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Amazon pushes again to rid its shopping site of counterfeit goods

Amazon is reportedly stepping up its fight against third-party merchants who sell counterfeit goods on its platform.

The renewed effort includes handing more information about fake items to law enforcement — and passing it on more quickly — so they can better deal with offenders, a Reuters report said on Monday, January 13.

The change means that Amazon will aim to inform U.S. and European federal authorities every time a confirmed counterfeit item is sold to one of its online customers. Before now, Amazon would reportedly only contact the authorities when the company itself believed it had enough information for the police to act on.

Advocacy group The Counterfeit Report has uncovered tens of thousands of fake items for sale on Amazon over the years, and while they amount to a small percentage of the entire product inventory on the massive e-commerce site, it’s no good for customers if they think they’re paying out for the genuine article. It’s highly frustrating for brands, too, who are losing valuable sales to merchants peddling low-quality versions of their own goods. Safety could also be an issue with some of the products, as Apple pointed out several years ago.

In Amazon’s own words, when shoppers purchase fake items from its store, “it undermines the trust that customers, sellers, and manufacturers place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon’s brand and causing irreparable reputational harm.”

Previous efforts by Amazon to rid its site of fake goods include the creation of a brand registry designed to speed up the removal of fake goods from its site. The Seattle-based company has also been filing lawsuits against merchants that it believes are selling fake products on its site. Other work includes the use of algorithms to automatically spot counterfeits being sold on its site, as well as a team of human operators that deal with the problem.

A report published by the Washington Post late last year suggested complaints from customers about fake products on Amazon began to fall in 2017 after another effort by the company to tackle the issue. But when the online shopping site subsequently began adding more third-party merchants to its site, complaints started to rise again. An unnamed former executive at the company suggested this was due to the company having inadequate resources to deal with the increase in fake products sold by some of the newly added merchants.

But the e-commerce giant insists it’s doing what it can to tackle the problem.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for more information on its reported plans and will update this article if we hear back.

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