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7 red flags that could mean a product on Amazon is actually junk

amazon warehouseNoah Berger/Reuters

  • Millions of Amazon items are listed online, ranging from products with stellar reviews to those with extremely low ratings.
  • Some items available for sale do not meet certain regulations or otherwise come from sketchy third-party sellers.
  • Here are some easy ways to tell if an item ordered from Amazon will turn out to be junk.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Millions of Amazon items are ordered each and every day. But as any longtime shopper knows, there's always a chance that replacement phone charger you've been considering will turn out to be junk.

In addition to negative — or even falsely positive reviews — Consumer Reports told Business Insider that buyers should be wary of items that may not comply with federal safety standards or have even been recalled. In these cases, items may not only be poor quality, but also extremely dangerous.

Read more: 21 products you should buy on Amazon — and 22 more you should skip every time

Business Insider has previously reported other things to be aware of when ordering from Amazon, including sneaky ways Amazon gets Prime members to spend more. Kevin Webb previously reported on two websites can help you compare costs so you don't end up spending more than you need to.

Keep reading for a look at some easy ways to know if your new Amazon purchase will turn out to be junk.

You check the reviews and ratings for poor scores.

Flickr/John Benson

On Amazon, like with other online retailers, overwhelmingly bad reviews usually signify a bad item. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it can be easy to click and order something you need, and you'll be disappointed when your new charger breaks after two days.

At a quick glance, consumers can check to see if the item received just one or two stars in its rating. Even if this is the case, it's worth scrolling down to read specifically what the issue was, and many reviewers provide photographs, or even videos, to give prospective buyers a better sense of the item they are about to purchase.

You notice the warning signs for fake reviews.

Matt Cardy / Stringer / Getty Images

Before ordering the item that received five stars over the one that received three, you should be wary of the warning signs for false positive reviews. Many sources — including Wirecutter and previous Business Insider reporting — have published guides on how to spot fakes.

Related: Fake products sold by places like Walmart or Amazon hold risks of everything from cyanide to rat droppings — here's how to make sure what you're buying is real

"The veracity and authenticity of the reviews on Amazon has been well scrutinized and challenged by outside groups, media, and even members of Congress," Consumer Reports told Business Insider in an email.

Consumer Reports defined review hacking as "unscrupulous sellers" taking positive customer reviews from other products and integrating them into their own listings.

"It can provide even a shoddy product with thousands of four- and five-star reviews, and in some cases, earn an 'Amazon's Choice' label," Consumer Reports told Business Insider.

Consumer Reports recommended that online shoppers read reviews thoroughly. "You may find, as CR did, five-star reviews for coffee mugs and air dusters attached to a listing for an Amazon's Choice iPhone headphone adapter."

Reviewers note that an Amazon fulfillment order was not received.

Associated Press

A big red flag that a product may not be what it advertises itself to be is consumers noting their order was delayed or never received. This is often a sign of previous scams.

Two out of the three categories of Amazon sellers actually do not need to be verified by Amazon before shipping. Business Insider recommends skipping third-party sellers altogether as a surefire way to avoid potentially faulty items.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: 21 products you should buy on Amazon — and 22 more you should skip every time

DON'T MISS: 8 subtle ways Amazon is targeting teenagers and turning them into loyal Prime members

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