The Problem of Amazon Counterfeit Products

What You Need To Know As You Grow

Amazon is a megalith, and COVID-19 has only added to its enormous market share and wealth.  Most entrepreneurs with product offerings will consider Amazon as a potential distributer at one time or another.  But there is a pretty big problem with their ‘well-oiled machine’ that you should know about before taking next steps.

PS — this article is for both entrepreneurs and conscientious buyers

The Counterfeit Product Problem

If a product gets popular enough, companies (likely in China) will try to copy it.  While this is ostensibly flattering, it is problematic from an intellectual property and market share standpoint (read my article on what to do if someone is copy catting you here).

While copy-catting is nothing new, there is a massive issue with consumers receiving counterfeit products caused by the way Amazon processes products.  The system is called Comingling.  What Amazon is doing is using the same SKU for a given product, whether or not the seller is the originator.  So when you think you’re buying directly from the creator, you may very well not be.

What this Means for a Consumer

This is a huge problem for both entrepreneurs and consumers, but let’s focus on consumers first, since they are the ones that support our businesses.  Today’s Amazon offers products across an enormous spectrum, including medical and household items.  At times, it is critical that the potency and ingredients are what they say they will be, else adverse reaction (to put it lightly) may occur.

The knowledge of a counterfeit problem at Amazon casts doubt in the minds of consumers, making them hesitant to buy.  For me, this is a bump in the butt to go straight to the source if possible.  I know that if I’m buying from a seller’s own website, I’m getting a guarantee that what I paid for is what it is, or it will be fixed.  Heck, I’ve seen small businesses go way above and beyond when addressing any small issue for their customers.

Buying directly from the seller also means you’re giving a far larger chunk of your money to the small business, rather than to Amazon.  The cut Amazon takes from small businesses can get quite sizable.  Wouldn’t you rather know that you’re getting the right product AND all of your money went straight to the creator?

But what if I’m an Entrepreneur Using Amazon?

If you’re already using Amazon to distribute your products, never fear.  There are some things you can do to protect your brand and goods.

The first is to join Amazon Project Zero.  This program is for Amazon sellers who are learning about counterfeit products being sold under the same name.  Unfortunately, there is a waitlist to join.

You can also opt to use Amazon barcodes instead of manufacturer barcodes.  This will help ensure your product is being differentiated from any other.  It’s not foolproof, though, so you’ll want to stay on high alert for counterfeits.

Finally, you can report counterfeits and intellectual property infringement directly to Amazon.  The process is lengthy and there are no guarantees, but this guide offers a solid step-by-step approach.

Have you experienced counterfeits on Amazon? What was your reaction?