BlogSelling on Amazon FBA

How Chinese Sellers are Manipulating Amazon in 2024

Selling on Amazon is HUGE in China. In fact, by our own research, Chinese sellers make up over 63% of all third-party sellers on Amazon.

In this article, we'll look at how many Chinese sellers there are and the tactics being used by Chinese Amazon sellers to manipulate the platform. We'll also re-explore some of the old tricks they've been using for some time now.

Related Podcast: Episode 178 – How Chinese Sellers Are Manipulating Amazon and Outsmarting You

How Many Chinese Amazon Sellers Are There?

According to our last research (see our related article Amazon Third Party Seller Breakdown by Country) over 63% of third-party sellers are from either mainland China or Hong Kong.

Top Amazon sellers by country 

CountryNumber of SellersPercentage
United States12234.8%
Hong Kong144.0%
Great Britain20.6%
Puerto Rico10.3%
Vietnam1 0.3%

Sellers from the United States by comparison make up just 34.8% of all third-party sellers.

It's also estimated that there are 1,500,000 active sellers on Amazon. So by doing some simple math, there are likely close to a million Chinese third-party sellers on Amazon.

How Do You Identify a Chinese Seller on Amazon?

Amazon has made it very easy to determine if a seller is Chinese. In 2020, it started revealing every seller's address information. All you need to do is click a third-party seller's name, and it will bring up that Seller's address.

Why Are There So Many Chinese Sellers?

Let's start off with a love triangle: Amazon is in love with Chinese entrepreneurs, Chinese entrepreneurs are in love with Amazon, and the Chinese government is in love with Amazon. Let's examine why this love affair exists and also how many Chinese sellers there are.

Why Chinese Entrepreneurs Love Amazon

There are arguably a few other countries as comfortable with ecommerce as China. The two largest sites in China, and have, respectively, $67 billion and $40 billion in revenue (which, when combined, is over 40% more than Amazon's revenue). Chinese marketplaces such as Aliexpress, Wish and TEMU have soared in popularity with American consumers recently as well. When you combine this with China's rich manufacturing background, it's no wonder the dream of selling on Amazon is huge.

How Chinese Sellers are Manipulating Amazon
There's a robust ecosystem of courses teaching those in China how to sell on Amazon (starting for as little as 30 USD)

There is also no shortage of online marketers selling this dream. One popular Chinese e-learning website has dozens of courses covering every selling on Amazon topic imaginable at prices ranging from $5 to $100.

Related Reading: I Attended the Largest Chinese Amazon Seller Conference in the World [2019]

Why Amazon Loves Chinese Sellers

Amazon's mission is to provide customers with the lowest-priced products possible. Part of the way to achieve this is to deliver the flattest supply chain, and that means getting sellers as close to Chinese factories as possible.

The Chinese version of the Amazon Selling portal (translated into English) actively promotes how easy it is to get started selling on Amazon to hopeful Chinese sellers.

One of the ways Amazon actively recruits more sellers is by routinely holding summits in Mainland China. These conferences are now held in several cities across the country each year and attract thousands of people, both those already selling on Amazon and those looking to sell on Amazon.

Just How Much Are Your Competitors Importing from China?

It's not just Chinese sellers—your US-based competitors are selling products from China, too.

Custom import records are public information in the United States, and there are multiple tools that allow you to simply search for a company name and see exactly how much these companies are importing from China.

Research tools which lean on public US customs records can be extremely valuable for finding and verifying suppliers.

My favorite tool for this is Jungle Scout's Supplier Database tool which costs less than $50 a month (other more expensive options include Import Genius and Panjiva). These tools will neatly summarize all the information included on a particular company's Bill of Lading information such as product type, quantity, and supplier name/address.

Why the Chinese Government Loves Amazon

skyline shenzhen amazon
The city of Shenzhen, China alone may account for up to 25% of all third-party sellers on Amazon.

At the same time, the Chinese government is hungry for anything cross-border e-commerce. Why? Cross-border e-commerce means exports, something the Chinese government is desperate for, especially in the midst of plummeting exports after COVID and a wider trade war with the United States.

The majority of Chinese Amazon sellers are based in China's Silicon Valley, Shenzhen. In Shenzhen, the Chinese government has helped develop numerous industrial parks such as China South City (华南城) devoted almost entirely to e-commerce sellers. Provincial governments have also gotten on board like Zhejiang, that has developed “Cross-border E-Commerce Experimental Zones” focused on promoting cross-border ecommerce to local manufacturers and sellers (Zhejiang claimed to have over roughly 80,000 cross-border sellers).

What Black Hat Tactics Are Chinese Sellers Using to Get Ahead?

There are several malicious selling strategies being used by Chinese sellers including:

  • Fake reviews
  • Counterfeit products
  • Sabotaging competitors' product listings
  • Fake IP Claims
  • Variation abuse
  • Stealing internal Amazon data

I'll review how each of these tactics is employed below.

Using Fake Reviews to Mislead Buyers

It's no secret that Amazon customer reviews are one of the most important factors affecting a customer's purchase decision on Amazon. So it's no surprise that it's also one of the most frequently abused tactics by Chinese sellers.

Zach Franklin of AMZKungfu is originally from Detroit but now lives in Shenzhen, China, and is a popular non-Chinese Amazon consultant for Chinese sellers. He explained to me that in his experience, at least 50% of Chinese sellers are using some form of review strategy against Amazon's terms of service. As Zach described to me, “To many Chinese Amazon sellers, the question of how to succeed on Amazon has a simple answer: reviews equal sales.”

zack franklin - amazon consultant
Zack Franklin, a consultant for Chinese sellers, says that in his experience over 50% of Chinese Sellers are using some type of black-hat review strategy but also stresses that most Chinese sellers would prefer to build real defensible brands without resorting to such strategies.

A Chinese seller's review strategy can come in one of two varieties: compensating/reimbursing real customers for leaving a positive review, or the more extreme technique of making fake orders and leaving positive reviews through zombie Amazon accounts. Amazon fought feverishly to crack down on fake reviews (and the FTC has even stepped in, in certain casesbut fake reviews remain a huge issue in 2023.

amazon fake reviews request
Fake review services, normally from China, aggressively solicit Amazon sellers, even from within Amazon's Seller Central platform. This is a typical email that many sellers receive several times a week.

Fake review companies (almost always in China) open hundreds or thousands of fake Amazon accounts known as “zombie accounts.” They then emulate real customer browsing behavior so as not to arouse Amazon’s suspicions. According to one Chinese selling consultant who wished to remain anonymous, fake reviews generally start at $3 to $5 depending on how likely or not these fake reviews are to be detected by Amazon.

Review Upvoting

Part of a seller's review strategy involves obtaining as many reviews as possible. However, another part of a review strategy is also diminishing the prevalence of negative reviews.

Whether a review shows near the top position of all reviews depends, at least partially, on the number upvotes or downvotes it has. Unsurprisingly, there are services available which will help upvote a positive review in hopes of displacing negative reviews.

Amazon's Mass Fake Review Suspension of 2021

In 2021, Amazon made one its largest suspension sweeps in history and suspended reportedly up to 50,000  Sellers, mostly Chinese (SmartScout released a list of the reported Suspended Sellers).

A copy of the letter sent to Chinese sellers from Amazon explaining the cause of the mass suspensions.

The suspensions were exceptional not only in the sheer volume of sellers suspended but also the size of some sellers, with some of the largest brands on Amazon at the time also being suspended, including Aukey and Mpow.

Counterfeit Products and Listing Hijacking

The next malicious way in which Chinese sellers are getting ahead is by offering counterfeit products.

Amazon has a GIANT counterfeit product problem. In its earning report earlier in the year, Amazon admitted as much stating “We also may be unable to prevent sellers in our stores or through other stores from selling unlawful, counterfeit, pirated, or stolen goods, selling goods in an unlawful or unethical manner, violating the proprietary rights of others, or otherwise violating our policies… In addition… we could face civil or criminal liability for unlawful activities by our sellers.”

The problem largely circles back to the fact that Amazon is a marketplace like eBay that allows multiple sellers to sell the same item. Amazon does not actively audit items sent into its warehouses to determine if they are genuine products or not. Instead, it rests strictly on whether the item has the correct UPC barcode or not. A malicious seller can simply print a fake UPC bar code, apply it to their counterfeit item, and Amazon will deem it to be a genuine product.

This is an issue that we at EcomCrew, as sellers, have experienced firsthand. It's also one of the problems many members of EcomCrew Premium have experienced as well. One member, Joe Cochran, posted in our private community recently “We've battled counterfeit sellers every year since we developed our brand and have lost tens of thousands battling them.”

Project Zero Amazon
Amazon recently instituted the Project Zero program which gives sellers greater power to remove counterfeit sellers from their listings.

The issue of counterfeit products, along with fake reviews, is one of the greatest threats to Amazon and they have taken several measures to counter the prevalence of fake products. Amazon implemented the Transparency program in 2018 that gives sellers exclusive and trackable barcodes for its items. Earlier in the year, they also rolled out Project Zero which gives sellers the greater ability to remove counterfeit sellers from their listings.

