In a statement released by the online retailer Amazon, customers are being instructed to dispose of and throw away any Align brand supplements, purchased from on their site from third parties.
The reason for the announcement is that Amazon believes the supplements, which are officially sold by the company Proctor & Gamble, may, in fact, be fakes.
Although the selling of counterfeit items is a problem that is not entirely new to Amazon, with its size and rapidly growing marketplace it, however, does remain vulnerable to such issues. As a result, the policing of its third-party sellers is proving to be more and more of an ongoing challenge.
Earlier this year, Amazon developed a new program, Project Zero, that allows them to work with brands, in an attempt to combat counterfeits on their marketplace.
With the most recent worry of the possibility of the Align nutritional supplements, in fact, being counterfeits, Amazon is advising all those customers who purchased the products to throw them away. According to Wire, an email was penned by Amazon to its customers: "If you still have this product, we recommend that you stop using it immediately and dispose of them."
Amazon also stated that those customers who had bought the counterfeits supplements would receive a full refund for their purchase.
Proctor & Gamble, the official sellers of the Align Supplements in question, informed Wired that they were very aware of the suspected counterfeits. P&G also stated that Amazon has confirmed that they will only be selling those Align products that are received from P&G owned manufacturing facilities.
As for Amazon, in a statement made to Wired, the online retail juggernaut reassured that it investigates any and every claim of counterfeiting extensively and in most cases in partnership with the brands affected.
Amazon issued a statement: “In the rare instance where a bad actor gets through, we take swift action, including removing the item from sale, permanently banning bad actors, pursuing legal action, and working with law enforcement when appropriate.”
Project Zero is a tool that works to this end. The program, geared to detect the counterfeits, is only currently available to those brands on Amazon’s brand register, which is currently an invite-only service. Once the brand is registered, they have the power to remove any listing they deem is counterfeit without having to report it to Amazon first.
In the end, Project Zero gives both Amazon and their brands the leverage they need to drive any perceived counterfeits to zero.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Will Amazon’s new program indeed take care of counterfeits on their marketplace?