23 Products You Should Never Buy on Amazon
Steer clear of these bad Amazon deals in disguise.
Who doesn’t love Amazon? Everyone’s favorite online retailer sells basically everything you could ever need at largely affordable prices, and—best of all—it will deliver just about anything you can possibly imagine directly to your doorstep in what feels like the blink of an eye.
But just because Amazon is a life-changing online marketplace doesn’t mean that you should do absolutely all of your shopping on it. In fact, for the sake of your wallet, there are actually a number of Amazon products that you should avoid buying from the retailer. Here are 23 of them.
Smart Devices from Competitors
The only smart devices you should ever buy on Amazon are, well, Amazon’s. Otherwise, you can pretty much guarantee that the prices you’re paying are MSRP, if not more. “Amazon sells a couple of Google devices, but they usually go at list price,” Tom’s Guide deals editor Louis Ramirez explained to CNBC Make It. “If you want the Google Home Mini, or any of the Google smart home devices, your best bet is to go to Walmart.”
Big-name batteries aren’t a great buy on Amazon. Even if they’re on sale, the AA Energizers being sold on the site come out to 59¢ per battery—and comparatively, you can buy Costco’s similar Kirkland batteries at any given time for just 28¢ per battery.
And while the Amazon Basics AA batteries seem like a steal at 29¢ per battery (when you buy 48 of them), the Costco ones remain cheaper and get better reviews. When Consumer Reports compared various battery brands, they gave the Kirkland AAs an 80 out of 100 rating, whereas Amazon’s similarly priced AAs received a 71.
Despite the fact that Amazon now owns Whole Foods, a lot of the edible products sold on the site can be marked up. Take these Peanut Butter RXBars, for example. On Amazon, a 12-pack of the protein bars comes out to about $24, or $2 per bar. At Target, a 4-pack of the snack bars is about $7, or $1.75 per bar—and that isn’t even taking into account the extra savings you can score from Target’s coupons.
And if you use Prime Pantry to fill your kitchen, remember to use it wisely; either you pay $5 per month on top of your Prime membership to get free shipping or your cart must be worth at least $35 to qualify. Sometimes, it makes more sense to just go to the grocery store.
While it might be tempting to have a mattress delivered directly to your door with a single click, Amazon isn’t the best option for purchasing one. In addition to the difficulty discerning the quality of a particular mattress if you’ve never felt it in person, certain web-only brands’ generous return policies don’t seem to apply to Amazon sellers.
For instance, while Casper offers a 100-night trial on all of their mattresses—and will come collect their beds and donate used ones to homeless shelters if you choose to return them—some customers report that the company’s return policy isn’t always honored by Amazon.
Don’t be fooled by the sale prices that Amazon advertises on KitchenAid mixers. At best, Amazon’s prices are only as good as other retailers, and at worst, they can’t compare to the deep discounts that other stores offer during major sales like Black Friday.
Fact: While a KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer with a retail value of $430 is on sale for $279 on Amazon, a similar KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer with a retail value of $500 is on sale at Walmart for just $220.
The sale of counterfeit cosmetics and beauty products is actually an issue for Amazon. (So much so that the site has an explainer video available that details to customers how to spot beauty product dupes.)
Of course, not every seller on the site is a fraud, but seeing as fake products have been known to contain toxic chemicals, we’d advise anyone to play it safe and simply buy makeup at a verified retailer like Sephora or Ulta. And if you want to buy cheap beauty products that are guaranteed to be real, These Are the Best Places to Score Savings on Beauty Products.
If you’re going to invest in a piece of fine jewelry, then you should do it right—so don’t shop for diamonds and 24-karat gold on Amazon. As Kristen Dowling, a cataloguer at Philips Auction House, explained to Gizmodo, e-retailers like Amazon use marketing techniques to lure buyers into investing their money in “low low quality” pieces.
Collectibles and Antiques
If you’re shopping for certain collectibles on Amazon—such as rare coins or hard-to-find stamps—it’s often the case that the seller isn’t actually Amazon, but a third party using the platform to get their goods out there. Like on eBay, it’s surprisingly easy to become a seller on Amazon; sellers are charged either 99¢ per listing or $40 per month for a plan.
As a consumer, what this means is that even on the biggest retail site in the world, you can’t be certain that everything you’re buying is authentic. If you’re shopping for rare collectibles on Amazon, it’s likely impossible to meet up with the seller in person to see the item before making a purchase, and so you can’t verify with 100 percent certainty the authenticity of a rare coin or collectible Beanie Baby before sending over your money. And, while the Federal Trade Commission advises you to “ask if the item can be purchased and shipped to you on an ‘approval’ basis,” the marketplace makes it impossible to receive items before paying for them.
Designer Car Parts
If for some reason you feel so inclined to turn to Amazon for specific branded car parts, think again. Recently, the e-retailer was sued by the parent company of Mercedes Benz for selling counterfeit car parts, with the company nothing that “Amazon refuses to take reasonable steps to police intellectual property infringement.”
