Why are there so many fakes on Amazon? Spotting Amazon fakes and how to avoid them

Fake toys, fake electronics, fake pills and downright dangerous goods: Amazon, the “store for everything,” really has almost everything. Is this something to be expected from such a large online store or a major problem?

You decide how much risk you are willing to take.

With users having to go through endless lists of questionable products and many products sold being fakes, Amazon has a serious problem with its fakes. They are taking action to combat this, but until they do, you need to know how to protect yourself online.

Let’s take a look at what’s going on with Amazon and some helpful tips on how to avoid Amazon fakes.

Amazon’s fake reviews are sold in bulk with an average of seven dollars per review

Amazon bans fake sellers by the thousands

This year, Amazon firm 3,000 Chinese online merchant accounts on its platform, expelling around 600 Chinese brands from its huge platform.

The move, the latest in the fight to eliminate fakes from Amazon, cleaned up the site of some of the stores that paid for reviews and had other TOS violations. But is this the end?

Popular brands like Aukey and Mpow, which make affordable tech products like headphones and mice, have been launched off the platform, and Chinese retail giants have been hit as well.

One of the biggest companies “Made in China, sold on Amazon”, Shenzhen Youkeshu Technology, had 340 of its Amazon stores have closed and $ 20 million in funds frozen. This is a big blow for a Chinese company, which will certainly attract fire on Amazon from other Chinese suppliers.

Yet this move only affected 30% of their presence on Amazon.

If you’ve shopped there recently, you’ve probably noticed a lot of fakes on Amazon and the flood of Chinese brands, from bigger ones like Aukey and Mpow, to dubious stores that sold questionable products with pictures of cheap products and badges. typos in the description, then contacted you. ask for a five-star review.

This was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Amazon fakes. Let’s take a look at how this problem started, what types of products are counterfeit on Amazon, and how you can spot Amazon fakes while shopping online.

Amazon bans fake sellers by the thousands

It happened after another incident related to Amazon’s counterfeits grabbed the headlines. A WSJ investigation found thousands of banned, unsafe, or mislabeled products, from consumer electronics to toys, and compared the site to a flea market rather than a regular storefront.

Indeed, this is the best way to approach this problem which, thanks to Amazon’s growth strategy, will continue to worsen.

Amazon employees watch and listen to video and audio recordings from smart home devices

Once Amazon stopped selling the products themselves and opened the doors for anyone with an email address to add their wares to, everything started to go downhill. For every reputable seller looking to expand their customer base, there are hundreds of counterfeiters and shady stores that sell counterfeit products, buy fake reviews on Amazon, and as soon as they’re caught, open another Amazon store with a different name. .

from amazon own report tells of a difficult struggle. After investing more than $ 700 million and employing more than 10,000 people for the task, the company blocked 10 billion counterfeit registration attempts in 2020 – up from 6 billion in 2019 – and destroyed more than 2 million counterfeits in its warehouses.

You’d expect to see expensive sneakers or handbags as fakes on Amazon, but the majority of the products seized fell into every category you can imagine: fake Hydro Flask bottles, fake Similac formula, and even fake Dove soap, a product so cheap, it puzzles the mind that someone would try to take advantage of it.

Another report of the Government Accountability Office analyzed 47 popular products and found that 20 of them were counterfeit. The worst part? 13 of the 13 cosmetics analyzed, belonging to popular brands like Urban Decay, were counterfeit.

Fake makeup is a big problem online and a huge health risk for consumers because counterfeiters don’t care about using safe ingredients.

Fake Amazon products, a web-wide problem

Selling counterfeit Amazon products was once a niche cottage industry, spawned around blogs titled “How to Achieve Financial Independence by Playing with the Amazon Algorithm”, but it evolved in an operation that rivals mega-corps like Unilever.

“Production levels equivalent to the monthly output of an entire factory arrive in containers through the Port of Los Angeles, including food, alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. The outer packaging and tax stamps on these products are professional and look like real things to the untrained eye.

