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VCURamFan 09-05-2012 10:08 PM

Get a Bargain on Amazon by Pretending to Sell the Item You Want to Buy


Amazon is full of third-party sellers that list their items with the massive online retailer for better exposure, but, as the Consumerist notes, that makes for a lot of competition. Competition drives down prices, and you can do that, too, by pretending to sell something.

The Wall Street Journal teamed up with to analyze price fluctuations on Amazon. The changes from third-party sellers on Amazon were far more frequent than other sites:

Last month, retailers on changed prices on a Samsung 43-inch plasma television four times over the course of a day, between $398 and $424, according to Around midday, Best Buy boosted the price to $500 from $400 before dropping it back down, while electronics retailer Newegg in the morning raised its price to $600 from $500.
If you've ever sold something on Amazon before, you've probably noticed this. You set the lowest price, and later in the day you notice that someone has attempted to undercut you. This sucks if you're a seller, but it's good news if you're a buyer. All you have to do is list the item you want to buy, wait for a competing seller to drop their price, and then buy the item from them. If someone tries to purchase your competitively priced, fake item, you can always cancel the sale without penalty.

This is a manipulative little trick, and one I imagine Amazon won't care for if they realize you're doing it. It's not something you should do in general, but there are a few instances where I think it's warranted. Often times third-party sellers will overprice their goods because they're scarce. If you want to buy a more rare item, you'll likely end up paying over the suggested retail price. Driving the cost down to what the item should actually cost is okay in my book. The only sad part about this trick is you'll be misleading other buyers if they purchase your item. They'll think they're getting a deal and then you'll cancel it. You're probably not going to ruin anyone's day by doing this, but it's still collateral damage in your quest for a lower (or at least fair) price. Consider that before proceeding.

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