Homepage / Technology / Amazon was tricked by a fake law firm into removing a hot product, costing this seller $200,000
Amazon says this Prime Day was its biggest shopping event ever Kudlow says President Trump is 'so dissatisfied' with China trade talks that he is keeping the pressure on As stocks regain their footing, an ominous warning looms Goldman Sachs downgrades Clorox to sell, says valuation is 'unsustainably high' How Satya Nadella has spurred a tripling of Microsoft's stock price in just over four years Kudlow says economic growth could top 4% for 'a quarter or two,' more tax cuts could be coming The one chart that explains Netflix’s stunning comeback US housing starts plunge 12% in June to a nine-month low Aerospace titans Boeing and Airbus top $110 billion in orders at Farnborough Target uses Prime Day to its advantage, logging its 'biggest online shopping day' so far this year Billionaire Marc Lasry sees bitcoin reaching up to $40,000 as it becomes more mainstream and easier to trade These are the 10 US airports where you're most likely to be hacked Amazon shares slightly higher as investors await Prime Day results Wreck of Russian warship found, believed to hold gold worth $130 billion A bullish ‘phenomenon’ in bond market is weeks away from fading, top credit strategist says Stocks making the biggest moves premarket: MS, GOOGL, TXN, UAL, NFLX & more Twitter shares up 50% since late April means most upside priced in, analyst says in downgrade EU fines Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Mortgage applications fall 2.5% as buyers struggle to find affordable homes America may not have the tools to counter the next financial crisis, warn Bernanke, Geithner and Paulson Investors are getting spooked as the risk of a no-deal Brexit rises EU expected to fine Google $5 billion over Android antitrust abuse Ex-FBI chief James Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterm elections Elon Musk apologizes to British cave diver following baseless 'pedo guy' claim Disney, Comcast and Fox: All you need to know about one of the biggest media battles ever Xiaomi shares notch new high after Hong Kong, mainland China stock exchanges reach agreement The trade war is complicating China's efforts to fix its economy European markets set for a strong open amid earnings; Google in focus Hedge fund billionaire Einhorn places sixth in major poker tournament The biggest spender of political ads on Facebook? President Trump Asian stocks poised to gain after Fed's Powell gives upbeat comments; dollar firmer Stocks are setting up to break to new highs Not all FAANG stocks are created equal EU ruling may be too little, too late to stop Google's mobile dominance Cramer explains how Netflix's stock managed to taper its drop after disappointing on earnings Airbnb condemns New York City's 'bellhop politics,' threatens legal retaliation Amazon sellers say they were unfairly suspended right before Prime Day, and now have two bad choices Investor explains why 'duller' tech stocks can have better returns than 'high-flying' tech names Elon Musk is 'thin-skinned and short-tempered,' says tech VC Texas Instruments CEO Brian Crutcher resigns for violating code of conduct Google Cloud Platform fixes issues that took down Spotify, Snapchat and other popular sites Uber exec: We want to become the 'one stop' transportation app 'What a dumb hearing,' says Democrat as Congress grills tech companies on conservative bias Amazon shares rebound, report says Prime Day sales jumped 89 percent in first 12 hours of the event How to put your medical history on your iPhone in less than 5 minutes Investment chief: Watch these two big events in 2018 Even with Netflix slowing, the market rally is likely not over Cramer: Netflix subscriber weakness debunks the 'sky's the limit' theory on the stock Netflix is looking at watch time as a new area of growth, but the competition is stiff Why Nobel laureate Richard Thaler follows Warren Buffett's advice to avoid bitcoin Rolls-Royce is developing tiny 'cockroach' robots to crawl in and fix airplane engines After Netflix plunge, Wall Street analysts forecast just tame returns ahead for the once high-flying FANG group Roku shares rise after analyst raises streaming video company's price target due to customer growth China is investing 9 times more into Europe than into North America, report reveals Amazon says US Prime Day sales 'so far bigger than ever' as glitch is resolved Netflix is on pace for its worst day in two years US lumber producers see huge opportunity, rush to expand San Francisco to consider tax on companies to help homeless Homebuilder sentiment, still high, stalls as tariffs, labor and land drive up costs Powell backs more rate hikes as economy growing 'considerably stronger' Netflix history is filled with big stock declines – like today – followed by bigger rebounds Intel shares get downgraded by Evercore ISI due to rising competition from Nvidia, AMD Petco aims to reinvent the pet store with something you can't buy online Genetic testing is coming of age, but for consumers it's buyer beware Tech 'FAANG' was the most-crowded trade in the world heading into the Netflix implosion, survey shows Netflix weak subscriber growth may indicate a 'maturity wall' that could whack the stock even more: Analyst This chart may be predicting the bull market's demise Wall Street says Netflix's stock plunge is a ‘compelling’ buying opportunity because the streaming giant ‘never misses twice’ Tesla sinks after Musk tweets, again Boeing announces new division devoted to flying taxis Stocks making the biggest move premarket: NFLX, UNH, GS, AMZN, WMT & more Deutsche Bank downgrades Netflix, but says big subscriber miss is not 'thesis changing' IBM is experimenting with a cryptocurrency that’s pegged to the US dollar North Korea and Zimbabwe: A friendship explained Virgin Galactic spinoff Orbit to launch rockets from the UK with space deal Artificial intelligence will create more jobs than it destroys? That’s what PwC says ‘Treasonous’ Trump and ‘Putin’s poodle:' Scathing headlines follow the Trump-Putin summit China’s fintech companies offer ‘enormous’ opportunity, investment manager says Trump's performance at summit with Putin was 'unprecedented,' experts say Walmart and Microsoft link up on cloud technology as they both battle Amazon European stocks seen mixed amid earnings; Fed’s Powell to address Congress How I knew I should quit my day job and run my start-up full-time: Viral website founder China's stocks have been trounced, but the trade war may ultimately be good news for those shares Billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel bets on crypto start-up Block.one Asian shares subdued open after mixed close on Wall Street; energy stocks under pressure Amazon cloud hits snags after Amazon Prime Day downtime Netflix isn't doomed by one quarter unless people start questioning the long-term investor thesis Tech stocks set to sink on Tuesday after rough evening for ‘FANG’ Netflix plummets after missing big on subscriber growth This wristband lets humans control machines with their minds The U.S. has a rocky history convincing Russia to extradite computer criminals Amazon suffers glitches at the start of Prime Day Jeff Bezos is now the richest man in modern history 'The United States has been foolish': Read Trump and Putin's full exchange Goldman Sachs recommends these 5 highly profitable companies — including Nvidia — to combat rising inflation Goldman Sachs releases 'tactical' stock picks for this earnings season Three red flags for Netflix ahead of its earnings report The bond market may be raising recession fears, but don't expect one anytime soon Cramer: Banks are 'making fortunes' but are still as hated as they were during the financial crisis Putin told Trump at summit: Russia never meddled in US election


