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Amazon user swindled merchandise worth 330,000 euros

Amazon user swindled merchandise worth 330,000 euros

A user defrauded Amazon of a whopping 330,000 euros by manipulating returns. Instead of ordering iPhones and other devices, she sent ground packages to the mail-order company. He kept the smartphones and still got the money back from the purchases. This scam was made possible by Amazon’s standardized return process.

Millions of people place orders on Amazon every day. And many of them return their products for a variety of reasons. Therefore, it is not possible for the mail order company to open each returned package and verify the merchandise. Instead, Amazon has introduced a standardized procedure that the retailer uses to process returns. And it is precisely this technique that is exploited from time to time, in one case considerably.

Amazon returns: Weigh instead of check

If a return is received by Amazon, the online retailer will verify its weight. If it matches the specified content, the package ends up in a warehouse where it awaits resale or further destruction. Meanwhile, Amazon begins to back down on the purchase. In most cases, this means that the money from the order is transferred to the customer.

Due to the high number of returns, not all packages sent to Amazon can be manually reviewed by an employee. Such a test is usually only carried out in case of abnormalities. A customer from Spain took advantage of this fact in 2019 and scammed Amazon on a massive scale.

The Scam: Keeping the Goods and Still Getting Your Money Back

Along with an accomplice, the 22-year-old Spaniard has repeatedly ordered iPhones and other electronics from Amazon. He meticulously weighed the arriving packages and noted the weight. After unpacking the packages and removing the equipment, he filled the boxes with an amount of soil equal to the weight of the original shipment. He sent the tampered package to Amazon as a return.

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What followed was standard procedure: Amazon recorded the return, weighed it, and transferred money to the customer for the returned products. So not only did he receive the money for the order, but he also kept the products. But that is not all: the Spaniard founded a company through which he resold the products thus obtained. Therefore, he generated additional profit through his online store.

Also read: The Unknown Bargain Category on Amazon

The biggest Amazon scam in Europe

Apparently, the scam worked fine for a long time, until Amazon took notice of the large number of returns. Due to the high return rate, the online retailer verified all subsequent returns from the customer and his accomplice at their Barcelona location and became aware of the fraud. The two men were arrested.

The lost goods caused damages to Amazon of 330,000 euros. It must be according to the website. Tamebay, which specializes in online trading, dealt in what was then the biggest Amazon scam in Europe. The defendants themselves are likely to have made a significantly higher profit from the resale and return transfer.