Before you buy anything designer, make sure that you do a thorough search of the internet to make sure that you’re getting the best bang for your buck. Though Amazon’s selection of name brand clothing is plentiful, there’s a chance it’s overpriced. This Diane von Furstenberg polka dot blouse, for instance, is nearly $280 on Amazon, while on DVF’s own website it’s on sale for under $240.
While Amazon is great for buying discount diapers and toys, it doesn’t have as many spectacular sales to offer on kids’ shoes. For instance, one of the best-selling shoes on the site—the Adidas Originals Kids’ Swift Running Shoe—varies in price from $38 to $130, while on Nordstrom you can score the same shoe for anywhere from $32.50 to $65.
K-Cups aren’t cheap anywhere, but they can be especially expensive on Amazon. On the site, for instance, a 12-count of The Original Donut Shop Decaf K-Cup Pods are sold for $15, or $1.25 per pod, whereas at Target you can get the same pods in a 48-count box for $24, or 50¢ per K-Cup.
Do yourself a favor and go to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby instead of Amazon for all of your arts and crafts essentials. Not only do the two specialty stores offer many coupons, but also their prices pre-coupon are often better than those offered by Amazon. Even something as simple as a pack of eight Crayola crayons is just $1 at Michael’s versus $3 on Amazon.
Anything your child needs for school can be found at the best prices at Staples. And both during and right after back-to-school season you can score great deals on school supplies at big-box retailers like Target and Walmart, too, as the Krazy Coupon Lady points out. According to Consumer Reports, brick-and-mortar retailers work to stay competitive in the back-to-school retail landscape by offering discounts—and you’ll save on shipping costs for items frequently labeled as add-on items by Amazon, like pencil sharpeners and erasers.
Amazon’s add-on items are quite deceiving. Sure, those Paper Mate pencils and tubes of Vaseline might look like a good deal, but there’s a catch: In order to buy them, you have to spend at least $25. If you already have at least $25 worth of goods in your cart, then go ahead and add a few add-ons to your cart; otherwise, just pick up some vaseline during your next trip to the drugstore.
When you need to buy a gift card, either go to Costco or buy online via Cardpool. At Costco, gift cards for movie tickets, massages, and more are always on sale, and at Cardpool you can buy people’s unused and unwanted gift cards for up to 35 percent off.
Just because Ikea products are sold on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should buy them there. Sure, buying Ikea sofas and side tables via Amazon might save on shipping costs, but anything from the Swedish retailer that you buy on the site is going to have a significant markup that could negate the benefits of free shipping, as discount website Brad’s Deals has pointed out.
Believe it or not, the No. 1 seller of Costco-brand Kirkland products online isn’t Costco—it’s Amazon. However, that isn’t to say that you should rely on the online retailer for your favorite Kirkland products. As Business Insider pointed out, most of the Costco items sold on Amazon are sold at a markup.
Designer bags are expensive enough, so the last thing you want is to pay more for a Michael Kors or Missoni than is absolutely necessary. However, that’s exactly what will happen should you choose to invest in a designer bag through the e-store. Both third-party retailers and resellers on the site are known to list their high-end handbags at inflated prices—prices that, when compared to the general market, may not be worth it.
Before you invest in a musical instrument, it’s important that you test it out and really get a feel for how it sits on your body—and if you’re a novice, then you’ll also want to speak with a sales associate about which model is right for you. However, since Amazon is an online shop, neither of these things are possible—and since a musical instrument is such a big purchase, it simply makes more sense both economically and practically to go to a real music store.
You shouldn’t run into any problems when you buy software on Amazon that’s sold by a verified retailer like Intuit. You might find yourself with a faulty product, however, should you choose to purchase opened software from a third-party seller just to save a few bucks. As software site ProDesignTools explains, it’s perfectly plausible for someone to try to pass off their Adobe software that’s been rendered useless as a brand-new product.
Weight Loss Products
In addition to promoting dubious claims—if weight loss was as easy as popping a pill, more people would likely be thin, after all—Amazon recently landed in hot water for the paid-for reviews posted for some of its third-party sellers’ supplements. On February 26th, 2019, the FTC settled their first case against the internet giant for fake reviews of Cure Encapsulation, Inc.’s garcinia cambogia supplement, a product never definitively proven to promote weight loss, but with a history of causing liver failure, as first reported by The Verge.
Edible Powder Products
You shouldn’t buy a powdered product on Amazon—or any online retailer—unless you are 100 percent certain that it’s new and sealed. Things like baby powder and protein powder can easily become spoiled once they’re opened, and, especially after the recent formula-tampering scandal at CVS, it’s always best to err on the side of caution (and inspect the packaging’s integrity firsthand) when it comes products that you or your children will be ingesting.
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