Amazon Files Lawsuits in Increased Effort to Keep Fakes Off Site

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Amazon filed two lawsuits against vendors allegedly selling counterfeit goods through its internet marketplace, stepping up efforts to keep fakes off the site heading into the holiday shopping season.

One suit targets ToysNet of Hacienda Heights, California; Disk Vision of Brandon, Florida; and individuals who Amazon says sold counterfeit Forearm Forklifts, straps used to carry heavy and bulky items. Amazon said it removed the fake items in June, and said Disk Vision forged an invoice to trick Amazon into reinstating the product listing. Another lawsuit targets several individuals who allegedly sold bogus TRX Suspension Trainers, an exercise system. The lawsuits were filed Monday in state court in Seattle. Amazon provided copies of the complaints, which couldn't immediately be verified in court records.

Last month, Apple sued an Amazon seller, claiming the business sold fake Apple products -- some of them unsafe -- on Amazon.com. As its marketplace grows, Amazon has been taking action to bolster its reliability and boost credibility with customers. Last year, it filed a suit against more than 1,000 people it said wrote fake product reviews on its website, threatening shopper confidence in its consumer reviews. The company last month clamped down on so-called incentivized reviews, in which customers write about products they receive free or at discounted prices.

"Amazon's customers trust that when they make a purchase through Amazon's website -- either directly from Amazon or from one of its millions of third-party sellers -- they will receive authentic products manufactured by the true manufacturer of those products," according to Monday's complaints. "When customers purchase counterfeit goods, it undermines the trust that customers, sellers, and manufacturers place in Amazon, thereby tarnishing Amazon's brand and causing irreparable reputational harm."

-- Bloomberg News