Last month, I wrote about my run-in with counterfeit sellers on Amazon when searching for a toddler drum set for my son. If you missed that post, one listing I came across showed a beautiful drum kit for under $3.00. At that price, who wouldn’t be tempted to hit “Buy Now?” After a little bit of poking around, I was able to discern that the product was indeed a fake, but other consumers have not been so lucky.
A recent study found that between 2018 and 2019, there was a 40% increase in counterfeit products being sold under trusted brand names on Amazon. Not only are consumers being tricked into purchasing products that are actually knock-offs, but such actions siphon revenue from legitimate businesses, who are then forced to lower their prices to compete with cheaper knock-off listings. It’s a vicious cycle that hurts everyone.
The good news is that Amazon is stepping up its fight to shut down counterfeit listings and hold who they call “bad actors” accountable with the launch of their new Counterfeit Crimes Unit. The goal of the new unit is to “go on the offensive” and attempt to catch counterfeiters before they ever have a chance to list their knock-off products for sale on the site.
Amazon says that the Counterfeit Crimes Unit will be comprised of seasoned investigators, data analysis, and former federal prosecutors. The unit will not only assist brands with complaints, but they will have a greater ability to coordinate with law enforcement and file civil lawsuits based on the fruits of their own investigations.
After committing more than $5 million in counterfeit prevention in 2019 and enlisting 8,000 employees in the fight against fraud and abuse on the site, Amazon wants to make it clear they are more committed than ever to ridding their platform of bad actors and prosecuting them to the full extent of the law once they are caught. These criminal prosecutions will not only take place in the United States, but in countries around the world thanks to partnerships with foreign law enforcement agencies.
We hope that this new unit is successful in cracking down on the sale of products that are not only fake, but also faulty, expired, and even dangerous for consumers. In addition to cracking down on the products, we hope that they crack down on the sellers to prevent them from simply changing and using a different seller name. The investment Amazon is making into having a high-quality investigative and prosecutorial team is a promising step in the right direction.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.