Amazon accuses social media influencers of peddling fake products

Amazon has opened up a new front in its war against online counterfeit sales, filing a lawsuit against two people who it claims use their social media followings to promote counterfeit goods sold on its platform.

The online retail giant accuses Kelly Fitzpatrick and Sabrina Kelly-Krejci – along with various other mainly Chinese defendants – of knowingly “promoting, advertising, and facilitating the sale of counterfeit luxury fashion goods” through Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook accounts.

Test purchases revealed the fakes included copycat Gucci belts, totebags, purses, and sunglasses, Disney wallets and Dior handbags and bracelets.

The suit was filed on 12 November in a Seattle court and maintains that the defendants engaged in “a sophisticated campaign of false advertising for the purpose of evading Amazon’s counterfeit detection tools.”

The two influencers promoted duplicate or ‘dupe’ products via their accounts, using them to link to intellectual property-infringing listings in the Amazon Marketplace store.

Dupes is a fashion industry term that describes items that are similar to a designer item, but that do not copy logos or trademarked features, according to the complaint, which claims Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci overstepped the mark by promoting counterfeits that copied registered trademarks.

A feature of the activity was a so-called “Order this/Get this” ploy. The listings promoted using social media might be for a generic wallet style, for example – making them hard to detect. However, tipped off purchasers would be aware that they would in fact receive a knock-off, as the image below illustrates.

“As Fitzpatrick explains to her followers, a ‘hidden link’ means “[y]ou order a certain product that looks nothing like the designer dupe in order to hide the item from getting taken down [by Amazon] and orders being cancelled’,” notes the complaint.

The two accused appear to have made little effort to conceal the activity, perhaps relying on the fragmented nature of social media to hide their activities, and continued the activity even after receiving warnings from Amazon they were breaking its rules .

Aside from Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci, who previously had been part of Amazon’s Associates programme for influencers, the lawsuit names individuals and businesses in China and the US that it says benefited from the sale of counterfeit goods.

Fitzpatrick operated on social media using accounts like @Styleeandgrace or variations like @Gracefullystylish, and ran a website ( to promote goods, and is said to have had close ties to both Kelly-Krejci and the counterfeit sellers.

Kelly-Krejci operated online as @BudgetStyleFile or similar, and like Fitzpatrick ran her own website ( to promote the items.

Amazon’s lawsuit alleges false designation of origin and false advertising and violation of the Washington Consumer Protect Act, and is seeking a court order banning all those named in the suit from selling products on Amazon of holding accounts on its sites.

It is also asking that Fitzpatrick and Kelly-Krejci pay damages the company has sustained from their activity, as well as Amazon's legal fees.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

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