In the social networks, especially on Facebook, supposed dealers advertise cheap Amazon pallets with high-quality technology for little money. star explains what is behind it.
They promise great happiness for little money: Amazon pallets. For months, social networks, especially Facebook, have been aggressively promoting these shopping surprise bags. It should be about returns and “uncollected Amazon packages” that are to be squandered in large quantities for small amounts – to make room in the warehouse, of course.
There are pictures of huge boxes full of iPhones, Playstation consoles and expensive technology, including links to online shops where you can try your luck for little money, usually from 30 euros. Doubters get their heads washed in the comments, where hundreds of “satisfied customers” line up with alleged photographic evidence, reporting on the big catch. What could possibly go wrong?
There are no pallets of iPhones from Amazon
This journey then leads to portals with addresses that sound as if someone has banged their head on the keyboard. Here a huge picture opens with a warehouse. On it to read: “Get your surprise here!”. It only takes a few clicks to buy. The pallet shops are often expanded with their own range of cheap junk goods – if there is still space in the shopping cart.
“This is 99.9 percent fraud,” says Ralf Hastedt, managing director of Avides, a company that has been working with Amazon in the returns business for more than 20 years. “You will never find an iPhone, Playstation or similar product in such boxes that Amazon can easily sell itself as a return.”
Hastedt should know, because Amazon itself calls him the “master of things”, i.e. the man who, with his team, digs through several truckloads of returned goods every day in order to find valuable items for resale among the thousands of returns – and Amazon to help process the mountains of returns.
Return pallets are a dealer’s business
So it’s true: Amazon actually offers such pallets. But: These collections of goods do not go to private customers for little money, as suggested on Facebook, but in large quantities to companies, which in turn supply commercial customers. According to Ralf Hastedt, in the case of Avides, it was never a piñata with enormous value, but rather a clearly declared returned item that the other side knows what’s in it.
If you want to purchase goods directly from Amazon, you can take part in auctions, for example. On “Bstock,” Amazon sells “small truckloads” of returns directly to registered customers. Such a package with a goods value of 244,689 euros and 5707 items, for example, sells for around 43,000 euros here – unit price of the goods around 7.50 euros. With this offer, however, Amazon is explicitly aimed at traders.
“From a purely legal point of view, it would not be possible to simply forward such pallets to private buyers and make customers hot that there are luxury goods here for pennies,” explains Hastedt. “The legal provisions make this difficult, if not impossible. Who would assume the warranty? How would you handle returns if you didn’t like the goods? The effort would be huge – and the disappointment would usually be great.”
Youtube and Tiktok trend “Mystery Boxes”
But what is it about videos from big Youtubers like Alexander Reckhaus, who has more than a million subscribers with his “AlexV” channel and gets six-digit clicks in videos like “I have ordered NEW AMAZON RETURNS! (unverified goods)”? On the one hand, Hastedt suspects that these are often goods that Reckhaus could possibly buy with a trade license. In the videos, the Youtuber often talks about getting the goods “from corners” and he runs a shop selling the usable finds.
On the other hand, there actually seem to be shops that send return pallets from Germany directly to private individuals. The linked video mentions “I’m cheaper”. After all: It doesn’t have much to do with the obvious scam of the Facebook pages.
But the operators also play it safe. Unchecked goods, such as a return pallet for 1,200 euros, which according to the shop has a goods value of 5,700 euros, are not treated like normal goods. The ad says: “This product is sold to dealers B2B resellers but also private individuals who are treated like dealers.” Means no returns.
The situation is different with checked returns. These are collection boxes that only contain goods that work and can be used. These boxes are currently available for a maximum of 250 euros, the value of the goods should be around 500 euros. However, there is one exception: the “Retouren Secret Packs” offered have not been checked and can be returned, but only if you do not open them beforehand.
Confusing, but not a scam in this case. This is supported by various features that the mentioned Facebook advertisers lack. There is an imprint, numerous payment options are offered, the return rules are clearly defined and – nowhere is it mentioned that an iPhone or a Playstation 5 is most likely slumbering in the packages. Unlike Hastedt, it seems to be worthwhile for the operators – and the risks mentioned are justifiable.
However, “AlexV” shows the naked reality in his videos: he usually unpacks household goods, including razors or vacuum robots. Sometimes computer peripherals are also included. But the conclusion of many videos is: The value of the goods is only somehow achieved with two closed eyes, but at least the stake is usually recovered and you can even make a profit in the event of a sale. However, it turns out that hardly any private person would be really happy with such a product collection – very few need three electric toothbrushes, one of which is visibly used.
Only really interesting for dealers
The returns business therefore remains opaque – in the truest sense of the word. The fact is: there are pallets that are indispensable in today’s mail order business and where returns occur, there are buyers who take care of the goods. But it is also a fact – and you can see that in every video by “AlexV” – that the legendary iPhone find will almost certainly not be found.
For private individuals who are not interested in collecting unnecessary electronics, buying these boxes or pallets is therefore unattractive. If you really want to try it out, the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer advice center has tips on what to look out for in such shops.
If you want to go to the trouble of picking apart pallets and making a profit from retail sales as a trader, you can make a job out of it with a lot of effort – taking into account return and warranty rights.
As far as the ads are concerned, which continue to be aimed primarily at private individuals, stern Meta, the Facebook parent company, asked for a statement on the selection of advertising partners at the beginning of November. There is no answer so far.