Everyone loves it very much. That’s a big part of the appeal behind e-commerce “holidays” like Amazon Prime Day. The only problem is that while you’re lured in by the promise of paying less, you might actually find yourself bamboozled.

In recent years, Amazon has become a minefield legitimate products mixed with counterfeits. It’s not just charlatans selling snake oil. (Though there is a lot of that, too.) The problem has gotten so bad that Amazon’s own products have been hijacked by counterfeiters, and in 2020 the company launched a counterfeit unit to tackle the large number of counterfeits on its site. In 2021, Amazon claimed to have blocked more than 10 billion fake lists.

And these are just the counterfeit products. A 2019 the wall street journal investigation found that Amazon was also selling thousands of banned, mislabeled or unsafe products. CNBC also found Amazon shipped expired groceries, including expired infant formula.

These shady products can be difficult to spot on a normal day. Amazon Prime Day is a two-day bargain where thousands of items are discounted. Even though Amazon had verified that each item was real, some retailers are quick to trick consumers into thinking they’re getting a better deal than they actually are. Many will artificially raise prices ahead of events like Amazon Prime Day to make today’s deals more attractive. (You can use sites like CamelCamelCamel to double-check an item’s price history before adding it to your cart.)

In the case of tech companies, many will use this as an opportunity to clean up excess inventory. Sometimes that can be a good thing, provided you are well informed and don’t mind the latest generation device. Other times you get a “discount” on an item that may soon be obsolete and will need to be replaced sooner than expected.

It’s true every year. But while the Verge Deals the team sifts through the noise diligently to bring you the best deals in all unfathomable categories, I’m not here to do that. I’m here to show you some examples of what I’ve outlined above, which is why Prime Day is the worst. (But really, Amazon Prime Day is just the worst because I had to watch This advertisement.)

Apple 5W USB Power Adapter

You probably already have several, and some reviews note that they have been sent knockoffs.
Screenshot: Victoria Song / The Verge

Apple charges an ungodly $19 for that stupid white brick that it included for free with its products. Not only do you probably already have one (or two, or three), but in 2022 there are several other options that will give you more bang for your buck. 5W adapters these days can charge some devices slowly – and may not cut it if you’re looking for fast charging on a newer gadget. Additionally, an increasing number of devices require more juice to charge at a normal rate. (The Sonos Roam, for example, requires at least a 10W adapter.) Apple itself also sells a 12W version for $19. So while $12 might seem cheap, it’s probably on sale because it’s an increasingly outdated device that won’t get you as much mileage over time, especially since this charger still uses USB-A and that more and more companies, including Apple, are moving to USB-C

It also doesn’t help that several reviewers on this list claim to have received counterfeit devices that didn’t work.

10-inch Meta Portal screen

Although that deal is no longer active, the tweet pretty much says it all. An 80% discount sounds too good to be true, and in this case, it is. Earlier in June, we reported that Meta planned to stop building the consumer portal. This is a case where it is clear that a company is taking money when it can.

This device is unlikely to get much love in the future. A customer in the reviews shares that some features like Netflix and Hulu are no longer working as of April 2022. It’s okay if you knew that, but probably not everyone who has it bought. It would have been better if Meta disclosed it on the list itself. (This is not the case.)

Dr. Death DVD

Screenshot of Dr. Death DVD and Bluray Prime Day deal

A DVD being the most expensive option to watch this is… a lot.
Screenshot: Victoria Song / The Verge

It’s not about the quality of Dr. Death. It’s about how DVD is more expensive than Blu-ray – which is the opposite of how it usually happens, given that DVD sales have plummeted. 86% between 2008 and 2019. Chances are you already have a streaming service or can sign up for a free trial to watch this series. (In some regions, it’s actually available to rent on Prime Video for $2.99 ​​and to purchase for $9.99.) Anyway, there are several cheaper ways to watch this show . Even if you prefer physical media, this is a category worth comparing.

Prime Day listing for a sword

A classic case of artificially raising prices before a sale.
Screenshot: Victoria Song / The Verge

There are a lot of confusing things here, including the fact that the seller refers to this as both a Japanese samurai sword and a Chinese sword. If you look at the listing, you’ll see it’s allegedly discounted by $22.80 from an original price of $114. But if you are looking for the price history of the item on CamelCamelCamel, that is another story.

Camelcamelcamel screenshot of Katana price history

$114 was only the price as of May 2022, probably as a Prime Day strategy.
Screenshot: Victoria Song / The Verge

This item has only sold for $114 since May 5 of this year. Before that, its price was consistently $109. A generous read would be that the bump is a result of inflation unless you plug a sword priced at $109 in 2021 (and early 2022) into an inflation calculator, it would take $119.19 to make up the difference. More telling is that for the majority of this year so far, this sword has also been priced at $109. This means that the recent increase is probably a ploy and you really get a 16% discount. Not 20 percent.

It’s a pretty minor example, but take that pound of fallen rocks.

Prime Day listing for a pound of fallen rocks

Rocks!
Screenshot: Victoria Song / The Verge

If you ditched this listing alone, you’d assume you’re getting: 1) the lowest price on this item in 30 days and 2) 51% off a retail price of $40.99. But let’s look at the 3 month price history of this product listing from Camelcamelcamel.

Camelcamelcamel early days list history for tumbled rocks

Hmmm
Screenshot: Victoria Song / The Verge

As you can see, this product does not cost $40.99. It sells for between $23 and $25. You actually get a $3-$5 discount.

there is literally thousands Prime Day listings – some of which are lightning deals that force you to make decisions quickly. It is impossible for anyone to diligently comb through them. That said, these are just a few examples that I found in about 30 minutes total. I have no doubt there are thousands more like these from trusted and shady retailers.

Nobody says you can’t participate in sales. Some of us depend on discounted items to buy essentials or make ends meet. But again, these e-commerce sites and retailers don’t always play fair. You don’t deserve to be fooled, so it pays to buy smart and have a healthy dose of skepticism when browsing the internet’s worst garage sale. If a discount sounds too good to be true, it probably is.