|Really cute Fake Rabbits|
Really ugly Genuine problem
There is some sterling work being done by Oddobnom Elbblircs and stalwarts over at the Fountain Pens UK group on Facebook in reporting these fraudsters to Amazon, but by all accounts they are simply hydras - as fast as one store is closed down by Amazon, another three rise up.
And they aren't even bothering to give their stores proper names - just randomly hitting the keyboard to arrive at a name.
While it can't be said for sure where these stores originate (indeed, does it even matter where they are?) their end result is the same: Genuine sellers do not make the sale on the (more expensive) genuine goods and buyers receive items that are NOT as advertised.
It flitted across my mind that the increasing problem of fake store fronts could be an attempt to destabilise a global brand market place. I have no idea whether that might be true - but the end result DOES make Amazon Market Place less attractive to genuine sellers and customers alike: If you can't trust it, why go there?
To stop yourself being scammed in the Amazon Market Place, you need to do your due diligence, just as you would anywhere else.
1 Does the store have a proper name or is it just Rbstgy Nwat?
2 Are there any reviews? If there are none - what does that tell you? Search for the item that you want using 'Average Customer Reviews' as your filter, see if that brings you up something more trustworthy.
3 Where is the seller located? If it is Russia or China, there is a greater chance of the items in the store being counterfeit. Not just pens. Russia is the main source of counterfeit Tarot decks. Yep, they will even replicate packs of cards.
4 Can you contact the seller?
5 Check the items for sale - if they are high quality items for a ridiculously low price, how feasible do you think it is that you are going to receive that genuine branded item? If you don't KNOW whether something is an expensive item, google it in other places before you buy it. If an item usually sells for £300, do you think that you are going to get a real one for £9.99?
If you find a fake storefront and want to complain to Amazon about it, here is some info that I found on a thread about this problem in the Amazon Sellers' Forum, made by Rushdie, who suggests the following course of action:
Seller's name + Link to their storefront:
Message: We believe above sellers are engaging in fraudulent activity. Please investigate.
Email the list, directly to firstname.lastname@example.org (please let me know if this e-mail doesn't work for you)
Subject of email: Possible fraudulent sellers.
Don't go into any further detail, recommends Rushdie, you want your complaint to be seen, not sidelined.
The fraudsters are actually taking images of products that are MADE by small businesses and unique to those small businesses and 'selling' them at a fraction of the real cost. What happens? People buy the cheap option, they don't get what they paid for and the REAL business loses sales AND brand reputation.
If it transpires that these fraudulent sellers are based in China, then Amazon has a duty to exclude them from the market place, just as any rogue trader would need to be thrown out of a bricks and mortar market. Can you shut a country out of a market entirely? Well, yes. China do this with most of the internet! But it feels like a sledge-hammer to crack a nut.
How about making it that bit harder to set up a new store front in Amazon? Make everyone PAY to have a storefront, not just 'professional' sellers.
How would you solve the problem of fake storefronts?