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The amazon scam that could bankrupt you

Moneymagpie Team 4th Jan 2019 4 Comments

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Atlantic have recently published an interesting piece on a new range of amazon scams that are sweeping across the internet.

Their detailed investigation revealed a whole host of questionable schemes that promise big pay-offs but often result in a devastating loss of money.

One couple even lost $40,000 of their savings because they were lured in by the promise of big profits from minimal working hours.


The Scam

If you search Google you’ll find tons of “coaching” programs that claim to make you rich through a simple method. You buy products cheaply in bulk from China, then sell them on Amazon, using Amazon’s warehouses and shipping services, essentially taking all the effort out of the equation. All you have to do is run admin tasks and, well… invest thousands of pounds into buying the products you want to sell.

Often the coaches for these types of schemes will claim that they work as little as 2 hours a day, and generate huge profits. Thousands of pounds for almost minimal work.


Where you lose your money

There is no such thing as easy money. If you remember that you’ll be far less likely to ever fall for a scam again.

This scam in particular works because it seems like you’re not losing money, but rather investing it…

Firstly, to get onto one of these coaching programs, often with enticing names such as “Amazon secrets” or some other mumbo-jumbo about making easy money on Amazon, you have to pay a fee. This fee will usually be around a couple of thousand pounds for a few months of online seminars.

Here you’ll be told of the incredibly easy way to make money that no one else has ever tried. You’ll learn how to source and ship a product from China, how to list it for an attractive markup on Amazon’s third-party marketplace, how to advertise it to consumers, and how to get them to leave good reviews. Amazon takes care of storing and shipping, for a fee, through its Fulfillment by Amazon program. Maybe you’ll even be provided with a manufacturing contact in China, and organised paid tours of Chinese merchandise markets.


Too good to be true?

Sound too good to be true? Well, it usually is. However, these coaching programs are so enticing and lure so many people in because everything they teach you is technically true. You can of course sell a product through Amazon and use them for storage and shipping. However, you don’t need to pay someone thousands of pounds to tell you that. The scam comes from the non-existent insider knowledge these coaching programs claim to provide.

After paying thousands of pounds to join the program, you’ll then be asked to invest thousands in Chinese merchandise. One couple ordered 3,000 decanters and 1,500 aerators (they were told they had to order in large quantities). The cost of these products, along with storage fees, shipping fees, costs of paying for returns and advertising meant the couple made a huge loss.

All the while the coaching program they had joined did not offer any help at all, they simply left them to deal with everything, after having been paid thousands of pounds to guide them. The couple eventually lost nearly $40,000 dollars, as they hardly sold any products, and eventually had to cut their losses and pay Amazon to destroy their wares.

What do the couple have to say about their coaching ordeal: “It’s a scam. They take your money and don’t deliver.”

Don’t let nasty scam artists bamboozle you with promises of easy riches, or that might be you next time.


What happens to these scam artists

They keep going! It’s hard to make a case against them as all they offer is coaching and, while they promise you riches, they also make sure to have a disclaimer somewhere on their website saying that their plan doesn’t always work. There’s very little you can do. Once you’ve paid them your money and start investing big money in your Amazon business, they don’t technically have to take the blame for anything if things go awry. The best thing you can do is to avoid them like the plague!

Scammers will often show their success stories, people who make thousands of pounds a month from selling on Amazon and who attended their coaching programs, however these will be the one in a million examples. It’s very unlikely to be you, and if you really want to start selling on Amazon, follow your own path and don’t jump into bulk buying through dodgy coaching programs.

There’s definitely a good buck to be made on Amazon, but there are better ways to go about it than through a dodgy get rich quick scheme. Those almost never work out!

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4 years ago

Sad, but over the years and since the dawn of the internet these people surface again and again. I was caught in the early years and now I am almost too scared to do anything – just in case.

Kathleen James
Kathleen James
5 years ago

Also do not open emails claiming to come from Amazon. Saying you have won a prize. Always double check sender email.

5 years ago

Something to avoid, though I would never pay for anything like this.

S. Wilson
S. Wilson
5 years ago

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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