Amazon and KF Beauty teamed up to file a lawsuit against four companies and 16 people for allegedly selling knockoff KF Beauty products through Amazon, which violated the e-commerce platform's rules, the company announced on Wednesday.
The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleges that the defendants worked together to sell fake KF Beauty's products through the platform.
If the defendants are found guilty and are compelled to pay damages, Amazon will send KF Beauty the proceeds. The e-commerce giant also refunded customers for the fake KF Beauty items they bought, the company said in a statement.
KF Beauty is one of more than 350,000 brands to use Amazon's Brand Registry service, which provides tools for overseeing and safeguarding their intellectual property and reporting counterfeit sales, per the company statement. Amazon highlighted its investments in preventing knockoff sales through its platform and stated that 99.9% of all items viewed by shoppers on Amazon haven't gotten "a valid counterfeit complaint."
Amazon's partnership with KF Beauty against alleged fraudsters follows in the footsteps of its collaboration with Valentino to fight sellers of fake Valentino Garavani Rockstud Shoes. The retailer recently launched its counterfeit crimes unit, tested out live seller verification measures and has worked to combat fake goods for years.
"The majority of sellers in our store are law-abiding entrepreneurs, but we will take aggressive action to protect customers, brands, and our store from counterfeiters," Cristina Posa, associate general counsel and director of the Amazon Counterfeit Crimes Unit, said in a statement. "Amazon and KF Beauty are holding these companies and individuals accountable, and we appreciate the close cooperation we've had in this investigation."
But as Amazon attempts to address its counterfeit goods issue, regulators and brands have responded to the problem, too. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee questioned Jeff Bezos in July about counterfeit goods sold through the platform. Just before the COVID-19 pandemic forced physical stores to shut down in March, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill, dubbed the SHOP SAFE Act, aimed at stopping "dangerous counterfeits."
Amazon isn't the only platform concerned about the sales of fake goods. Ebay partnered with Prova Group earlier this month to verify sports memorabilia sold via the site.
As e-commerce platforms contend with the sale of counterfeit items — even to shoppers who buy fakes on purpose — other consumers are concerned about the authenticity of online goods. The quality of goods sold on Amazon has long been an issue; however, a March report from brand protection Red Points found that 68% of U.S. shoppers are concerned about more inauthentic or poor-quality items sold online due to the pandemic.