Amazon's Credibility Problems Grow
Practices and procedures deceive and injure consumers.
March 28, 2017, Los Angeles, CA – Amazon would like consumers to believe that Amazon is a safe place to buy name-brand goods, but that is just not true. Amazon, already under fire for allowing and enabling the sale of counterfeits, is now facing a Consumer Watchdog report of deceptive pricing practices. The problem is that anybody, anywhere, can sell just about anything on Amazon.
“In Amazon's quest to be the low-cost provider of everything on the planet, the website has morphed into the world's largest flea market — a chaotic, somewhat lawless, bazaar with unlimited inventory” says a recent CNBC Report.
About 2-million unvetted Amazon Marketplace account holders account for 50% of Amazon sales and can ship products which are never inspected by Amazon, including lower priced counterfeit goods, from all over the world to unsuspecting consumers. Business Wire reported Amazon's claim that Marketplace Sellers, these third-party vendors, sold more than 2-billion items worldwide.
The cutthroat competition of Amazon pricing and a very real possibility of receiving a counterfeit does not facilitate a safe environment for consumers. Counterfeit products appear right next to authentic items conveying Amazon’s endorsement and the illusion they are from Amazon. Many counterfeits are competitively priced and visually indistinguishable from their authentic counterparts. Consumers often don't know they are being sold products from unknown global sellers.
Counterfeit sales have been a lucrative revenue source for the e-commerce giant, as transaction fees are charged for each sale of fake goods.
- Amazon policy purports; "The sale of counterfeit products, including any products that have been illegally replicated, reproduced, or manufactured, is strictly prohibited" -- but the fact is that counterfeit and replicas can be, and are, easily listed on Amazon.
- The Counterfeit Report, a consumer advocate and watchdog, sent formal infringement notices, authorized by the trademark holders, to Amazon for 32,626 infringing items offered on Amazon in just the past year. The Counterfeit Report also conducted dozens of name-brand test purchases from Amazon Fulfillment and Amazon Marketplace sellers, but never received an authentic item.
- Even after notifying Amazon of inarguable infringing listings, Amazon often did not remove the listings, although written responses claimed they did.
- Despite the counterfeit notifications, Amazon does not inform consumers that they may have received a dangerous or potentially deadly counterfeit product. Of course, consumers would then be entitled to a refund.
- Amazon seller profiles do not indicate punitive action by Amazon for counterfeit sales, and counterfeit sellers may remain despite repeated counterfeit complaints..
Dangerous and potentially deadly counterfeit items are a very real problem for consumers;
- Apple recently claimed that 90% of Apple Chargers it purchased from Amazon Direct were fake. Counterfeit Apple® USB Adapters have caused one death, fires, injuries and damaged equipment.
- A Tennessee family is suing Amazon for $30 million after a counterfeit hoverboard caught fire and completely destroyed their $1 million Nashville home in 2016, injuring two of the family’s four children according to the lawsuit obtained by The Counterfeit Report.
Counterfeit products are replicas of real products, designed to take advantage of the superior value and reputation of the real product. Amazon is proving to be an ideal platform facilitate distribution of some $1.7 trillion in global counterfeit goods -- an activity that is profitable, difficult to track and widely unpunished. The benefits are drawing an avalanche of counterfeit listings from both U.S. and global sellers.
Could you identify these counterfeit products listed on Amazon?
(Photo: The Counterfeit Report® - left to right)
- Tiny microSD® computer memory cards are used in cell phones, cameras and laptops. Authentic microSD cards bear the microSD trademark which owned by SD-3C, LLC, who licenses its use to authentic, conforming products. Memory on counterfeit cards is usually not the capacity of what is published on the card, and the fake items may fail. When that happens, you are likely to lose your data, images, and damage your equipment. None of the items shown above from Amazon are authentic. There is no such product as a 64GB microSDHC® card -- an obvious fake, yet many infringing variations of the fake products remain listed.
- U.S. based Fullips, LLC is a family owned business producing very popular beauty and cosmetic products under the registered Fullips® trademark. Unscrupulous counterfeiters will produce anything to deceive consumers and make a fast dollar, including the counterfeit Fullips product shown. Almost visually indistinguishable from the authentic product, consumers are easily deceived into purchasing a poor quality counterfeit that may contain dangerous lead and other suspect ingredients.
- Federal, State and local laws regulate the sale, purchase, possession and display of counterfeit badges, as of course does common sense. Replica current issue U.S. Secret Service, FBI and police badges are available on Amazon to terrorists, child predators and other criminals. Notices to Amazon management of the alarming practice have been ignored and the items remain.
- Composite Resources Combat Application Tourniquet® (C-A-T®) has been supplied to the U.S. Military, police, first responders, and the public worldwide for the past decade. Counterfeit versions of the C-A-T tourniquet have catastrophically failed during actual life-saving applications. The Counterfeit Report reported 1,595 infringing items to Amazon, yet infringing items continue to be listed, as well as non-FDA registered knockoffs of the critical medical device.
- Counterfeit Apple® USB Adapters have caused one death, fires, injuries and equipment damage but are common on Amazon. Apple recently claimed that 90% of Apple Chargers it purchased from Amazon Direct were fake.
- Consumers wouldn’t suspect AutoMeter’s popular Sport Comp-II tachometer would be counterfeited, but it is. A sluggish or inaccurate tachometer may result in damage, or complete destruction, of your vehicle's engine. This poor quality fake was purchased by The Counterfeit Report on Amazon for just a fraction of the authentic items price – an immediate identifier of a fake.
- DrewTech's MongoosePro interface cable is used by vehicle technicians and dealers to program vehicle computers including braking, emission and safety equipment. Counterfeit Mongoose® products may severely damage a vehicle, and install malware on your computer. The authentic product is not made in purple - an obvious fake.
- Vans® does not make iPhone 6 cases – yet they are common on Amazon. Counterfeit product sales support terrorists, organized crime and other criminals.
Companies that facilitate criminal activity and benefit from the proceeds of dishonest actions that impact jobs, consumer safety and public trust create a public perception of deception with impunity. However, reputation damage is only a small part of the problem: counterfeiting costs U.S. manufacturers over $250 billion, U.S. workers over 750,000 jobs, and supports criminals and terrorists, while manufacturer's brand integrity is tarnished or destroyed.