No one can deny that e-commerce has completely changed the way we shop. And, Amazon has been a major driving force behind it. In the busy world that we live in, online shopping automates one more aspect of our hectic lives. Not only can you shop from the comfort of your home and on your schedule, but you can also find some great deals. While it remains one of the most popular online marketplaces, you won’t often hear people discuss the problems with shopping on Amazon. No service is perfect, but here are a few issues all Amazon shoppers need to be aware of before you fill your cart and head to the checkout.
7 Problems with Shopping on Amazon
1. Amazon doesn’t always have the best deals.
For many people, Amazon is the one-stop shop for literally all their needs. From household items and electronics to food and clothing, you can find just about anything through their online vendors. And if you have an Amazon Prime membership, it will be at your front door in only two days.
However, if you compare it to other sites, you will discover that it doesn’t always have the best deals out there. With other sites, you can track the price of a particular item and set alerts if it drops. This is one feature won’t get with Amazon.
2. You can’t inspect the products.
How many times have you bought something online only to find out that it wasn’t what you were expecting? Every time I open the box and realize it isn’t the right item, I kick myself for not buying it in person.
While I do a lot of my shopping online, there are still certain items that I need to buy in person so I can see, touch, and inspect them before I buy. Sometimes, you have to be able to check the quality, try things on, make sure it’s the right size, etc. Unfortunately, this is impossible to guarantee when you are buying online. You may find yourself returning these items or eating the cost of things you will never use.
3. You won’t always be able to spot counterfeit products.
In that same line of thought, it is also difficult to tell which products are genuine and which are counterfeit. You might be surprised how many people sell fake products that look like the real thing only to disappoint customers and run off with their money. Sadly, it seems like more fake vendors and scammers pop up every day.
If you have fallen victim, you probably received items that were poor quality, hazardous to use, or impossible to return. Although it is infuriating, it comes with the territory. While you don’t run that risk when you buy items at stores or from authorized sellers, you will sacrifice the convenience of online shopping. If you aren’t quite ready to give it up or have any doubts about a product, do your research and make sure you know what you are buying.
4. The reviews can be misleading.
In the past, I have heavily relied on customer and industry reviews to help me during the decision-making process. For many things, product reviews are a good indication of what to expect. But, there has been a significant increase in fake reviews which can be misleading.
Companies pay people to write reviews to boost consumer confidence in their products. So with this in mind, remember that you can’t rely solely on Amazon’s reviews of products. I always check outside sources, watch videos of people testing and demonstrating the product, and talk to people who have already bought the item. This is just one more reason why you can’t trust everything you read on the internet.
5. It isn’t always the most convenient option.
With 2-day deliveries and operations in more than 100 countries, Amazon is one of the most accessible e-commerce sites in the world. However, one of the most frustrating problems with Amazon is when it isn’t the most convenient option available.
Depending on the item you are buying and your local markets, you may find better prices on other websites and stores. And believe it or not, it is sometimes faster and cheaper to get your items from local retailers. In some instances when the item is shipping from another country, it could take weeks or even months to arrive. When time is a factor, Amazon may not be the most reliable or best option for your needs.
6. Returns can be a headache.
One hack my mom uses to help with sizing issues is to buy the same product in multiple sizes to try them on. Then, she sends back whichever ones she decides not to keep. This online shopping strategy has worked well for her, especially since we live in a large urban center with several Amazon drop-off locations around the city.
While effective, handling that many returns can become a hassle if you don’t have the time or desire to do it. And if you are trying to squeeze the returns into an already busy schedule, you may forget to mail them back within the return window. Many shoppers like my mom think it’s worth the effort. However, others end up paying more than they intended and find themselves stuck with duplicate items they never send back.
7. Amazon Prime is expensive.
Most memberships come at a price. But one of the most common complaints and problems with Amazon is that their premium service costs more than most at $139 a year. This is more than double the price of other discount-buying clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club.
However, Amazon Prime comes with some serious perks. In addition to free 2-day shipping for eligible items, you also get access to Prime Video, Prime Music, and other exclusive member benefits. So, many people feel that it is well worth the fee. But if you are on a budget, it is not a necessary expense. Therefore, you may have to strike this line item to help you meet your monthly financial goals.
Have you ever experienced problems with Amazon? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.