Amazon was tricked by a fake law firm into removing a hot product, costing this seller $200,000

Shortly before Amazon Prime Day in July, the owner of the Brushes4Less store on Amazon’s marketplace received a suspension notice for his best-selling product, a toothbrush head replacement.

The email that landed in his inbox said the product was being delisted from the site because of an intellectual property violation. In order to resolve the matter and get the product reinstated, the owner would have to contact the law firm that filed the complaint.

But there was one problem: the firm didn’t exist.

Brushes4Less was given the contact information for an entity named Wesley & McCain in Pittsburgh. The website wesleymccain.com has profiles for five lawyers. A Google image search shows that all five actually work for the law firm Brydon, Swearengen & England in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The phone number for Wesley & McCain doesn’t work while the address belongs to a firm in Pittsburgh called Robb Leonard Mulvihill. The person who supposedly filed the complaint is not registered to practice law in Pennsylvania. One section on Wesley & McCain’s site stole language from the website of Colby Law Office.

The owner of Brushes4Less agreed to tell his story to CNBC but asked that we not use his name out of concern for his privacy. As far as he can tell, and based on what CNBC could confirm, Amazon was duped into shutting down the seller’s key product days before the site’s busiest shopping event ever.

“Just five minutes of detective work would have found this website is a fraud, but Amazon doesn’t seem to want to do any of that,” the owner said. “This is like the Wild Wild West of intellectual property complaints.”

Brushes4Less is just one small business among millions that use Amazon’s massive global operation to reach customers. But as the marketplace has grown to account for more than half of all goods sold on the site and as Amazon has expanded its dominance across online commerce, seller complaints have multiplied.

