Amazon package that can't be traced

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VictoriaF
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Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 4:53 pm

I have received an Amazon package that I had not ordered. It contains two items, one of which is a rather personal clothing item that is several sizes different from my size, and the other one is nice but I don't have use for. There is no invoice in the package. The package does not show in my Amazon Order history.

I have contacted Amazon and had a chat session with their customer service representative. The CSR asked me for the package identification, and I typed for him the UPS tracking number and all other mixed text strings I found on the package. The CSR told me that none of these strings represents the package ID, and that it was a gift. He said that gifts are sent without an invoice.

I am puzzled because anyone who knows me would have chosen a different size, not necessarily a perfect fit but at least an educated guess. And anyone who does not know me could have sent me a size-independent gift that I could read. While there is no invoice, the items have price labels with the total cost of $125.

I received a transcript of the chat session and don't have to worry about being charged. But I am curious if it's really a gift or some type of a fraud.

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Chicago60 » Thu May 10, 2018 4:59 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:53 pm
I have received an Amazon package that I had not ordered. It contains two items, one of which is a rather personal clothing item that is several sizes different from my size, and the other one is nice but I don't have use for. There is no invoice in the package. The package does not show in my Amazon Order history.

I have contacted Amazon and had a chat session with their customer service representative. The CSR asked me for the package identification, and typed for him the UPS tracking number and all other mixed text strings I found on the package. The CSR told me that none of these strings represents the package ID, and that it was a gift. He said that gifts are sent without an invoice.

I am puzzled because anyone who knows me would have chosen a different size, not necessarily a perfect fit but at least an educated guess. And anyone who does not know me could have sent me a size-independent gift that I could read. While there is no invoice, the items have price labels with the total cost of $125.

I received a transcript of the chat session and don't have to worry about being charged. But I am curious if it's really a gift or some type of a fraud.

Victoria
It was a surprise gift, and you are welcome.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by nisiprius » Thu May 10, 2018 5:02 pm

It's been happening to people, it creeps them out, according to news stores nobody really understands what is happening and nobody knows how to stop it.

People receiving Amazon packages they didn't order

A Google search on "amazon packages not ordered" will turn up many stories. There's even a name for it, "brushing."

The best guess seems to be that people are doing it so that they can post phony favorable reviews on Amazon and have Amazon's system tag their reviews as "verified purchase."

(I don't understand why Amazon can't do a database search of "verified purchases" to a victim's address and determine the account that placed the order). (Oh, wait, one story says "During the second call, Amazon said the items were purchased using a gift card and there's no way to trace that.")

Even if it doesn't seem like a serious problem, the issue is that a scammer has your contact information. But apart from worrying about it, I don't know what anyone can do about that, either.
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:02 pm

Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:59 pm
It was a surprise gift, and you are welcome.
To prove that you are authorized to respond with "you are welcome," please name the items.

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Afty » Thu May 10, 2018 5:04 pm


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MP123
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by MP123 » Thu May 10, 2018 5:05 pm

Yes, as mentioned above it's "brushing".

Some think it's a way for companies (in China) to boost their apparent sales.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by retiredjg » Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm

Did he know it was a gift or speculate it might be a gift?

If he knew it was a gift, the giver should be easily identified. So I'm guessing speculation. Complete speculation that it was a gift to explain away something that doesn't add up.

If you return the items, a gift card will be issued to you (not the giver in my experience) and you can spend the money on your next order.

Even though gifts from Amazon do not include an invoice, they do contain little notice inside the package. Sometimes it just gives an order number and a description of the items. Other times, it includes a message from the giver. Sounds like you didn't get such a notice.

In another thread, someone said that Amazon sometimes fills Ebay orders and vice versa. Seems like a mess waiting to happen...

Oh, have just now read the posts about "brushing"....if so, return them and collect your gift card.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:02 pm
It's been happening to people, it creeps them out, according to news stores nobody really understands what is happening and nobody knows how to stop it.

