Amazon's Chinese counterfeit problem is getting worse
Four things you should know about Amazon before shopping the prime sale Four things you should know about Amazon before shopping the prime sale
Friday, 8 Jul 2016 | 9:30 AM ET | 02:07
Amazon.com is hard at work promoting next week's Prime Day and the more than 100,000 deals available to subscribers. As with all things Amazon, it's intended to be a major party for consumers.
But longtime Amazon sellers like Jamie Whaley are in no mood to celebrate.
A licensed nurse, Whaley started a bedding business on Amazon that reached $700,000 in annual sales within three years. Her patented product called BedBand consists of a set of shock cords, clamps and locks designed to keep fitted bed sheets in place.
Whaley and her husband found quite an audience, selling up to 200 units a day for $13.99 a set. BedBand climbed into the top 200 selling products in the home and kitchen category. That was 2013.
By mid-2015, the business was in a tailspin. Revenue plummeted by half and Whaley was forced to lay off eight employees. Her sheet fastener had been copied by a legion of mostly Chinese knockoffs that undercut BedBand on price and jumped the seller ranks by obtaining scores of reviews that watchdog site Fakespot.com determined were inauthentic and "harmful for real consumers."
"Toe to toe we'll compete with anybody," said Whaley, who recently moved her family and a warehouse full of straps, clamps and cords from Texas to the mountains of Montana. "When you try to cheat or copy our products, it's a whole different story."
Whaley still counts on Amazon for 90 percent of her revenue but she's actively trying to drive traffic to her own website and partner with other retailers. She's lost all trust in Amazon.