You Might Be Buying Trash on Amazon: Literally – Wall Street Journal

Some Amazon third-party sellers sell second-hand products as new on the site—some even claim to sell products they found while digging through garbage dumpsters. The Wall Street Journal set out to test their claims by setting up an Amazon storefront and gathering some trash. Photo: Robert Alcaraz/The Wall Street Journal.

Just about anyone can open a store on Amazon.com and sell just about anything. Just ask the dumpster divers.

These are among the dedicated cadre of sellers on Amazon who say they sort through other people’s rejects, including directly from the trash, clean them up and list them on Amazon.com Inc.’s platform. Many post their hunting accounts on YouTube.

They are an elusive lot. Many The Wall Street Journal contacted wouldn’t give details about their listings, said they stopped selling dumpster finds or no longer listed them as new, didn’t respond to inquiries or stopped communicating. Some said they feared Amazon would close their stores.

So the Journal set out to test whether these claims were true. Reporters went dumpster diving in several New Jersey towns and retrieved dozens of discards from the trash including a stencil set, scrapbook paper and a sealed jar of Trader Joe’s lemon curd.

The Journal set up a store on Amazon to see if it could list some of its salvaged goods for sale as new.

Source: You Might Be Buying Trash on Amazon: Literally – Wall Street Journal