People receiving Amazon packages they didn't order

A Google search on "amazon packages not ordered" will turn up many stories. There's even a name for it, "brushing."

The best guess seems to be that people are doing it so that they can post phony favorable reviews on Amazon and have Amazon's system tag their reviews as "verified purchase."

(I don't understand why Amazon can't do a database search of "verified purchases" to a victim's address and determine the account that placed the order). (Oh, wait, one story says "During the second call, Amazon said the items were purchased using a gift card and there's no way to trace that.")

Even if it doesn't seem like a serious problem, the issue is that a scammer has your contact information. But apart from worrying about it, I don't know what anyone can do about that, either.
Thank you, Nisi!

I will read your link and try Google. I am not sure that the scammer must know my contact information. It's possible to send a gift without knowing the destination address, using Amazon as the intermediary.

I am not worrying about a scammer. My worries were (1) if I have accidentally received a package that was destined for someone else, (2) if I will have to prove to Amazon that I have not ordered it, and (3) if there is a legitimate gift giver who may get offended. Now, it seems that I don't need to worry about any of these.

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Thu May 10, 2018 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Chicago60 » Thu May 10, 2018 5:09 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:02 pm
Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:59 pm
It was a surprise gift, and you are welcome.
To prove that you are authorized to respond with "you are welcome," please name the items.

Victoria
My reply was a joke. Now that I have read the article nisiprius linked, I am speechless. I assumed they were gifts from someone you had not seen in awhile, and cannot believe that this is a somewhat common practice, that it now has its own term, and that someone would spend $100+ simply to be able to post favorable reviews. Absolutely weird.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:20 pm

retiredjg wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm
Did he know it was a gift or speculate it might be a gift?
The CSR wrote that it was a gift. He did not use "probably," "likely," or any other hedges.
retiredjg wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm
If he knew it was a gift, the giver should be easily identified. So I'm guessing speculation. Complete speculation that it was a gift to explain away something that doesn't add up.
The CSR wrote that I can find out who the sender is if I send him the package ID. But none of the strings I found on the package was the ID he was looking for. I am pretty thorough and I am quite sure I have not missed any strings. I even used a magnifying glass.
retiredjg wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm
If you return the items, a gift card will be issued to you (not the giver in my experience) and you can spend the money on your next order.
The CSR wrote that I should not return the items and use them as I find appropriate. I think of offering them to people whom they'll fit.
retiredjg wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm
Even though gifts from Amazon do not include an invoice, they do contain little notice inside the package. Sometimes it just gives an order number and a description of the items. Other times, it includes a message from the giver. Sounds like you didn't get such a notice.
I know what you mean; and you are right, there were no notes at all. Furthermore, I'd guess that a gift giver would want to have the price labels removed. Unless it's a Boglehead showing generosity with a $125 splurge.

retiredjg wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm
In another thread, someone said that Amazon sometimes fills Ebay orders and vice versa. Seems like a mess waiting to happen...

Oh, have just now read the posts about "brushing"....if so, return them and collect your gift card.
I hope that brushing with Amazon packages is safer than brushing with death.

Thank you for a detailed response,
Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by MP123 » Thu May 10, 2018 5:26 pm

Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:09 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:02 pm
Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:59 pm
It was a surprise gift, and you are welcome.
To prove that you are authorized to respond with "you are welcome," please name the items.

Victoria
My reply was a joke. Now that I have read the article nisiprius linked, I am speechless. I assumed they were gifts from someone you had not seen in awhile, and cannot believe that this is a somewhat common practice, that it now has its own term, and that someone would spend $100+ simply to be able to post favorable reviews. Absolutely weird.
Of course they paid the $100 to themselves and the actual value of the merchandise shipped out is much much less. I agree it's very weird though.

Just hope you don't get 300 pallets of paperclips delivered or something like that.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:26 pm

Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:09 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:02 pm
Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:59 pm
It was a surprise gift, and you are welcome.
To prove that you are authorized to respond with "you are welcome," please name the items.