YouTube videos show how real Budweiser boxes are “filled, resealed and sold” from a factory in China. Other counterfeit products include basic consumer products such as laundry detergents, infant formula and other products that use packaging recovered from garbage cans – cleaned, repackaged with counterfeit products and resold. Other industries affected by counterfeiting include electronic components, aircraft parts, industrial equipment, and many other industrial applications. Even recycled products can be collected, shipped to China, disassembled, cleaned, re-labeled and sold in the market as original products. (A common example of this includes printed circuit boards, which are recycled and resold by distributors to government agencies.) Even natural products are suspect; logs can be harvested in the United States, shipped to China, made into plywood using formaldehyde, then imported and used to build homes in the United States. Even though these products are not counterfeit, they are fraudulent because they do not meet housing code requirements for items that are used in the construction of homes “- from North Carolina State University report.

Amazon is now responsible for the security of third-party products

By now you are probably wondering how it is possible to achieve such an operational scale and what can be done about it.

Why are there so many fake products on Amazon?

Why doesn’t Amazon just ban sellers from listing luxury goods? It’s simple: take advantage. Amazon retains about 15% of any sales made by a third-party seller. So while it does its best to ensure the authenticity of the merchandise or to follow the trail of negative reviews, it does allow anything and everything to go on sale in the first place. . It is a “sell first, ask a question later” policy that is very damaging to consumers.

Their strategy has a direct impact on legitimate brands and manufacturers, who in turn have started to leave the platform.

In 2016, the CEO of Birkenstock drawn branded products on Amazon because Bezos’ platform did not help the company identify and stop these sellers from making fake Birkenstocks. Nike did the same in 2019.

These days, if you search for these two brands on Amazon, there’s a good chance you’ll see a lot of fake shoes.

How to tell the difference between real and fake products on Amazon

If you’re wondering how to avoid fake products on Amazon, the answer is simple: you don’t. With most of Amazon’s catalog owned by resellers, a majority of them shady, it’s just easier to go to the manufacturer’s website and buy there, especially if you’re planning on spending a lot of money. ‘money.

In 2019, the Washington Post compared real and fake Amazon products, focusing on luxury goods like Hermès bracelets, Gucci belts, and Louis Vuitton bags. They brought in experts who talked about the difference and how not to be fooled by a fake when it looks virtually identical to the real deal.

If you are looking to buy expensive designer products, rule number one would be to stay away from Amazon as these brands hardly ever sell their products in that market.

If you insist on trusting a third-party Amazon seller, watch this video for tips on how to avoid fakes.

For any other product you buy, follow these simple “How to Avoid Counterfeits on Amazon” rules:

  • Check if the Amazon listing has all the details that a product should have (specifications, ingredient lists, etc.) and that there are no misspelled words or obvious mistakes.
  • Don’t trust reviews too much, as paid reviews are still a big issue on Amazon. If in doubt, check the profile of the person who left a review and see what other reviews they’ve written.
  • If you buy sensitive or edible products, when you receive them, write down their serial number and call the manufacturer (or contact social media) to verify that it is a genuine product.
  • If possible, only buy products sold by Amazon itself, and not by third-party sellers.
  • Do not buy makeup and skin care from Amazon unless it is sold by Amazon itself. Ideally, buy makeup and other personal care products from established outlets like Sephora, Ulta, or even the manufacturer’s website.
  • And last but not least, of course: don’t be fooled by good deals. We all jump at the possibility of a big discount and brag about finding a great sale, but on Amazon and other online stores, be careful. If the helmet or perfume you bought is offered at half the retail price or even less, chances are it is a fake.

Until Amazon pivoted its strategy to allow thousands of people and businesses to list their products for sale without carefully checking them, as well as their inventory, you, as a buyer, are sadly overwhelmed by this task.

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Why are there so many fakes on Amazon? Spotting Amazon fakes and how to avoid them

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