Online shopping is a convenient way for consumers to find the best deals on what they are looking for. It's so simple these days to search online for certain items and compare prices from site to site.
Amazon is the largest online retailer and you can find almost anything you could imagine to purchase on the site. The downside is, there has been a rash of counterfeit products recently showing up on Amazon. The good news is the retail giant is starting to crack down on counterfeiters.
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. It seems the main problem with counterfeit items comes from the Marketplace. 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.
What Amazon is doing to fight counterfeiting
An anonymous source says Amazon will be cracking down on counterfeiters in 2017. It plans on assembling teams in the U.S. and Europe, working with major brands to develop a registry that will prevent fake items. All brands, even those not selling on Amazon, will be encouraged to register with the online retailer.
Once a brand is registered, Amazon will require any merchant listing those items in the marketplace to prove they have permission to sell them online. Amazon already tried out this system earlier this year with Nike and a few other companies. The registry will be expanded next year to thousands of companies.
Amazon has also taken legal action to fight counterfeit items on its site. Earlier this month it filed lawsuits against companies it accuses of selling counterfeit items in its marketplace.
How to tell if an item is counterfeit
It's difficult to spot a counterfeit item. Scammers are great at producing fake items, but there are some things you can watch out for:
- Quality - Counterfeit items don't go through the same quality control procedures that the real items do. If the item doesn't seem to be up to standard or is poorly made, there's a good chance it's fake.
- Too good to be true deal - If you see a product that is being sold by an unknown source and it's really inexpensive, it's probably fake. If it is a bargain that is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Incorrect packaging - Items made by reputable businesses will not have simple mistakes on its packaging. Counterfeit items may have the wrong logo design or could even have misspelled words.
- Make sure you receive all items - Many counterfeit products are sent without things like the owner's manual or product registration card. If you receive an item without these things it's most likely fake.