You know how the saying goes, "there is no such thing as a free lunch."
It's a phrase that suggests that things that appear too good to be true will always have some hidden cost—and this couldn't be more of an accurate way to describe Amazon's business practices and the pseudo-wellness products marketed.
We're lucky we live in a world where we can pretty much buy whatever we want from the comfort of our homes. Amazon's low prices and next-day delivery appeal to unassuming consumers who want convenience and the best prices for their favorite wellness supplements, but we're here to peel back the curtains and show you the true cost of these so-called health products.
The Low Barrier To Entry For Amazon Sellers
The majority of items sold on Amazon aren't sold by Amazon but by third-party sellers. The low barrier to entry to become an Amazon seller is a huge problem. Shady entrepreneurs have found a platform on Amazon to cash in on the trend, with the health and wellness market steadily growing in the past several years.
These retailers have no concerns about their customers and are purely in it for the wrong reasons.
Amazon has allowed so-called CBD brands to enter their massive market of over 197 million people worldwide to sell stolen and even snake-oil CBD products. The lack of a proper vetting system for these vendors has cost millions of customers their hard-earned cash and potentially dangerous health risks.
A shocking example of how poor Amazon's vetting system is for sellers is Wellgrade.
Wellgrade sells a Hemp Cream made from "Natural Hemp Extract" for "discomfort in the knees, joints, and lower back."
According to the product listing, this product contains "1 billion MG of natural hemp extract" in a 4-ounce jar, which is outrageous. 1 billion mg of hemp extract converts into 2,204.62 lbs.
Forget the unbelievably low price and the 5-star rating—how did Wellgrade defy the laws of physics?
Rampant Counterfeit & Fake Supplements
The rise of counterfeit goods on the internet has skyrocketed. And as a large corporation trusted by over a hundred million shoppers, you'd think Amazon would be a more dependable retailer, but it's nothing more than a virtual flea market.
A major Wall Street Journal investigation uncovered that Amazon has thousands of mislabeled, banned, expired, and unsafe products on their marketplace.
You may find a supplement or a brand that you're familiar with on Amazon only to end up with a completely counterfeit product, with who knows what inside the bottle. It's not only illegal to produce fake supplements, but you can bet that these will do nothing to support your wellness journey.
The FDA recently found illicit drugs in many Amazon product listings that have the coveted "Amazon's Choice" and "Best Sellers" badges (Consumer Reports).
We conducted investigations at Neurogan on the safety of popular Amazon wellness products and found high heavy metal and pesticide products listed as "dietary supplements" and "superfoods."
When we confronted the online retail giants, Amazon ignored these allegations and failed to pull these listings from their platform, which is incredibly irresponsible.
Amazon Kills Small Businesses
Hundreds of thousands of honest, dream-inspired family-owned businesses during the pandemic shut their doors while Amazon reported $8.1 billion in profits, doubling the previous year's earnings (New York Times).
As Amazon continues to grow, it leaves a wake of independent failed businesses.
Before the pandemic hit, a 2019 study found that only 11% of independent sellers on Amazon described their experience as successful. That begs the question of crooked seller partnerships on Amazon for these unsafe and counterfeit products (Institute For Local Self-Reliance).
While domestic Amazon sellers face ongoing obstacles to keep their eCommerce businesses afloat, reports have declared that China constitutes 75% of active seller origin in the top four core Amazon markets—US, UK, Germany, and Japan (MarketPlace Pulse).
You Can't Trust Amazon Reviews
How many of you look to reviews as part of your online purchasing decisions?
What happens when you can't trust these reviews?
A data leak unraveled 13 million fake reviews on Amazon that propped up products to appear better than reality, tricking unsuspecting customers into purchasing stolen, fake, and expired products.
This scam works by Amazon vendors sending products to reviewers who are willing to write a five-star review in exchange for easy cash.
This horrible practice shows that you have to be wary about what's sold on Amazon, as there is very little vetting for who can sell products on the platform.
Amazon Claims To Prohibit CBD Sales, But You Can Still Find Products On The Site
The Washington Post wrote an article investigating the shady CBD market on Amazon. Because CBD is a cannabis-derived compound, the e-commerce giant claims its policy prohibits the sale of CBD or all cannabinoid-based products.
However, the investigators were still able to purchase CBD products on Amazon. Evio Labs determined that 11 out of the 13 products purchased contained CBD, and one product contained a small amount of THC. None of the product listings mentioned "CBD," but with clever copywriting, shoppers understood what they were looking at (The Washington Post).
Amazon Doesn't Know The Difference Between CBD Oil & Hemp Oil
Hemp oil and CBD oil are not the same things. This distinction is where many new customers might get mislead.
For one, hemp oil is made from hemp seeds, which do not contain any cannabinoids. Hemp seed oil is a food product rich in omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, but it doesn't provide the same benefits as cannabinoids.
While CBD is supposedly banned on Amazon, hemp seed oil, sometimes listed as hemp oil, is not banned.
There's a dirty marketing practice on Amazon where sellers pitch culinary hemp seed oil as having the same benefits of CBD extracts for a higher price tag. You'll find scam Amazon listings that say things like "contains hemp extract," which usually implies cannabinoids but contain nothing more than hemp seed oil you can purchase at the supermarket.
Final Thoughts: Don't Fall For Amazon's Tricks & Shop With Reputable Brands
Amazon certainly has many people fooled by cheaper prices and next-day delivery convenience, but when you pull back the curtain to reveal how everything comes together, it makes you question the legitimacy of it all.
Don't underestimate your purchasing power. Rather than shopping on an e-commerce mogul platform that shows very little care for its customers, shop for CBD products from brands that have values that align with yours.
Neurogan is a proudly family-owned and run business committed to providing safe and effective CBD products to fit just about anyone's needs.
As a shopping best practice, you want to read the label carefully to ensure it contains hemp or CBD extract, not just hemp seed oil. Since we can't always take the brand's word for it, look for a Certificate of Analysis from a non-biased independent lab. This document will give you a breakdown of the cannabinoid profile, potency, as well as a contaminant report.
Read forums and third-party review sites on other customers' experiences with the brand and product to see if it's right for you before taking the risk with a new brand.
For more articles like this and industry news, you can read more on our blog or subscribe to our Insider Scoop to receive updates and deals on our products straight to your inbox.