Am I Next? Counterfeit Competition. Job Loss

It is one thing to hear President Trump rant and rave about China’s theft of intellectual property or the trade imbalance between our two countries, but is it quite something else when one of the largest sales platforms on the planet, Amazon, is being gamed by Chinese counterfeiters who pop in-and-out of business at the drop of a name change. Not only is the consumer hurt by shoddy, and potentially unsafe goods, but small businesses that derive a significant portion of their revenue from online sales through Amazon are devastated. 

Unfortunately, since many products are made in Chinese plants, it is a simple matter to rebrand them and offer the very same item or simply run an extra off-the-books shift of the real product to be sold a deeply-discounted prices. Either way, American businesses are hurt and without legal redress if they want to seek what will most surely be a pyrrhic victory in the courts – ever mindful that a change in name and the miscreant company is right back at it the next day. 

Of course, Amazon is incapable of vetting all third-party vendors and will shut down their platform access (at least under the offending name) when a consumer makes a legitimate complaint. After all, it is the consumers and not the vendors who are responsible for Amazon’s revenue and growth. That Amazon will refund your money and even provide a free return shipping tag is a given. 

Caveat Emptor, “let the buyer beware,” should be the tagline below every FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) marking. 

Bottom line: It pays to keep an eye on the large marketing platforms like Amazon and Alibaba to see if your company’s particular product or category is being knocked off – because job losses can follow due to a significant decline in revenue and market share. Or in Latin, operarius cave, “worker beware.”