The Amazon logo.

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.

RELATED: What Does "Fulfilled by Amazon" Mean?

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.”

"Brand: Nike" in a description for a pair of sneakers on Amazon.

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.

RELATED: I Got Scammed by a Counterfeiter on Amazon. Here's How You Can Avoid Them

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.

A listing on Amazon for an iPod that "Ships From Amazon," but is "Sold By Sole Providers."

If a product is both shipped from and sold by a third-party, it will say that in this same area, as shown below.

A product listing on Amazon that "Ships From Gizmobile" and is "Sold By Gizmobile."

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.

RELATED: How to Avoid Fake and Scammy Amazon Sellers

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).

A listing for a product that "Ships From Amazon.com," and is "Sold By Amazon.com."

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.”

A listing for a product "Sold by OEMGENUINE and Fulfilled by Amazon" in the Amazon App.

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].”

A listing for a product "Sold from and Shipped by Cardinal Pro Electronics" in the Amazon App.

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.

The "Ships from and Sold by Amazon.com" line in a product listing in the Amazon App.

Now that you know how to double-check where products are coming from on Amazon, you can shop with more confidence. Good luck!

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a Staff Writer for How-To Geek. For over 14 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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