Skip to Content

Amazon Has a Fake Goods Problem

Amazon is fetching some handsome fees from third-party sellers who use the online retailer’s website to offer a wide variety of goods. It turns out, however, that some of those merchants are taking advantage of Amazon to sell counterfeit items from cellphone cases and sandals to designer handbags.

Amazon recently noted in a report to investors that the company faces some legal risk stemming from third-party sellers who hock fake goods on the site. It’s the first time the company has publicly acknowledged that the problem could very well get worse.

“We…may be unable to prevent sellers in our stores or through other stores from selling unlawful, counterfeit, pirated, or stolen goods, selling goods in an unlawful or unethical manner, violating the proprietary rights of others, or otherwise violating our policies,” the company said in an annual earnings report. “Under our A2Z Guarantee, we reimburse buyers for payments up to certain limits in these situations, and as our third-party seller sales grow, the cost of this program will increase and could negatively affect our operating results.”

The statement comes as more than half of the products sold on Amazon each year now come from outside, third-party sellers. It also follows high-profile complaints from Mercedes-Benz, Vera Bradley, Birkenstock and Otter Box that Amazon isn’t doing enough to stop impostors from accessing the online market place.

“Despite Daimler’s and other brand owners’ extensive lobbying of Amazon to respect their intellectual property rights and the reputations of their brands, Amazon refuses to take reasonable steps to police intellectual property infringement,” Daimler AG said in a 2017 lawsuit against the company. Daimler said Amazon allowed fraudsters to seller knock off Mercedes-Benz wheel caps.

Meanwhile, some third-party sellers also are not exactly happy with Jeff Bezos and company. Amazon recently announced that hackers had gotten into at least 100 third-party seller accounts, peeling off an unidentified amount of seller revenue along the way.

Legal Rights for Consumer Fraud Victims

It’s not just Amazon customers who may not know that they’re buying counterfeit goods. The expansion of internet shopping options has unfortunately come with a rise in crooked sellers pushing fake goods. That’s just one of the many types of consumer fraud schemes that have been enhanced by advances in technology.

The good news for people who have been victimized by consumer fraud is that you have the legal right to seek compensation from those responsible. That includes by starting or joining a class action lawsuit, which allows people who have been duped by the same fraudsters to aggregate their claims in an efficient manner.

Speak With a Consumer Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been victimized by a counterfeit goods or other online fraud scam, a consumer lawyer can help you ensure that those responsible are made legally liable.

At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our consumer lawyers have been representing people in securities, consumer and other fraud cases for more than 25 years. We have a strong track record of success in these cases. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.