Amazon logo on a shop in New York: Hidden fake luxury items in the online retailer's range
Photo: BRENDAN MCDERMID / REUTERS
Imitation Gucci belts and Dior handbags: The online retailer Amazon has sued two influencers who allegedly advertised and sold unauthorized brand counterfeiting
The defendants are said to have linked to hidden fake luxury items in the Amazon range on TikTok, Instagram and their own websites.
According to the indictment, in addition to the two influencers, eleven other people are accused of fraudulent labeling and misleading advertising.
"Together, they launched an elaborate campaign with misleading ads to defeat Amazon's counterfeit detection tools," the court documents read.
The influencers' websites and profiles were not available on Friday or switched to private.
The accused could not be reached to comment.
Wrong thumbnails on Amazon
Since the sale of counterfeits is prohibited on Amazon, the tricksters apparently resorted to a very specific scam when selling the plagiarism.
On their social media profiles, the influencers are said to have distributed various product images of luxury plagiarism such as imitation Gucci handbags.
These plagiarisms are usually produced cheaper than the original, but only cost a fraction.
The influencers posted a link to Amazon for the advertising images - with a warning that another product was being displayed there.
If you clicked on the link, you came to an Amazon page on which a similar product was shown, but not the plagiarism.
The misleading preview image was intended to deceive Amazon's control mechanisms: only those users who were directed to the page via the corresponding links knew what was actually being delivered.
On almost 40 pages, the lawyers from Amazon list which fakes the defendants are said to have sold.
In addition to sunglasses and bracelets, the alleged fraudsters mainly had handbags and purses that imitate the Gucci label.
Amazon appeals to social media platforms
The picture for ordering a belt plagiarism on Amazon, for example, showed the test customers a very common black belt with a silver buckle.
In the end, however, the Amazon employees were delivered a belt with a gold buckle made of two stacked Gs, a Gucci trademark.
While the plagiarism sold for around $ 50, the original cost around $ 400.
The con artists are also said to have advertised and sold counterfeit Mickey Mouse wallets from Gucci.
The original stock exchange costs almost $ 600.
The defendants sold the fake version for just over $ 20.
As a thumbnail, they chose ordinary leather wallets.
"The defendants brazenly advertised forgeries on their social media channels and thus brought the work of honest influencers into disrepute," said Amazon lawyer Cristina Posa.
It calls on the operators of social media platforms to monitor users and take measures if online platforms facilitate illegal behavior.
In the past year alone, Amazon said it invested more than $ 500 million to prevent counterfeit branded products from being offered.
This is to protect manufacturers from their products being copied.
On the other hand, customers should not fall for copies that are labeled as branded goods.
In June, Amazon set up a special department to find out about counterfeiters.
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