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A guide to buying cheap Android accessories on Amazon

The Amazon Marketplace enables third-party sellers to market their products directly to customers. This means that there is no shortage of phone and tablet accessories available on Amazon, at very competitive prices.

Customer reviews are the real strength of Amazon, however. Rather than buying a third-party battery and crossing your fingers that it lives up to its advertised capacity, it is possible to read the experiences of others first.

It is important to bear in mind, though, that some of Amazon Marketplace’s strengths can also prove to be flaws.

Sellers effectively compete against each other within the same listing. Whilst this can help to bring down prices, for more generic products, it is not always clear what you are buying.

In a listing for a genuine Samsung Galaxy S4 battery, whilst many sellers will be supplying the real thing, some may be shipping fakes. Certainly Amazon’s customer reviews indicate there are those who feel they have been duped in this way.

Amazon mobile accessories - buying choices

Thankfully, there are some tips you can follow in order to increase your chances of avoiding substandard mobile accessories.

Don’t automatically select the ‘Add to basket’ button. Instead, manually review the sellers that are available by clicking on the link showing the number of new units available (see screenshot above).

You will now be presented with a list of sellers to chose from, sorted by the total cost of the product and delivery. Now search for a good balance between price and seller rating.

It is generally best to exercise caution before choosing a seller based outside your own region, as there may be import duty to pay. Also, avoid those who only have a small number of reviews, as their rating may be misleading.

Amazon mobile accessories - feedback history

More detailed information about a seller can be found by clicking on their feedback rating. This includes an historical breakdown of their feedback, showing whether their service is getting better, or worse, over time.

Amazon provides the opportunity to consider both product reviews and retailer feedback.

Although the seller may provide a good level of customer service, issues with a defective product won’t necessarily show up until some time after feedback has been left. This is why both product reviews and feedback scores should be considered together.

As Amazon’s review system does not display which seller an item was purchased from, you cannot guarantee that your purchase is the same product that has received numerous positive reviews. But you can increase your chances by buying from established sellers with a good feedback history.