(From Natural News) A Natural News investigation has confirmed that Amazon.com (AMZN) is functioning as a retail “front” for a rapidly-expanding list of dietary supplement counterfeiters who profit by exploiting the Amazon.com trust factor to sell fake products to unsuspecting Amazon customers. This counterfeit operation does not appear to be the intention of Amazon.com itself, which is a widely-celebrated online retailer, but rather a result of Amazon’s inability to adequately police the tens of thousands of third-party sellers who sell products through the site.
Natural News, a consumer advocacy whistleblower news organization, has learned and confirmed that:
Counterfeit dietary supplement companies are very easily able to repeatedly and successfully sell a multitude of counterfeit nutritional products through Amazon.com.
Amazon.com is unable to adequately police these sellers.
Amazon.com is currently unable to distinguish between legitimate (original) manufacturers of a product vs. a counterfeit manufacturer of a fake product.
Amazon.com actually lends counterfeit products a high “trust factor” by assigning high star ratings to products which are wholly counterfeit (see explanation below).
Amazon.com has allowed counterfeit companies to “hijack” its anti-counterfeiting policy, resulting in counterfeiters getting original manufacturers banned from Amazon as if they were counterfeiters.
Do not buy nutritional products from third-party sellers on Amazon.com
To be clear, Amazon.com is an impressive company in many ways, and Amazon.com remains my favorite online retailer. Amazon excels at inventory logistics, a positive online shopping experience and an impressive IT backbone that keeps the company humming along.
The risk of buying a counterfeit product through Amazon.com right now is simply too high.
Counterfeiters are able to exploit the Amazon.com e-commerce infrastructure by shifting from one seller name to another in chameleon-like fashion. If they get shut down under one account name, they have several others to fall back on, and they’re constantly adding new “throwaway” accounts to make sure they always have visibility on Amazon.com.
The fact that counterfeiters use fake ingredients to manufacture counterfeit products also means they have a much higher profit margin than the original manufacturers. This allows counterfeiters to often attain low-price leadership positions on Amazon.com, where resellers are recommended based on price sorting (low to high). Customers actually think they’re getting a bargain, even when they’re buying counterfeit nutritional products that Amazon.com has actually placed in the No. 1 position on these comparative lists.
The Amazon.com star rating system can also grossly mislead consumers into thinking a counterfeit product has received a high user rating. This happens because Amazon assigns a star rating to ALL the products that it believes are identical, regardless of which seller is offering them. Thus, if Amazon.com can be tricked by a counterfeit seller into categorizing a counterfeit product as being identical to the original, genuine product, the counterfeit product will enjoy the high-star rating that users have actually assigned to the original product.
In this way, the counterfeit product in essence “hijacks” the high star rating advertised by Amazon.com.
One original product manufacturer told Natural News, “Amazon is allowing and supporting these acts of deception.”
Amazon does, after all, earn money on each and every sale regardless of whether the product is genuine or counterfeit. The fact that most nutritional supplements do not generate near-instant noticeable effects (like pharmaceuticals do) further plays into the ability of counterfeit manufacturers to exploit the Amazon.com e-commerce infrastructure for dishonest gains that can go unnoticed by customers for months or years.
Until Amazon.com finds a way to effectively police this problem of counterfeit products, I am advising all Natural News readers to avoid purchasing nutritional products through Amazon.com sellers. The risk of obtaining a counterfeit product — which may actually be dangerous to your health — is simply too high. Instead, purchase nutritional products directly from companies and names you trust.
The fact that counterfeit products are slipping through the cracks at Amazon.com is potentially an enormous threat to the company’s credibility, legal exposure, regulatory compliance and stock price. If a customer is harmed by a counterfeit product purchased on Amazon.com, Amazon may find itself legally liable for at least part of the damages due to “misrepresentation” and even “fraud” that it has negligently allowed to be carried out on its own website.