Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos admitted that fake products continue to use the e-commerce site at Wednesday’s congressional hearing with tech giants.
Rese Henry Johnson, a Georgia Democrat, said in response to Bezos’ questions that this is “an incredibly important issue,” and that “counterfeiting is a crisis.”
Bezos said it “doesn’t help us earn trust with customers” and is “bad for honest third-party vendors”, referring to independent sellers, where forgery is the biggest.
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The CEO said that Amazon has a team of more than 1,000 people who deal with counterfeiting and that the company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the system to tackle the problem.
“We have a few things called Project Zero, which helps brands sort individual products, which really helps with counterfeiting,” Bezos said.
But Johnson challenged Amazon not to take responsibility for third-party counterfeiters.
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“Why is Amazon not responsible for keeping all its counterfeit products off its platform?” Johnson asked.
“We definitely work to do this,” Bezos replied.
Johnson was not satisfied with that answer and brought up examples of counterfeits that were harming honest third-party resellers. Johnson claimed that Amazon “uses knockoff to pressure sellers to use Amazon.”
Bezos said that “unacceptable” and “if they are facts,” Amazon would look into it. He said that Amazon has a fake crime unit that prosecutes fraudsters.
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“I would encourage this body to pass strict penalties for counterfeiters and increase law enforcement resources after counterfeiting,” Bezos said.
Counterfeiting on Amazon gained attention earlier this year when there was a plague of coronavirus “cures” on the site. Amazon said at the time that it prohibited the sale of more than 1 million products that falsely claimed to provide treatment or protection against novel coronary viruses.
Amazon has also been plagued with fake Apple goods, fake shoes and fake dietary supplements.
The company addressed some of these issues in a blog post last year.
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“We invest significant resources to protect our customers and have built robust programs designed to ensure safe and compliant products offered for sale in our stores. We want customers to shop with confidence and if ever a customer has a concern, they can contact our customer service team, and we will investigate, ”the company said.