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How Amazon's Counterfeit Products Threaten Safety

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After I started digging into this whole counterfeit issue on Amazon together with some of my colleagues leagues. We wanted to see firsthand. What was going on so Cardiff? We decided to order a car seat from Amazon. This carseat looks like a copy of the Dune. A brand the Dune Lebron's Iran. It's just kind of fancy brand kind of combination carseat and stroller and it retails for about five hundred dollars a lot of celebrities own them and it's an attractive you've target for counterfeiters. The listing on Amazon. It didn't use the brand name Duna but it showed photos of real donors including one of vodka trump with hers when the product arrived. It also looked a lot like do not including copying elements of the design. The company says it has patented. We showed the seat to this woman at least bear. She's better are known as the car seat lady. She's a car she lady. Yep She's got quite a following. She's a pediatrician. And car. Seat safety advocate all the interviews. You'll hear in this podcast caster from my piece for CNN. If you look here it says `I ways not always use seatbelt if you noticed spelling errors in the labeling of the a car seat that should be a red flag manufacturers are very diligent about the grammar and the spell checking of their labeling and instructions. She also noticed some other things that she thought were red flags like labeling in the wrong language stitching that went through the webbing of the safety harness thing. She said you wouldn't normally see in a car seat and and of course you might think that there's no way to actually tell if a car seat is safer not unless you like crash it really quickly into the wall with your kid in there and you're not GonNa do do that Pamela. Had to get around that so we crash tested it. Oh okay right not with a real kid of course with approved dumbing. I'll take your word for for it. We sent the car seat to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute they ran it through a basic thirty mile an hour crash test. This is something that all car seats that are sold in the. US are supposed to pass and it failed. They were bits of plastic flying off of it and the car seat with a toddler inside it actually slid forward and twisted a bit and Pamela. You said that bear and another pediatrician looked at this video and said that a child in this seat would have been at serious risk of head and neck injuries so really scary stuff. For comparison. We did run the same test on a real dune and it passed. The seat stayed in one piece and in place. I'm ED. Raviv Dune as commercial manager manager said that his company there flagging these fakes to Amazon regularly. We've taken down just this year more than forty pages which had infringing aging products are fake products just on the Amazon platform alone. And if you -SSUME that each one of these pages is up for you know three to seven days. Then you're talking about the good period of the year in which fake products dangerous products are being sold on Amazon. We sent the results of this crash test Amazon and after that they e mailed customers to urge them to stop abusing it immediately and they offer them a full refund all right so like service journalism. You get some results. We're happy to see that all done car seats are just one example of this problem though. We also bought a toy with magnets that didn't meet federal safety standards. I spoke to a company that made swallows for babies. They had a customer return one because his zipper pulled off a potential choking hazard and when they got this Waddell into their office they realized it was a counterfeit. Okay and Pamela. You actually did reach out to Amazon and were they. He said was. These are isolated incidents. That safety is a top priority for the company Amazon also made the point that sellers themselves are responsible for meeting Amazon's high bar for the quality of products for complying with laws and regulations. Now Amazon they are trying to tackle this counterfeit problem more than two hundred thousand brands issue. Something called the Amazon Brand Registry. This gives them tools to help them find and flag suspected counterfeits and Amazon also use automation to scan and proactively remove move suspicious listings. Yeah there's other Amazon program as well called transparency which lets companies tag each product with a unique code and that code can then be scanned to verify a five. The product is real. Although companies in that case need to buy the labels themselves in absorb the cost of adding these coach their products Amazon also starting to let some brands remove counterfeit listings on their own. The companies. I spoke to say Amazon's efforts. They have really helped especially in the last two years but they still oh complain. The responsibility and the cost of policing fakes feels like it. Falls on them. Rather than on Amazon they all describe it as an endless game of whack. A mole against counterfeits. Take one down another one pops up. Here's Ommiad Raviv again from tuna. It will be great if Amazon steps up and works with the brands and with the different advocates in the US in order to prevent these products from ever coming to the platform as opposed to removing them. Worse than what we there for. It's part Amazon on said that it invested four hundred million dollars in two thousand eighteen to build programs make sure the products that offers on its platform or safe and comply with regulations relations. So Cardiff something. I thought was really interesting. was that a couple of the people I spoke to. They mentioned they thought the current situation is only going to really change if Amazon and other ECOMMERCE platforms are held liable for safety defects trademark issues related to these goods sold by third parties. Yeah something interesting that you told me Pamela. was that right now. Courts don't see Amazon as the legal seller in these cases of third party sales so they treat Amazon kind of like a flea market. There's a problem. The liability is with the vendor. The stall at the flea market not Amazon which is like the landlord that oversees the space where the flea market stall is a lot of dates back to a ten year old case involving tiffany the jewelry brand and Ebay it set up this idea that the law treats ecommerce really differently differently from a physical store like a target or your corner grocery those physical stores. They may not make the products they sell. But they're still liable for problems with them But this could change recently. An appeals court rejected. This interpretation for the first time the judges in that case they were like look Amazon has so so much knowledge and control over it sales platform and it's so hard for the average person to try and track down and sue a third party seller. We should hold Amazon reliable. That court decision is going to be reviewed next month by the entire Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The legal community is watching really closely three different lawyers. I spoke with thought a change might be coming. It might be this case. It might be another one but they sense that something is starting to shift

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