Hot items are booted and innocent sellers are suspended, victims of malicious complaints that some experts suspect are coming from rival sellers masquerading as lawyers. Just ahead of last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday rush, a number of Samsung device sellers were suspended due to mistaken claims of infringement. And sellers of hot brands ranging from Nike to Michael Kors say they’ve received violation claims and suspension notices even if they’re buying inventory from legitimate distributors.

“Virtually any person can push the right buttons to get Amazon’s attention for particular issues,” said Paul Dworianyn, founder of Amazon Seller Consulting, which helps brands on the site.

During the course of our reporting, CNBC heard of numerous cases in which complaints were made by a competitor or a third-party law firm with bogus contact information. One seller of Keurig coffee pods was recently reinstated on Amazon after being suspended due to a fake complaint filed by a competitor, Dworianyn said.

The owner of Brushes4Less said he generates about $2 million in annual sales on Amazon. In addition to electronic toothbrush heads, his storefront features brushes for cleaning auto parts as well as wine tote bags, a camera lens and a set of microfiber towels.

He said the issue with Amazon was finally resolved on Tuesday after two months of waiting. Losing his best-selling item — a particular type of toothbrush replacement head — resulted in at least $200,000 in lost sales, he estimates. During that time, his inventory was in Amazon’s fulfillment center and inaccessible.

The Brushes4Less owner suspects the complaint was filed by a competitor and isn’t even sure of the specific alleged violation. He hired an intellectual property law firm, which attempted to reach the complainant five times from July 21 to Aug. 3.

“Due to the complainant’s failure to respond to our attorney’s attempts at contact (or even confirm receipt), we believe these complaints are baseless and were filed in bad faith,” the Brushes4Less owner wrote in a memo to Amazon.

Amazon didn’t provide a comment on the Brushes4Less incident. The company emailed the following statement to CNBC:

“Fraud is prohibited on Amazon.com. If we discover that bad actors have abused our systems, we work quickly to take action on behalf of our customers, which includes sellers. If a seller believes we’ve made a decision that requires further review, we encourage them to contact us directly so we can investigate and take the appropriate action.”

For sellers, Amazon doesn’t offer much by way of guidance in resolving IP issues. In the notice sent to Brushes4Less, the company provided little more than the complainant’s email address, which turned out to be fake.

Brydon Swearengen said in a statement that it has nothing to do with the hoax and that its images have been stolen.

“Brydon, Swearengen & England P.C. has no association with the ‘Wesley McCain’ web site which has misappropriated attorney photographs from our web site,” the firm wrote in an email. “We have brought this matter to the attention of the Missouri Bar and the Pennsylvania Bar Association.”

CJ Rosenbaum, a lawyer who represents suspended Amazon sellers, is getting used to these types of stories. False claims from sellers with malicious intent have become common, he said, because Amazon offers so little resistance to such trickery.

“There are so many good sellers who get suspended needlessly,” said Rosenbaum, who’s also the author of the “Amazon Law Library,” published last year.

Amazon’s aggressive suspension practices of late followed an explosion of counterfeit sales in recent years and a series of negative news stories and unflattering lawsuits.

Reinstatement can be a major challenge for sellers facing IP violations. There are so many merchants to replace them that Amazon does almost nothing to help suspended sellers get back up and running, said Chris McCabe, a former Amazon employee who now helps sellers get reinstated and stay compliant.

“Amazon does little to vet the complaints to make sure they are legitimate, and typically they refer you to the accusing party for any info or resolution,” McCabe said. “Amazon internal teams are overwhelmed with these complaints and are very slow to react to fake submissions.”

McCabe said Amazon has recently beefed up its appeals team to combat these types of problems. Still, while the time to get complaints overturned has sped up, false submissions still come in on a daily basis, he said.

Amazon’s business has yet to suffer from its marketplace chaos. Sales rose 25 percent last quarter and the stock is up 31 percent in 2017. But the seller problems are putting the company’s reputation at risk, McCabe said.

“If Amazon continues to process brand or buyer complaints as they are now, suspended accounts will continue to spike,” he said. “It undermines faith in the marketplace.”

Source: Tech CNBC
Amazon was tricked by a fake law firm into removing a hot product, costing this seller 0,000

Comments are closed.