Victoria
My reply was a joke.
As was my reply to your reply.
Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:09 pm
Now that I have read the article nisiprius linked, I am speechless. I assumed they were gifts from someone you had not seen in awhile, and cannot believe that this is a somewhat common practice, that it now has its own term, and that someone would spend $100+ simply to be able to post favorable reviews. Absolutely weird.
I share the feeling. Instead of guessing about secret admirers I have to speculate about secret scammers.

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:30 pm

MP123 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:26 pm
Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:09 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:02 pm
Chicago60 wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 4:59 pm
It was a surprise gift, and you are welcome.
To prove that you are authorized to respond with "you are welcome," please name the items.

Victoria
My reply was a joke. Now that I have read the article nisiprius linked, I am speechless. I assumed they were gifts from someone you had not seen in awhile, and cannot believe that this is a somewhat common practice, that it now has its own term, and that someone would spend $100+ simply to be able to post favorable reviews. Absolutely weird.
Of course they paid the $100 to themselves and the actual value of the merchandise shipped out is much much less. I agree it's very weird though.

Just hope you don't get 300 pallets of paperclips delivered or something like that.
$125, not $100. Don't underestimate me!

But you see, with paperclips I would not have been thinking "I wish they fitted me!"

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 10, 2018 5:35 pm

You are at no risk, they are just using your address.

They might not even be planning on writing reviews for the items, just increasing sales, which affects placement in search results.

Check to see if the items are sold by the same vendor as an item you have purchased in the past. That might not be the case as many vendors have multiple accounts even though they are not supposed to have but one and they also use third parties to help with "marketing" issues such as this, partially because of language barriers. The third parties maintain databases of customer demographics.

I had a vendor give my address to customers for returns, presumably to avoid increasing their return rate with Amazon and avoid fees for returns. Sellers with high return rates get their seller privileges suspended. One package had a piece of used chewing gum in it. I was able to figure out who it was after a few packages and tell them to stop as I didn't appreciate having my name and address given out.

Lots of shady things are happening with internet sales. They are making things for a few pennies in China and then selling them for many dollars in the U.S. Amazon's fees on the sale of the items you received were probably more than the cost of the goods to the seller.
retiredjg wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:08 pm

If you return the items, a gift card will be issued to you (not the giver in my experience) and you can spend the money on your next order.
If the item was not marked as a gift at the time of purchase, any refund will go to the purchaser. Also the Amazon price is probably a fraction of $125.
Last edited by Pajamas on Thu May 10, 2018 5:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by inbox788 » Thu May 10, 2018 5:37 pm

Last edited by inbox788 on Thu May 10, 2018 5:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by nisiprius » Thu May 10, 2018 5:43 pm

Just curious, Victoria: have you ever ordered anything from Amazon that was direct-shipped from China? I have, twice, both bad experiences... but it made my realize that there are now two sketchy sellers in China that have my address.

No, not "sketchy," scams.

One was a MicroSD card supposedly manufactured by Samsung, that arrived in a generic package (that just said "MicroSD card," not Samsung-branded retail packaging), did not seem to work correctly, and that the "SD Insight" app on my smartphone could not identify. The second one was almost funny. I thought that a "skeleton watch," a watch with all of the moving works visible, would be something my young grandson would enjoy, and this was priced at $19.95. When it arrived--it was shipped by ground from China and the estimated shipping time was about five weeks--the situation was that the picture and product description called for a) a round, b) mechanical, analog watch, and what I received was (a) a square, (b) digital watch that--(c)--didn't work. You almost had to admire their nerve in sending one that didn't work, it's almost as if they wanted to be sure I knew I'd been scammed.

(Of course Amazon handled them properly--yes, we'll refund the money, no, you don't have to return them.)
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:49 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:35 pm
Check to see if the items are sold by the same vendor as an item you have purchased in the past. That might not be the case as many vendors have multiple accounts even though they are not supposed to have but one and they also use third parties to help with "marketing" issues such as this, partially because of language barriers. The third parties maintain databases of customer demographics.
Great idea, Thanks!