While both the Transparency and Project Zero programs are positive steps in the right direction, it does not remove the problem of counterfeits entirely. The onus is still on sellers to monitor their listings and all of the Amazon marketplace to ensure no counterfeiters exist.

Fake IP Claims

Amazon, in its never-ending war against counterfeiters (see above) has enacted a stance that is very much in favor of supposed intellectual rights holders. 

There's a variety of ways this can happen but here's two examples:

  • Patent holders filing ‘questionable' IP infringement claims both within Brand Registry and in courts, forcing Amazon to remove the listings.
  • Sellers injecting copyrighted material into a competitor's listing and subsequently the copyright holder files an infringement notice against that competitor.

An EcomCrew reader wrote about the second type of tactic as follows “The competitor cut and pasted our product description into a rogue product listing (for a completely UNRELATED Product entirely). From what we can tell, the entire account for this unrelated product listing, was hacked or is not theirs. Then the competitor opened a DCMA case saying we copied their product verbiage.”

Leaked Competitor Information from Amazon Employees

Several years ago, EcomCrew broke the news that Amazon employees were stealing and selling internal reports about sellers to their competitors. Several mainstream media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, picked up the story and Amazon insisted they would crack down on such leaks, “We hold our employees to a high ethical standard and anyone in violation of our code faces discipline, including termination and potential legal and criminal penalties.”

Amazon and the Department of Justice in America aggressively perused anyone guilty of participating in this stealing of information (including the arrest and sentencing of a high-profile Amazon lawyer), but the practice continues well into 2024.

leaked amazon reports
Amazon employee-leaked reports are still prolific despite Amazon pledging to crack down on them.

Numerous resellers still offer internal ASIN reports, as seen in the screenshot above. Moreover, in 2023, it was widely reported that Telegram groups were openly and publicly still advertising account annotations for sale (internal Amazon reports that show employees' notes made about a seller).

This is how it works: mid to senior-ranking employees within Amazon China have direct access to Amazon’s internal network which allows them to access private information related to all sellers. Corrupt Amazon employees will steal a business report of any desired competitor showing information such as how many times a product was viewed over a period, how many times a product was purchased, and the total sales of those items.

stolen amazon reports
An example of a stolen ASIN report from Amazon, showing private search statistics for a particular product.

Chinese employees will also resell Amazon customer information. This information can be used in a variety of ways—everything from privately contacting a customer to ask them to remove a negative review in exchange for some type of payoff, all the way up to running advertising campaigns directed towards those customers.

Prices for these reports range widely (invariably, the reports are cheaper from Chinese-only websites).  A stolen report can start at $20 per piece while individual customer records can go for $3. As one Chinese reseller of this information described to me (he wished to remain anonymous), the price will depend on the riskiness of that employee accessing that information, i.e., the chances of them getting fired.

Listing Sabotage

Competitor listing sabotage is a frequent strategy used by malicious sellers.

In July 2023, it was widely reported that at least one Telegram group was openly advertising competitor sabotage. Among other things, the service providers are advertising a promise to remove a seller's product listing page for some period of time (the length of time is not guaranteed though).

In this screenshot obtained via Telegram, one service provider is openly advertising competitor sabotage on Amazon.

Generally, how this service works is that malicious keywords are injected into a competitor's listing unbeknownst to them to trigger certain Amazon algorithm bots to remove a product. The most common malicious keywords are of a sexual nature (Amazon has strict guidelines around adult products), hazardous nature (e.g., pesticides) or a health risk (e.g., injecting certain COVID keywords like Ivermectin).

How does one edit a competitor's listing though? Amazon allows many sellers to use the same listing. It works under a “community contribution” principle (not dissimilar to Wikipedia) where any seller can potentially edit a listing. The premise is that the community will decide the best pictures to describe a product, the description, etc. Community contributions work most of the time, but sometimes, malicious actors get out of hand, like when The North Face altered dozens of Wikipedia pages to plug its gear. The same thing happens with Amazon.

other sellers on an Amazon listing
A product on Amazon can have many sellers and each seller can (potentially) have the power to edit that listing.

Amazon has a complicated hierarchy for determining what suggested changes are implemented and which are not. Malicious sellers have figured out that Vendor Central clients, i.e. vendors who sell products to Amazon as opposed to on Amazon, have the highest priority. Subsequently, phony Vendor Central accounts are a hot commodity in the world of black market Amazon services selling. Additionally, internal Amazon employees can be bribed into making the changes themselves which almost always supersede any user-contributions.

Keyword injection isn't the only form of listing sabotage though. For instance, during Christmas 2018, a malicious competitor altered nearly every listing of yoga balls on the first page of Amazon's search results to show a picture of a PlayStation 4 instead of yoga balls. The consequence? Confused customers either chose not to buy the yoga balls at all or, worse, they bought what they thought were PlayStation 4s and received yoga balls instead.

Variation Abuse

On Amazon, a product may have several variations. For example, a shirt may come in several different colors or an Instant Pot may come in different sizes.

variations on amazon
A product on Amazon may have several different variations and often those variations are not closely related to the original listing.

Again, based on the community contribution model, any seller may potentially add a variation to an existing product. This works fine when a seller adds a variation as a customer would expect, such as a different size or color. Where clever sellers are gaming the system is to add a completely different product to ‘absorb the review juice' from the existing listing.

For example, if I decided to start selling kitchen spatulas I could potentially add my spatula as a different variation to the Instant Pot listing above and it would appear as though my brand new kitchen spatula had 37,970 reviews as, in most cases, Amazon pools reviews across all variations.

Often though, adding a completely different product as a variation to a popular product gets noticed by Amazon and customers pretty quickly. So clever sellers are going so far as to search for discontinued products in Amazon's catalog with lots of reviews and add their items as variations to these listings so as not to raise any suspicion.

Secret “Stealth” Amazon Selling Accounts

Amazon is quick to suspend sellers when it detects behavior that goes against its terms of service. Not only do those sellers lose their ability to sell on Amazon, but they also lose the ability to sell potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars or even millions of dollars in inventory. Given these risks, many Chinese sellers secretly open several Amazon Seller Central accounts, called “Stealth Accounts” despite this being strictly against Amazon’s terms of service.

Having multiple seller accounts is not forbidden on Amazon but Amazon is very good at linking these accounts and if one account gets suspended typically all the accounts owned by that seller will be suspended as well. Because of this, sellers go to great lengths to hide the identity of these accounts – many Chinese sellers require their staff to open accounts under their names but under the control of their company. These accounts are often even used with separate internet service providers to avoid Amazon detecting any IP sharing.

An associate of mine who previously worked for a large Chinese Amazon seller in the pet industry described it to me this way, “In our company, we literally needed a diagram detailing all of our selling accounts so our staff could keep track of these accounts”.

Duty/Tariff Avoidance, Invoice Manipulation and HS Code Misclassification

There's one final way that Chinese sellers are getting an edge on domestic sellers and that's via avoiding paying the appropriate duties when importing into America.

Since the start of the trade war in 2016, most products from China have duties well above 25% but many Chinese sellers avoid paying these duties altogether via deliberate invoice fraud and HS Code misclassification. The result is their costs are lower and they're able to get an unfair advantage over sellers honestly importing their products.

The amount of duties that one must pay is directly related to the cost of those products declared to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). To get around this, many sellers will deliberately under-declare the true cost of their products to CBP by falsifying invoices. The result can be major savings on duties. Unfortunately, CBP has very few tools at its disposal to verify these invoices of foreign sellers and Amazon has little incentive to verify this information either, even when a seller uses Amazon's own custom broker.

The other way Chinese sellers can avoid paying duties is to deliberately misclassify what type of products they are importing. Certain classes of products (referred to as HS Codes when importing) are exempt from duties and by using one of these HS Codes an importer can potentially avoid paying all duties altogether. I've personally worked closely with many Chinese suppliers who also sell on Amazon over the years and nearly everyone has admitted to me to they under-declare and/or deliberately misclassify their goods to avoid paying their full share of duties.

Account Annotations

When Amazon suspends an account or products, it makes internal notes regarding that seller's account. For better or worse, this information is not available to sellers.

amazon annotation report
An annotation report allows you to see internal notes from Amazon regarding policy violations.

For a price, sellers can obtain a copy of these internal annotation reports from Amazon employees who steal these reports. Often these reports can give insight into the blackhat strategies a seller is using that Amazon is aware of and those it is not aware of. This knowledge can help to recover a suspended account and also avoid a suspension down the road.

Incidentally, stealing of these internal reports resulted in at least one high-profile case of Amazon employees, consultants, and lawyers being arrested.

What Can Amazon Do?

Amazon is largely a victim of its own success. It has provided a platform for tens of thousands of entrepreneurs to make a lot of money off of. And with that surge of cash and opportunity comes the inevitable wave of ill-willed actors.

There are several actionable things that, in my opinion, Amazon could do to help eradicate many of the problems addressed in this article:

  • Allow more frequent brand-gating for Brand Registered sellers who experience high rates of counterfeit sellers
  • Give sellers more insight into search history and product performance to eliminate the black market for stolen reports. Amazon has instituted initiatives like Product Opportunity Explorer but this data is still limited.
  • Do not allow listing contributions from anyone but the Brand Registered owners of products
  • Continue to aggressively seek legal action (both through private lawsuits and working with local law enforcement) against sellers participating in illegal behavior.
  • Better promote Amazon policies and laws to sellers in China through their already robust seller training programs/conferences

These are some steps that can be implemented relatively easily which would not only give non-Chinese sellers a more level playing field but also improve the customer experience.


