Counterfeit products are a huge problem. They support criminals who avoid taxes, organized crime and even terrorists. It's estimated that counterfeit products cost U.S. businesses over $250 billion every year.
Online shopping is a great way for consumers to find the best deals on the items they are looking for. Unfortunately, online shopping can make it easy for the criminal to illegally sell their counterfeit products.
Amazon is the largest online retailer in the U.S. and is having a problem with counterfeit products sold on its site. We recently told you that Apple brought a lawsuit, claiming that 90 percent of "Apple" power accessory products being sold on Amazon are actually counterfeits. Now, the counterfeiting problem at Amazon seems to be getting worse.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claims that it recently placed orders with Amazon and received several counterfeit items. The RIAA ordered 194 CDs and 44 of them turned out to be fake. Amazon Fulfillment provided 18 of the counterfeit CDs.
RIAA's Executive Vice President Brad Buckles said, "Amazon should not be playing host to illegal items that would normally be found on the black market." RIAA added, "The artwork, packaging and inserts are carefully copied in the fine detail. The untrained eye would not even be able to identify them as counterfeits."
Consumer advocate and watchdog, the Counterfeit Report, recently conducted a study of Amazon to check on counterfeit sales. It placed orders that came from Amazon Fulfillment and Amazon Marketplace and claims that none of the dozens of name-brand products it ordered were authentic.
The Counterfeit Report submitted infringement notices to Amazon and 8,429 counterfeit items were removed from its site. Despite Amazon saying those listings were removed, the Counterfeit Report says some listings are still available. In some cases, the sellers were able to relist the fake items.
How Amazon fulfills orders
There are three ways that Amazon fulfills orders:
- Amazon Direct - These products are sold and shipped by Amazon.
- Amazon Fulfillment - These items are provided to Amazon by a third-party. They are then warehoused and shipped by Amazon.
- Amazon Marketplace - This is when a product is sold and shipped directly from a third-party seller.
There are nearly 2 million Marketplace account holders all over the world. The items sold through Amazon Marketplace are never inspected by Amazon, making it easy for criminals to sell counterfeit items.
Amazon clearly has an anti-counterfeit policy. It states, "The sale of counterfeit products, including any products that have been illegally replicated, reproduced, or manufactured, is strictly prohibited." However, with so many items coming from third-party sellers, it's difficult to enforce this policy.
Some counterfeit makes and models
Handbags, shoes and watches are the most commonly known counterfeit products. These are not the only fake items that you will find on Amazon. You will also find counterfeit electronics, toys and cosmetics to name a few.
Amazon remains a great place to shop, you just need to beware of potential counterfeit items and stay away from them. The Counterfeit Report website keeps an evolving list of counterfeit items that you should look out for. Here are some of the counterfeit items currently on the list:
- SanDisk: Micro SD Memory Cards
- Bose: QC 15 QuietComfort Headphones
- Lenovo: 64GB MicroSDHC Flash Memory Cards
- Apple: A1385 USB iPhone Chargers
- Logitech: Harmony Remote Batteries
- Lenovo: Y1011 Tablets
- Pioneer: HDJ-2000 Headphones
- Beats: Heartbeats Lady Gaga Headphones
- Nikon: MH-53 Battery Charger
- Bushnell: Binoculars
As I said, this list changes all of the time so it's a good idea to keep checking it.