How Amazon’s Counterfeit Problem Reached a Bird Feeder Manufacturer in Rhode Island

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Professor Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute, was quoted in a Marketplace article discussing the amount of products and sellers on Amazon, that the retailer has no control over.

In 2016, Trisha Torres, vice president of a small Rhode Island-based company, received a phone call from a customer.

Her company, Aspects, makes bird feeders, and this customer had bought what Amazon had listed as an “Aspects” hummingbird feeder.

The hummingbird feeder was a fake, albeit a convincing one. It even had her company’s name and phone number on it.

Torres checked Amazon and realized there were a lot more fakes. She ordered some and could see the giveaways: a word spelled wrong, faded packaging. But customers would never know the difference — until the product started to fall apart.

When we think of Amazon, “we have in our minds the image of a giant warehouse, from which initially, books, and later everything we could possibly want in life, flows to us directly,” said Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham University.

“But, in fact, any number of sellers are selling products on Amazon that Amazon never touches, has no control over.”

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