Luxury product rip-off artists and their social media accomplices beware: Amazon is coming after you.
Amazon on Thursday (Nov. 12) filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington state against 13 individuals and businesses “for advertising, promoting and facilitating the sale of counterfeit luxury goods in Amazon’s store,” the online retail and tech giant announced in a press release.
In particular, social media influencers Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sabrina Kelly-Krejci teamed up with counterfeiters to promote phony luxury products on Instagram and TikTok and their own websites, Amazon contends in its lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
In order to evade Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting rules, Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci posted side-by-side photos of a generic, non-branded product and a luxury counterfeit product.
This was accompanied by the text “Order this/Get this,” with the “order this” referring to the generic product and the “get this” referring to the luxury counterfeit.
The aim of Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci and the sellers they worked with was to slip under the radar of Amazon’s anti-counterfeit product protections by posting only generic products. The pair then used social media sites like TikTok and Instagram to promote the counterfeit products.
Both “also posted numerous videos describing the alleged high quality of the counterfeits they promoted,” Amazon noted in a press statement.
Fitzpatrick had been a member of the Amazon Influencer Program, but Amazon said that ended after it detected her alleged counterfeiting activities.
“These defendants were brazen about promoting counterfeits on social media and undermined the work of legitimate influencers,” said Cristina Posa, associate general counsel and director of Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit, in the press release. “This case demonstrates the need for cross-industry collaboration in order to drive counterfeiters out of business.”
The Amazon lawsuit is just part one part of a global effort by the world’s largest retailer to stamp out the sale of counterfeits on its online platform.