retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Fast Company reports that "a fashion industry trade group called the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), which represents 1,000 brands, including Gap, Adidas, and Target, has recommended that five Amazon sites be added to the U.S. government’s annual list of Notorious Markets … With this letter, the AAFA was specifically reacting to third-party sellers on Amazon’s platform that are creating replicas of other brands’ products, sometimes even using their brand names."

That list, the story says, "lays out all the online and physical markets outside the United States where large-scale copyright infringement takes place. This could lead to trade sanctions for countries with weak copyright protection enforcement. The five sites included Amazon’s U.K., Canadian, German, French, and Indian websites."

Amazon says that it "strictly prohibits the sale of counterfeit products. We invest heavily in prevention and take proactive steps to drive counterfeits in our stores to zero. In 2018 alone, we invested over $400 million in personnel and tools built on machine learning and data science to protect our customers from fraud and abuse in our stores."
KC's View:
However, studies have concluded that Amazon generally is reactive rather than proactive when it comes to dealing with counterfeits, and a variety of reports - like the one in Fast Company - point to some pretty egregious examples of products that can fairly be accused of defrauding consumers.

And it also may be fair to suggest that Amazon is complicit in this fraud … or at least is turning a blind eye to a situation deserving not just a closer look, but specific, unambiguous action.

Regardless of the legalities, there is no excuse for this. Amazon has to know what it is selling, has to know where these products are from and how they are made, and they have to be transparent about it. Customers, I believe, will demand this more and more … Amazon would be well advised to get ahead of this wave before it gets swamped by it.