It's important at this juncture to point out that gaming Amazon is not a tactic exclusive to Chinese sellers. Anyone who has sold on Amazon long enough knows that sellers employing questionable selling tactics bear all types of passports.

I've personally met many of them from nearly every continent in the world. As Zach Franklin emphasized, “Most [Chinese] sellers I know just want to build a real, defensible brand. They're hiring better designers and copywriters, building a real presence off of Amazon, and trying out influencer marketing, Adwords, and Facebook. They want to do things in the right way and they're working from 9 am – 9 pm, six days a week to do it”.

Amazon seemingly allows nearly any selling strategy to slide until a wave of negative press arrives that threatens its revenues. As one Chinese service provider described to me, “Amazon turns a blind eye to the leaking of competitor data from employees. It doesn't hurt them.” Amazon bills itself as the “Earth's Most Customer-Centric company” which often comes at the expense of sellers. However, seller interests and customers are also frequently aligned. Unscrupulous sellers employing fake reviews and selling counterfeit products help neither customers nor well-behaved sellers.

If you're a seller, have you been a victim of any of the strategies discussed here? If you're an Amazon customer, have you ever experienced fake reviews or counterfeit products? Share your experience in the comments section.

Dave Bryant

Dave Bryant has been importing from China for over 10 years and has started numerous product brands. He sold his multi-million dollar ecommerce business in 2016 and create another 7-figure business within 18 months. He's also a former Amazon warehouse employee of one week.

Related Articles


    1. Yep – that’s part of the problem. It’s incredibly hard for American sellers to have multiple accounts and incredibly easy for Chinese.

      1. I am an American and it is not hard at all to do what they do, It’s incredibly easy, people are stupid and that will always make money lots of money. If any of you were suspended and need an account to buy to start selling again hit me up. I can make you high limit accounts on any selling platform.

      2. wait. I think you are missing a KEY factor in this research. Each one of those counter US “stores”.. How many of them actually self products that aren’t the same as the chinese stores? That’s where they statistics will greatly show how messed up amazon is. Because I will place a large wager, that each of those “usa based stores” are actually just chinese fronts, posing as USA based. js.

        1. Almost impossible to decipher the true number, but you’re right – there’s definitely a lot of Chinese companies with US based companies.

        2. True. They usually say “Made in Los Angeles” or “Made in Seattle” giving a city name of what is simply a distribution center. Also require 20-30 days for delivery.

      3. IT IS NOT JUST AMAZON!!!! Walmart is doing the same crap!!
        Walmart keeps blocking my reviews from crappy china companies! I always check
        “Walmart retailer only,” but still get deceived. I bought a wrist support that appeared to have legit reviews. This brace is garbage!! Like absolutely fake product!!! unusable! When I tried to review ( I did get the product show up for me to review) but it claimed I “failed to meet the verification” It was a clear fake China product!! I am angry that walmart and amazon continue to use these companies and protect them! I want to play a role in getting these companies out of business! Incentivized reviews, promotional is worse than Amazon! I have never been barred from reviewing products on Amazon, but am at walmart. They came up with new rules a few months ago, making it harder to post!! Please include them in your evil business reports!

    2. Those are nice recommendations, Dave, but they don’t get to the heart of the issue: Amazon is tightly enmeshed in China. And China is run by a criminal organization whose aim is to take down America. The Communist Party is a mafia organization run by the most ruthless murderer who fought his way to the top. It has life-or-death power over all citizens in China and is engaged in a whole-of-society plan to defeat America. I used to think we could just force Amazon to allow us to search and filter by country of origin, but now I know better (partly thanks to your article above.) There is no way that Amazon or any other corporation should be allowed to expose themselves and their customers to this danger – let alone their country. They were lured in, but now they know. It will be costly to extricate themselves, but more costly to America and them if they stay. We have to get supply chains 100% out of China, as soon as possible.

  1. Great Article David. Hopefully this is the start of some viral negative press on this subject and Amazon will end up doing something about it.

  2. Go and look at Bark Collars Over 40 sellers using fake reviews on more than 100 listings they are reported to Amazon EVERYDAY, and have been for over 6 months. AMAZONS RESPONSE… NOTHING…
    It is FRAUD on s Massive Scale… And Amazon are Knowingly Aiding and Abeiting in it…

    1. That’s crazy – some categories are definitely hit harder than others with the fake reviews problem.

      1. Hi Dave, I’m also interested in buying a report. Can you send me the info? Thanks

        1. Hi Andres – if you’re a Premium member you can email us to the members email.

      2. Wow, extremely thorough article–answered every question I had and gave me a lot more great information besides. Thanks!

  3. Great article Dave. A real eye opener. Makes it very hard for honest sellers to compete I think.

    1. Thanks Troy – hopefully Amazon levels the playing field and does something about this type of stuff.

  4. I was glad to come across this post, but this is just the tip of the iceberg; the Chinese have destroyed Amazon, just like they did to eBay. I was a Top 1000 Amazon reviewer (I’ve dropped to 1,200 since giving up on Amazon), and for 2 years I’ve been bombarded daily with requests from the Chinese to “honest review” their crap.

    You’ve missed some important points, though. Not only are they guilty of everything you’ve mentioned, but they also violate every term of service Amazon has that was supposed to make Amazon the most customer-friendly platform. The Chinese solicit fake reviews, make some sales, then when the real/negative reviews pile up and sales slow, they just duplicate the listing and start over. They have countless listings of the same crap with countless accounts.

    And in October 2016, to combat the incentivized reviews, Amazon came up with the verified purchase tag. So whereas before, at least people could identify the BS reviews by the disclaimer, now every fake review has the verified purchase label because they have their fake reviewers buy the item legitimately, then reimburse them through paypal.

    And perhaps worst of all is that ALL of these products that come straight from China (ie with no American brand as the middleman) are garbage. I’ve received 100s of them – all pure garbage. I assume they’re able to make a profit because not enough people are returning their crap. I do, but I make so many returns that now I have to be worried my account will be closed because of it. I take video of every piece of crap I return as evidence that it’s garbage, but if my account is auto-banned, you think Amazon is going to take the time to hear me out? Of course not. They don’t care.

    Another point – the Chinese sellers with their countless accounts promise 12, 18, 24 month guaranteed warranties, but when the item sells out, they abandon it. They’re not going to ship more of it to an Amazon warehouse to be sold under a listing that’s been poisoned by honest, negative reviews, they’ll start over under another “brand.” So good luck getting a replacement or refund 8 months after your purchase.

    This disgusts me to no end because Amazon was my go to, and now I can’t buy anything from it. It takes too long to sift through the 45 listings of the same product to figure out which one’s legit (if any). I hadn’t been to a retail store in like 5 years, but the “world’s most customer-centric” ecommerce giant has become such a scam that they’ve driven me to brick and mortar stores. is just as compromised. Monoprice was safe, but now they’re putting their name on Chinese crap.

    Contact me if you’d like any info or evidence of anything I’ve mentioned.

    1. Hi Nick,

      Thanks for the detailed comment. Unfortunately I echo a lot of the sentiment you mentioned here that Amazon is slowly losing control of the platform. This isn’t strictly a Chinese problem – as long as such heavy values are placed on reviews there are going to be people from EVERYWHERE looking to manipulate this weakness.

      1. Totally agree with the heavy values are placed on reviews there are going to be people from EVERYWHERE looking to manipulate this weakness.

    2. My thoughts extractly, I have given up on buying crap from Chinese sellers on Amazon and Walmart, as I write I’m going to my neighborhood MALL SHOP to buy shoes and drapes. Amazon will loose customers one at time just like the gambling Casinos eventually no one will be buying crap from Amazon you’ll see.

    3. Thank you. I appreciate the article, and Nick’s comment, because I feel exactly the same. I’ve given up on Amazon for anything other than e-books. I can’t stand wading through this swamp of ill-designed and poorly made garbage that just appears over and over and over again under different sellers’ names. It’s just the Wild West now, and there’s a snake-oil salesman on every corner in town. Amazon has lost two more customers (my wife and I) until it pulls its act back together again. I’ve bought too many pieces of useless junk, even after carefully reading reviews and descriptions and hunting through the fifty different variations of the same product.

      And there is a lot of emphasis, as the author has said, placed on reviews. But the problem is that buyers are aware that they can’t trust the product description or even the photos. (Honestly, the photos! Just a short time ago I was laughing at a listing for a “garden lantern” that looked about four inches tall in one photo, where it had been photoshopped hanging from a tiny tree branch; and then looked four feet high, where it had been photoshopped onto a street next to a public rubbish bin. The actual product is just under a foot tall according to the details.) For a while, it seemed as though reviews were a better way to understand what you were really getting. Unfortunately, with all of the false reviews, it’s just a mug’s game now. You have to shop with a constant air of suspicion and inspect every single detail of a product. And even then there’s no guarantee that you’ll get what you hoped you would. Who has time for that?

