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Just about anyone can accessible a abundance on Amazon.com and advertise aloof about anything. Aloof ask the dumpster divers.

These are amid the committed core of sellers on Amazon who say they array through added people’s rejects, including anon from the trash, apple-pie them up and annual them on Amazon.com Inc.’s belvedere . Many column their hunting accounts on YouTube.

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They are an ambiguous lot. Many The Wall Street Journal contacted wouldn’t accord capacity about their listings, said they chock-full affairs dumpster finds or no best listed them as new, didn’t acknowledge to inquiries or chock-full communicating. Some said they feared Amazon would abutting their stores.

So the Journal set out to analysis whether these claims were true. Reporters went dumpster diving in several New Jersey towns and retrieved dozens of discards from the debris including a arrangement set, anthology agenda and a closed jar of Trader Joe’s auto curd.

The Journal set up a abundance on Amazon to see if it could annual some of its salvaged appurtenances for auction as new.

It angry out to be easy.

Amazon’s declared rules didn’t absolutely prohibit items salvaged from the debris back the Journal arise the actuality of its abundance to the aggregation aftermost month. The rules adapted that best appurtenances be new and acclaimed that sellers could activity acclimated books and electronics, amid added things, if they articular them as such.

“Sellers are amenable for affair Amazon’s aerial bar for artefact quality,” an Amazon spokeswoman said. Examples the Journal presented to Amazon of dumpster-sourced listings “are alone incidents,” she said. “We are investigating and will booty adapted activity adjoin the bad actors involved.”

She beneath to animadversion on the Journal’s store.

Late aftermost week, Amazon said it adapted its action to absolutely prohibit affairs items taken from the trash, abacus to its annual of unacceptable items any “intended for abolition or auctioning or contrarily appointed as unsellable by the architect or a supplier, vendor, or retailer.”

Control issues

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Amazon exerts bound ascendancy over its third-party marketplace, which connects buyers with millions of merchants about the world. The aggregation has said it isn’t accountable for what these merchants sell, adage in cloister cases Amazon itself isn’t the one affairs the articles listed by third parties.

“We had an centralized saying: Unless the product’s on blaze back we acquire it, we would acquire anything,” said James Thomson, who helped baby-sit the Accomplishment By Amazon program — beneath which Amazon handles acumen for third-party sellers — afore abrogation in 2013. He is now a adviser to brands with Amazon accounts. In his view, he said, “Ultimately consumers are the badge of the platform.”

The Amazon spokeswoman said Thomson’s “statements are demonstrably false.” Thomson said he stood by his assertions.

Wade Coggins, abreast Beaverton, Ore., said he finds items to advertise on Amazon and eBay in abundance approval sections, alone accumulator units and dumpsters. He said he has salvaged agenda boxes, balloon blanket and atom from debris bins to amalgamation his orders.

Blemishes charge to be bankrupt off, he said, abacus that some bodies shrink-wrap items to accomplish them attending added legitimate. “When you accelerate actuality in to Amazon,” he said, “it needs to attending cast new.”

Coggins articular one Amazon store and said he had addition that he beneath to disclose. The Amazon backer said the aggregation couldn’t acquisition affirmation of a added store.

To annual items beneath Amazon Prime — the cable annual alms quick, chargeless commitment — third-party sellers accelerate them to an Amazon warehouse area the banker handles packaging, commitment and returns. Aircraft boxes or labels generally accommodate Amazon branding. Sellers can additionally address anon to barter from their homes and warehouses, condoning for a Prime appellation if they accept in a affairs alleged Seller Fulfilled Prime.

Amazon merchant David Gracy, 49, who amid added things resells new commodity purchased from aliment and cast closeouts, said his business accomplice in 2016 salvaged items from dumpsters including a accumulation of humidifiers and keyboards in Austin, Texas. Gracy’s Amazon store awash such items for added than a year beneath Amazon Prime, he said. He said he hasn’t awash dumpster finds back then.

He said he wouldn’t be adequate affairs assertive salvaged items, such as food, on the site, but “Amazon’s not activity to ask ‘Where’d you get it from? Did you get it from a dumpster?’ “

‘DJ Co’ opens shop

Amazon said it requires sellers to accommodate government-issued identification and uses a “system that analyzes hundreds of different abstracts credibility to analyze abeyant risk” and “we proactively block apprehensive businesses.”

The Journal activated to accessible an Amazon store in September by appointment a reporter’s driver’s authorization and coffer statement. Two canicule later, “DJ Co” was accessible for business.

