A couple of weeks ago I did a post on selling your crafty stuff online because that’s what a lot of homeschoolers do to make extra money for books and school supplies. Let me reiterate that there’s a huge misconception about homeschooling and how we pay for homeschooling.
School districts get their money per student enrolled. So when a parent decides to homeschool their child/children, the school district loses as much as $85 per child per day. That gives them a huge incentive to harass homeschooling parents and their children. Homeschooling parents do NOT receive any money from the school district. The federal government keeps that money; they don’t just turn around and give it to the homeschooling family. Homeschooling families pay all the same taxes and fees that other people do, the money that in turn is used to fund public schooling, so homeschooling families pay for public eduction for other people’s kids while in addition paying out of our pockets to homeschool our own children. In addition, we forego a job and the income that job would provide, in order to homeschool our kids. Homeschoolers are not rich in money; we are rich in experiences with our children. But you can see why homeschoolers are always cash poor. We buy books, school supplies, and all of the materials that schools provide public-schooled kids for free. Those supplies are not cheap. So back to my post.
10 Reasons NOT to Buy on Amazon
- Amazon is now selling USED items, so they have become just another eBay.
- Amazon is now charging surcharges for returning items even if they arrive damaged.
- Amazon now has millions of listings of dangerous products from China. They are not designated as “Made in China” so you don’t know until you get it. This includes books. My kids ordered a book from Amazon three months ago that was “Printed in China” and smelled so toxic we all almost passed out when she opened the box. We returned it immediately and had to fight to get a full refund. If you Google “China recalled products” or “China toxic ink” you will find numerous articles about dangerous Chinese products making their way into our marketplace and killing our children.
- Amazon packages multiple orders together, so your big items will pummel your small items. Everything always arrives damaged. And you’re usually getting someone’s returns, sometimes they’ve been returned multiple times.
- Prime shipping no longer works. If you pay for Prime shipping which is supposed to get your items to you in 2 days, you will notice that never happens anymore. Now Prime shipping, which still says “2 days” ships in five days. They’ve just announced the price for Prime shipping ($79) is going up, AGAIN.
- Poor Customer Service and Harassment. If you purchase an item through the marketplace from a third party seller, even if it is fulfilled by Amazon, that seller has your personal information and will harass you. Complaining to Amazon does nothing. Read #2 under reasons not to sell on Amazon to see how it happens.
- All of Customer Service is in India and many of the people there hate Americans.
- Fake reviews left by sellers for their own products. So many people have complained about this and it’s true. Every time a new product goes up, the seller has every employee leave positive reviews for the products they’re selling. There are a lot of positive reviews on Amazon that are fake and it’s getting harder and harder to tell the real ones from the fakes.
- Amazon is a big corporation. They put thousands of little stores out of business. My kids and I used to go to Borders to have a drink and sit and read a book. We can’t do that anymore because there are no book stores in our county anymore. Amazon did that. The only way to get those little stores back is to stop shopping at Amazon.
- Amazon controls prices for many products. Amazon is now controlling prices of many products that sell in your supermarket, like that cheap little $6 lipstick you love so much. Amazon buys up all the stock, and triples the price. Suddenly that little $6 lipstick is $18 on Amazon and their markup is dramatic. Since you can’t find it anyplace else because Amazon has bought every single one, you’re stuck. This is going to continue as long as Amazon is a monopoly. Eventually we’ll be buying our food from Amazon and that can’t possibly be a good thing. If they’re willing to sell dangerous Chinese products, they’ll sell you food poisoning too.
10 Reasons NOT to Sell on Amazon
- Amazon takes almost a third of everything you sell. That’s more than eBay and PayPal combined and doubled. That’s twice what Yahoo and Google marketplaces charge. They can do this because they have so many products indexed by Google. If Google stopped indexing their products, it would level the playing field for other businesses and we’d have a fair marketplace back.
- Hijacked listings. If you and your children make a product that is completely yours, another seller will come along and list your product for sale. What they do is take orders for the same item and then turn around and order it from you and have you ship it directly to the customer. Then they leave you negative feedback so your ratings go down while theirs go up.
- Plagiarized material. If you put together an e-book for Kindle on unit studies or how to homeschool, Amazon forces you to participate in the Look Inside feature. This feature is supposed to expose only 20% of your book, but often it allows readers to read the first third of your book. That information is swiped by people who post articles on eHow and About.com and plagiarized. You can report it to Amazon, but they don’t care. They’re in India.
- Seller Support is all in India and they really don’t like Americans. Every problem has a script they email you and that’s the only reply you will get. No solutions are ever offered or given.
- Every item requires a UPC code and if you can’t find one, you have to buy one. Prices begin at $125 per UPC and if someone hijacks your UPC and uses it for their product, Amazon will tell you to buy another. (This is a really expensive error on Amazon’s part and it’s happening a lot. Read the Seller Discussion Boards.)
- Forced returns. Amazon has a new policy of forcing every seller to accept returns, including if the buyer uses the item and then changes their mind. So you are giving your items away and paying shipping to do so. Here it is in their own words: “Sellers may be forced to accept items as returnable, or may be found liable if their listings are not in compliance with Amazon’s policies.” This means Amazon keeps your money from other sales as well as the sale in question, forces you to accept the return, and you also pay for all fees incurred by Amazon in handling the dispute. Imagine getting that email in your inbox.
- EBay scammers. When Amazon began selling USED items, they invited a ton of eBay scammers into their midst. Now every Amazon seller has to deal with these scam artists because Amazon doesn’t. There is no fraud department at Amazon like there is at eBay. None.
- Ninety days to get paid. For each item you sell, you have to wait 90 days to get paid. If you sell a large number of items, that can be very costly because you’ll have a great deal of money tied up at Amazon. All it takes is one eBay scammer to file for a return and your funds are frozen for another 90 days. Can you really wait 6 months to get paid?
- Shipping by weight is grossly underestimated. Shipping is set per Amazon’s rates and they get a bargain from their shippers. You don’t. That means every item you sell is going to get shipped practically for free.
- Every category listing requires approval. That means you have to have an external website with sales capabilities (checkout and payment processing) and items listed with weight, price, and clear photos on white background. If you meet all of these requirements, they may or may not approve you, depending on the Indian reviewing your application. If he doesn’t like Americans, you can forget it.
The world we grew up in is very different for our children. There are few local stores. If you drive through town, you can count the number of small stores that you loved as a child that are now vacant lots. That’s Amazon. It’s not the economy. If you want your children to have a better world, then stop shopping there.
Imagine this. There’s another 9-1-1 and it’s close to you. You go to get supplies but there is almost nothing at the local supermarket because everything is being sold by Amazon. Great if you live in Seattle. Not so great otherwise. An even worse situation would be if all those products from Amazon were made in China, because pretty soon they will be. Read this article, it’s very enlightening.