrelated menu categories. I have a hard time believing they have as many office staff as they do for how bad it is. Yesterday, for example, I was browsing their daily deals for tools, and half the hits were for Christmas lights.
heybro wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:25 amAnd, this is what really gets me, if I have managed to find what I want and I get all the way to check out, THEN it says 'add 2.01 to your cart for free shipping.' How am I supposed to go through that painful process of sorting again?!
Personally, I don't. I just leave stuff sitting in the cart until I think of something else I need - sometimes later that day, sometimes weeks later. If the price goes up, I wait for it to come down again. If I needed it in a hurry, I probably wouldn't be buying it online.
Mike Scott
Posts: 1534
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Mike Scott »

I put a lot of stuff in a shopping cart. Sometimes the price will drop enough to prompt me to buy it. Some things will sit there for a long time and I buy them someplace that is cheaper.
User avatar
nisiprius
Advisory Board
Posts: 42556
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:33 am
Location: The terrestrial, globular, planetary hunk of matter, flattened at the poles, is my abode.--O. Henry

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by nisiprius »

It's a brave new world we live in, and I don't like it much, but I think we've reached the point where "everybody's doing it." The airlines seemed to be the first to do it on a big scale.

I am trying to remember just when the idea of a fixed no-haggle take-it-or-leave-it same-for-everybody system came in. I think it came along with the supermarket and self-service shopping, as before that the items for sale were behind the counter and a store clerk reached them down and handed them to you for inspection. Self-service required price tags on the item, which meant a stable price that was the same for everyone.

I was thinking the A&P, but some quick Internet searches suggest it might have been Piggly-Wiggly circa the 1930s. Not that long ago.

"One price for all" was mostly a technology limitation (rubber stamps, and, later, adhesive price labels). Brick-and-mortar stores are getting more and more loosey-goosey about price stickers. A local Kohl's doesn't have printed price cards above displays; it has things that look like small non-backlit Kindles (dark-grey-green-snot-on-light-grey-green-snot) that probably can be reprogrammed for a new price instantaneously. Stores have "price check" stations where you can scan an unmarked item to find what the price is, but there's no way of knowing if it has changed... even in the last ten minutes. But at least customers see the same price no matter who scans it.

Are you aware of any retailers proudly advertising "same price for all?" I'm not. The catalog houses send out printed catalogs, but even those are probably not "same price for all" as they all have mysterious customer category codes on the labels... and the price you get online is often different from the price you see in the catalog.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.
Mike Scott
Posts: 1534
Joined: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Mike Scott »

And this opens up possibilities of saving some $ if you are patient and price shop. I usually do enough price comparisons to know what a fair price is for a specific thing; I can wait for a better deal or just buy it as needed. I was helping my daughter price new computers this morning. There are several places with slightly different deals on the same model that all come out within about $5 of each other. I thought it was funny that the price at one location increases after today as they move into their black friday specials. It's all a game and information is worth $$.
quantAndHold
Posts: 5174
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by quantAndHold »

azurekep wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:42 pm There's an item that used to be available at Amazon as an add-on for $3.00. (non-book item)

For the past few months, it's been offered at $45.00 -- from a non-Amazon seller -- and it's the only seller. I know it's a false equivalency to compare Amazon to non-Amazon, but heck, that's a 1400% price increase. :shock:

f somebody is going to price it at $45.00, when it's worth a fraction of that price (and goes for $5.00 at another site), why do they even bother to list it? Do they think some fat-fingered consumer is accidentally going to click the Buy button? That, to me, illustrates the lack of oversight by Amazon. Those sorts of things never used to happen, in my experience.
Amazon has a pricing bot that uses some sort of proprietary magic to find the optimal price for everything it sells. I have no idea how it works. Prices for items that are "ships and sold by Amazon" fluctuate, but not by all that much, unless there's some perturbation of the marketplace (Amazon gets a good buy, decides to run a sale, a competitor runs or ends a sale, there's a shortage of the item in the marketplace, etc).

Some Amazon Marketplace sellers also have pricing bots, which are supposed to find the optimal price for the items the seller is selling. A lot of the time those pricing bots don't work as well as advertised, and you end up with a $20 item selling for $6000, or some ridiculous amount.

Amazon is also perpetually on a quest to rid their warehouses of "CRAP", which is an acronym for Can't Realize A Profit. This is stuff where there isn't enough profit built into the price to pay for the shipping and handling.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
jebmke
Posts: 11946
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 2:44 pm
Location: Delmarva Peninsula

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by jebmke »

Often better pricing elsewhere. On the other hand, AMZ was only about 1.5% of our total credit card spend (most of our spending outside of taxes and insurance). I usually check around but if the price is close, I often go back to AMZ because delivery is fast - we have a huge AMZ distribution center about 1.5 hours away.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
Cheyenne
Posts: 500
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:46 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Cheyenne »

...they can and do charge different customers different rates or offer sales to others... I
It's called predictive modeling. Insurance companies use it too. They analyze everything they know about you (quite a lot) and predict how high they can raise your premiums without you jumping ship for a competitor.
Jackson12
Posts: 1022
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:44 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Jackson12 »

mouses wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 11:09 am
MotoTrojan wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:07 am Been meaning to try Jet.com (acquired for $3B by Walmart) which boasts similar shipping/cost with no membership fee.
I really like Jet. Amazon's non-Prime basic shipping takes 3-4 weeks to get to me. Jet stuff, even if it comes from multiple sellers, free shipping takes 2 to max 3 days.