      And no, it isn’t ONLY China manipulating it, but Chinese manufacturing has a lot to do with it. Most of the goods we buy these days — many of which are perfectly legitimate! — are being manufactured in China. The manufacturing output there is enormous, and low-cost. But once you remove the need for a commercial buyer to inspect the product and decide if it is worthy of being sold by their retailer (never mind a designer who actually cares about the quality of their design!) you lose the gatekeepers. These sellers don’t care if it’s garbage or not. As long as it sells. As has been pointed out, there are few consequences for breaking the TOS, and what consequences there are are merely looked on as obstacles to overcome. And there are no legal consequences whatsoever for many foreign sellers. So yes, the seller could be from anywhere, but the flood of poorly made plastic rubbish that fuels this opportunism is mainly coming from China.

      There are plenty of great things being manufactured in China, and other low-cost sectors like Vietnam and Malaysia. The computer I’m typing on right now for example. The chair I’m sitting in. And I can appreciate the fact that the only reason most of us can afford to buy things like Apple products is due to inexpensive Chinese labour. But there needs to be oversight for quality (not to mention fair practice in sales). Amazon has become the seedy Dollar Store of online retailers, and I’m done with it.

  5. Hi Guys. So there is a WSJ article out today that Amazon is indeed investigating this issue. I’ll include a link here to another source as well as the WSJ article is behind a pay wall:

    Not sure if this will totally resolve the issue or not (likely not) but it should at least curb it and make it more difficult/expensive for these sellers to acquire that information.

    1. Thanks Jon – I spoke to Jon Enmont from the WSJ at length before he published. Somehow I suspect Amazon is mostly turning lipservice to the issue right now.

  6. Excellent article Dave. It seems to me for now the best we can do is also access those reports. How do I get a lead to the vendors of those reports?

  7. Hi, I want to ask if I don’t live in US, and don’t selling on amazon. Do I still get value by joining Ecomcrew premium? Thankyou :)

    1. Hi Garry – yes of course. About half of our members are not from America (including me :))

    1. There’s lots of good Chinese products, and lots of crappy ones. Same as other countries. Their sample size is just bigger :)

      1. No there are no good quality Chinese goods, they just are unable to do anything of quality, no matter how much they copy, they just are not able to do so.

          1. Apple contracts the labor to the Chinese. They follow specs. That doesn’t make the Iphone Chinese. They aren’t the engineers and they aren’t Apple. The reputation of Chinese dollar store quality has degraded so much, they now resort to using Japanese names to falsely pass their stuff off as Japanese. Just like all the sushi places are run by Chinese who pass themselves off as Japanese sushi chefs.

        1. 1.4 billion people and not a single person could possibly, ever create a good product? That’s a pretty big assumption, don’t ya think?

  8. As a Senior Amazon Account Manager in one the biggest cross border e-commerce companies in China, I couldn’t agree more with your posts.

    There is, in fact, a lot of grey areas that Chinese Amazon Sellers take advantage of to develop their sales, and part of it is related in your posts. Chinese e-commerce companies approaches E-commerce from a Mechanic standpoint, in which “the game” is conceived trough numbers and processes rather than brand and value.

    But e-commerce, as most technology businesses, is a winner takes all game. I believe that sellers who stick to providing value to their customers in an ethical way will eventually breakthrough and establish their brand as references in this new digital era. On the other hand, Chinese companies are exhausting their model. They already suffer from serious limitations in developing brand-oriented companies.

    1. Thank you Hamza for the great insight from someone who obviously has a lot of experience!

  9. I think maybe there is a new scam. I bought an umbrella that was supposed to be great. Fell apart after a few month. So, went back & left a negative review. Was contacted by the company and asked how they could make it up to me. They could issue a full refund or send me a new umbrella. I opted for the new umbrella. They asked if I wouldn’t mind amending or deleting my review once I got the new one, which I said was fine. I’m thinking this is good customer service, offering to send a new one. But, that was only last week and I am out of town for Thanksgiving so haven’t received it yet as I’m not home. Received an email from the same “customer service rep” saying that she noticed I haven’t changed the review. She is telling me her boss is going to fire her and her husband died, she has two kids. I asked for her boss’s email because I’d like to have a word with him as it isn’t her fault that he is selling a damaged item. She said he is away on business. I said , well, then I will contact Amazon because I’m sure they don’t want to be represented by a business whose owner threatens an employee for something that they didn’t do. She now just got back to me and ask me not to because her boss really is a good person. What do I do?? Be a sucker or be a hard ass and then the story ends up being true and I get a woman w/2 kids fired??

    1. I suspect she’s not in any jeopardy of being fired so you don’t need to be too kind :-)

    2. They’re all liars, JB. I’ve heard the “going to be fired” line a million times. Couple days ago I got an email wanting “honest” reviews (ie 5 stars) to help her small business as she’s a single mother with 6 kids. Mmhmm. They’ll do and say anything to make a sale. Once one of them figured out a QC sticker makes us think there’s quality control, they all started sticking them on there. Keywords like “guaranteed”; like that other guy said, it’s all a numbers game. They make two new brands every time one gets shut down. Or more likely, gets flooded with negative reviews so they start over with a new “brand” name (on Amazon).

        1. The majority of these people are BIG LIARS. They use disgusting tactics such as: “I will lose my job, I have kids, I am a single mother with 8 kids and others ” so you feel sorry for them, and do not take any actions against them, so in the end, they get what they want. These people are users. And these tactics should not be considered by any means as clever, they are UNETHICAL, REPUGNANT and very SAD. They are also killing the others seller on Amazon and other platforms by placing their prices way lower than their competitors. I don’t even know how they make a profit. I guess that they are only looking to make a couple of dollars. The truth is that They are destroying the hard work that other sellers are putting on their products and listing. Amazon has to do something about it.

  10. Thank you for posting the article.
    I just saw this article , but I think I need to tell you that China South City (华南城), 华南城 is not a company, that is the location of those big cross border ecommerce business located, yes, in SHENZHEN, that is where I live and also doing business, kind of thrilled to know that people have eventually noticed that, can I have your email , please?

  11. If the item I want is going to take 4 to 6 weeks to arrive, I don’t buy it. Nothing and I mean nothing can be shipped from China and delivered to Anywhere, USA within 2-3 days unless you are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for special shipping. I say all this because I see some Chinese sellers attempting to conceal they are Chinese and based in China. This is probably due to some buyers will not buy Chinese products no matter what, so they disguise their store name(s) and in some cases give little to no information in order to make sales to these buyers. However, when it takes an entire month to arrive, there is a 99.99% chance your item is coming from China.

    1. Yes, agreed, there is no cost-effective way to ship quickly from China.

    2. Hi, You have a very good point about a common problem from China Sellers. It would be great, If under the title of a listing or somewhere on the top of the page, It had the sellers origin. It literally states the seller is from China, America or where ever. I personally would buy from an American seller over a china seller, period!

      1. They could make it easier to view a seller’s profile. Don’t think I’d do it on a listing page though.

      2. must of customers do not care if the seller is chinese or us tax payer. Only probably than 3% of people check who is the seller or where was made the product. it is frustrating but human being nature.

  12. I think it was Kevin King that mentioned, no listing above 10000 BSR is at risk of being hijacked or screwed with, but I wonder whether that’s going to change.
    I also wonder whether the enforcement of product liability insurances for all pro accounts would effectively sort the men out from the boys as the saying goes. The only issue here, is it’s a dragnet that would catch thousands of sellers completely by surprise & revenue ( commissions) would plummet. ha!

    1. Yes, that’s the problem with product liability insurance. It would effectively reduce the competition on Amazon by a huge amount. I don’t think there is a hard number for level of BSR not being affected by ill actors, but I agree the most popular products Amazon is more active with on preventing these things.

  13. Let’s face it, Amazon, like you say, don’t give a f*** as long as the money still goes ker-chink in the Bezos Piggy Bank. I am sick and tired of seeing crap or fake Chinese products at the top of every electrical product I search for. I have now decided not to buy any third party product from Amazon as I feel neither they nor the seller can be trusted. most Chinese Tat can be detected at the ebginning. They always use the same typeset in product description, their reviews are all 5 stars but written in poor English and they all mentioned ease of use, good quality, simple instructions etc. Often when you filter out the unverified reviews, 99% of the 5 star reviews disappear. I sued to point this out to amazon but never received a response and when I mentioned the problem in reviews on products they refused to post them.

  14. I have had my best selling items on Amazon hijacked by Chinese sellers and I reported it several months ago and nothing has happened. I’ve got 5 star review items changed to something completely different with negative reviews now rolling in. For some reason Amazon can not comprehend what’s going on. I no longer shop on Amazon.

  15. Do you have any contacts of Amazon insiders who will delete bad reviews for payment?

    1. Nope, but there’s services out there who offer it. Last time I seen prices, the prices were close to $1000 each though.

  16. Though it was only a small order, it highlights the way Chinese sellers circumvent rules and how Amazon does little or nothing to change them.
    I’m a UK buyer and I purchased an HDMI extender. The delivery date was for three days. On the third day, it didn’t arrive so I went into Amazon to find out why and to cancel my order as I needed it.
    As soon as I did this, a minute or two later the seller wrote to say it has just been dispatched (very convenient- for them).
    I complained.
    Amazon did nothing.
    I have ot wait until it arrives in a month for a refund- and they may not acknowledge it has been returned so I won’t get my money.