I have found both items. One is made in China, the other one in the USA. The companies are very different. Both items are sold via Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. The prices showing on Amazon are identical to those on the price tags, for the total of $124.99. One item has the average Amazon rating of 3.1 of 5, based on 3 reviews. The other item has the rating of 2.9 of 5, based on 2 reviews.

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 10, 2018 5:52 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:49 pm

I have found both items. One is made in China, the other one in the USA. The companies are very different. Both items are sold via Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. The prices showing on Amazon are identical to those on the price tags, for the total of $124.99. One item has the average Amazon rating of 3.1 of 5, based on 3 reviews The other item has the rating of 2.9 of 5, based on 2 reviews.

Victoria
Were the items actually sold by Amazon or just fulfilled by Amazon?

Were the higher-starred reviews recent? If not, check back in a week. Seems like they might be wanting to increase the ratings.
Last edited by Pajamas on Thu May 10, 2018 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:52 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:35 pm
I had a vendor give my address to customers for returns, presumably to avoid increasing their return rate with Amazon and avoid fees for returns. Sellers with high return rates get their seller privileges suspended. One package had a piece of used chewing gum in it. I was able to figure out who it was
Did you use the chewing gum as forensic evidence?

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 10, 2018 5:54 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:52 pm

Did you use the chewing gum as forensic evidence?

Victoria
NO! But I got nauseated when I saw it. :twisted:

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 5:57 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:52 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:49 pm

I have found both items. One is made in China, the other one in the USA. The companies are very different. Both items are sold via Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. The prices showing on Amazon are identical to those on the price tags, for the total of $124.99. One item has the average Amazon rating of 3.1 of 5, based on 3 reviews The other item has the rating of 2.9 of 5, based on 2 reviews.

Victoria
Were the items actually sold by Amazon or just fulfilled by Amazon?

Were the higher-starred reviews recent? If not, check back in a week. Seems like they might be wanting to increase the ratings.
More expensive item:
Made in China
"Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available."
2, 3, and 4-star reviews; all in 2016-2017.

Less expensive item:
Made in the USA
"Sold by XXXXX and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available."
5-star review in December 2017
1-star review in January 2018.

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 6:03 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:43 pm
Just curious, Victoria: have you ever ordered anything from Amazon that was direct-shipped from China? I have, twice, both bad experiences... but it made my realize that there are now two sketchy sellers in China that have my address.

No, not "sketchy," scams.

One was a MicroSD card supposedly manufactured by Samsung, that arrived in a generic package (that just said "MicroSD card," not Samsung-branded retail packaging), did not seem to work correctly, and that the "SD Insight" app on my smartphone could not identify. The second one was almost funny. I thought that a "skeleton watch," a watch with all of the moving works visible, would be something my young grandson would enjoy, and this was priced at $19.95. When it arrived--it was shipped by ground from China and the estimated shipping time was about five weeks--the situation was that the picture and product description called for a) a round, b) mechanical, analog watch, and what I received was (a) a square, (b) digital watch that--(c)--didn't work. You almost had to admire their nerve in sending one that didn't work, it's almost as if they wanted to be sure I knew I'd been scammed.

(Of course Amazon handled them properly--yes, we'll refund the money, no, you don't have to return them.)
I order so much from Amazon that it's difficult to recall if I have ordered directly from China it in the past. But I have recently ordered so-called pillow speakers that will take several weeks to arrive. If this scam were related to the speakers, would not they send me something electronic?

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 10, 2018 6:18 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:57 pm

More expensive item:
Made in China
"Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available."
2, 3, and 4-star reviews; all in 2016-2017.

Less expensive item:
Made in the USA
"Sold by XXXXX and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available."
5-star review in December 2017
1-star review in January 2018.

Victoria
Check back in a few weeks to see if there are new reviews, especially any that seem suspicious, i.e., five stars and with little content and broken English or with lots of gushing content and photographs.

