From its earliest days, Amazon cornered the market on fulfilling the material desires of the masses. Consumers not only get their ordered items within a few days in most cases, but they’ll also find just about anything they need without having to deal with traffic and long checkout lanes.
Although the online retailer provides some of the best deals on many products, they also offer products that are among the worst. So: buyer, beware.
It may be tempting to toss some of your vitamin supplements into your Amazon basket while shopping, but you’ll likely pay a lot more if you do. According to consumer watchdog groups, third-party sellers not only bump up prices but also change dates on the packaging to extend expiration.
Buying home furnishings is difficult to do when you can’t test for comfort. Color swatches can also vary significantly and be quite deceiving when viewing online. While Amazon may offer some great deals as far as price, remember that you’ll need to unpack and assemble it. It’s best to buy furniture in person, when possible, so you know exactly what you’re getting.
If your goal is to lower the amount of household plastic you use, reusable straws are a good place to start. You’ll find a 12-pack set on Amazon for less than you can buy at your local big-box discount and department stores. Plus, you’ll get a wire cleaning brush and a handy carrying case with each set.
Once you’ve experienced this handy gadget firsthand, you may wonder how you ever survived without one. These lights fit just about any type of toilet there is. Local stores don’t usually offer them in a pack of one, but you’ll find some on Amazon at a super-affordable price so you can try one out with a minimal investment.
For mushroom lovers, the idea of growing them at home seems like a dream come true, and you can find kits on Amazon to do just that. In 10 short days, you'll be harvesting your first crop and can keep growing them throughout the year. The cost on Amazon is nearly half that of buying them at local garden centers, department stores, or other online retailers.
While the prices may be comparable to what’s sold at local stores, the dog food selection on Amazon is often limited when it comes to sizes, brands, and specific dietary needs. Some box retailers offer coupons that can also save you a few bucks.
When it comes to dog food, it’s best to shop around, especially if your fur baby has diet restrictions.
A new mattress can make the difference between a sleepless night and a restful one, but Amazon may not be the best source for your purchase.
Not only is it difficult to determine comfort levels through a computer screen, but the return policy may also be unclear. Amazon may not always adhere to the same policy promised by the online mattress sellers, according to consumer watchdog groups.
On rare occasions, you may come across what appears to be an excellent deal on a collectible on the Amazon website, but according to the Federal Trade Commission, it’s hard to verify the authenticity of these products.
Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of unscrupulous third-party sellers trying to make a quick buck. If you’re truly seeking collectible-worthy items, deal with a reputable seller who can prove the authenticity with documentation.
Within the last few years, counterfeit cosmetics have become a major problem on Amazon. An investigation found that third-party sellers were not only providing fake beauty products, but also those containing toxic chemicals. To be on the safe side, purchase skincare and cosmetic products only from retailers you know and trust.
For parents who prefer name-brand diapers for their little ones, buying them through Amazon can provide substantial savings. Prime members get free shipping and if they sign up for Amazon Family, they’ll get a 20% discount on kid-friendly items, including diapers, baby food, and more. Join the Amazon diaper subscription service and save 15% more.
Purchasing packs of name-brand LED light bulbs can get pretty pricey. You can save money on multipacks and choose from a variety of color options, including soft white, bright white, daylight, and bulbs that change color in an array of sizes and shapes. You’ll pay less than what you’d find at home improvement and department stores.
Save money on this popular lip care brand when you buy multiples on Amazon instead of singles at a walk-in drug store or in the checkout lane at the grocery store. Though these multi-packs may be comparable in price when you can find them, you’ll enjoy a better selection of variety pack flavors through Amazon than you're likely to in stores.
Some makers of microwave popcorn add chemicals to improve flavor or to keep the kernels in the bags fresher for longer periods. And, most people know there is a lot of salt and fat in each bag.
Amazon offers alternatives that solve the problem — BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, collapsible microwave popcorn poppers that not only work with your favorite brand of popcorn but at a price that beats just about any you’ll find at physical stores.
Chances are, you’ll pay a lot more for cleaning products than you would at a local discount chain store. Once the rumor mill starts churning up stories across the worldwide web about product shortages, many of Amazon’s third-party sellers significantly increase their prices.
Name-brand bleach, for example, costs about one-third less in a brick-and-mortar store than what you find on Amazon’s site.
Brick-and-mortar stores are the only way to go if you’re making a fine jewelry purchase. Many of the "great buys" you come across online are low-quality pieces sold by e-retailers, not jewelers.
Some sellers cover themselves by including disclaimers in product descriptions about possible imperfections, blemishes, and cloudiness that could occur due to “naturally occurring characteristics” of gemstones, but often the truth is that they're just sub-par reproductions.
Counterfeit car parts have been a problem at Amazon for years, despite a big lawsuit with Mercedes-Benz in 2017. These days, Amazon is working toward a fix by making deals with large auto suppliers.
While the retailer has made some strides in curbing counterfeit auto parts sales, the problem still exists. If you’re not sure what you’re buying, buy car parts in-person at a dedicated store.
Buying clothes on Amazon can be hit or miss, especially when buying anything that’s labeled “designer.” Studies show that fake luxury goods make up around 70% of nearly $5 trillion spent on counterfeit items each year and 40% of those are bought online. If you have a craving for a designer label with a price break, it’s best to purchase one from a department store sale.
For some reason, coffee pods for single-serve coffee makers are especially costly on Amazon and you can not determine how long they’ve been sitting on a seller’s shelf, so freshness isn’t guaranteed.
You can find pods on sale for much less at discount chain stores. Look for coupons and discount codes online before you go shopping to save even more.
Sometimes you need a quick resupply on a specific art essential and Amazon’s turnaround can be quite handy. But when you need to stock up on art supplies, you’ll save some cash by heading to one of the chain hobby or craft stores. Not only will you find a cheaper sticker tag, but you can sign up for additional discounts and a heads-up on upcoming sales.
When you’re perusing Amazon for things you never thought you’d need, a tactical pen is one to consider. Be ready for anything with one of these, whether it’s as a self-defense weapon, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, a durable writing pen, or a glass breaker. Picture a Swiss army knife in a writing pen form. Amazon has a better selection to choose from than department stores.
For people who still enjoy skimming the pages of a real magazine but also want to avoid the potential magazine scams, Amazon offers low-cost subscriptions on some popular titles. You’ll find an array of four to six-month subscriptions on the cheap, with the option to auto-renew. They’re great sources for artists and crafters.
These affordable, super-soft microfiber sheets have been rated as one of the top bedding selections for the year. Mellani sheets sold on Amazon are machine washable, yet resist fading, wrinkling, and day-to-day wear-and-tear. They also have a lifetime satisfaction promise from the manufacturer, and if there's a problem, you don’t even have to send back the sheets.
If the air in your home dries out once you fire up the heater, Amazon sells a powerful, yet quiet solution to restore healthy moisture levels. The MistAire ultrasonic premium humidifier has a 1.5-liter water tank that allows for 25 hours of operational time, and the cost is significantly less than other retailers.
With a close-up lens, a selfie mirror, and a brightness adjustment dial, the FujiFilm Instax Mini 9 is the perfect camera for beginners and pros alike. Best of all, you can see the results instantly. You’ll find a selection of packages on Amazon that include film, a photo album, four-color lens filters, plastic frames, and more available at a lower price than competitors.
One of the best buys on Amazon, this fragrance-free, paraben-free cream is one of the top moisturizers on the market for alleviating dry skin and maintaining the natural barrier on the face, body, and hands. Amazon offers a 19-ounce jar that costs less than other stores’ 16-ounce versions.