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An email accustomed declaring: “Welcome to Accomplishment by Amazon.” The Journal active up for a $39.99-a-month annual and paid added fees, such as for storage.

Late one night several canicule afore the abundance opened, reporters with flashlights and dejected acrylic gloves visited Clifton, Clark and Paramus, N.J., scouring dumpsters abaft outlets such as a Michaels ability abundance and a Trader Joe’s grocery.

The bins were a boiling blend of burst bottle and burst boxes, a fetor of rot in the air. Several articles were in aboriginal packaging, some decrepit with coffee grounds, aged blackberries or abstract from a bag of craven thighs.

Among items the reporters retrieved were a arrangement set, a area of anthology agenda and the auto curd. The acerbate jar showed an cessation date of May 2020.

The Journal bankrupt and arranged the three items — bubble-wrapping and taping the acerbate jar — and mailed them to an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania in September and October. The Journal completed Amazon’s affidavit requirements by allegorical the items’ accepted artefact codes, the numbers abutting to bar codes on best products.

Amazon didn’t ask about the inventory’s origins or sell-by dates.

The Journals’ dumpster finds were anon up for auction with an Amazon Prime logo, accessible to millions of shoppers, including the advertisement for “Trader Joe’s Imported English Authentic Auto Acerbate 10.5oz” at $12.00.

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After a afterwards dumpster dive, the Journal was able to go through about all of the advertisement action with salvaged animation mints, sunflower seeds, marmalade, crispbread, fig bake-apple butter, olives, a chaplet and a Halloween affectation — endlessly aloof abbreviate of aircraft them to the Amazon warehouse, which is adapted for an account to arise for acquirement on the site.

To annual a sunscreen lotion, Amazon asked for a safety-data sheet. Attempts to annual a protein powder, a pea-powder comestible supplement and a face area affectation — all from the dive — elicited a appeal from Amazon for affidavit of purchase.

A Trader Joe’s spokeswoman, Kenya Friend-Daniel, said the grocer doesn’t accept of its products’ auction on Amazon and that its action is to abandon an account alone if it isn’t fit for sale. Michaels backer Mallory Smith said: “We do not accept of the auction of Michaels articles by crooked third affair sellers.”

‘Broken things’

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Amazon uses barn workers to analyze ambiguous products, and computers absolute workers to accomplish atom checks. Some above advisers said the circadian aggregate is generally too ample to handle, with workers answerable with scanning sometimes hundreds of items an hour.

“I myself abandoned burst things added generally than not,” said Chris Grantham, who captivated several roles in Amazon’s accomplishment centermost in Ruskin, Fla., until 2017, including quality-assurance inspector.

Amazon urged acceleration over precision, chastening workers who didn’t hit abundance requirements, he said. Workers sometimes afflicted cessation dates for asleep articles in the computer, he said, so they wouldn’t be accepted to accomplish a complicated auctioning action — a adjustment acclaimed by several barn advisers in a altercation advised by the Journal in a belted Facebook accumulation for Amazon workers.

The Amazon spokeswoman said workers accept the ascendancy to amusement unacceptable articles and that Amazon employs “multiple checks and balances in the account and acrimonious action to ensure affection ascendancy standards are upheld.” Regarding worker-productivity requirements, she said “performance is abstinent and evaluated over a continued aeon of time.”

Jesse Durfee said he has acclimated Amazon to advertise toys, videogames, electronics and trinkets from dumpsters including bins abaft Michaels and GameStop stores. The 26-year-old in Torrington, Conn., said one of his admired places to acquisition things to annual on Amazon is his boondocks dump. He said he lists his dumpster finds as acclimated and beneath to analyze his storefront, adage he fears added sellers ability try to demolition him.

In a 2017 YouTube video, he tests out television alien controls he said he begin in a dumpster and tells admirers they can ablution off breakable array compartments with baking soda and water.

He said he opened his Amazon store six years ago afterwards acumen it was added advantageous to resell account than assignment as a photographer. “I started with dumpster diving because I had no money to buy inventory,” he said, and angled into affairs at austerity aliment and discount-store approval sections for items to advertise on Amazon.

“I’ll go to pawnshops, I’ll go dumpster diving,” he said. “I’m one of those bodies who does everything.”

Negative comments

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Some sellers on Amazon’s centralized altercation boards accept accurate apropos about debris assuming up on the site. One, in a column blue-blooded “Dumpster Defined Overrunning Beauty Category,” wrote of items in bad action that resulted in complaints directed at the affiche and added sellers in the category.

The Amazon spokeswoman said the seller’s assuming of the class as actuality beat “is amiss and baseless.”

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