The combination of an item made in China and sold by Amazon and one that is made in the USA and fulfilled by Amazon makes it seem likely that a third party is handling the "marketing" for different vendors. They could have gotten your name and address from a purchase you made that was fulfilled by the vendor on Amazon or from a purchase on a different website such as eBay or AliExpress.

There is also the possibility that Amazon made an error. Doesn't seem likely but I placed a large order with Target at the end of last year and they filled it twice. I have also gotten the wrong item shipped from Amazon that had a packing slip for someone else in the box on two separate occasions.

The most interesting thing is that Amazon can't trace the package to the purchaser even though they sent it to you. I'm not sure what that means but I have heard of it before.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 6:27 pm

I would not mind having Alexa for a friend, so that we could infect each other with humor.

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by LadyGeek » Thu May 10, 2018 6:30 pm

It's called "brushing".

Liston to / read the transcript of this Planet Money Podcast: #838: A Series of Mysterious Packages

Also, this Forbes article: JD.com Fires Employee For Encouraging "Brushing" Fake Orders To Inflate Sales
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 6:33 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:18 pm
VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:57 pm

More expensive item:
Made in China
"Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available."
2, 3, and 4-star reviews; all in 2016-2017.

Less expensive item:
Made in the USA
"Sold by XXXXX and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available."
5-star review in December 2017
1-star review in January 2018.

Victoria
Check back in a few weeks to see if there are new reviews, especially any that seem suspicious, i.e., five stars and with little content and broken English or with lots of gushing content and photographs.

The combination of an item made in China and sold by Amazon and one that is made in the USA and fulfilled by Amazon makes it seem likely that a third party is handling the "marketing" for different vendors. They could have gotten your name and address from a purchase you made that was fulfilled by the vendor on Amazon or from a purchase on a different website such as eBay or AliExpress.

There is also the possibility that Amazon made an error. Doesn't seem likely but I placed a large order with Target at the end of last year and they filled it twice. I have also gotten the wrong item shipped from Amazon that had a packing slip for someone else in the box on two separate occasions.

The most interesting thing is that Amazon can't trace the package to the purchaser even though they sent it to you. I'm not sure what that means but I have heard of it before.
Thank you for the ideas! I am having fun acting Sherlock Holmes, or rather, Dr. Watson to you as Holmes. I'll check the reviews in a few days.

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by VictoriaF » Thu May 10, 2018 6:35 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:30 pm
It's called "brushing".

Liston to / read the transcript of this Planet Money Podcast: < #838: A Series of Mysterious Packages

Also, this Forbes article: JD.com Fires Employee For Encouraging "Brushing" Fake Orders To Inflate Sales
Great advice. As usual.

Thank you, Your Ladyship!

Victoria
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by nisiprius » Thu May 10, 2018 6:52 pm

So I found out, and others have confirmed, that it's called "brushing." Next question: why is it called "brushing?"
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 10, 2018 6:56 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:52 pm
So I found out, and others have confirmed, that it's called "brushing." Next question: why is it called "brushing?"
My guess is that "brushing" is the Chinese idiom for "grooming" or "polishing" the reviews to make them look good, or a literal translation of the Chinese for "grooming" from software.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 10, 2018 7:02 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:30 pm

But you see, with paperclips I would not have been thinking "I wish they fitted me!"

Victoria
Could you ask Amazon to exchange it for an item in your size? ;)

It's disturbing that Amazon doesn't seem to be interested in tracking down these packages, linking them to orders and then disallowing a review on that order (or even better, penalizing the buyer/seller). But I guess positive reviews sell more stuff. :confused

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by LadyGeek » Thu May 10, 2018 7:06 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:56 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 6:52 pm
So I found out, and others have confirmed, that it's called "brushing." Next question: why is it called "brushing?"
My guess is that "brushing" is the Chinese idiom for "grooming" or "polishing" the reviews to make them look good, or a literal translation of the Chinese for "grooming" from software.
From: #838: A Series of Mysterious Packages : NPR
MALONE: We've heard a term that's used called brushing. Have you ever heard that? I think it's a translation.

