Check Out Seller Before You Checkout

From: Competition Bureau Canada

November 29, 2019 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

Did you know that you might not always be buying directly from the retailer whose website you’re browsing? More and more big-name retailers are incorporating online marketplaces into their sites where other vendors can sell their goods. This means that when you’re shopping on the website of a retailer, some of the products offered may be from independent sellers.

Buying from third-party sellers may be perfectly fine, but learning to identify them could help you avoid unpleasant surprises.

Recognize a third-party seller

Before committing to the deal that’s in your cart, take a few minutes to find out if you’re buying from a third-party seller. That way, you’ll know where to turn if you need help with any customer service issues.

To help you spot third-part vendors look for:

  • key words like “sold by,” “shipped by” or “fulfilled by” near product descriptions
  • sections of the retailers’ website that are labelled “marketplace” or that feature a list of “partners”

Avoid possible frustrations

It’s also important to make sure you’re buying from a trustworthy third-party seller. To protect yourself, remember the following:

  • If the online price for an item looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Credible vendors are more likely to have detailed return policies and contact information. Carefully review their marketplace profile.

Know who is responsible for customer service

If you buy from a third-party seller, order fulfillment and customer service may be their responsibility, and not the retailer’s.

For shipping issues:

  • Know that the third-party sellers may set their own prices for their items and for delivery.
  • Since the retailer might not be the one responsible for shipping the item, you may need to address all shipping-related matters directly with the third-party seller.

For customer satisfaction issues:

  • Know that the third-party seller may be responsible for all customer service issues, including returns.
  • Know that it might take more time to resolve issues with third-party sellers.
  • Some retailers might offer help, but only if you’ve already contacted the third-party seller. Read the fine print on their marketplace policies and check for words like “if,” “may,” or “subject to”- it could mean that there are limitations on resolving issues with third-party sellers.

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