Editor's take: Amazon has become a one-stop shop for a wide array of consumer goods. Heavy investments in transportation and logistics have made it more convenient than ever to shop from home and have orders arrive in a timely fashion. One area that Amazon could stand to improve, however, is in the product authenticity department.
Matt Hanson from TechRadar recently experienced how bad the issue can be when attempting to purchase a microSD card for his Nintendo Switch. As he recounts, Amazon is littered with a mix of branded and unbranded cards across a range of capacities and price points.
The first red flag he picked up on is the fact that if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. When you spot a 1TB microSD card from a no-name seller commanding just $25, pass. A legitimate 1TB card from a trusted brand like SanDisk or Lexar starts at a minimum of 5x that price.
That said, I'd recommend avoiding generic cards entirely and sticking with units sold directly by Amazon or a reputable third-party seller. It's also a good idea to check Amazon's customer review section to see what other buyers are saying. Specifically, filter by bad reviews and look for trends like cards shipping with incorrect capacity. And if a card has zero reviews, move on.
Hanson discovered that some scammers do ship real micrSD cards, albeit with less capacity than advertised. It seems some sellers use custom firmware to make their cards appear as if they have more memory than they actually do. If you exceed the card's true capacity, data is usually just deleted or becomes corrupted.
TechRadar reached out to Amazon and received the following statement.
We work hard every day to protect our sellers and help them grow their business. Bad actors that attempt to abuse our systems make up a tiny fraction of activity on our site.
We use sophisticated tools, including machine learning, to combat them, and we are making it increasingly difficult for bad actors to hide. We block bad actors before they reach our site and we work with sellers and law enforcement to hold them accountable by withholding funds and pursuing civil and criminal penalties.
These bad actors show a flagrant disregard for our community, our policies, and in some cases, the law, and do not reflect the flourishing community of honest entrepreneurs that make up the vast majority of our sellers.
Image credit Samsung Memory