Like every other buyer, I read through product reviews before potentially making a purchase. It’s paramount to do so to avoid returning things that don’t meet expectations. However, I’ve been coming across a lot of one-star reviews from buyers not because the products had minor issues like a scratch etc but because they are fake. I don’t know when this shift started as I’ve only recently become fully aware of the dodgy things happening on the site.
Over the years, Amazon made it more accessible for people to sell things on the site and be their own entrepreneurs. Although, the rise of ecommerce has unfortunately created room for crooked vendors to sell fraudulent products or advertise false products.
On Amazon’s customer service page, their anti-counterfeiting policy states that “products offered for sale on Amazon must be authentic. The sale of counterfeit products is strictly prohibited. Failure to abide by this policy may result in loss of selling privileges, funds being withheld and destruction of inventory in our possession.”
Despite working with manufacturers, content owners, vendors, sellers and law enforcement to combat “inauthentic products to reach customers,” tracking down counterfeiters is not as straightforward.
Sellers are good at hiding their identity and create fake accounts, stores and addresses that are practically untraceable. And when a fake store does get found and taken down, another one pops up at a rapid pace and repeats the cycle. They push out the original manufacturers and retailers by selling their products at a cheaper rate. Third party sellers make up more than 50 percent of Amazon’s merchandise sales. About time that they reassess their policies and be held more accountable.
It’s bad enough having to shift through product information overload to determine what’s worth buying, you also have to be on the lookout for the real vs the forged items. An impossible task when it comes to online shopping as you can’t physically see the product in real time. You can only check what the ratings are, follow what reviewers have written (be careful as some can be fake), and hope for the best.
A worrying thought is knowing that there are some vendors out there purchasing counterfeit goods from third party wholesalers (many coming from mainland China and Hong Hong), and selling it on their Amazon site for customers to buy. It makes shopping much more complicated. No one want’s to spend money then be conned out of pocket.
Counterfeit products are not only scams controlled by transnational crime organisations who benefit from it, but they can also be a danger to ones health and saftey due to the lack of quality control. Who knows what ingredients are used in things like makeup items and pharmaceutical goods?
In 2018, Europol seized 13 million doses of counterfeit medicines worth over €165m. The investigation led to 435 arrests and affected 24 organised crime groups. The fake medications included performance enhancers, opioid pain killers and treatments for cancer and heart disease.
And now, ‘Corona cures’ (which are proven to be fake), are in high demand. People are being duped to buying coronavirus packages online as they’re desperately searching for ways to become immune to the virus. Criminals have taken advantage of the chaos this pandemic has caused with their predatory behaviour. They see it as a big business opportunity preying on vulnerable people.
Like I’ve mentioned in my other articles, capitalism is the biggest driving force for these issues. It makes people lose their humanity because the obsession for making money takes precedence over ethics.
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Everywhere you turn, there’s advertisements on how to become rich. Youtube being the main culprit right now because of Covid-19. I’ve come across videos almost every other day telling me to open a drop shipping business or start selling things on Amazon and become financially free with piles of cash.
I’m sure you too have come across such videos. They would advertise the fancy cars and big homes they own and all the amazing and expensive trips they’ve taken around the world. It all makes for an appealing watch. Who wouldn't want to jump into this low-cost, less hassle business enterprise and quit the job that isn’t making a positive impact on their bank account? I was once tempted to open up an Amazon store and source for products that people want to buy.
In no way am I saying that every single person that has an independent Amazon store or drop shipping business is bad and selling counterfeit products. Far from it. In the end, do you as long as it’s not dishonest and hurting other people in your journey to financial stability. Be smart and ethical in your approach and don’t base your ideas for clout.