Navigating Mexico: The Great Amazon Ripoff
By JUAN DE JESÚS BREENE
Maybe this is no great discovery for other expats in Mexico, but it was to me.
Since I was headed out of Mexico, I was wondering if it was better to wait and buy certain items on Amazon outside the country and bring them back to the old-fashioned way or just buy certain imported items here in Mexico over the internet, assuming the cost might be slightly higher due to some tariffs or shipping costs.
Boy, was I wrong.
Like most expats, for me, buying local is always the goal, but sometimes Amazon is the answer for an obscure item.
And since I have a Prime membership, in many cases, delivery is free, so laziness sometimes wins out.
But what about big ticket items? Is there really any difference between Amazon Mexico and Amazon USA?
What about products that a typical consumer might only purchase every few years, such as a vacuum cleaner, a kitchen blender, a TV, a Bluetooth camera for the baby’s room?
The bottom line, from a small sampling of such products, is that these items are usually almost 50 percent cheaper when purchased from Amazon USA compared to the same product on Amazon Mexico.
Which means, buyer beware when it comes to buying on Amazon Mexico.
Granted, a big screen television will not fit into checked luggage, but some other items will.
My methodology was to find the exact same item on both sites, including model number.
Here are my results:
An iRobot Roomba 694 Robot Vacuum, if purchased in Amazon USA was $199, yet if purchased on Mexican Amazon, the cost went up to $323.05. That is a shameful markup of 62 percent.
A Samsung 43-Inch Class Crystal UHD AU8000 Series 4K UHD HDR Smart TV with Alexa Built-in (UN43AU8000FXZA, 2021 Model) if purchased on Amazon in the United States was $377- But if that same tv is purchased on Mexican Amazon, it costs $564.63. That constitutes a 50-percent markup.
A Blink Mini-Compact indoor plug-in smart security camera, 1080 HD video with night vision, motion detection and two-way audio, if purchased in Amazon USA was just 19.99. However, if purchased on Mexican Amazon, it costs $68.19. And that translates into a humongous markup of 241 percent.
Moving right along, I found that a Hamilton Beach Wave Crusher Blender with 40 Oz Glass Jar and 14 Functions for Puree, Ice Crush, Shakes and Smoothies, Stainless Steel (54221), if purchased on Amazon USA was $39.99, but that very same blender if purchased on Amazon Mexico comes to $57.74, constituting a 44-percent markup.
So the bottom line seems to be that while Amazon Mexico can be the way to go for some daily items like shampoo, extension cords, and even beating out Walmart México on such items, for bigger ticket items, it might be worth it to wait for an international trip and haul them back yourself.
Just remember you might have to pay an overweight charge to the airlines.