I always look at Jet before Amazon now. About the only things I buy from Amazon nowadays are kindle books.
I've received Amazon credits twice due to legal settlements for excessive charges for Kindle books Amazon was not listed at fault, at least as best I can decipher the info in the link here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer ... =201046060

There's a link there to check if one has a credit from 2016. I was notified once but was surprised by an unforeseen credit when placing an order recently. .

So I received a credit in 2016 and again about a month ago. Info onthe October credits are here:
https://www.amazon.com/b?node=14741166011

I generally put myself on the wait list for ebooks through my library's Overdrive system and the price is right. :happy

Occasionally I'll purchase a Kindke book, usually something related to finances and which I'm likely to reference regularly. .
Jackson12
Posts: 1022
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:44 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Jackson12 »

We're frugal and compare prices but I confess to using Amazon recently to take advantage of their same day grocery delivery , with the option to choose Amazon Fresh or Fresh Thyme (or both)

We're recuperating from a bout of some stomach bug, With Thanksgiving around the corner, fighting the crowds while we were recuperating, conserving our energy as much as possible, and not exposing others to our germs...all of these tipped the balance and so we opted for the convenience of guaranteed delivery within our preferred 2 hour window of time.

Fresh eggs, orange juice, fruit bread, chicken broth etc...all in fine condition. Not something we'd do regularly but sure a great help and stress reducer under the circumstances.
squirm
Posts: 3077
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 11:53 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by squirm »

Isn't this Amazon's "Dynamic Pricing"? I thought everyone knew about this. Not a big deal...
davebo
Posts: 942
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:02 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by davebo »

Amazon specifically will raise prices as inventory runs low, specifically if it's around the holidays when restocking might be problematic.

Also, since there are so many 3rd party sellers on amazon, some of the changes are when a specific seller runs out of stock on amazon and the next seller competing for the buy box had a higher price. I know of situations where sellers buy out a competitors low priced inventory.

I sell on amazon and routinely adjust my prices based on the time of year but, more specifically, because I'm low on stock. I have a product now that is 25% more just because demand is higher.
Jackson12
Posts: 1022
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2015 9:44 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Jackson12 »

Also be alert to counterfeit items sold as the real deal. I purchased some " brand name" replacement filters for a vacuum, shipped directly from an Amazon warehouse. All were defective and clearly fakes, made of thinner material than my other filters and randomly sized, so there were many that wouldn't fit my vacuum. . I went to a local store and purchased the authentic filters. .
wdnnikl
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2017 5:49 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by wdnnikl »

fourwheelcycle wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 10:36 am
Bottom line, I do look at alternative pricing and convenience (including time costs), but most often Amazon Prime represents my best shopping alternative.
I also find the Amazon experience rising to the top quite often. For instance, I've had Prime for a little over a year and I watch deliveries like a hawk. When an item is delivered late, I contact them via online chat and request a Prime membership extension. So far, four requests and four extensions given. Prime becomes easier to justify each time. :moneybag

Definitely not in favor of Uber delivering my packages though. Will have to investigate jet.com.
https://logistics.amazon.com
marc515
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Jan 27, 2008 9:12 am

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by marc515 »

azurekep wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:42 pm There's an item that used to be available at Amazon as an add-on for $3.00. (non-book item)

For the past few months, it's been offered at $45.00 -- from a non-Amazon seller -- and it's the only seller. I know it's a false equivalency to compare Amazon to non-Amazon, but heck, that's a 1400% price increase. :shock:

f somebody is going to price it at $45.00, when it's worth a fraction of that price (and goes for $5.00 at another site), why do they even bother to list it? Do they think some fat-fingered consumer is accidentally going to click the Buy button? That, to me, illustrates the lack of oversight by Amazon. Those sorts of things never used to happen, in my experience.
Why not tell us what the "item" is so we all can take a look; I would like top verify.
m
Nyc10036
Posts: 577
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2016 6:29 pm

Re: Beware Amazon Price Gouging

Post by Nyc10036 »

jebmke wrote: Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:47 pm I usually check around but if the price is close, I often go back to AMZ because delivery is fast - we have a huge AMZ distribution center about 1.5 hours away.
I have three warehouses 45 minutes radius.
Useless without Prime.
Amazon sits on the order for 5 business days (7 days counting weekends) then ships.
Standard procedure for them.
I factor it in my shopping decisions and just buy from other places more.
Post Reply