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Dumpster divers are cleaning up on Amazon – How merchants are selling you garbage

Honestly, this doesn’t surprise me.

amazon logo behind a standing jeff bezos
Image: Medium

It used to be that setting up an Amazon Seller account was simple, but in recent years the process has definitely gotten more difficult. That hasn’t stopped people from coming up with unique ways of selling things on Amazon.

As it turns out, The Wall Street Journal reports that there is a collection of folks who are reselling garbage. Not actual trash like used food wrappers. It’s more along the lines of Amazon stores being populated by products brick-and-mortar retailers throw out. Or buying products from thrift stores and passing them off as new.

Yes, folks are hopping into large dustbins, snagging anything that looks like it still works, giving it a good cleaning and then selling it on their stores. Some of them will go so far as to put shrink wrap on to make it look new. What makes this so strange is that Amazon does not have a policy against this.

James Thomson, who is one of the minds behind Fulfillment by Amazon and now works as a consultant for third-party sellers on the platform, says the company has a surprisingly laid-back attitude towards this. “We had an internal saying: Unless the product’s on fire when we receive it, we would accept anything,” says Thomson. “Ultimately consumers are the police of the platform.”

Sellers are selling actual trash on Amazon? How? And why?

amazon delivery boxes stacked on a porch

Image: Joe Rice-Jones / KnowTechie

WSJ is finding that it’s not just dumpster diving, there are other ways that these sellers are reselling these heavily used products.

  • The seller buys a box of items sold from a liquidation company
  • Items are snagged from a local thrift store and placed on the third-party store’s website
  • There is a package mix up in a warehouse where returned products are sold as “new”
  • Products are bought from a storage unit that has been foreclosed

As more and more people are repurposing these pre-owned products as new, Amazon is taking note of these stores. An unnamed Amazon spokeswoman talked with WSJ, confirming the company-wide policy update.

Sourcing items from the trash has always been inconsistent with Amazon’s high expectations of its sellers and prohibited by the Seller Code of Conduct on Amazon, which requires that sellers act fairly and honestly.

The company has plans to start enforcing stricter policies when sellers send products to Amazon warehouses. Hopefully, those who are working there don’t start selling those off.

What do you think? Surprised by the news regarding Amazon and its third-party sellers? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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