Tech

Amazon says it destroyed two million knockoffs in 2020, a fraction of the amount it ships

Amazon’s latest brand protection report states it destroyed more than two million pieces of counterfeit goods last year and denied most would-be sellers from setting up shop in its online souk.

“In 2020, Amazon invested over $700m and employed more than 10,000 people to protect our store from fraud and abuse,” said Dharmesh Mehta, veep of worldwide customer trust and partner support at Amazon, in the report [PDF], released this week. “As a result, the vast majority of our customers continued to only find authentic products in our store.”

For what it’s worth, Amazon ships billions of packages a year, and made $21.3bn in pure profit [PDF] in 2020. Having spent a fraction of that on tackling fraud – about three per cent – Bezos & Co say they made significant inroads into thwarting the scourge of knockoffs. In addition to intercepting and binning millions of phony goods, Amazon has set up a Counterfeit Crimes Unit to go after those trying to scam buyers.

In addition, Amazon said in its report it was stricter when it came to verifying sellers, blocking all but six per cent of those seeking to set up shopfronts in its internet bazaar, and thus apparently rejecting six million attempts to create seller accounts and stopping an estimated 10 billion suspected dodgy products from being listed before people got the chance to buy.

“Fewer than 0.01 per cent of all products sold on Amazon received a counterfeit complaint from customers,” said Mehta in a blog post. “Those complaints were investigated for accuracy and acted upon as appropriate.”

Amazon, and other online retailers, are facing increasing regulatory pressure over the issue of counterfeit goods. In March, Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Doug Collins (R-GA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Martha Roby (R-AL), of the US House of Representatives, sponsored the Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce (SHOP SAFE) Act to force internet souks to be accountable for what they sell.

“Consumer lives are at risk because of dangerous counterfeit products that are flooding the online marketplace,” said Rep Collins. “Congress must create accountability to prevent these hazardous items from infiltrating the homes of millions of Americans. The SHOP SAFE Act would make families safer by requiring online sellers to help prevent the sale of counterfeit products to consumers.”

Some may say Amazon’s report is conveniently timed, then, though the product side of the biz has been making more of an effort to ensure everything sold on its site is as legit as it can be. After all, if it doesn’t, legislators will be happy to step in. ®


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