Amazon is cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) fraud investigation into Sellers Playbook. The FTC and the State of Minnesota have charged Minnesota-based Sellers Playbook with running a large business opportunity scheme. A federal court temporarily stopped the operation until the case is resolved.
Sellers Playbook, as well as its owner Jessie Tieva and CEO Matthew Tieva, a married couple not affiliated with Amazon, are accused of luring “consumers into buying its expensive ‘system’ by claiming that purchasers were likely to earn thousands of dollars per month selling products on Amazon. The company used false and unsubstantiated claims, such as make ‘$20,000 a month’ and ‘Potential Net Profit: $1,287,463.38.’ Few, if any, consumers achieved these results, and most lost money.”
The defendants, which include “Exposure Marketing Company (also doing business as Sellers Online and Sellers Systems), … took in more than $15 million from consumers from April 2017 to May 2018,” with many consumers paying more than $32,000. They were charged with violating the FTC Act, the Business Opportunity Rule, the Minnesota Prevention of Consumer Fraud Act, and the Minnesota Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
In addition, they were charged with violating the Consumer Review Fairness Act through contracts that improperly sought to restrict consumers’ right to review the products and services they purchased.
According to reports, an Amazon spokesperson said “the entrepreneurs and small businesses selling on Amazon are incredibly important to us and our customers, and we aggressively pursue those that attempt to harm their selling experience. We invest heavily to protect the integrity of our stores and take action to protect customers and sellers, including working with consumer protection agencies and law enforcement. We have zero tolerance for fraud and abuse, and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement to pursue criminals.”
This is not the first time Jessie Tieva has been accused of misleading Amazon sellers. Along with Exposure Marketing Company, Tieva previously promoted, sold and benefited from a similar scheme, known as FBA Stores, which was shut down in March by the FTC after agreeing to a settlement.