  17. Just reading through this, I’ve realized I’m like a freaking heroin addict with the “just one more” (order) from amazon for my business. Their employees are treated like crap. The entire marketplace is overrun with foreign sellers that violate IP, copyright, and wallets of sheep that think they’re buying from “amazon” for a 3 year warranty on some POS with fabricated RoHS, FFC, UL and of course QC labels.

    In addition to the QC, don’t forget the “FDA Approved”, “As Seen on Shark Tank”, “3rd Party Lab validated” and any other lies that 95% of the “Americans” swallow–backed with a $150 a year products liability policy that wouldn’t cover bumper stickers and t-shirts.

    The latest is to find successful businesses that want nothing to do with big river and replicate their products, IP, trademarks, etc. and then let the Jeffy B machine take over adwords– jacking up CPC’s on trademarked keywords 1000% (not only bidding on them…but using them like their the company in their amazon ads) with 10/10 relevancy hijacked campaigns–lure in to “out of stock” branded products that don’t even exist on Amazon,…only to Recommend the Amazon alternative. Reviews go in the tank and then spin up the next brand that even sounds sketchy af.

    The only ones winning are the foreigners and big river. shop touts being an anti river alternative, but their platform is getting overtaken by the same idiots, playing the same b.s. games, plus the unethical group of app developers that just want access to customer and sales data that they can sell to the idiots.

    The whole things going to eventually blow up, just a matter of time. If people only knew the amount of stuff being sold by foreign sellers that are avoiding taxes, paying $.50 cents to ship something from Shenzhen China to New York (lmao), while “guaranteeing” 3 day shipping. The .50 cent e packet fisting will eventually end, but really….making a huge “to-do” about signing out of the international postal unions foreign gravy train and then quietly announcing it will go into effect 15 months from now? lmao. Meanwhile cuppertino not feeling the tariffs and half of walton dot com is shenzhen sellers. You can’t even find products available in store, without spending 15 minutes filtering out the pseudo- craigslist garage-sale.
    And on a final note… who doesn’t love the big river holiday “feel good” commercials. lmao. Brings a twinkle to my eye knowing that some poor soul will have back spasms for the rest of their life from fulfilling 1m orders in 24 hours, While the box on the tv is smiling and grandma is opening up the knockoffs. Just look out your window and if timing is right, you’ll see the dodge sprinter going by with a massive vape cloud billowing out the window like cheech and chong, except going 60mph in a 15.

    1. Hi Don,
      Laughing so hard reading your comment because everything you’ve said is so true mixed with your humor has made my day. And then there is the other side of the coin that this whole think sickens me to see how so many American businesses and consumers are suffering in multiple ways as a result.

      I do believe that people will eventually get to the point I have of avoiding Amazon and Walmart online purchases as much as possible. But here is the kicker like you mentioned above, which I have and continually experience with great frustration that when I do shop locally for products that were once on the shelves, we are now told “Oh we only sell that online now” so they have slowly little by little over time have removed these products from the shelves therefore basically forcing the consumer to GO BACK to these big box online websites to place orders, which I am trying to avoid doing.

      And to make this worse when I then go to other local stores I’m told the same thing, Target, Walmart etc…so this is where we are at and what we’re left with. Like I told a coworker recently regarding this topic we are slowly being molded the consumers into the unfortunate characters in the movie Wall-e. Over weight, gliding, staring at their screens and sipping their drinks not really interacting with each other. Love the Cheech & Chong comment…


      1. Very unfortunate to hear. I am here right now because I am shopping for a product and I’m trying to find a product listing that has an item with good quality and honest reviews. Not happening on amazon. I am beginning to Google my search now, and will eventually find one, but I miss the days of when Amazon was the go to place for great reviews and great products. Now the only products listed are Chinese, and while I have no issues with China in general, and while they definitely are capable of making great products, I also like being able to choose from a variety of sellers with real reviews.

    2. Well said, thank you for adding many great points to this already great article.

      Well nothing to do with you at all, but I think I just accidentally spammed this comment section with so many replies. Was not my intention. Sorry about that Dave!

  18. Chinese sellers have figured out a way not to pay the 25% tariffs on most products. And now all the money is going from the US economy to China by letting Chinese sellers sell directly in the US market.

  19. Really great article. Our company (review fraud software) was just hired as an expert witness to appear in court – to show evidence of review fraud by the chinese firm on Amazon. It’s a huge issue and only getting worse.

  20. Chinese absolutely crap products and that is all it is, does not last 5 minutes before it breaks, so therefor it´s no longer cheap.
    We as a nation should start producing our own again.
    I always remember when items had the made in Gr Britain on.
    To prove the point, I have power tools that were made in the 70s and are still going now and have been used on a daily basis.

    1. In the above vein, I have an adjustable floor fan w/metal blades (Not the kind on the wobbly pole) that I bought from Sears in the 70’s. It is still going strong. Always did blow stronger than other cheap crap fans which have come and gone since then (I’m guessing they were made in China, but no longer have the items for proof.)

  21. Thank you for publishing this well-written, informative, and thoroughly organized article. From a layperson’s perspective on the outside, nothing has changed in 2020. It continues to get worse, and it’s challenging trying to buy any product lately. The saying says all good things come to an end. I think amazon is pretty much ruined! This has been going on for years, so they aren’t going to do anything significant about it. Disappointing, but life goes on. Shopping is a little more complicated now.

  22. Very good article. Why can’t Amazon (and Ebay) require that Country Of Origin be part of all listings? It’s legally required on packaging. I’ve already returned things when it arrives “Made In China”. Somebody may WANT to only buy from china. I can’t imagine who that would be. I won’t by china now but Amazon (and Ebay) make it impossible to learn the sources. That’s why I return them as they arrive.
    2. Why do we, as a country, continue to subsidize China Post? They can only ship cheap junk if we pay THEM to ship it here.
    In re reviews, I’ve found Amazon products for which all the 5 star reviews were for a completely different product. Obviously china has found a way to forge reviews.
    Finally has a petition started to require Country of Origin in listings titled:
    “Amazon: Allow Users to Filter by Made in USA, and Require Country of Origin”

    1. Depending what you’re buying really. And who made it 1st. Porcelain is a Chinese product and has been counterfeited by Western Europe in the past. Counterfeiting products go both ways. Its just that when China finally got into the game, everyone else cried foul. Counterfeit Chinese furniture. Western made but made to look like it came from China. Of course this was ages ago before the advent of technology and the internet. Ahem make that centuries ago during Yuen dynasty.

      When buying china, I buy made in China because I can get quality at cost since the reality is that it is mostly all made in China and heavily marked up.
      As for paper, I choose either made in Canada or China. India sucks at it.

  23. I reported to Amazon a listing that was changing the product on the same ASIN (listing ID) so that it had over 2000 reviews raving about how good it tasted (it is plastic) or how good the condoms were etc etc. I think there around 10 products being reviewed.

    I have so far reported it 8 times and each time Amazon takes he reviews down only for them to appear a day later.

    What a joke.

  24. Amazon has allowed Chinese sellers to take over my product listings completely and Amazon won’t help. I am at a total loss. Built my art business over 3 years on Amazon, have over 400 positive reviews and took great care of my customers providing them great product made in America. All of a sudden our listing as a seller was replaced by a Chinese seller. Our name as a seller has been deleted. We tried reporting it to Amazon and nothing is working. Amazon literally does not care! Currently, I have been REMOVED as a seller on my listings and these fraud sellers have taken 100% control in selling the merchandise with shipping times of 4-8 weeks. They even removed my signature from the images of the artwork. Amazon is telling us we need to pay them $3000 to have their attorneys approve trademark of my product which I own, created and produce in the USA. $3,000 to these Amazon corporate corrupt attorneys who are likely going to take the money and run. I’m at a loss. No idea what to do.

    1. Sounds like this a combination of listing hijackings and potentially some other confusion (Amazon wouldn’t request $3000 from you).

  25. Great article! Thanks!
    Amazon seems completely complicit with helping scammers. Their search engine now will over-ride a category search to search ‘ALL’ and return nothing but crap! I discovered this just today as I was searching a specific book title and made sure to search within the ‘books’ category. Surprise! Search results included tea bags and other random crap from China, and a few books that weren’t even close in title. I got someone on live chat to ask if there was a better way to search. They wanted to ‘escalate’ the request to a specialist team!

  26. Hello Dave

    When I see your article, I think I should participate in comments.

    I have a question, I think there are good people and bad people around the world, do you agree with this view?

    Suppose there is a team of 10 people, there are 1 people who crimes, and everyone thinks that the 10 people in this team are all guilty. Is this not a prejudice?

    I am also a Chinese seller, but I must explain that, like most Chinese sellers, we attach great importance to business reputation, we hate those bad sellers more than anyone.

    However, we must face this phenomenon. In fact, such despicable sellers are not completely from China, they are from any country.

    I am very disgusted these people’s way of business, but I am not a judge, I don’t have the right to punish them. However, I believe that they will eventually pay for this.