WEI: Yes. The Chinese word is shwa-don (ph). It could be translated literally as brushing the record.

MALONE: Oh, like cleaning up the reputation.
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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 10, 2018 7:20 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:49 pm
I have found both items. One is made in China, the other one in the USA. The companies are very different. Both items are sold via Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. The prices showing on Amazon are identical to those on the price tags, for the total of $124.99. One item has the average Amazon rating of 3.1 of 5, based on 3 reviews. The other item has the rating of 2.9 of 5, based on 2 reviews.
I'd probably leave a 2 star review for each item:

pros: didn't cost me anything
cons: I didn't order it in the first place and what I got didn't fit me. Scam alert.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Good Listener » Thu May 10, 2018 7:39 pm

I think Victoria has a secret admirer who simply has no concept of women's clothes sizes. Maybe roses will follow.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Thu May 10, 2018 7:42 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:06 pm

From: #838: A Series of Mysterious Packages : NPR
Interesting interview, thanks.

If anyone is interested in what Amazon does to combat fake reviews, they do catch some reviewers and delete all their reviews. Someone wrote a program that tracks it, at least in the ranks of the top 10k reviewers. Amazon's software and other methods of detection are not very good and they don't catch the majority of fake reviewers.

https://www.reddit.com/r/TheGreatAmazonPurge/

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by littlebird » Thu May 10, 2018 8:27 pm

Same thing happened to me several years ago, with similar results: Amazon couldn't trace the "gift", which I'm sure was not sent to me by anyone I know. In my case the item was a perfect fit, albeit not something I would ever have selected, but every time I wear it, without fail, I get complimented on it. It never occurred to me to review it, and there were never any repercussions or follow ups.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by triceratop » Thu May 10, 2018 8:37 pm

Good Listener wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 7:39 pm
I think Victoria has a secret admirer who simply has no concept of women's clothes sizes. Maybe roses will follow.
Or it is a secret admirer who very much has a concept of women's clothes sizes and with an intent to flatter chose a different size in the appropriate direction of error to be flattering.
"To play the stock market is to play musical chairs under the chord progression of a bid-ask spread."

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Thu May 10, 2018 9:31 pm

littlebird wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 8:27 pm
Same thing happened to me several years ago, with similar results: Amazon couldn't trace the "gift", which I'm sure was not sent to me by anyone I know. In my case the item was a perfect fit, albeit not something I would ever have selected, but every time I wear it, without fail, I get complimented on it. It never occurred to me to review it, and there were never any repercussions or follow ups.
Well, the idea behind this scam is that the buyer (=vendor) would submit the 5* review, not the recipient.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by HueyLD » Thu May 10, 2018 9:40 pm

Well, I am still waiting for my mysterious package to arrive. Hopefully I will get the stuff I like and of the right size. :)

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Nate79 » Thu May 10, 2018 11:22 pm

Where do I sign up to get this free stuff?

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by gotester2000 » Fri May 11, 2018 12:34 am

Curious to know:-

1. Why cant Amazon trace the package if it is routed to a physical address? Can somebody order/ship items without Amazon knowing it through Amazon - that is unbelievable?

2. How can Amazon force the receiver to pay for the shipment if they do not have the order reference in the system?

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 11, 2018 12:38 am

gotester2000 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:34 am
Curious to know:-

1. Why cant Amazon trace the package if it is routed to a physical address? Can somebody order/ship items without Amazon knowing it through Amazon - that is unbelievable?
I am sure they could tie it back to an order if they wanted to. Doesn’t mean they would find the actual name of whoever ordered the items. But they could lock the account and any reviews.
2. How can Amazon force the receiver to pay for the shipment if they do not have the order reference in the system?
The recipient isn’t expected to pay for the shipment. The “anonymous” buyer (who is also the vendor/manufacturer or acting on their behalf) sends it as a “gift” to a random person, then submits a glowing review of their own product. Highly rated products sell more, so a few “gifts” in exchange for fake 5* reviews are a minor expense.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by joeblow » Fri May 11, 2018 12:48 am

