What not to buy on Prime Day, from third-party scams to Ring cams from Mashable

Amazon dishes out thousands of doorbusters every year during its flagship summer Prime Day sale — but as it turns out, not every “deal” is actually a deal. And not every deal is actually worth your money. (Shocker, I know.)

It can be difficult to decipher what’s worth your hard-earned cash and what’s better to pass on. So we’ve rounded up a list of what not to buy on Prime Day to help you shop wisely.

Avoid products sold and shipped by third parties

It’s safest to stick to stuff that’s sold and shipped by Amazon, rather than an obscure third-party seller. While many third-party sellers are legitimate, you put yourself at risk buying from an unverified seller or a merchant with little to no history.

You can check the seller by navigating to the product page and scrolling just below the “add to cart” button. If it’s sold and shipped by Amazon, you’re good to go — these are backed by Amazon’s policies, making them a safe bet.

If a product is sold by a third-party seller, but fulfilled by Amazon, you may want to check the reviews of the seller before purchasing. While these “fulfilled by Amazon” merchants go through a more rigorous vetting process, some can slip through the cracks, so just be cautious.

If a product is sold and shipped by a third-party seller, it may be best to avoid it altogether. Amazon doesn’t oversee third-party products, so consumers may be out of luck if something goes wrong with an order.

Here’s an example of a laptop sold and shipped by Amazon.
Credit: Amazon
Here’s an example of a laptop sold by a third-party seller, but fulfilled by Amazon.
Credit: Amazon

Stay away from Ring deals

We always see a monstrous collection of Ring deals on and leading up to Prime Day, but we don’t recommend buying any of the Amazon-owned brand’s home security equipment if you like your privacy and your neighbors. The company’s recent history is mottled with security and data handling issues, including sketchy law enforcement partnerships. (It finally shut down the tool that let police publicly request footage without a warrant earlier this year, but we’re still skeptical.) To quote the great Randy Jackson, “It’s a no from me, dawg.”

Anything that seems too good to be true…probably is

Prime Day always generates some great deals — particularly on Amazon-branded products and services — but if you see a deal that appears too good to be true, chances are it is.

How can you tell if a deal is legitimate? Compare prices on other retail sites like Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. Aside from Amazon-specific products, you’ll likely be able to find most products on other sites and get an idea of what the regular retail price is.

You can also cross-check prices of Amazon listings by plugging their URL into the price-tracking site camelcamelcamel. You’ll be able to see the product’s going rate over the past weeks/months/years and get a good idea of whether or not a discount you see is actually as impressive as it seems.

Take this Rockland Melbourne luggage set for example. In the lead-up to Prime Day 2023, it was listed at $105.91 with a $340 MSRP, making it appear to be on sale at a 69% discount.

At first glance, a 69% discount seems like a total steal.
Credit: Amazon

However, when we entered the luggage set’s URL into camelcamelcamel at the time, we saw that the MSRP was inflated and that the sale price wasn’t actually as good as it seemed. In fact, in the months leading up to Prime Day 2023, the price generally hovered around the $100 to $150 point and dropped all the way down to $69.24. That put more perspective on the $105.91 price tag.

This is what an inflated MSRP will look like when you plug the URL into camelcamelcamel.
Credit: camelcamelcamel

Aside from inflated MSRPs, some deals may seem like stellar discounts but have actually been hovering at the same price point for weeks — months, even.

Check out this discounted iPad mini, for example. At $399.99 with an on-page coupon (regularly $499), it seems like a great deal, right?

Note the coupon.
Credit: Amazon

While that is a pretty good buy, camelcamelcamel tells us that it’s regularly discounted to this price, so there’s no need to jump the gun. In fact, it’s probably worth waiting a few more weeks to see if it returns to its all-time low from Prime Day 2023.

$399.99 is a nice price, but it’s nothing we technically haven’t seen before. If you can wait, wait.
Credit: camelcamelcamel

Beware of impulse buys

Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you need to buy it. Seriously. Yes, those dirt-cheap Echo Dots are pretty dang tempting, but do you really need another Alexa-enabled speaker?

Sure, FOMO is real, but so is buyer’s remorse. In fact, nine out of 10 say they experience buyer’s remorse from impulse purchases, according to this Google survey from May — while 42 percent say they’ve bought something because it was on sale, then later regretted it. Be careful out there, folks.