Ordering formula from Amazon in Canada has pitfalls
Many American parents are feeling desperate to get formula for their infants amid a nationwide shortage, but the online ordering tips spreading on Facebook aren’t the silver bullet, it seems. -he.
“TO ALL THE MOMS WHO CAN’T FIND A BABY FORMULA,” a Facebook post read. “Go to Amazon…go downstairs…go from the USA to Canada. You can get all the formula you need. There is no shortage, only in the USA. Get it deliver to your doorstep.”
“TikTok Hack,” said another post. “Supposedly, if you go to Amazon and go to Canada, you can order formula, no shortage.”
These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The Associated Press reported on May 16 that the formula shortage in the United States was beginning to affect some Canadian stores, but the country is not as affected as its neighbor to the south.
However, changing your preferred country/region from the United States to Canada on Amazon’s website is no escape for US residents to tap into Canadian stocks.
U.S.-based Amazon customers can’t buy infant formula on Amazon.ca if it’s sold and shipped by Amazon or sold by third-party sellers and shipped by Amazon, according to the company.
“We know these products are of great importance to parents and caregivers and are working closely with our business partners to return them to stock as quickly as possible,” an Amazon spokesperson said.
Third-party sellers on Amazon can ship their own products across the border, but as Snopes noted, that comes at a cost. When a Snopes reporter tried to buy formula from a third-party seller, the shipping price listed was $35.
After a US-based PolitiFact reporter changed his preferred region to Canada on the Amazon website and followed the steps to try and order a few stock formulas in Canada from third-party sellers, the reporter received an apology message from Amazon: “Sorry, this item cannot be shipped to the address you selected.”
Jenifer Lightdale, a pediatric gastroenterologist at UMass Memorial Children’s Medical Center, told KHOU in Houston that she does not recommend parents import infant formula from other countries.
“You might think you buy it in Canada, but someone gives canned flour,” she said. “You don’t really know who you’re buying it from.”
Some Facebook posts claim that Americans can order infant formula from Canada on Amazon and have it shipped to US addresses if customers change their preferred country from the US to Canada on Amazon’s website.
That’s not quite fair; these messages ignore critical facts that leave desperate parents with a misleading impression.
Formulas sold and fulfilled by Amazon, and formulas sold by third-party sellers and fulfilled by Amazon, do not cross the border to an address in the United States, regardless of how you change your settings.
But there’s an element of truth here: Third-party sellers who do their own shipping can send orders across the border. But this comes at a cost and carries some security risks.
We rate these posts mostly fake.