I have a list of items I'd like brushed my way.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by inbox788 » Fri May 11, 2018 1:50 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 12:38 am
I am sure they could tie it back to an order if they wanted to. Doesn’t mean they would find the actual name of whoever ordered the items. But they could lock the account and any reviews.
It might not be as simple a task as someone looking up a number in a database. Seems like there are no order slips or numbers in the package that was sent, and any numbers are tied mainly to the buyer or seller, not the gift recipient, who may not even be an amazon customer. They would have no reason to cross-reference all the gift orders with their customer list, and if they tried, its likely lots of errors would be introduced.

To find the order, they would have to search all the gift orders by name/address, which is likely in the millions, and not indexed, so they may have to exhaustively search through all the orders to try to find it. Am I overlooking a simple search parameter or method?

Here's a simple example. I send a gift to John Doe, and there is John Doe Sr, Jr. and 3rd living in the household. Only 2 out of the 3 have Amazon accounts. When the gift arrives, John (the right one) figures out its his and life goes on. Now, does Amazon want to somehow try to link my order in my account with either of the 2 Amazon accounts it finds? How often does a name and address match perfectly, and even if it did, it's not guaranteed to be the correct person. And nicknames and variations on names and misspellings and different address formats all add to the variability of correct matches and potential errors.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Boston Barry » Fri May 11, 2018 3:33 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:49 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 5:35 pm
Check to see if the items are sold by the same vendor as an item you have purchased in the past. That might not be the case as many vendors have multiple accounts even though they are not supposed to have but one and they also use third parties to help with "marketing" issues such as this, partially because of language barriers. The third parties maintain databases of customer demographics.
Great idea, Thanks!

I have found both items. One is made in China, the other one in the USA. The companies are very different. Both items are sold via Amazon rather than 3rd party sellers. The prices showing on Amazon are identical to those on the price tags, for the total of $124.99. One item has the average Amazon rating of 3.1 of 5, based on 3 reviews. The other item has the rating of 2.9 of 5, based on 2 reviews.

Victoria
How do you have a rating of 2.9 from only 2 reviews?

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 11, 2018 10:09 am

inbox788 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 1:50 am
It might not be as simple a task as someone looking up a number in a database. Seems like there are no order slips or numbers in the package that was sent, and any numbers are tied mainly to the buyer or seller, not the gift recipient, who may not even be an amazon customer. They would have no reason to cross-reference all the gift orders with their customer list, and if they tried, its likely lots of errors would be introduced.

To find the order, they would have to search all the gift orders by name/address, which is likely in the millions, and not indexed, so they may have to exhaustively search through all the orders to try to find it. Am I overlooking a simple search parameter or method?

Here's a simple example. I send a gift to John Doe, and there is John Doe Sr, Jr. and 3rd living in the household. Only 2 out of the 3 have Amazon accounts. When the gift arrives, John (the right one) figures out its his and life goes on. Now, does Amazon want to somehow try to link my order in my account with either of the 2 Amazon accounts it finds? How often does a name and address match perfectly, and even if it did, it's not guaranteed to be the correct person. And nicknames and variations on names and misspellings and different address formats all add to the variability of correct matches and potential errors.
Every order that is shipped with a carrier that provides tracking will include the tracking number of the package. You can see it for your own shipments when you look at your order.

The package the recipient received will have a sticker with the tracking number.

Contact Amazon and give them that tracking number and they *should* be able to find the order, placed by an Amazon customer.

Thought experiment: you order something on Amazon as a gift for a friend. The package never arrives. Don’t you think Amazon would be able to look up the status of the shipment? Just because buyer and recipient aren’t the same person doesn’t mean Amazon doesn’t have a customer account (for the buyer) and an order record with tracking number.

