How to Spot a Fake Amazon Prime Early Access Deal

Photo of a smartphone with the Amazon logo in front of a screen showing the Amazon website

photo: DennisCharlotte (Getty Images)

Amazon will be rolling out plenty of Prime Early Access deals to consumers over the next 48 hours, but it turns out not every “deal” offers as big of a discount as it claims. Sure, the sticker might say 50% off, but price history is a fleeting thing: if a product is advertised at 50% off manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), but it hasn’t been sold at MSRP in ages, then Your offer could actually be considerably less.

These sorts of slip-ups are often the result of accident or ignorance, but some less scrupulous companies temporarily raise prices ahead of big sales just to make the discounts seem bigger than they actually are. Whether this is legal depends on where you live, but even if it’s not officially kosher, that won’t stop some sellers from taking a “it’s better to ask forgiveness than ask for permission” approach.

During the Prime Early Access Sale, our friends over at The inventory will do their best to help you find out which offers are really worth your time. But there are also tools you can use to see how much of a discount you’re really getting. We’ve primarily focused on browser-based tools rather than extensions or apps to help keep your personal information safe.

CamelCamelCamel

A screenshot of a camelcamelcamel chart

screenshot: CamelCamelCamel

CamelCamelCamel is one of the most popular tools for tracking Amazon price history. Just search for an item or paste an Amazon URL into the search bar, and you’ll be taken to a handy chart that shows the highest and lowest price an item has ever sold for, as well as the price points it was at days in the past years. You can also compare the official Amazon price to third-party prices, including those that sell the item new and used. No email address is required, and while there is a browser extension, it’s entirely optional. If you choose to give CamelCamelCamel your email address, you can have the website send you an email when the price of a particular item drops.

The only downsides are that the site’s UI itself is a bit dated and the site only tracks prices in 8 countries.

hold on

A screenshot of a Keepa chart

screenshot: hold on

hold on Similar to CamelCamelCamel except that it tracks prices in 12 countries including India, Brazil and Mexico. In addition to all of CamelCamelCamel’s features, it also offers a number of features that CamelCamelCamel doesn’t have, including the ability to scrub through its charts to find out what a price was within a given range on a given day. You can also Import your Amazon Wishlist to create custom price watch pages, there is also an offer landing page that highlights recent price drops, complete with many adjustable filters. CCC also technically has a landing page for offers, although the site’s dated UI makes it a bit difficult to navigate.

Unfortunately, some tools, like tracking sales rankings and including shipping in your pricing, require a subscription.

Google shopping

A screenshot of a Google Shopping Chart

screenshot: Google

Google shopping is not quite as robust as CamelCamelCamel and Keepa as it doesn’t track price history. What it does offer, however, is an easy way to compare current prices across different websites without having to install an extension. You can also use the Google search suite here, so you can search specifically for items in physical locations near you. That might not be particularly useful during the Prime Early Access sale, but being able to compare prices on other sites can be helpful in determining if Amazon’s prices are inflated or have been recently. It’s also helpful for finding out which stores might be stocking low-stock items, and with Prime Early Access deals gradually flooding into competing storefronts, you can keep up with the competition here.

There are also a number of filter options per item that you can use to refine your search. For example, when you search for iPhones on Google Shopping, you can limit your results to specific specs like RAM and storage capacity.

PCPartPicker

A screenshot of a PCPartPicker diagram

screenshot: PCPartPicker

PCPartPicker is one of the most robust but also most specialized price trackers on this list. While the site is primarily known for helping its users choose PC components that complement each other, each component listed will also tell you how much it has historically cost at different locations. The websites shown vary by item, but almost always include mainstays like Walmart, Best Buy, and Newegg. You can see prices for individual days up to two years ago, but the catch is that Amazon isn’t included in the list. Still, it’s a useful tool for seeing how Amazon’s prices compare to those found on other sites all in one place. Also, many non-Amazon sites will have their own deals during Prime sales events anyway, so it’s good practice to check those out as well.

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