Amazon on Thursday filed a lawsuit against two affected and about a dozen merchants for allegedly marketing and selling counterfeit goods, such as the Guff Belt on the top.
According to a lawsuit filed by the company on Thursday, the two affected allegedly teamed up with about a dozen third-party vendors to promote, promote and facilitate the sale of counterfeit luxury goods on Amazon.
Amazon accused Kelly Physetric and Sabrina Kelly-Krejci of using Instagram, Facebook and Tickcock accounts to promote counterfeit products being sold on their personal websites, Amazon. The suit, which was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, also names the 11 individuals and businesses based in the US and China who allegedly listed counterfeit products on Amazon.
Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Amazon’s marketplace, launched in 2000, now accounts for more than half of the company’s total sales. While it remains an important component of Amazon’s business, the market has also faced a number of issues related to the sale of counterfeit, unsecured and expired merchandise. Counterfeit products can be especially damaging to trusted brands selling on Amazon because they drive away business and can force businesses that already survive on low margins to lower their prices to compete Can be
The company pursued counterfeiters in court to detect and trace the sale of counterfeit goods, and in June launched a counterfeit crime unit consisting of former federal prosecutors, investigators and data analysts to prepare the site for counterfeiting activity .
How does the plan work
The complaint alleges that the defendants operated a sophisticated scheme to defraud Amazon’s counterfeit-detection system. Early last November, sellers and influencers fueled the purchase of knockoff purses, bags, belts and purses, which were incorrectly branded as luxury goods by the likes of Gucci and Dior, the suit claims.
Fitzpatrick was previously a member of the Amazon Associates Program, which allows members to advertise and link to Amazon products in exchange for a percentage of sales. The company says that Amazon removed Fitzpatrick from the program because it was forging advertisements.
Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci continued to promote Amazon listings through photos and videos on their social media accounts and websites, then directed consumers to purchase them using “hidden links”. “Hidden link” refers to a seller-operated Amazon listing in the plan, for a non-infringing, generic item.
Here’s what an Instagram post of influential people looks like:
Influential people will post side-by-side photos of generic, non-infringing products and counterfeit products on their Instagram stories.
And this is what Amazon listings will show:
Affectors will link to Amazon listings for a generic product that appears harmless to the company’s counterfeit detection tool.
After placing an order, sellers will ship out a counterfeit product instead of a normal item, Amazon says. On their website, titled “Style and Grace,” Fitzpatrick described how they were instigating counterfeit products as non-infringing products in an attempt to avoid Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting devices, the lawsuit states.
“As Fitzpatrick explains to his followers, a ‘hidden link’ means’ you order a certain product, which looks nothing like a designer dip to hide from carrying the item. [by Amazon] And the order is being rescinded, “” according to the complaint, which quotes from a post on Fitzpatrick’s website.
Amazon confirmed that the products were counterfeit by purchasing a series of them, then shutting down aggressive accounts.
An example of one of Fitzpatrick’s Instagram posts allegedly advertising a fake Dior bag.
As of Wednesday evening, Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejesi were still sharing “hidden links” to Amazon products through newly created Instagram accounts, despite having already told their followers about Etsy and DH Gate, a Chinese wholesale Others were instructing to make fake purchases on e-commerce websites. market.
Dharmesh Mehta, vice-president and partner support of Amazon’s Customer Trust, said in an interview that the case was exposed to him due to alleged fakeness on social media platforms.
“Every piece of data you’ll see on Amazon, or what we had, might look fine,” Mehta said. “But the smoking gun here was sometimes in plain sight on a set of social media sites.”
Mehta said the case illustrates the need for collaboration between online platforms, which can simplify and speed up the process of catching fraudsters.
“Certainly with social media sites, we have efforts that where we detect abuse that we think is happening on their sites, we report it to them,” Mehta said. “I think this requires continued investment from those parties as well, as I hope none of these important social media sites would like to organize or advertise a set of crime through their platforms.”
Amazon declined to answer questions about how third-party vendors were affected. Christina Posa, Associate General Counsel and director of Amazon’s counterfeit crime unit, said the investigation was still ongoing.
The company is seeking unspecified damages from Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci, as well as an injunction against influencers and sellers who would prevent them from selling or promoting any products sold on Amazon.
Fake is not just a problem on Amazon’s market. CNBC previously reported that videos with droop and designer looks are flourishing on TikTok, as teens wear items that look similar to Gucci or Lululemon, but may not want to pay the full price for those products .