    I want to make some suggestions and examples:

    1、The quality of the goods and the price of goods is relatively, the manufacture of goods, store operating costs, logistics and transportation costs determine the price of goods. Don’t expect inexpensive prices to buy absolute quality products, we should maintain a normal heart to the goods. I think that attempts to buy goods worth 50 US dollars with $ 1, this is absolutely impossible.

    2、China has created a lot of high-quality products, as long as you know how to choose, these products are still a good choice in life. If someone insists that the use of China’s products is a bad behavior, I think this is discrimination against Chinese products, this idea has surpassed the simple view of the product, even rising to a more complex cognitive level.

    I have to say some facts that you have never been understood, and the sellers in any country exist, seeking the Chinese factory to customize the product of the products, and then sell the product to people. No one can accuse these sellers wrong, they just trade for their own livelihoods and benefits. Trade is a benign of mutual benefit.

    Of course, Chinese sellers also often seek factory custom products in other countries. We must respect a fact that the product is just a very pure item, no one should use it as a satirical excuse.

    Most buyers are just civilians, choose the right product is the most wise choice in life. We are not a millionaire, we can only purchase products according to their own economic conditions, rather than choose the product according to the country.

    3、the original price of the product is not high, Chinese sellers use the economy logistics to serve the product, we all know that the economy’s logistics speed is slow, but do you know why we still choose economic logistics as a way of transportation?

    Because we know that the increase in transportation will lead to price increase in product sales.

    If the product price increase, this will damage the interests of the buyer. However, buyers don’t understand the seller’s kindness, will only blame the seller to use ordinary logistics.

    Do you need a quick way to transport? DHL, FedEx will be the best choice. But do you know that they charge a quote? If you insist on choosing this fast transportation, you must pay these fees to DHL or FedEx, because this is the costs they charge.

    Why push these questions to China sellers? They are not God, they have no way to control the price of DHL, they can’t pay these high shipping costs for buyers.

    If you are a seller, assume that the buyer has purchased a 10 dollar product, but they asked you to give a $ 200 DHL fast transport, do you think so reasonable?

    Any mistakes cannot be unilaterally caused, and the problems in Amazon are absolutely not just the reasons for the seller.

    Not all Chinese sellers are liar, not all Chinese products are not good. Chinese sellers also hate the liar, disrupt the “scum” of the market business order, no matter which country he comes from, we should boycott.

    If there is a chance, I am looking forward to one day, everyone can personally see the real situation in China.

    1. Very well said. Manipulating Amazon, selling inferior quality products, etc. is by no means a Chinese problem. For better or worse though, selling in a country such as China where international agreements/politics make it very hard o prosecute any individual here affords a Chinese seller many more protections than someone, for instance, in the U.S. or even Canada where there are more bilateral agreements making prosecution easier.

  27. I just want to say that I found this article as a consumer; I’m so frustrated with the lack of quality on Amazon, how they prey on the American consumer. I honestly see no value in Amazon as a business anymore, and I’ve had an account since 2006.

  28. I think that with this Chinese invasion this time on the Amazon, American and non-Chinese consumers should stop buying, in a big boycott. That way, Amazon and the Chinese could better enjoy their love relationship. I know this is difficult, but it would be interesting to see what Amazon would do with this scenario. As far as I know only chinese citizens can sell on their platforms, like Aliexpress and Tao Bao, but all chinese citizens can sell on non-china platforms, this has to change.

    1. Agreed – there’s no open access to Chinese markets but there is to American markets. This is one of the reasons why there’s a trade war right now.

      1. Perfectly articulated.

        What Amazon has allowed the CCP to do to this county, to drain its wealth, is reprehensible, unforgivably greedy, unpatriotic, and just morally wrong.

        The justly-built foundation of America’s economic success is crumbling and the vast majority either can’t see it, or don’t care.
        I’m just do disheartened for my kids and eventual grandkids – they’ll only know the greatness of America as what it once was.

  29. I’m a Chinese seller myself. I want to say that the Chinese seller’s group is a group of venomous snakes. Most of them play dirty, If not 9 out of 10 then must be 7 out of 10. some of them play dirty than you can imagine. And most of the ridiculous strict amazon policies were activated by Chinese sellers’ dirty play.
    They don’t know how to manage this business without fake reviews fake orders. Or even worse, some of them will maliciously pay for fake reviews for their competitor’s products then report to amazon to punish their competitors for manipulating reviews. They also bribe those greedy Chinese amazon seller account managers for data report to hurt their competitors or gain benefits. People who sell this leaked or stolen data are service providers in China. And if they have VC account or someone would like to pay for the use of VC accounts, then they can edit any ASIN of any brand, to create a super big disaster for the competitor. All of these, amazon won’t care.

    Apart from the above I mentioned, thanks to amazon’s naive, no-identity-verification report system, chinese sellers can submit fake claims to hurt others. Even if the victims can get the account or ASIN back, the cost is way too big and be prepared to say goodbye to the previous good rank.
    As a seller myself, I’ve been managing my brand for more than 5 years. I know I can better to grow my brand with the white hat tactic. But my Chinese competitor group is the biggest unpredictable risk for my business, no matter if you are 7 figure or 8 figure seller. I’m sorry to say this, but that land and the people on it are truly dirty. Any industry Chinese touched, will be full of bribery and dirty tricks. And they always have excuses for their behavior, it’s always others’ fault. It’s always other countries’ fault. You give one sugar, they’ll ask you for more. You let them steal from you once, they’ll ask for the second and the third and, they think you owe them. This special character does not only show in country’s level. They take whoever criticizes Chinese as a shady person, a shady country or a traitor Chinese.

    I still remember the Hong Kong protest in 2019, most Chinese sellers are on the same side with the Chinese government and blame Hong Kong people. Then there were some “patriot” Chinese amazon sellers who used the black tactic to hurt those amazon sellers who support the Hong Kong protest. They even doxxed the victim seller’s address in China and publish it in WeChat groups. And these are heroical behaviors to most people. What a dirty land could raise this kind of people , I only want to stay away from these snakes. God knows why amazon doesn’t improve its system to protect sellers as Alibaba did. God knows why the USA doesn’t have any regulations on Chinese e-commerce sellers who sell to the USA market.

  30. This is a great article, thank you!

    One other thing I have noticed is that Chinese companies are using American addresses to look like domestic companies, but these addresses are really just apartments or totally unrelated businesses. I hate Amazon now, I used to love it. It’s so inconvenient to find other sources for products, but I’m really making an effort not to buy from them at all.

  31. Great article… add to this Chinese suppliers on Alibaba are now the Amazon sellers themselves… they raise their prices, so you have no profit when you sell as the same prices on Amazon… and of course, if you raise your price on Amazon, you’ll lose to your Chinese competitors who sell the exact same products! Just today one of these suppliers told me that I can’t sell their product on Amazon because another seller has exclusive rights!!!!
    And about the delay in delivering goods, they now use FBA, so no problem at all!

    I wonder what can we do as third party sellers? Are we starting the death of private labeling?!

    1. Yup – definitely many sellers with Alibaba shops also sell on Amazon. IP is becoming more and more important.

  32. Hi, this is a very interesting article, thank you! Do you have any thoughts on Chinese companies selling products manufactured with the use of forced labour? As a consumer, I have no way of knowing what I’m buying. Is there a push for any screening to be done by Amazon?

    1. There’s already restrictions on by many countries on products coming out of Xinjiang.

  33. Yes, we are getting killed by a Chinese competitor right now. It’s extremely frustrating to say the least. Our main product line is baby bibs. A competitor copied our product design (even stole and manipulated our logo mark), then proceeded to gather over 700 reviews in a few months… yeah, that doesn’t happen. Sorry, nobody is that excited about baby bibs! They then made around 2 dozen listings of the same item (moving around the color variations to make it look like a new product listing). They have essentially taken over Page 1 search results for many of our top keywords… even pushing our product on to Page 2 in some instances. To put things in perspective, we’ve been selling for several years and our top selling baby bib set has a little over 500 reviews. All we can do is continue to improve our product line and hope Amazon cracks down on the cheaters at some point in the near future. It’s ruining Amazon for everyone.

  34. Great article Dave. I looked up Project Zero on the sellers page, but that is only available to China, what a surprise. I import products and I am at the point of selling the business because of the frustration. I import a product for 10.00 plus import fees and tariffs 45% making the product cost 14.50 sell for 25.00, fed and state taxes on profit 49% or 5.15 $19.65 or profit of 5.35. China sellers don’t have this fed or state taxes They sell if for 20.00 and make more money and we do with no customer support, no taxes to our government. If this keeps up the government will be looking for money from the buyers or the common person once all these usa businesses start closing

  35. They allow LIES on Amazon and also have banned me several times from simply asking sellers about the materials in their products.
    I’m so happy to see some people are paying attention to this problem and so closely. Already having had guilt myself in the recent past; for remaining a loyal Amazon consumer. I’m uneasy about where to draw the line but this is very convincing information in the article. It’s disappointing how many people are unaware of toxins in everyday products allowed by our own government. Perhaps even worse is the deceit of protection when they ban certain manufacturing processes to occur in the USA because they are proven to be harmful to health and unethical. They might ban the production of such here but (thanks largely to the Clintons) the government allows these same processes to happen in other countries; harming not only the humans in factories overseas BUT also greatly harming the American people. Even children are not out of the target-zone for toxic products.

