User reports have emerged over the past month that Amazon customers have been receiving fake AMD Ryzen CPUs.
The first instance came via a Reddit user who posted an album of photos showing his ‘new’ Ryzen 7 1700 CPU to in fact be an Intel Celeron processor with 2.9 GHz and an AMD sticker poorly plastered on. A few days later, the same thing happened to another user. Both also received beaten up looking passive coolers instead of the Wraith-Spire-LED cooler that was supposed to be bundled in with the processor.
The differences between the products should be evident to any seasoned builder who is enough of an enthusiast to be shopping around for processors. There are a few obvious differences between an Intel Socket LGA CPU and an AMD Ryzen CPU built for Socket AM4, the main one pointed out by the first user being Intel’s lack of pins. Less obvious signs are the edges of the processors – Intel’s have notches while Ryzen CPUs have straight edges. These differences however may not be evident to first-timers, and there are likely a few people who have been conned by the scam.
This isn’t the first time that Amazon has been embroiled in a selling scandal relating to PC components. In 2015 it was reported that customers buying graphics cards through Amazon’s Warehouse Deals (the online retailer’s warehouse-damaged, used and refurbished wing) had received inferior products.
In both situations it would seem that the scammers have bought the component from Amazon, replaced it in the box with an inferior or knock-off product, and returned it to the retailer who has sold it on through its Warehouse Deals section. Amazon claims that it "thoroughly tests the functional and physical condition of each item," however this is an example of that system not quite working thoroughly.
Luckily for the affected customers, Amazon has sent replacements with overnight delivery so they have ended up with what they ordered. Still, this brings into question the quality assurance claims made by the company around its Warehouse Deals, and this may deter potential customers from using the service.