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Amazon choked with Nintendo Switch scams

If it seems too good to be true ...

Nintendo Switch - Neon Red/Blue Joy-Cons in Joy-Con Grip next to Dock, all sitting on a wooden background James Bareham/Vox Media

The Nintendo Switch is suffering from supply issues as demand for Nintendo’s hybrid portable and home console continues to be strong. And where there is demand this strong, there will be scammers trying to cash in.

Amazon’s third-party listings for the Nintendo Switch are choked with newly launched seller accounts that have little to no feedback who are selling the hardware for well below even sticker price. This should send up a giant red flag.

If people are willing to spend more than retail price for hardware due to scarcity, it’s unlikely are people who are willing to sell the hardware at far below market price.

So what’s going on?

This is a big problem with all of Amazon

It seems as if Amazon is being gripped by sellers who sign up with fresh accounts, list popular items below market price with a longer than usual shipping range and then mark the item as shipped once they receive your money. By the time the shipping date has passed and you file for a return, the seller is long gone.

This is an issue with Amazon as a whole, not just the Nintendo Switch, but the Switch is an in-demand product that everyone is looking for. That makes it a prime target for people hoping to cash in.

There are a LOT of shady listings out there

While Amazon guarantees your purchase of anything through the site, even if you buy from a third-party seller, the likely goal of the scammer is to put the ship date far enough out in the future to get the money out of the buyer before Amazon shuts down the transaction and possibly the entire account. You’ll get your money back eventually in this situation, but your cash will be tied up while you fill out the forms necessary to get a refund.

We had to go near the end of the second page of Switch listings before we found a seller who seemed to be legitimate, and they were selling the system for $389.98 ... which is a believable price considering most third-party sellers are hoping to make at least a small profit off their flipped system.

This isn’t hard to avoid if you know what you’re doing:

  • Use common sense. If a price seems too good to be true, it likely is.
  • Be very skeptical of any just-opened seller account.
  • Make sure the seller’s feedback is mostly positive, and the more successful transactions they have across a longer span of time, the better.
  • Check out the shipping time. Why would a legit seller need to hang onto the system for a few weeks before selling it? Most individuals who have the Switch in-hand will be able to ship within a day or two of payment.

Be wary of edge cases as well, this Reddit user was scammed even though the price seemed on the lower end of reasonable.

I know about the recent Nintendo Switch scam going on where just launched users sell at half the retail price, I've seen several do so. However, seeing a $320 with $3.99 shipping fee didn't really cross my mind as a possible scam attempt until it was too late. The guy, a 4 star rated seller who hasn't had feedback in over a year, was trying to sell one at this price (or several as he had about 17+ in stock). He only contacted me once by email when I inquired about the price and when I went to purchase it, it went straight to "preparing to ship" within minutes. Do you guys think it's a possible scam or is it just me over thinking?

EDIT: Yeah the guy was a scammer. Amazon was able to handle the problem so now I'm going through the A-Z Guarantee Process for my refund. Does it usually really take as long as 1-2 weeks to process a refund? And is there anything to worry about?

It’s still a bummer that so many people are likely be to be taken in as they look for a deal on hardware that’s so hard to track down. People who don’t have much experience buying electronics or gaming hardware that’s hard to find are particularly at risk as they may not be able to spot the red flags as easily.

We’ve reached out to Amazon and will update the post if we hear anything from the company.

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