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Your Amazon Order Might Lock You Out of Trusted Traveler Programs

Your Amazon Order Might Lock You Out of Trusted Traveler Programs

Did you know that your shopping habits could be preventing you from enjoying the benefits of a Trusted Traveler program? One man found out the hard way that shopping through the Amazon Marketplace can land you in trouble with customs.

In a story outlined by LifeHack, a frequent traveler placed an order through the Amazon Marketplace for luggage by luxury brand Rimowa. He paid full price for the luggage and thus assumed that it was legit. However, his luggage never arrived and Amazon eventually refunded his money. Eventually, he went to Neiman Marcus and purchased the luggage in person and moved on with his life.

Until later when he applied for renewal of his Trusted Travel program, for “pre-approved, low-risk travelers” offered by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and was denied. It seems that customs had flagged the man for importing counterfeit goods. Even though it wasn’t his intention—and he never actually received his purchase.

Having a violation on your record for infringing on customs laws makes you ineligible for taking advantage of Trusted Travel—whether or not it was intentional. You can appeal the decision, but it’s a lengthy process that takes months. And in the meantime, you have to go through the regular line every time you travel.

Although the man’s story seems to be a first of its kind, it does highlight issues with buying online.  The Amazon Marketplace is convenient, it is also filled with counterfeit items and scams so you need to be very careful of what you purchase—especially if the item is from overseas. Warning signs are low prices, fake reviews and other signs. You can reach out to Amazon’s customer service if things seem off and purchase from stores directly when in doubt.

 

[Image: Flickr/Silus Grok]

View Comments (8)

8 Comments

  1. chavala

    January 13, 2018 at 7:19 am

    He paid full price for counterfeit? A bit hard to believe.

  2. kb9522

    January 13, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    Something doesn’t add up. Amazon pools all of the inventory for vendors to whom it provides fulfillment services. It’s a common scam for vendors to ship Amazon counterfeit goods, then recall the inventory in hopes of having non-counterfeit goods returned from the pool. All this to say it is impossible for the customer, the government, or almost any other interested party to know if he ordered a counterfeit item. There is more to this story that is not being told.

  3. FlyingNone

    January 13, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Good grief, and the US Customs CBP wants people to let them see their phones when they come into this country – apparently they don’t need to make that request – they already can “track” our every move.

  4. certils

    January 18, 2018 at 4:43 am

    Not to mention that our Amazon account histories are being shared with the government. Is that in their terms of service?

  5. SamirD

    January 18, 2018 at 6:42 am

    I’ve seen very shady tactics and goods on both Amazon and ebay. If you really have to just buy it and go on with your life, buy it directly from the manufacturer’s website if possible. Otherwise, just go get it local so you can put your hands on the goods.

  6. polarbears

    January 18, 2018 at 9:25 am

    @kb9522 as far as I understand it was shipped by the seller, not from Amazon.

  7. CEB

    January 18, 2018 at 11:48 am

    “You can appeal the decision, but it’s a lengthy process that takes months.”

    B.S. the Trusted traveler ombudsman responds within 1-2 weeks at most, even during busy times, to legitimate concerns. This article is clearly a fake news sensationalization of a non-existent problem.

  8. Azureas

    January 18, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    “Not to mention that our Amazon account histories are being shared with the government. Is that in their terms of service?”
    ++++1 !
    Apparently Amazon transmit his personal data to customs and nobody contest or is shocked ?

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