Amazon Claims Influencer Promoted Counterfeits

Amazon has sued Kelly Fitzpatrick, a former member of its influencer program, claiming that the owner of the Style and Grace site promoted counterfeit items.

According to a complaint filed Nov. 12 in Western District of Washington federal court, Fitzpatrick, in conjunction with Sabrina Kelly-Krejci and a variety of Chinese manufacturers, used a “sophisticated campaign of false advertising” so Amazon wouldn’t detect she was selling illegal counterfeits.

The purported fakes include a counterfeit Dior J’Adior bracelet, as well as phony purses and sunglasses. The items “blatantly copy the registered trademarks of luxury brands,” the complaint alleged.

Amazon contended that Style and Grace’s social media accounts claimed it sold “dupes”—“a fashion industry term that connotes items that may have similarities to a designer item but that do not copy logos or trademarked features.”

But the listing often contained “hidden links” that let buyers purchase counterfeits, the e-tail giant charged.

“As Fitzpatrick explains to her followers, a ‘hidden link’ means ‘[y]ou order a certain product that looks nothing like the designer dupe in order to hide the item from getting taken down [by Amazon] and orders being cancelled,” said the complaint. “In other words, order a seemingly non-infringing item in order to get a counterfeit fashion product—the very essence of false advertising, as the product defendants are advertising on Amazon is simply a false placeholder designed to evade Amazon’s counterfeit detection.”

The complaint said that Amazon removed Kelly’s account after it discovered she was selling counterfeits, but she reemerged on the site by using different accounts, both of which were subsequently banned.

The defendants could not be reached for comment at press time. The Style and Grace site, as well as its social media accounts, seems to have been taken offline.

Amazon has come under increasing pressure to crack down on the number of counterfeits sold on its site, and in June it set up a counterfeit crimes unit to combat the problem.

(Image courtesy of Amazon)

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JCK News Director