I've gotten counterfeit huggies diapers from amazon (invalid serial number for huggies 'points' and different build quality), Mach 3 razor blades, GE MWF Water filters, even a counterfeit baby bath.
The baby bath counterfeit was obvious I got a box with only chinese characters on the box:
Here is there response:
We had a recent issue with an Amazon seller selling “knock-off” Blooming Baths on our Amazon account. We have since had this seller removed entirely from Amazon, as these are counterfeit items and NOT the Blooming Bath. The product you have received is not ours, I suggest returning it and ordering again from Amazon or from www.bloomingbath.com. Just make sure the seller you buy from is “Blooming Bath” if you buy from Amazon.
Very sorry for this inconvenience.
I no longer trust amazon for anything health related - it just seems too easy to get counterfeit products into their system.
The problem is that "other sellers" keep beating us to the buy box for certain SKUs. Amazon keeps asking us to sell to them for a lower price. The funny thing is, Amazon already gets the lowest price, by far, compared to all other distributors. I know, we are the manufacturer. Some of the SKUs we don't even sell to anyone else anymore but Amazon, yet still these random businesses seem to be selling our products. Some are fake, some are watered down. Some are… I don't even know. I have a lot of trouble figuring out who these people are and how they are getting our products or look-a-likes at prices low enough to resell, since we don't sell them to anyone at these prices!
Amazon needs to double down on the vetting they do for new sellers.
Starting in 2018 I'm going to re-SKU/UPC every product we sell to Amazon and start closing the listings on old corrupt ones. It's going to be a pain in the ass, but I see no other choice. We have about 300 SKUs and trying to manage them all and fend off all these shitty sellers is becoming a huge burden on me and our brand.
And ideally, actually, I'd like Amazon to offer a feature that essentially "bans" third parties from listing a SKU at the manufacturers request. I'd gladly pay to few thousand a year to ensure that the only one that can sell our products is Amazon themselves.
I don't think you'll gain much from re-skuing products. You'll lose all your reviews and ranking, and at best will get a few months until the counterfeiters find the new listings.
Also, you can't fully close the old ones, so people will still sell on them, there will be multiple search results, bad customer experience, etc.
The better approach is to go after the sellers through Amazon, send infringement notices, etc. Might take some time, but once done they'll be gone forever.
If you'd be interested in having a conversation with me about these issues, we can set something up, email's in my profile. I'm heading back from the ASD show right now and I'll be swamped for a few days but email and we can work something out.
Won't they just open a new account? I doubt a new identity and bank account are major obstacles to counterfeiters.
And it may be possible to get new identity and accounts, but they aren't easy or unlimited. Scammers will go after the lowest hanging fruit.
Also, check out sellercentral forums for a community of folks there too. It's not HN but it's pretty active.
Apparently even worse at alibaba:
You would think hat Amazon would just tell everyone who isn't Apple who is trying to list that SKU to get lost.
(If the answer is no, you don't want to talk about it or don't have time, that's obviously totally okay!)
It seems crazy to me that they don't have an easy process to support this. Amazon must have as much to gain by being the sole reseller as you do from them blocking other suppliers. I don't see why they don't offer a one-click agreement that a manufacturer can sign saying essentially "we won't sell this through any other channels if you won't accept any other sellers"
There's no excuse for Amazon selling and profiting from counterfeits though. Buck stops with them.
Other retailers do this all the time. In fact, that used to be the status quo—signing an exclusive with a retailer.
Isn't this what owning a trademark is for? Can people advertise that they have M&M's for sale without the permission of Mars Candy Inc?
Lets say I buy a box of M&Ms. I didn't get around to eating them. Next month I decide to change my diet and get rid of the M&Ms. Copyright and trademark does not (and should not) prevent me from advertising "1 box M&Ms, $10" and then a buyer giving me $10 for my M&Ms.
The first sale doctrine gives me this right. Retail would be totally and completely non-functional otherwise.
Amazon, however, is free to disallow someone from selling something if they want to.
So yeah is it to much to ask from amazon to respect trademark and/or copyright. Specially considering they are the dominant online book sellers.
I think people should start considering that when the DOJ hitted hard on Apple last year as they proposed an altenative to the near monopoly of Amazon maybe they hit the wrong target.
It's a massive burden to hunt these people down. You have to buy product from them and inspect it. They often hide behind a series of LLCs. You have to work with the site listing it to get it taken down and prove you are the manufacturer. It becomes a full time job very quickly.
Rode, the microphone company, has taken an approach I like which is that they don't sell on Amazon FBA at all. Even still, they have problems. I'd like to get big enough that we can just eliminate Amazon and go direct, but we aren't there yet.
The key phrase I look for that I haven't seen discussed in this thread explicitly is: "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."
(That is the current status shown for the No Starch book prompting the thread.)
Based on some youtube videos showing FBA stocking bins at the warehouse, I can see where multiple 3rd-party seller using FBA Fulfillment by Amazon have comingled inventories.
Is there also evidence that 3rd-party sellers have contaminated Amazon's internal inventory? The short tweets from No Starch doesn't make it clear that you get counterfeit books when even when you choose "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."
(If the amazon product page returns 404, this is the screenshot of what it looked like: http://imgur.com/a/gzrxF)
- Anything eaten
- Anything that consumes or stores power (too much fire risk)
- Anything worn on the body (even socks)
I literally just had mine delivered yesterday from amazon. Now I'm a little woried
So, where do you get, for example, external batteries for phones from? Amazon, eBay and Alibaba are pretty much the only online sources for these things, and I trust eBay and Alibaba even less than I trust Amazon.
Amazon is due for a reckoning. They've let this get completely out of control.
Even at that, I recently bought two books, both arrived damaged. Returned them (I really don't want to have to do that, and I thought "fulfilled by" would reduce that likelihood), and the replacements were damaged. I gave up.
