So I ordered the set. After some days, I get a notification that the set has been shipped. But no tracking number, which is odd for a shipment of such value.
After a week or two, I contacted the seller if they could give me a tracking number or at least confirm the address they sent it to. They gave no tracking number a confirmed the shipping address, but left out the country.
So I asked in response if they could confirm the country. I then was told that the address the shipment was sent to was the address in my contact info, without details.
So I again contacted them with the request to explicitly confirm the shipping country. Then I was told that they could not find me other and therefore refunded my money.
Two weeks later, I went back to Amazon and noticed they re-listed the item (https://www.amazon.com/Douglas-Adams-Hitchhiker-Trilogy/dp/B...)
* Diablo III: Book of Cain (https://www.amazon.com/Diablo-III-Deckard-Blizzard-Entertain...)
* The American Pageant (https://www.amazon.com/American-Pageant-fifteenth-Kennedy-Ha...)
* Calculus: Concepts and Applications (https://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Concepts-Applications-Paul-F...)
* The Free Range Cook: Simple Pleasures (https://www.amazon.com/Free-Range-Cook-Simple-Pleasures/dp/B...)
* O'Connor Violin Method Book I and CD (https://www.amazon.com/OConnor-Violin-Method-Book-CD/dp/B005...)
* Winnie the Pooh Complete Collection 30 Books Box Set (https://www.amazon.com/Winnie-Complete-Collection-Books-Slip...)
* No Excuses! The Power of Self-discipline (https://www.amazon.com/Excuses-Power-Self-discipline-Brian-H...)
* Straight White Men (https://www.amazon.com/Straight-White-Young-March-Paperback/...)
* Sequential Spelling 3: Teacher's Guide (https://www.amazon.com/Sequential-Spelling-3-Teachers-Guide/...)
The item I ordered has been re-listed at the same price point, a bit after I received my refund for it.
Interestingly, there are now 6 sellers offering the same set with "Used - Good" condition and prices ranging from $506.00 to $548.32. There were only 3 sellers when I checked last time. All of these 6 sellers have a storefront with 300,000 - 700,000 items in them. And this includes a new shop that hasn't sold anything yet!
Since I received my refund As the store I ordered from is the only one shipping to Europe, I asked them if they'd ship be willing to sell it to me again. First they were eager and even offered a 30% discount. When I asked if they could add tracking for a second order, the tone became less friendly and I was asked to remove my (negative) feedback for the initial order.
I'd also asked an explanation for what went wrong with my order but haven't received any.
I also came to notice that this seller uses a kind of broken English very reminiscent of the broken English of sellers on AliExpress. So I suspect that her native language is Chinese and this account is a good example of a Chinese scammer account. And the same probably applies as well to the other 5 accounts I spotted which sell the same item at roughly the same place.
AliExpress sure has its flaws, but I never really had that much issues with ordering on AliExpress. And I certainly never came close to experiences as strange / fishy on AliExpress as my recent experience with third party sellers on Amazon... which really surprises me, as this type of seller should be easy to spot, even by an algorithm!
I'll definitely think twice next time I see an interesting book - or set of books - on Amazon that's sold by a third party seller! I feel like Amazon urgently has some serious closet cleaning to do!