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22 October, 2003

Caveat Emptor

That's Latin, that is. Means 'buyer beware', and would be advice for those using Amazon UK's 'Marketplace' facility.

In principle, it's a good system, whereby an item's page on the Amazon site offers the new item direct from Amazon at one price, plus an opportunity to buy it from other Amazon users instead, typically second-hand and hence cheaper. The transaction is covered by Amazon's usual terms and secure payment software, and the independent sellers are supposed to offer the same standard of service as Amazon itself; the item should be dispatched within 1-2 days. The main attraction for me is that sometimes a third party seller immediately has an item that Amazon might take 4-6 weeks to find, if ever.

However... the standard of service doesn't always match that ideal. In the last month, one of my purchases was a fortnight late when I sent a reminder e-mail, then took a further week to arrive in poor packaging. Another purchase is a week late, and counting.
The point of this post is that the Amazon pages display feedback from past customers; if I'd realised and read the feedback before buying, I'd have known that both sellers have 'poor/awful' ratings, mainly for delayed dispatching. So, if you're tempted, check the feedback first!

Why Amazon continues to associate itself with such blatantly unreliable sellers is another question....

NP: Jethro Tull, 'This Free Will' (on LAUNCHcast, not the 'Roots To Branches' album)

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