If a shipment is not delivered with tracking, it should still be fairly trivial to find any order that has the recipient’s name/delivery address and ordered item. Nicknames etc don’t matter. The recipient knows the exact spelling on the shipment label and it will exactly match a record in Amazon’s system (not necessarily an account record, but an order record). If Amazon was actually interested in tracking down and stopping these scams, they could.
Last edited by TravelGeek on Fri May 11, 2018 10:15 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri May 11, 2018 10:14 am

Here's another article - this women got more than just intimate clothing:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/20 ... story.html
In response, the company released a statement, saying, in part: “We are taking action against bad actors that abuse our systems and services for marketing purposes. Customer safety is a top priority and we encourage any customer that has a question about a package to contact our Customer Service.”
Typically the "bad actors" just set up fake accounts and then use gift cards to pay for the purchases so they can't be traced.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by inbox788 » Fri May 11, 2018 11:29 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 10:09 am
Every order that is shipped with a carrier that provides tracking will include the tracking number of the package. You can see it for your own shipments when you look at your order.

The package the recipient received will have a sticker with the tracking number.

Contact Amazon and give them that tracking number and they *should* be able to find the order, placed by an Amazon customer.

Thought experiment: you order something on Amazon as a gift for a friend. The package never arrives. Don’t you think Amazon would be able to look up the status of the shipment? Just because buyer and recipient aren’t the same person doesn’t mean Amazon doesn’t have a customer account (for the buyer) and an order record with tracking number.

If a shipment is not delivered with tracking, it should still be fairly trivial to find any order that has the recipient’s name/delivery address and ordered item. Nicknames etc don’t matter. The recipient knows the exact spelling on the shipment label and it will exactly match a record in Amazon’s system (not necessarily an account record, but an order record). If Amazon was actually interested in tracking down and stopping these scams, they could.
Under normal circumstances, the tracking number on the package is helpful. But let's say the tracking number is from UPS. That number may never get linked to an Amazon account or order. And the information provided to UPS as well as the tracking information provided to Amazon are both coming from the seller/sender, and they could lead back to a fake account described in these "brushing" scams. Also, some shipments are sent without tracking (like first class mail). Or dropped shipped, so you could trace it back to the shipper/distributor, but would probably find another fake account there as well.

Amazon does have lots of information and data, but yes, it's doable, though I wouldn't call it "fairly trivial" to search through their entire databases to find an address. Having a tracking number makes a world of difference. It's unclear why the tracking number wasn't used or search came up empty or more than likely customer service didn't fully explore this for whatever reason. If this became a police matter, detectives could follow every lead to completion.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Pajamas » Fri May 11, 2018 11:36 am

Some sellers use Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment services so Amazon might have information only about the vendor who supplied the merchandise to Amazon and asked to have it shipped to a particular address but have no information about the purchaser or purchase itself.

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by TravelGeek » Fri May 11, 2018 11:42 am

inbox788 wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:29 am
Amazon does have lots of information and data, but yes, it's doable, though I wouldn't call it "fairly trivial" to search through their entire databases to find an address.
That's what databases are for -- storing and retrieving stuff :)

It's fairly trivial for Google to find anything and everything when I enter a search criteria. And Amazon has invested in search technology as well: https://www.a9.com/

Again... if they wanted to. Much easier to say "Sorry, we don't know" and move on. Higher ratings sell more stuff, I suppose.
Pajamas wrote:
Fri May 11, 2018 11:36 am
Some sellers use Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment services so Amazon might have information only about the vendor who supplied the merchandise to Amazon and asked to have it shipped to a particular address but have no information about the purchaser or purchase itself.

Without having information about the purchaser or the purchase, how can Amazon accept a "verified purchase" review for the product?

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Re: Amazon package that can't be traced

Post by Alexa9 » Fri May 11, 2018 11:50 am

If it's a gift you can return it for an Amazon credit FYI. There may also be a phone number on the receipt. If there's no gift message and no one contacts you, I would just return it.

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