Amazon to Customers: Buy Apple Products from Apple to Ensure They are Genuine

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Before I go any further, a brief explanation of how Amazon’s marketplace is in order.  Many items you purchase on aren’t actually being sold by amazon, but by a third-party vendor that pays a fee to Amazon for the privilege.   Based on my research conducted on the website, it appears that the company relies on its vendors to self-police and that the company itself does not attempt to ensure that a product that a vendor labels as having been manufactured by Apple, for example, is not counterfeit.

Contrast this with Apple’s policy: in order to sell an app in Apple’s online marketplace, the app has to work.  In fact, the company specifically states that it reviews “all apps to ensure they are reliable, perform as expected, and are free of offensive material.”

Something seemed amiss, so I sought guidance, first from Amazon customer support via chat, and later, from Amazon’s PR team.

The customer service representative I chatted with didn’t really understand my question at first, which was “All of the Apple Smart Covers sold on amazon and listed as ‘by Apple’ seem to be counterfeit.  How can I find a real one?”

He pointed me to one of the counterfeit ones.  The conversation then went like this:

JBS:     That is not a real apple product.  It is counterfeit.  Again, I am asking you for legitimate Apple products and you are showing me fake ones.
CS:      But as I can see these items are from Apple as the manufacturer.
JBS:     Read the comments.  They are clearly NOT.
CS:      I see.   The comments are indeed, not good.

At the end, the customer service rep had one helpful suggestion: “I am really sorry Jonathan, but you may check out these items you wish to order from the Apple store directly to ensure their genuineness.”

We repeatedly asked to both comment on the problem and say what, if anything, the company was going to do about it.  As of the time this article is being published, no response was forthcoming.

If someone does happen to purchase one of the Smart Covers (or another counterfeit product), there may still be some recourse.  Amazon has an A-to-Z Guarantee policy that includes coverage when “a seller has clearly misrepresented the condition or details of an item in a way that affects its value or utility, it is ‘materially different.’”  In such cases, according to the policy, the seller “should be willing to offer a refund or exchange within 30 days of shipment.”  If that doesn’t happen, according to Amazon’s A-to-Z Guarantee FAQ, “you may qualify for coverage under our A-to-Z Guarantee.”

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