The first pair arrived in a plan white box, and were damaged (not due to the courier).
I returned them to Amazon for replacement, and the pair I got back were in a fully branded box, with a lot more accessories than the first pair (storage bag, shape retainers).
So I'm left thinking that even though these were "Fulfilled by Amazon" there must have been some counterfeit mixed in with legit inventory. Otherwise I can't explain how the first pair seemed so... illegitimate in light of what I received as a replacement.
Shipped and Sold by Amazon is your last line of defense and I'm still convinced it's a trustworthy way to buy. What Amazon better do is assure that it remains that way AND give us an option to filter out EVERYTHING else.
Regardless, it was a bad experience.
You might also find it worthwhile to simply find other providers who may be slightly more expensive but with better reliability - places like B&H Photo Video come to mind.
As far as I know, there is no way to know whether an FBA seller uses commingled inventory before purchase. The only option is to ask and hope they're telling the truth.
I guess amazon has a new brilliant business plan where thy make money from returns. Or Bezos has given up on AMZN and decided to buy UPS stock.
Amazon is getting very strict re: counterfeit and knockoff products, as they've absolutely flooded the marketplace, and they're starting to take the reputation hit from it.
Ask any FBA seller, especially those who do product arbitrage, and they'll tell you that Amazon is getting very aggressive with account suspensions and requiring a lot of documentation that the seller's original supplier is either the brand owner themselves or an authorized distributor.
I know a guy who did arbitrage with imports (authentic products, but "not authorized" because they were factory overruns). He made some good money for 2-3 months, but almost all of his products got removed for lack of verifiable paper trail and he ended up in a pretty bad spot.
These are counterfeit products. When you contract with a factory to make 10K units with your brand on them, they aren't allowed to use your brand to sell any number of "overruns" past that.
To most people, "counterfeit" does not mean literally the same product, produced by literally the same people, even if the company who commissioned the build didn't want some of those units to be released onto the market.
Personally, I dislike the suggestion that an identical product is "counterfeit" merely because the company that commissioned the product is seeking to constrain supply and keep their price point artificially high.
The contracts between the manufacturer and the client are unknown to buyers. If the contract is being breached, the client would probably be wise to seek to enforce the agreement.
I understand there are potential trademark implications (but afaik they're not necessarily cut and dry, IANAL), but IMO this doesn't classify something as a counterfeit product, at least as far as general usage is concerned. I make no comment on the legal classification/terminology.
>To most people, "counterfeit" does not mean literally the same product, produced by literally the same people, even if the company who commissioned the build didn't want some of those units to be released onto the market.
And gone through the same quality control process, and subject to the same defect rejection standards? A huge part of why consumers trust the trademark is that it puts the reputation of the marking company on the line with the product - the manufacturer is saying that they stand behind the product and have ensured that it's to standard. Following the same process with the same tools and using the same people doesn't have that, and it's fraud to represent that it does.
>Personally, I dislike the suggestion that an identical product is "counterfeit" merely because the company that commissioned the product is seeking to constrain supply and keep their price point artificially high.
Being able to claim the benefits of your brand by controlling the supply is incredibly important to functioning market economies. If you make a widget with a novel feature that customers like, you can capitalize on it adding your trade mark and commanding a price premium. This pays for things like creating novel features, or adding to build quality, or going through more stringent defect rejection, or whatnot.
Consumers want and are willing to pay for these features. If the manufacturer can get undercut by a marginal-cost-only supplier that doesn't have to amortize the development of these features, then we end up not creating the high quality products that consumers want.
To be eligible for warranty claims, one frequently must register the product in advance and provide proof that it was purchased from an authorized retailer. There are a variety of other conditions that disqualify products for warranty coverage, so much so that it's practically always a crap shoot whether a given manufacturer will process the warranty claim or reject it with a flimsy justification.
Second-hand purchases are also generally not respected for warranty claims, but we don't consider everything sold used counterfeit.
If you anticipate utilizing warranty coverage, you have to cross all the is and dot all the ts. That's a class of consumer that isn't just going to buy from a third-party seller on Amazon without making sure that they're authorized and legitimate.
I'll also take this opportunity to note that this entire tangent arose out of a parenthetical statement where I indicated that I know someone who was selling what I consider to be non-counterfeit items from factory overruns. Nitpicks over the definition are not really related to the claim I was originally making. The anecdote remains valuable in its original context, which is that Amazon is policing FBA sellers more and more aggressively. Didn't mean to trigger a long subthread about the precise definition of "counterfeit" and whether or not a product has to be eligible for warranty to be authentic. ;)
Is there an easy way to determine this?
Not only will doing a chargeback destroy your amazon account, issuing a chargeback without first asking for a refund is probably against your credit card's ToS. A chargeback should be a measure of last resort, not the first solution you jump to.
If you purchase from Amazon and don't check that it's "shipped and sold by Amazon" then you are asking for trouble.
The biggest issue is that Amazon has allowed, because of corporate greed, Amazon to become the new Chinese Ebay. The crap you have to wade through to find trusted sources is ridiculous. Amazon has lost a huge amount of trust because of this.
That said if you take the time to verify who the seller is you WILL get items from that seller and NOT from some other random seller. They are not just tossed into inventory together.
Source: Amazon seller
If a seller chooses commingled inventory when setting up their account, they have no obligation to re-label the product, as amazon uses the existing barcode on the product. If you order a pack of pencils from XYZ_Pencilmart and they are using commingled inventory, amazon will just grab any old item from all the commingled sellers, then deduct an imaginary unit from XYZ_Pencilmart's account.
This is why commingled inventory is a nightmare for resellers - it's your reputation on the line, but someone else's inventory.