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China Problem: Amazon Third Party Sellers Cannot Be Trusted to Deliver Goods

Amazon Merchants cannot be Trusted to Deliver, Says author of "Ghost Cities of China"


January 9, 2017

Amazon's warehouses and fulfillment centers deliver on time what you ordered. The problem is with third party sellers, especially in China, claims one author.

Amazon has a "China Problem" and it is leaving many disappointed US children this holiday season, claims one writer.

Amazon says they had their best Christmas sales season ever, and that sales are up 20%. However, Wade Shepard writes that Amazon has become inundated with unreliable, even fraudulent third party sellers, based mostly in China, who fail to deliver.

Shepard, the author of Ghost Cities of China, claims to have parsed through numerous complaints on Amazon, and found the following pattern:

A seller opens a new account and begins selecting popular items to "sell," which they can easily select with a few clicks using Amazon's streamlined seller's platform. They then list these items for prices that are generally cheaper than what other vendors are selling them for. When the orders come rolling in they almost immediately claim that the items have left the seller facility and are in transit to the carrier -- which releases the payment to their account. But they don't actually ever ship out anything. In all likelihood, they never really even have the items they are claiming to be selling in the first place.

In an article entitled "Amazon Scams On The Rise In 2017 As Fraudulent Sellers Run Amok And Profit Big," Shepard writes that this China Problem is a result of Amazon's push to open its platform to China based sellers. Most of them are reputable, but some of whom sell counterfeit goods or take money and disappear in a few weeks. Many of them appear to be US based, but are not.

Amazon waits for customer complaints to police the sellers, but by then, the real crooks have disappeared with customer money, Shepard writes.

He says the only solution at the moment is not to use third party sellers on Amazon, and only buy from Amazon itself. The problem is, this reduces Amazon to just another online store.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

He says that the problem has gotten so out of hand, that trusted sellers such as Birkenstock are choosing to exit the Amazon platform completely. Birkenstock USA's CEO David Kahan summed this up sufficiently on

"The Amazon marketplace, which operates as an 'open market,' creates an environment where we experience unacceptable business practices which we believe jeopardize our brand. . . Policing this activity internally and in partnership with has proven impossible." does host independent contributors, and the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Forbes itself. Shepard himself travels widely in China to research the phenomenon of China's under-occupied cities.


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