    Not surprising when you acknowledge people like Besos and others at the “top” are likely psychopathic. But it’s extremely demoralizing to see so many (possibly millions) of ignorant consumers whom call activists “conspiracy theorists” when in truth they are people using science to prove the ill effects these products have on all of us. It’s our responsibility to speak up and spread this information. I also feel it should be parental responsibility to pay attention, put the effort into your own research is need-be, and to educate oneself. It’s unfortunate how rare that seems to happen anymore. People too obsessed with their superficial images vs owning their actions that greatly ripple into the world (especially when raising offspring). It grates my last nerve when I see people accept “plastic” as a product material for their children’s products let alone their own products.

    (Plastic can range from highly toxic PVC, at least 4 other commonly used forms of plastics, to PP polypropylene which is not ideal but much less likely to do harm; guess which cheap Chinese products tend to be made with?) The foams used go the same way, then companies being allowed to routinely say a products is something else entirely. The chemical composition of polyester and rayon are completely different from cotton. YET sellers are allowed to state those products ARE “cotton” products. Or the even more entertaining “poly cotton”; usually not a blend but a blatant lie of “feels like cotton but is not”. PUTTING “NON-TOXIC” for a product that has WELL KNOWN HIGH TOXICITY within a normal range of conditions. LIES people are unaware of and when presented with the truth often disregard it to save some money. THUS the problem is not only a health issue but classist. I feel blessed enough to be able to exchange some of our toxic home products for less toxic (or non-toxic) versions as I have come to discover this information for myself. But a few years ago my family did not have enough money to do so. I would’ve honestly wanted to deny as well. Since changing out these products (prioritizing ridding our environments of Rayon, PVC, styrene, polyurethane…) we have had a noticeable decrease in migraines, UTIs, allergies, asthma, insomnia, and memory problems.

    Amazon sellers from China routinely lie in their product descriptions, refuse to answer questions, and I don’t find it to be a coincidence that they are frequently using dangerous chemicals in their products when the USA and China governments seems to be “frenemies” at best. Enemies that tolerate one another whilst they each plot to be the supreme force of domination against their respective people. I find our government is extremely brainless and/or careless to maintain such a lack-of regulation as well as accountability for Besos (his company oversight teams) to allow this to happen so much. It’s become more common than not.

    It’s undeniable once you read case studies, that we all should be looking past mainstream distractions and diving into the cracks of the capitalist system. My spouse has a harder time than I do letting go of many of the novel materialistic rewards for buying into these diversions. As part of the couple I do find it more difficult to let go myself. But I am working on it. I can at least say I am putting significant effort into bettering our lives and the lives of my children in this way. I will not give up the search for further knowledge and to “spread the wealth” in this sense. As long as I do continue to use Amazon I am trying to at least ask the questions in product inquiry (Until Amazon ends up blocking me as happens often). If I purchase a product to find the description is false I make damn sure to write about it in the comments. I reach out to various companies to prod about their products and I give major props to companies that are trying to transition and/or companies that make an effort to be conscientious of health and safety (by omitting phthalates, pesticides, fire retardants etc). I’m unsure if I can even trust all of the claims by such companies, but it’s a start if anything. I try to buy from other countries besides China. (India and Vietnam actually use better quality natural materials, and other sites besides Amazon of course). I appreciate anyone whom might read this rant, and I truly am grateful if you also are willing to sacrifice time and energy to try to fight the good fight head-on. For those of you whom might be contemplating if I’m crazy or have valid concerns….I hope you do brave looking into it yourself.

  36. Leaving Chinese issues aside, Amazon strip mines seller data to cherry pick top products they then start direct selling as Amazon Basic products. We’ have a small USA OEM mfg client that sent a case of products in 3 years ago FBA. One pack got flagged as damaged (impossible), then turned up as “used” sold by Amazon a few weeks later. Amazon routinely reverse engineers OEM sold products, waits for sales to pickup then hijacks market with their own product. Sellers take all the upfront risk building product awareness, Amazon steals it for their own. Thats why fewer name brands for high volume products are sold on Amazon. Try to buy OEM tool battery, office shredder or even hanging file folder. Amazon Basic or knockoff pops up. Client stopped selling on Amazon but their product listing still there and no idea who is selling knockoffs. One of their US OEM competitors invested a lot in building out their Amazon store, now Amazon Basic product Chinese made import versions killing their business.

    But no moral high ground here. I get it, Asian labor is cheap and really not all that bad quality. So no way will I pay an American $15 an hour to make my clothes when I can have clothes made for $15 a day or even $15 a week by oppressed workers in China and other third world countries. Only way to compete is making niche products with variations not suitable for mass production. As long as China enjoys LDC status as a developing country like Afganastan, Yemen and other poor countries, they have countless advantages including exemptions from developed country climate change agreements, worker rights and financial reporting. Plus using the subsidized ePack postage for poor countries can ship products from China anywhere in the world for a fraction of full price domestic postage.

    Great article and even more amazing written years ago and still spot on! Very useful to share with clients considering Amazon as their online platform. It can work, just remember ultimately you have zero customers like an Uber driver. Customers hitting buy again in their purchase history are directed not back to you, but to whatever seller is favored by Amazon. So repeat customer sales rely on them visiting you Amazon store and placing order there. Customers are all Amazon customers, so hard to build customer base.

  37. I stopped using Amazon UK last year, because buying something NEW, had become so UNPLEASANT and STRESSFUL!!! 7 out 10 items I purchased were faulty, poor quality, not as advertised, and as of just recently just a straight up FORGERY!! (Clarks shoes) …sold by Amazon UK, guaranteed by Amazon UK, SOLD BY CLARKS SHOES on Amazon UK – and they were FAKES!!! – I had a genuine pair to compare the new pair with, CLOSE BUT NO CIGAR you contemptible scumbags….I’ve reported it, and have now utterly given up with Amazon.

    I have actually joined a movement, there are millions of us now, it’s called “DONT BUY ANYTHING” … It’s a protest. Until quality goes UP, and prices go down or are more realistic – and corporation’s stop RIPPING US ALL OFF, manipulating us, and making the buying experience less stressful – WE ARE SIMPLY JUST NOT BUYING ANYTHING.

    Do you know how many Xbox Series X’ were are faulty since 2020-2022 ? ….Do you realise the HUGE STRESS Microsoft has caused consumers since its creation way back decades ago!? ….it’s INSANE.

    Why do we put up with it?

    I hope our movement crashes the entire global economy…. teach these lying greedy filth a lesson.

    More and more people refuse to support China any more, they are sick of their criminal business tactics, they treat our custom and money, like it’s a casino game!

  38. Couldn’t agree with you more. Our family is practicing a Minimalist lifestyle. Sometimes less is much more, especially where it really counts.
    What you say about world governance is extremely accurate. We refuse to be consumers and have decided to join the human race again.

  39. They put the flags in the chinese junglescout because like this it is easier for chinese selleres know if have an strong (chineses,own factory or friend or family factory and no lenguage bariers)or a weak compeition, ( us seller who buy in alibaba) . if i am chinese it would help me a lot to know if the seller is chinese or not

  40. Chinese goods are very good. Don’t be patriotic. You Westerners slander and split China every day. Only you Westerners make up false information and believe it! Deceive your brain! The plot is doomed to be crushed by the wheel of history! The suppression of developing countries is doomed to fail. China is a peace loving country. For decades, there has been no war or invasion of any country. What about your western countries? The Middle East has been messed up by you, Europe has been messed up by you, and Australia will be messed up by you soon,Why can’t Australia develop? Because it is controlled by the United States, the raw material colony of the United States.

  41. One of the biggest issues I’ve faced as a seller on Amazon, was Amazons own insistence that the customer came above and beyond everything, including sense or blatant customer rip offs, that’s why I’m spreading the word of, might not cure anything but as least it could potentially embarrass Amazon and other marketplaces into doing something about their constant refunding customers from sellers funds and allowing customer to claim non deliveries when tracking shows otherwise.

  42. Ok, just made me laugh when I saw some patriotic Americans saying how much did they hated China, when they would sell a t-shirt for 1000 dollars in a heartbeat if they can.

  43. Yes, china has a giant eCommerce market and Alibaba and AliExpress are the 2 top Amazon Consultants agencies in China for B2B and B2C eCommerce marketplace online.

  44. Hi Dave,

    One crazy thing that’s happening to me right now involves Chinese sellers holding my inventory with fake business customer accounts and causing my inventory to get stranded. Any recommendations on how to deal with this are appreciated. The worst part about it is that we’ve reported them so many times and Amzn support isn’t doing anything about the issue.

    1. Oh man, the only thing I can think of is to put a purchase quantity maximum on your items (we do it on our items to avoid this issue and others)

  45. Time to stop buying on Amazon, even products sold as from Amazon are just chinese products. Surely this is just bad for trade deficet but more importantly china supports repression and atrocities by russia.

