IMPORTANT MESSAGE RE: ONLINE FRAUD AND UNAUTHORIZED LEGO BRAND RESELLERS
As on-line shopping continues to expand and many consumers are focused on what to buy, we wanted to point out that where you buy is often more important.
Now, for us at Bricknowlogy, with over 100 years of LEGO-building experience, it’s difficult to imagine anything but LEGO on your list. With that in mind, we’d like to raise awareness about some serious issues in the marketplace when it comes to making your LEGO purchase. Sure, we’d love for you to shop with a locally owned business like Bricknowlogy, but more importantly, we really don’t want any disappointments with your purchase – or more importantly – any health risks.
The Big Deal
Online purchasing is certainly convenient and potentially cost-effective, BUT… sites like eBay and Amazon are notorious for selling fake, used, damaged, or incomplete LEGO products (with many missing pieces) as NEW. eBay is NOT an authorized LEGO reseller at all. Amazon is NOT a GOLD STANDARD LEGO reseller and therefore restricted from selling specific items or SKUs. Amazon gets around this by selling through “third-party” resellers. Virtually anyone person or entity in the world can be a third party reseller with Amazon. Unfortunately for the consumer, this is not always clear; indeed Amazon keeps this very quiet, but you can read the actual verbiage from Amazon’s web site. The key text is actually highlighted by Amazon: Important: Items in your inventory that are identified and tracked using manufacturer barcodes are commingled with items of the same products from other sellers who also use manufacturer barcodes for those items. [This includes Amazon’s own products]
This means that LEGO product that Amazon legitimately acquires from The LEGO Group is commingled (a fancy way of saying mixed together without consideration for source) with all the other products that Amazon’s global third-party sellers send to them!! Indeed, LEGO products purchased from Amazon are very likely sourced from another party and NOT directly from LEGO – even if it states “Ships and Sold by Amazon”. This creates tremendous opportunity for unscrupulous behavior by these third-party sellers to take any number of actions against the integrity of the product including replacing the items with fake parts (sometimes very hard to tell – see our previous posts on how to discern the difference), pulling out expensive parts or minifigures and resealing the box, selling used items as new, or simply stuffing the box with trash (seriously, see below). The Quality Control at Amazon is so low and focused on expediency that these transactions go through all the time.
What is the Result?
Unfortunately, the result is some very disappointed consumers… To illustrate the prevalence of these situations, we’ve taken a small sample of actual screenshots of comments made by LEGO buyers in just the last few months – left by those who have been burned by this situation and took the time to leave a message.