Technology

Apple complains Amazon's US site is selling fake products

Apple Image copyright Apple
Image caption Apple said this wall charger and other goods were fakes despite being advertised as an "original Apple" items

Apple has complained of a "flood" of counterfeit goods masquerading as its products being sold on Amazon.com.

The claim relates to items sold via Amazon's "fulfilment" scheme, whereby third parties list their goods on the retail giant's site, store their inventory in its warehouses and rely on it for deliveries.

Apple warns the alleged fakes are potentially life-threatening.

But it is suing one of the vendors rather than Amazon itself.

The defendant, New York-based Mobile Star LLC, could not be reached for comment and has yet to file its own legal paperwork.

"Mobile Star has been deceiving Apple customers and putting their safety at risk by selling counterfeit power adapters," an Apple spokesman told the BBC.

"They have ignored our repeated requests, so we are taking legal action to get them to stop."

Amazon says it takes such matters seriously.

"Amazon has zero tolerance for the sale of counterfeits on our site," a spokeswoman told the BBC.

"We work closely with manufacturers and brands and pursue wrongdoers aggressively."

Details of the case were first reported by Patently Apple.

Fire risk

Apple said it had bought "well over" 100 iPhone devices, own-brand power adapters and charging cables, and had found almost 90% of them were fakes.

"Unlike genuine Apple products, they are not subjected to industry-standard consumer safety testing and are poorly constructed with inferior or missing components, flawed design and inadequate electrical insulation," it said.

"These counterfeits have the potential to overheat, catch fire and deliver a deadly shock to consumers while in normal use."

Image copyright Apple
Image caption Apple's lawyers highlighted this review in which an Amazon shopper had complained of their charger catching fire

It added that customers might be fooled into believing the products were safe because Amazon was perceived to be one of the US's most trustworthy companies.

"Consumers, relying on Amazon.com's reputation, have no reason to suspect the power products they purchased... are anything but genuine."

One blogger who has previously highlighted what he calls "Amazon's fraudulent seller problem" suggested Apple should be more aggressive in its effort to tackle the issue.

"I can certainly see why Apple is suing Mobile Star," wrote John Gruber.

"But why not sue Amazon too?

"This is shameful. I've known for a while never to trust anything merely 'fulfilled by Amazon', but I'm actually surprised that even the 'Apple' branded chargers... are dangerous counterfeits as well."

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