  46. We are happy to know that FTC has taken actions to one Amazon seller named Bountiful because of their “review hijacking” during 2020 and 2021;
    This is great news and we are happy that FTC has finally paid attention to the crazy review hijacking problems;

    But I would like to say that there is one Chinese fraudulent company who has much more serious “review hijacking” problems among the listings listed below;
    This fraudulent company registered those brands and accounts in;
    Now they can easily deceive American shoppers some million dollars each year from below listings;

    This Chinese company hijacked some thousand reviews(they hijacked other total different products from different brands review) for their listings(listed below) to deceive consumers during the end of 2019 and 2021 when they created below listings;

    We also reported their hijacked reviews to Amazon many many times before,but each time when Amazon removed their hijacked reviews after our report,this Chinese fraudulent company were able to misuse back the hijacked reviews quickly;

    Of course now they have already removed those hijacked reviews after they manipulated some thousand five star reviews by product inserts(such as consumers can get 20 dollars from them if they leave five star review);

    But Amazon can track those listings review history/records if you check with;

    All the below listings are all cheaply made wired earbuds(total cost is below 2 dollars),but they are selling them at 12.99 dollars or more to deceive consumers because of some thousand fake reviews;

    Now this Chinese company can easily deceive American shoppers some million dollars each year from below listings,they at least monopolized 80% wired earbuds sales in because of their serious review manipulation violations;

    I am writing with hope that if Amazon can also investigate this fraudulent Chinese company’s review hijacking problem and review manipulation problems;

    Below please find this Chinese fraudulent company’s listings:

    Scam Brand: kirababy and his product link:

    Brand: Jogteg


    Brand: LWZCAM

    Brand: Rayleigh

  47. Amazon built a highway from Chinese factories direct to the US consumer. How many billions of dollars has this bridge funneled directly to China, Chinese government and Chinese economy?

    Meanwhile, Amazon finds every loophole possible to pay almost nothing in federal taxes in the marketplaces where they operate!

    They have the data of 3P sellers. They then systematically launch products under-pricing small businesses often times using their very same suppliers while gloating about attaching small business badges onto 3p seller listings as they do this. Then they take your listings down to a degree where its a full time job to deal with FBA bs and apathetic seller support.

    Small businesses have their margins stripped at every possible angle while battling the endless wave of chinese resellers who do not play by the rules and do as they exactly so wish. They have armies of accounts that destroy legitimate US accounts. now they have a taste and are creating junk commerce giants like Temu who are flooding the US marketplace with the exact same junk taking more market share from US businesses.

    Amazon destroys brands. More and more brands do not want their products on Amazon.

    What a weird dystopia we live in.

    1. Could not agree more with you on China killing 3PL/Amazon FBA Prep centers here in the US.

      I found this article using the search phrase “Chinese manufacturers take over Amazon FBA prep”. I was recently laid off from my job at an Amazon FBA Prep Center located in CA. At first we thought it was due to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s new belt-tightening rampage, killing off millions of jobs and closing down warehouses. But it didn’t make sense for our FBA Prep Center as there are still FBA sellers.

      An FBA Prep Center owner told me the real reason: Amazon has “allowed” Chinese manufacturers to do the Prep themselves before FOB to the US!!! From a business perspective, if I were an Amazon seller, this makes total sense as Chinese labor is cheap, Prep can be bundled with manufacturing and China has enough Amazon data and info to generate and print out a US barcode on the merchandise. Since Amazon no longer cares about their partners, be they DSP or FBA Prep, they turned a blind eye as sellers flocked to their Chinese manufacturers and demanded THEY do the Prep over there, and then ship directly to their warehouse of choice.

      The effect was almost overnight. Warehouses are shutting down, people are being let go and the only ones working in any Prep Center warehouse are part-time employees. Sheesh!

  48. Over the years of being a Prime member I have learned to avoid some of these Chinese companies who make off brand and unfamiliar products that have suspiciously rave reviews only to find out the products are of terrible quality. Amazon daily specials are full of strangely unfamiliar named products instead of familiar products with good reputations. I remember buying a deal on Apple iPhone chargers which sounded great at half what Apple charges and apparently got good reviews. Only to find out the chargers basically all died within a few months. Not only that but neither Amazon or the vendor was willing to do anything about it. My advice, is be careful where you buy from and some of these third party vendors handle their own support and not Amazon who only fulfills the order for them. Many of these vendors do not honor the extend return time that a Amazon sold product does.

  49. Often the quality of items made in China are inferior to what they display in the product spec. They may write something is cotton and you get cheap polyester material. Amazon should keep an eye on ratings and if the product spec is falsely advertising products the sellers should be removed and banned.
    Another thing I find nervewreckinga -and that is not only the case for Chinese sellers!- is that sellers put completely irrelevant tags on their products in order to increase their chances of being found, which often completely defies the search function. If you search for a dress and get shown a car seat cover or a lampshade – basically completely different from what one is looking for, that will drive people off, as it is too much hassle to even bother, if you just get shown irrelevant rubbish. They should keep an eye on these tags too, that people cannot put a lampshade, a car seat cover, a dog grooming kit or whatever ridiculous item in inappropriate tags. It;s like going to the shop asking for an apple and they give you a car tyre.

  50. There are a lot more things sellers do to manipulate the system than has been mentioned here. I got paid to help do lots of different things; Not only 5 star also 1 star product reviews, product ratings, seller feedback, keyword searches, asking questions, upvoting reviews, downvoting reviews etc…. The agents would send me the money in ADVANCE to buy whatever product for my promise of a 5*. Sometimes I had to pay sales tax and money transfer fees OOP so I spent no more than 14 dollars on a 100 dollars. From September to December 2020 I spent approximately 6,000 bucks, of that only about 1,600 was OOP, the rest came from sellers/agents. Around 135 of my 5* text reviews went live before they started removing them and eventually banned my account from reviewing. Then I did star ratings or seller feedback until I figured out how to get the same items from the same sellers just to order. There were ‘jobs’ that I wouldn’t do. Sabotage was a no for me, been asked to do all sorts of cruddy stuff; from order then cancel it to my boss scammed us both please return it, demand refund, & leave bad review through, Hi, will you please setup a seller account for me, I’ll pay the fees and pay you 200 dollars to do it. Now I only do”rebate” purchases don’t get as much stuff free as back then but, I didn’t have anything back then and now I got what I need.

  51. Eventually consumers will get fed up getting burned on these poor quality products. They may be cheap but a lot of it has awful support, sometimes the process of returning products is difficult and good luck finding any sort of replacement parts for these creative brands that nobody believes are actual company brands. Temu is the latest to infiltrate the US with China made products.
    Amazon has already been moving towards highlighting these products too over respected name brands. Some of which have simply stopped selling on Amazon.

  52. So I purchased a rechargeable magnifying desk lamp from Amascum for my hobby shop (I build RC gas/nitro monster trucks) and at some point during the night the lithium battery inside it caught fire. Fortunately there was no damage to my shop but I was mad as hell because of what could have been disastrous and because this particular lamp had 4.8 stars and a ton of positive reviews. So I took pics and wrote a scathing review on their crap. Well they contacted me and said they would send me another lamp to review as well as refund my purchase price if I would consider updating my review to make it positive and they damn near had me reeled in. But the second lamp did the same thing so I hammered thier ass’s again. I am so damn sick of spending my hard earned paper on no good chinese made trash. I live around 20 to 30 minutes from walmart, home depot and a couple other stores and I’ll bet you lunch right now that out of every ten “made in china” products I purchase, at least 7 or 8 of those items either have to be modified or fixed or just returned completely and not a single time has any major retailer ever once offered a gift card or even an apology for my time, expense etc. to help offset my loss. As much as I hate to say it, I can’t stand the world we live in today and the china man can piss off entirely.

  53. Amazon “support” is a JOKE. ALL large software-based platforms, large e-commerce platforms, large software companies, etc. cause everyone to suffer because they do NOT SUPPORT their platforms with any level of detail. The decision makers hide behind level 1 “chat” level 1 script-reading “reps” etc. and they DO NOT LISTEN. Company “execs” spend money on everything except supporting the platform properly and that means there should be proper escalation paths available when needed not just script-reading level 1 reps that refuse to get a supervisor when requested.

  54. I was ripped off by a seller in China through Shamazon. The seller (iLOOKLike) shipped my item in an unpadded box, it not only arrived damaged but the canvas sign I ordered was a more expensive LARGER size and they sent a SMALLER, much less expensive canvas sign and to add more INSULT to INJURY, the seller description on Shamazon clearly stated “FREE SHIPPING” yet my packaged arrived at our Post Office with a $19.45 POSTAGE DUE amount.

  55. I am really surprised you did not make any mention of the ruthless Black Hat strategy the Chinese use to take down sellers by filing a false DCMA notice. This happened to us recently. The competitor cut and pasted our product description into a rogue product listing (for a completely UNRELATED Product entirely). From what we can tell, the entire account for this unrelated product listing, was hacked or is not theirs. Then the competitor opened a DCMA case saying we copied their product verbiage. Further, there was no trademark or copyright number included in the DCMA filing. It’s impossible to get any support once you are in the mandadory waiting period for DCMA reviews. It’s super-frustrating, and I work at Amazon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button