I don’t know about you, but I often head over to Amazon to find the most competitive prices on basic items and clothing. This sort of thinking also translates for consumers looking to find the best price on just about anything else, including premium audiophile headphones. Customers willing to spend hundreds (possibly thousands) of dollars on Amazon, are willing to do so because they trust the major e-commerce platform. Amazon has been able to build an overall high level of trust with brands, consumers, and sellers by enforcing strict restrictions. With well over 2 million Amazon retailers (reported 2015), some slimy sellers are bound to slip through the cracks. As your friend and fellow Amazon customer, I don’t want you to be susceptible to any of their half-handed tricks. That being said, follow some of our tips below to ensure you don’t get swindled anytime soon.
Are You Buying From Authorized Retailers on Amazon?
For clarity’s sake, it’s important to point out that just because an item is sold on Amazon, which is a credible e-commerce platform, that doesn’t mean all the sellers are authorized to sell a certain item, especially headphones, by a certain manufacturer. I’ve met one individual who’ve received a fake Sennheiser IE 800 (because the price was so cheap) while another purchased a Beyerdynamic open-back headphone (at this time the model escapes me) and while it was real, it was on the grey market, meaning this item wasn’t allowed for sale in the United States, and able to be sold at a lower price tag. Doesn’t seem like a big deal, well it is when it’s no longer working and not eligible for coverage under a 2-year warranty. Both cases are total bummers when you consider the amount of cash these customers shovelled out to purchase each headphone.
Buying from the wrong dealer can result in void of warranty, missing parts, a skeleton frame (with a real exterior and fake parts on the inside), or worse, a completely fake pair of really expensive cans. Either way, we want you to steer clear of these awful scenarios. Here are a few bits of advice to keep you one step ahead.
1. Is the seller’s name listed under the manufacturer’s official retailer list?
Many, if not all, official headphone dealers are outlined on an authorized retailer listing on headphone manufacturers’ websites. I strongly suggest checking those respective pages before making any purchase. I dropped a couple known links to authorized retailers below.
P.S. You can verify the name of the seller by looking at who the product is being shipped and sold by, found under the price of an item. Shipped and sold by Amazon is legit. If it is fulfilled by Amazon, but sold under another seller, verify that the latter is in fact an authorized retailer.
2. Look out for grey market items, also known as parallel market items.
These items are being sold outside of the manufacturer’s authorized trading channels (just like that Beyerdynamic headphone I mentioned earlier). Because this headphone is being sold outside of its trading channel, sellers list it for a lower price which may seem attractive to you but be wary.
On to my third and final point…
3. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Honestly, I can’t stress this enough. If an item is selling for a price grossly understated to what it normally retails at, there is a reason. Dealers have to abide by tight restrictions as to how far they can lower a price. Also, most retailers would only want to lower a price so much because they can also make so much money off the margin. If the price is incredibly low, there’s little margin, which is a better price for the customer, but next to no profit for the dealer, and subsequently less for the manufacturer. Taking that into consideration, what incentive do dealers really have to decrease a price to a jaw-dropping amount in today’s market? Little. But if you’re still not sure, but willing to take the risk, at least check out the seller’s ratings and reviews. Also, please make sure there are a lot of reviews and read them to make sure they aren’t canned positive responses.
Are there any other bits of advice you’d like to add to our “Are You Buying From Authorized Retailers on Amazon” article? Let us know in the comments section below.