U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon and luxury jewelry brand Cartier on June 15 jointly sued a social media celebrity in a U.S. court for allegedly collaborating with Chinese merchants to sell counterfeit Cartier products.
AFP citing court documents reported that the influencer appears to be a woman in Handan, China. The merchants involved in the counterfeiting scheme are traced to other Chinese cities.
One alleges that the celebrity used social platforms like Instagram to pitch Cartier jewelry such as “Love bracelets” to followers. The influencer then provides links of the Chinese merchants that sell the knockoffs on Amazon.
Kebharu Smith is Amazon’s associate general counsel. He said in a statement that bad actors use social media to promote counterfeit products, undermining trust and misleading consumers.
Smith said: “We don’t just want to chase them away from Amazon — we want to stop them for good.”
Amazon has removed the merchants targeted in the lawsuit from its platform. The e-commerce giant and jewelry brand have urged a federal court to make the Chinese merchants to compensate for damages and legal costs for hawking knock-off jewelry from June 2020 through June 2021.
The lawsuit said the Chinese merchants have launched a sophisticated campaign. They attempted to avoid detection by using social media influencers to promote the jewelry as Cartier, but they did not mention the luxury brand Cartier at all on their Amazon stores.
But buyers received jewelry with Cartier trademarks.
Another lawsuit alleges that an Amazon store operating under the name “YFXF” last year sold counterfeit Cartier products. The jewels were not branded on the website, but buyers received counterfeits bearing the Cartier trademark.
The lawsuit said those involved in the counterfeiting scheme advertised their knockoff products on third-party social media sites. They are accused of using ‘hidden links’ to direct their followers to counterfeit Cartier products, while disguising the products as non-branded in the listings in the Amazon Store.
The companies said Instagram’s direct messages and shared links were used to instruct social media followers on how to buy knockoffs on Amazon.