When you shop on Amazon, it’s important to remember the company also acts as a middleman for independent, third-party businesses. Most of these are trustworthy, but some sell counterfeit goods and items that aren’t as described. It’s important to know where a product is coming from before you click that Buy button.
The Three Types of Sales on Amazon
When you shop on the Amazon website or in the app, there are three possible ways a product will be sold and shipped to you:
- Sold and Shipped by Amazon: These items have been purchased as inventory by Amazon. They’re sold and shipped to you from an Amazon warehouse.
- Sold by Third-Party, Fulfilled by Amazon: These items are owned by an independent, third-party business and are shipped ahead of time to Amazon’s warehouses. When you buy them, Amazon ships them to you.
- Sold and Shipped by Third-Party: These items are owned by a third-party business. They will be shipped to you directly from that third-party business’s location.
Don’t Confuse the Brand Name with the Seller Name
While browsing Amazon, make sure you don’t confuse the brand name with the seller name. All products on Amazon include a line that says something like “by Apple” or “Brand: Nike.”
This doesn’t mean the product is sold by that company or even verified as genuine by them. It just means that product is purported to be manufactured by that brand in Amazon’s product database. The seller information is listed separately, as you’ll see below.
How to Identify Third-Party on Amazon.com
If you’re browsing Amazon.com on your desktop computer or laptop, there’s an easy way to tell if a product comes from a third-party seller. You might miss it if you don’t look carefully, though.
On a product page, look in the area just below the “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons. There, you’ll see two lines that say “Ships from” and “Sold by.” If the item is sold by a third-party seller, its name will be listed here in the “Sold by” area.
For example, the iPod in the image below is sold by a third-party company called “Sole Providers.” If we buy it, though, it’ll be shipped from Amazon’s warehouse.
If a product is both shipped from and sold by a third-party, it will say that in this same area, as shown below.
There are additional concerns when you buy from a third-party seller on Amazon. First, because Amazon doesn’t control the shipping speed, the item might take longer to arrive. Second, if you have a problem, you’ll have to return the item directly to the seller rather than an Amazon return facility. Amazon’s “A-Z Guarantee” still protects you, however.
If an item is shipped from and sold by Amazon, it will be clearly marked as “Sold by Amazon.com” (or your country’s version of Amazon).
How to Identify Third-Party Seller Products in the Amazon App
If you’re shopping in the Amazon app on iOS, iPadOS, or Android, the third-party seller information is located just below the “Add to Cart” and “Buy Now” buttons.
If a product is sold by a third-party but shipped by Amazon, it will list the third-party seller’s name in a line such as “Sold by [company name] and Fulfilled by Amazon.”
If a product is both sold by and shipped from a third-party, you’ll see a message like “Ships from and sold by [company name].”
If a product is shipped from and sold by Amazon, you’ll see a line that says “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com” (or your country’s version of Amazon) just below the “Buy Now” button.
Now that you know how to double-check where products are coming from on Amazon, you can shop with more confidence. Good luck!